How to Update an Apple iPhone from a Computer: Step-by-Step Guide

Updating your Apple iPhone from a computer is a straightforward process that requires iTunes or Finder, depending on your operating system. After connecting your iPhone to the computer with a USB cable, you’ll need to select your device in iTunes or Finder, and simply click on ‘Check for Update’. If an update is available, you can proceed to download and install it, ensuring your iPhone is up to date with the latest features and security enhancements.

Once the update is complete, your iPhone will restart. You’ll then have access to all the new features and improvements that come with the latest iOS version. It’s always a good idea to back up your iPhone before updating, just in case.


In today’s fast-paced world, keeping our gadgets up to date is crucial for security and functionality. For iPhone users, this means ensuring that the operating system, iOS, is always running the latest version. But what if you don’t have Wi-Fi or prefer to update your phone via a computer? No worries, we’ve got you covered!

Updating an iPhone from a computer is a piece of cake once you know the steps, and there’s an added bonus: it’s a great way to create a backup of your phone’s data. This process is relevant to anyone with an iPhone and a computer, whether you’re a tech whiz or just getting the hang of your smartphone. So, let’s dive in and get your iPhone up-to-date!

Step by Step Tutorial: Update Your Apple iPhone from a Computer

Before we begin, make sure you have the latest version of iTunes installed on your computer if you’re using Windows or macOS Mojave and earlier. For macOS Catalina and later, you’ll use Finder.

Step 1: Connect your iPhone to your computer

Connect your iPhone to your computer using a USB cable.

When you connect your iPhone to your computer, iTunes or Finder will launch automatically. If it doesn’t, simply open the program manually.

Step 2: Select your iPhone in iTunes or Finder

Click on the device icon to select your iPhone.

You’ll find the device icon in the upper-left corner of the iTunes window, or on the left sidebar in Finder.

Step 3: Click on ‘Check for Update’

Once you’ve selected your device, click on the ‘Check for Update’ button in the summary pane.

iTunes or Finder will check for updates from Apple’s servers and notify you if an update is available.

Step 4: Download and update

If an update is available, click ‘Download and Update’. Agree to the terms and conditions if prompted.

Your computer will download the update file from Apple and install it on your iPhone. The iPhone will restart during the process.


ConvenienceUpdating your iPhone from a computer is convenient for those without a reliable Wi-Fi connection. It allows you to use your computer’s network to download the update, which can be faster and more stable.
Larger StorageComputers typically have more storage space than iPhones, making it easier to download and store the update file before it’s transferred to your iPhone.
Backup CreationUsing a computer to update your iPhone gives you the opportunity to create a full backup of your phone’s data. This is useful in the event that something goes wrong during the update process.


Requires a ComputerNot everyone has immediate access to a computer, which can limit the ability to update an iPhone using this method.
iTunes DependencyFor Windows and older macOS users, updating via a computer requires iTunes, which some users find cumbersome and overly complicated.
Time-ConsumingThe process can be more time-consuming than updating directly on the iPhone, as it involves several steps, including launching software on the computer and potentially dealing with updates to iTunes or Finder first.

Additional Information

Updating your Apple iPhone from a computer is a great alternative when you can’t or don’t want to update over Wi-Fi. It’s especially useful if you’re running into storage issues on your phone, as the update is downloaded to your computer first. It’s important to remember to back up your iPhone to either iTunes or Finder before you start the update process. This way, you won’t lose any precious data if something goes wrong.

If you’ve never backed up your iPhone before, don’t fret! The process is similar to updating: just connect your phone, select it in iTunes or Finder, and click ‘Back Up Now’. Also, if your computer doesn’t recognize your iPhone, make sure you trust the computer on your iPhone’s pop-up notification. With these tips and tricks, you’ll be a pro at keeping your iPhone up to date through your computer!


  1. Connect your iPhone to your computer using a USB cable.
  2. Select your iPhone in iTunes or Finder by clicking on the device icon.
  3. Click on ‘Check for Update’ in the summary pane.
  4. If an update is available, click ‘Download and Update’.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need Wi-Fi to update my iPhone from a computer?

No, you don’t need Wi-Fi if you’re updating from a computer. You just need an internet connection for your computer.

Can I update my iPhone on any computer?

Yes, you can update your iPhone on any computer, as long as it has iTunes (for Windows or older macOS versions) or Finder (for macOS Catalina and later).

What should I do if iTunes or Finder doesn’t recognize my iPhone?

Make sure that your iPhone is unlocked and that you’ve tapped ‘Trust’ on the pop-up notification that appears on your iPhone when it’s connected to the computer.

Will updating my iPhone from a computer erase my data?

It shouldn’t erase your data, but it’s always a good idea to back up your iPhone before updating, just in case.

How long does it take to update an iPhone from a computer?

The time it takes can vary based on the size of the update and the speed of your computer’s internet connection. It can range from a few minutes to an hour or more.


Updating your Apple iPhone from a computer is a valuable skill to have in your tech arsenal. It’s not just about getting the latest and greatest iOS features; it’s also about ensuring that your device has the latest security updates to keep your data safe. Remember, technology is meant to make our lives easier, not give us a headache.

So, take a deep breath, follow the above steps, and you’ll have your iPhone updated in no time. And hey, if you ever get stuck, there are plenty of resources and Apple support to guide you through. Happy updating!

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