How to Update Your iPhone or iPad to iOS 11

Apple released iOS 11 on September 19, 2017. You can upgrade by tapping “Install Now” when an update message appears, but you can also check for the update and install it immediately.

iOS 11 is available for the iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 7, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone SE, and iPhone 5s. It’s also available for the iPad Pro (all of them), iPad (5th generation), iPad Air 2, iPad Air, iPad mini 4, iPad mini 3, iPad mini 2, and iPod touch (6th generation).

Option One: Update Wirelessly from Your Device

First, ensure you have enough power to update. You need at least 50% battery available on your device to start the update, although Apple recommends you connect your device to a power outlet while updating.

You’ll also need to connect your device to Wi-Fi, as you can’t install big updates like iOS 11 over a cellular connection.

Tap Settings > General > Software Update to check for the update. Your device will check for any updates you can install. Tap “Download and Install” to start the installation process.

  

The iOS 11 update needs at least 2 GB of free space on your device to download and install. If not enough space is available, your device will offer to temporarily remove apps to make space. Tap “Continue” and it will remove the apps (but not your data), install the update, and then restore the apps it removed. It works a lot like the app offloading feature. You can also tap “Cancel” and free up space on your iPhone or iPad in any way you like before continuing.

If there’s enough free space available, your device will offer to download the update. Tap “Install” to update now. You can also tap “Later” and then “Install Tonight”. Connect your device to power when you go to sleep at night and it will automatically install the update overnight.

Finally, you’ll be asked to enter your device’s passcode. Enter it and the update process will begin. If you don’t know your passcode, you’ll have to wipe your device and start from scratch.

Option Two: Plug Into Your Computer and Update Using iTunes

You can still use iTunes to update an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch. It’s normally more convenient to update wirelessly using the device itself, but iTunes can come in handy in rare situations. For example, if you don’t have a Wi-Fi network available but you have a computer with a wired Ethernet connection, you can plug your device into the computer and use iTunes to download the update.

You’ll need the latest version of iTunes to do this. On a PC, either launch iTunes and click Help > Check for Updates, or download iTunes from Apple if you don’t already have it installed. On a Mac, open iTunes and click iTunes > Check for Updates.

Once the latest version is installed, connect your device to your PC or Mac using its included cable—the same one you use to charge it. Select your device by clicking its icon on the toolbar at the upper left corner of the iTunes window.

Click the “Summary” heading in the sidebar and then click the “Check for Update” button under the device’s name in the main pane. iTunes will check for any available updates and prompt you to install them.

Click “Download and Update” to install the update if it’s available. Enter your passcode on your device’s screen when it’s requested and the update will begin.

Chris Hoffman is a technology writer and all-around computer geek. He's as at home using the Linux terminal as he is digging into the Windows registry. Connect with him on Google+.