How to download and install the iOS 7 update to your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch

The biggest overhaul in iOS history is upon us, and brings about much new functionality and a brand new look. Here's what you should follow to get iOS 7 on your Apple iPhone 4, iPhone 4s or iPhone 5, your iPad 2, iPad 3 (new iPad), iPad 4, or iPad mini tablets, as well as your iPod touch 5th generation media player.

Clean it up and Back up the truck

Such a major iOS update is a good excuse for some fall cleaning of your device. Delete contacts and messages you don't need any more, uninstall unnecessary apps that you don't use often or at all, and finally follow those prompts to update what's left to the newest versions.

You can then also sync your Camera Roll with iTunes, so as you don't slow the iCloud storage service, delete previous iCloud backups from your phone, and go deeper using the Manage Storage option, telling each individual app to sync or not with iCloud, like in the screenshot on the right.

To check if iCloud backups are enabled, go to Settings > iCloud > Storage & Backup, and make sure the iCloud Backup slide is at the ON position. You can also force a manual backup right now by going to Settings > iCloud > Storage & Backup and tapping the large Back Up Now button at the bottom of the display.

You never know what might happen during such a major mobile OS update, so we'd advise that you back your entire phone up first, and then hit the airwaves or connect the cable for an upgrade via iTunes. Use that same iTunes software first to back up your phone, tablet or media player locally, and iCloud for the rest. 

Your settings, including application ones and in-app purchases, as well as Messages, Camera Roll, documents, saved games, and other important data can all be backed up in iTunes and restored manually if something goes awry:

For music, movies, TV shows, apps, and books you have purchased - these stay in iCloud and don't count towards your 5 GB of free storage quota, so you can use the storage to back up your mail, documents and recent media that hasn't been synced to your computer. These backups will run automatically when your device is on, plugged in and locked, and will go over Wi-Fi connection, so you don't really need to do much here. Exceptions?

Bear in mind that iCloud wouldn't back up music, movies, and TV shows not purchased from the iTunes Store, as well as podcasts and audio books, plus all the photos that were originally synced from your computer.

If, for some reason, you need to downgrade to the previous versions of iOS, you can use programs like TinyUmbrella (Mac / Windows) or iFaith (Windows), in case you are of the hacking and jailbreaking types, and if you are, you probably know already how to save your SHSH blobs with these programs, so you can roll back to undamaged states.

Two ways to update

You can either get to iOS 7 from whichever version you are running on your device through an over-the-air (OTA) update, or the good old iTunes hookup. OTA is pretty self-explanatory, as the device prompts you there is a new version of iOS, and you just have to tap on, following the instructions to get the upgrade. If you are the more Nervous Nelly type, you can keep hitting Settings > General > Software update, and you might just get lucky like Pharell and install it amongst the first on the block.

Users who are more comfortable the iTunes way can hook up their gear to the computer, and will receive the prompt you see on the left. 

Just click through the Download&Update button, and you will have your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch brought up to iOS 7 in no time.

Finally, we'd advise you somewhat counterintuitively to wait a little bit with the iOS 7 update. There have been occurrences when Apple's activation servers go down on account of the monster amount of immediate requests, and if you hit that button at the second the prompts appear, you might be left with a device that has no restoring in sight until the servers get up again. 

Thus it'd be wise not to jump the gun immediately, but do it in the evening at home, or the next morning, depending on your country, when the initial rush has watered down. For a full list of when the iOS 7 update will go live in different time zones, check out our iOS 7 release date and time schedule.



1. msa1988

Posts: 418; Member since: Mar 30, 2010

Done and done. Will be staring at my 4S waiting for the little star over "settings" to pop up!

26. PhoneLuver

Posts: 481; Member since: Jul 05, 2010

Why is it that nobody ever talks about whatever "OTHER" is and why it uses so much data! My "OTHER" uses about 5GB of space. What's frustrating is that I cannot say what it is!

2. vincelongman

Posts: 5691; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

Dam, won't be getting iOS 7 on my iPod Touch 4 Time to upgrade, so many great phones to choose from :)

3. rawbow

Posts: 428; Member since: Mar 30, 2012

I am sure that could be possible post jailbreak

6. apple4never

Posts: 1064; Member since: May 08, 2013

it is, i already did it

24. vincelongman

Posts: 5691; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

Yea, I know, but iOS 6 is already very laggy, I think iOS 7 will be even worse. Any one else with a iOS 7 on a iPod 4? How smooth is compared to iOS 6?

25. ryanthrussell

Posts: 2; Member since: Sep 19, 2013

hi im a ipod user but I cant download the update do u know why its not allowing me to not to update it and u can jailbreak IOS 7?

27. vincelongman

Posts: 5691; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

Which iPod Touch do you have? Apple are only allowing the iPod Touch 5 to be updated to iOS 7. Its probably because the iPod Touch 4 only has 256MB Ram.

29. ryanthrussell

Posts: 2; Member since: Sep 19, 2013

yeah the ipod 4 and oh I didn't know that thx vince but people on youtube are posting videos on how to do it but u cant my mate has the 4 with ios 7 and he got a chip on ebay for ios 7 and he can use it perfect but hes getting lag on games but he cant find it anymore but its got a faulty iphone 5 hes going to take my ipod apart and take my chip out and put the chip from the iphone on it and im going into apple when I next go blackwater dto see if apple can put it on for me cheers anyway if any other solutions email me at

30. vincelongman

Posts: 5691; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

Ok, sweet as, I'll keep you posted if I find a way to get iOS 7 on the iPod 4

4. HASHTAG unregistered

Do you think we're retarded, PhoneArena? Jk

12. tech2

Posts: 3487; Member since: Oct 26, 2012

best post of the day +1

5. papss unregistered

This is a tech site right? If we can't figure out how to backup and install an update on an apple product we may be on the wrong site.

7. Mxyzptlk unregistered

Not everyone is expertly familiar with running a smartphone.

8. jeff_1

Posts: 105; Member since: Aug 30, 2013

another article about ios7,,i bet most bloggers here in phonearena uses iphone.. too many articles theme..

9. Ninetysix

Posts: 2964; Member since: Oct 08, 2012

Art though irate brethren?

10. good2great

Posts: 1042; Member since: Feb 22, 2012

lmfao 96... you're a fool man... too funny.

13. jamesish

Posts: 13; Member since: Sep 15, 2013

IOS7me lulz

15. nothingmuch

Posts: 201; Member since: May 03, 2013

PA did it right here by laying out details on how to properly perform this action for the iphones, thankx PA Me coming from a service tech at DTV , had to literally write down simple actions to take just for customers to turn on the tv, change inputs, how to work there own home stereo, etc. (I wish I was lying). But to put it bluntly, people are dumb and there are only a handful (compared to total population) that does the research to learn all they can on what they own. A ratio of 50:1 Oh, and for the ppl here that piss on PA for this article just dont realize, you literally have no idea of how many iphone customers are probable calling Apple's customer support right now for this very article's subject.

16. Shatter

Posts: 2036; Member since: May 29, 2013

Don't see how people at service centers can deal with these people all day who can't use the internet to figure it out.

17. chiru

Posts: 1; Member since: Sep 18, 2013

how to backup pics from ipad to itunes..or any other way

18. imkyle

Posts: 1115; Member since: Nov 18, 2010

too bad my 4th generation iPod touch will not see this. Looks pretty sweet.

19. Legnaldo

Posts: 63; Member since: Oct 17, 2011

So the "easiest" and most "intuitive" phone, which at some point would even tell you that you had an update, needs a tutorial on how to do said update?

20. Shatter

Posts: 2036; Member since: May 29, 2013

According to polls Android is easier/more intuitive than IOS.

22. Legnaldo

Posts: 63; Member since: Oct 17, 2011

I know thats why I "quoted" it. I was being facetious, not serious. Thats usually peoples argument for having an iPhone.

21. teckem

Posts: 15; Member since: Nov 20, 2012

What if I'm on Beta 5, can I jump to the final relesae using Itunes ?, or should I downgrade to 6.1.3 and then upgrade to 7 ?

23. drscranton

Posts: 1; Member since: Sep 18, 2013

I just downloaded IOS 7 on my iPhone 5. it's a step backwards for the calendar interface. It's pathetic, actually. What was a good interface is now hard to see, poorly designed, and worse than an android phone. The next disappointment is in the e-mail notifications. What was an easy to see blue dot that would tell you what e-mails were new is now a hard to read greyed-out number on the right side of the screen. Next is the way the icons now appear, which is an insult to the retina display. I'm still looking for the good stuff. Apple blew with this one. I sure miss Steve Jobs.

28. Shinydesert

Posts: 62; Member since: Nov 17, 2011

The color of some menus is way too light,I like the update a lot,but makes my Mini a bit choppy and not as responsive as before.I will reset everything over the weekend and see what happens.

31. ruman97

Posts: 1; Member since: Sep 23, 2013

I've installed the IOS 7 on my IPOD TOUCH 5G but I'm still missing the compas.can someone tell me why? Please? And if u save a panaroma picture on the lock screen or the home page, it doesn't move around..can someone tell me y this is happening??

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

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