If you rely on your iPhone”Automatic updates” to download and install new versions of iOS for you, you will wait a while for the next update. You might not notice it until someone sends you an emoji you can’t see, or you’re taunted by that red pop-up in settings, letting you know a new version is available. This raises the question: WWhy doesn’t your iPhone automatically install new updates as soon as Apple releases them?
On iPhone, a software update means more than new features. Unlike other platforms, Apple does not separate its feature updates from its security patches, but rather combines them into a single installation. This makes every new version of iOS important to download as soon as possible from a security perspective. For example, the latest iOS update, iOS 15.5, introduces 27 fixes for security vulnerabilities discovered in previous versions of the software.
Apple releases new software updates for compatible iPhones around the same time for everyone: IIn theory, you can install a new update as soon as it’s released in the iOS community, but the Automatic Updates feature delays that.
Why Apple waits to automatically install updates on iPhone
Turns out it’s on purpose. According to Craig Federighisenior VP of software engineering at Apple, the company expects a for four weeks to roll out new updates for users who have automatic updates enabled. The idea here is to make sure there are no glaring bugs in the software that would negatively affect the iPhones of millions of people. IIf such a bug were discovered, Apple could pull the update early, limiting collateral damage and patching the bug to re-release the update later.
This strategy isn’t the only one used to eliminate bugs, of course. Every version of iOS is the first go through beta testing before the general public sees it. Beta testers, both developers and public testers, install the first version of the software on their devices and report any problems to Apple. Betas often go through multiple builds before release, as Apple works on tester feedback to improve the experience.
Although beta testing is essential for developing any general-purpose software, the group of testers is not large enough to find all the major bugs. While everyone has the option to manually download a new update when it becomes available, a large number of community members simply won’t, either because they have automatic updates turned on, either because they don’t care about updating in the first place.
This gives Apple a chance to run a second round of unofficial “testing”: if all goes well after a week, the company begins rolling out the update to those with automatic updates enabled. This deployment accelerates over time, resulting in 100% availability after four weeks.
The fastest way to install a new iOS update on your iPhone
Unfortunately, there’s no way to move up your place in the automatic line: whenever Apple decides to roll out the update to your device, that’s when it will update everything. only. If you want to make sure your iPhone is fully updated at all times, you’ll need to manually check for new updates and install them yourself. For this, you can go to Settings > General > Software Updates.
If you’re sticking with automatic updates, make sure “Download iOS Updates” and “Install iOS Updates” are enabled under Settings > General > Software Updates > Automatic Updates. The former will only download new updates to your iPhone, but won’t install them until you do it yourself. In this case, no matter when Apple rolls out the automatic update to your iPhone, Iwill be waiting forever for you to act.