What Does It Mean When Your iPhone Says ‘Preparing Update’?

When your iPhone says “Preparing update,” it’s getting ready to install new software. This brief message might seem mysterious, but it’s a normal part of the update process. After reading this article, you’ll understand what’s happening behind the scenes and why it’s a crucial step for keeping your iPhone running smoothly.

After the “Preparing update” message, your iPhone will start installing the new update. This means the update file is unpacked, verified, and ready to be applied to your device. It’s like a chef prepping the ingredients before starting to cook.


Have you ever excitedly tapped on ‘Download and Install’ for the latest iOS update, only to be met with the slightly vague message ‘Preparing update’? If you’re nodding along, you’re not alone. Understanding what this innocuous little phrase means can save you a lot of head-scratching and potential frustration with your trusty iPhone.

This process is a bit like the behind-the-scenes work done before a play. The actors (features of the new update) can’t just jump on stage without rehearsals (preparations). Similarly, your iPhone needs to make sure everything is in place before it can give you those new emojis you’ve been eyeing or the security patch that keeps your data safe. It’s relevant to anyone who uses an iPhone because keeping up with updates is crucial for the device’s performance and security. Let’s dive in and unravel the mystery of what’s really going on when your iPhone is ‘preparing update.’

Step by Step Tutorial: Understanding “Preparing Update”

The following steps will explain why your iPhone needs to prepare for an update and what happens during this phase.

Step 1: Download the Update

Your iPhone downloads the new iOS update from Apple’s servers.

When you trigger an update, the first thing your iPhone does is reach out to Apple’s servers and pull the latest iOS version. This can take a few minutes to several hours, depending on your internet speed and the size of the update.

Step 2: Prepare the Update

The ‘Preparing update’ message appears while your iPhone processes the downloaded file.

This stage is where the magic happens. Your iPhone is working hard to verify the update file, unpack it, and get everything set up for the actual installation. It’s ensuring that the update is not corrupted and is compatible with your device.

Step 3: Install the Update

The installation begins once the preparation is complete.

After the preparation is done, your iPhone will restart and begin installing the update. You’ll see a progress bar and an Apple logo. This is the part where the new iOS version is actually applied to your device.


Ensures update integrityThe ‘Preparing update’ phase checks the downloaded update file for any issues, ensuring that the installation will go smoothly and won’t harm your device.
Optimizes the installation processBy getting everything set up beforehand, your iPhone can install the update more efficiently, reducing the time your device is out of commission.
Protects your dataPreparing the update includes verifying that there’s enough space and creating backups if necessary, which helps prevent data loss during the update process.


Time-consumingThe preparation phase can be time-consuming, especially if you’re eager to use the new features right away.
Unclear time frameIt’s often not clear how long the ‘Preparing update’ step will take, which can be frustrating for users.
Potential for errorsAlthough rare, there’s always a chance that something can go wrong during the preparation, leading to a failed update.

Additional Information

Sometimes, the “Preparing update” stage can seem to take forever. If it’s been a while and you’re wondering if your iPhone has decided to take a digital nap, don’t panic. There are a few things you can check and do to help move things along. For instance, make sure your iPhone is connected to a reliable Wi-Fi network and is plugged into a power source. Updates are power-hungry processes, and the last thing you want is for your phone to run out of juice mid-preparation.

Also, be aware that if your iPhone doesn’t have enough free space, it might struggle to prepare the update. Have a quick look at your storage and clear some room if needed. And remember, patience is a virtue. If the preparation process is taking a while, it’s usually because the update is substantial and packed with goodies for your iPhone.


  1. Your iPhone downloads the new update from Apple’s servers.
  2. The ‘Preparing update’ message signifies that your iPhone is processing the downloaded update file.
  3. Once the preparation is done, your device will begin the actual update installation.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if the “Preparing update” message is stuck?

Try restarting your iPhone. If that doesn’t work, you may need to delete the update from your iPhone’s storage and try downloading it again.

Can I use my iPhone while it’s preparing an update?

Yes, you can still use your iPhone, but it might be slower than usual since it’s using resources to prepare the update.

How long should the “Preparing update” take?

It can vary depending on the size of the update and your internet speed. It usually takes anywhere from a few minutes to an hour.

What does it mean if the “Preparing update” message disappears and nothing happens?

It might indicate a failed update. Check your internet connection and available storage, then try downloading the update again.

Should I update my iPhone as soon as a new update is available?

It’s generally a good idea to keep your iPhone up to date for security and performance reasons, but if you’re worried about potential bugs, you can wait a few days to see if others report issues.


In conclusion, when your iPhone says “Preparing update,” it’s essentially doing the necessary legwork before the big show – the update installation. This phase is crucial for a smooth, successful update, ensuring your device’s compatibility and integrity with the new iOS.

Remember, while it might test your patience, this preparation step is a sign that your iPhone is doing exactly what it’s supposed to do to deliver you the latest and greatest features safely. Keep your phone charged, connected, and let it do its thing. Before you know it, you’ll be enjoying all the new features and improvements that come with the update.

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