How to download and install the iOS 9 update to your compatible iPhone, iPad or iPod touch

The newest iOS 9 version was just released today, and focuses more on performance than a snazzy new interface, just like with the OS X El Capitan edition. What iOS 9 predominantly stands for, is not as much the new features, though there are plenty of those still, but rather speed, optimization and stability this time. Let's not forget that Apple made major changes to iOS two editions ago, completely redrawing the interface, and then adding features galore in iOS 8. 

Apple has now addressed the stability, bugs, and performance concerns with a huge under-the-hood optimization overhaul for iOS 9. That's not to say there isn't a bunch of new features to enjoy, such as split-screen view and multitasking for Apple's tablets, Apple Pay and the News aggregator app for phones, and many more - we've rounded up all the major ones in the slideshow below, for your viewing pleasure. 

These are arriving for Apple iPhone 4s - iPhone 6s, your iPad 2 - iPad Pro, and all generations of the iPad mini, well as your iPod touch 5th and 6th generation media players. Here's what you need to do to download and install iOS 9 on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch:

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 slider 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:

  1. Plug your iOS device into your primary computer via the provided cable.
  2. Open iTunes.
  3. For the latest iTunes 12.2.2, go to File > Devices > Back up, or: 

        In the iTunes window, click the iOS device button on the right.
        In the Backups section, click Back Up Now under "Manually Back Up and Restore."

  4. Allow the backup to complete. You can monitor the status of the backup operation in the iTunes status screen.

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 9 from whichever version you are running on your device through an over-the-air (OTA) update, or via 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, find their device, and click the "Check for update" button, though you should receive a prompt for upgrade on the fly.

Just click through the Download&Update button, and you will have your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch brought up to iOS 9 in no time.

Finally, we'd advise you somewhat counterintuitively to wait a little bit with the iOS 9 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.



1. bucky

Posts: 3791; Member since: Sep 30, 2009

Looks like a quality update. Looking forward to battery and Siri updates.

2. TechDork

Posts: 404; Member since: May 10, 2010

Hmmm, I may just not update my 6 & just pre-order the 6S & have everything on it & handled, not to mention they've even added a new processor, so that's a nice change as well. Thankfully I'm on that early upgrade thing with Verizon, so I'll only have to pay just around $280 & then my monthly bill will actually drop from $141 to $132. Might not be a lot, but's dropped lol. I'm just waiting to get paid Friday! Woot woot. iPhone 6S HERE WE COME! Not to mention, this would be the first "s" phone I ever got haha. I always just waited for the next flagship. Am I the only one that's really excited to see what they do with the iPhone 7?!

15. discharge unregistered

Finally a smart person!! Preorder one!! I don't see how fools waste a days work and wait in line for hours I preordered mine on the 12th and went perfect I got a 128 gb 6s plus and no line right online and delivered to my doorstep

22. AlikMalix unregistered

I think they're just hanging out with peers for the event, not really for the sake of standing in line. Some are paid to stand in line for advertising or for news reporting on the subject. But I think most are just doing it for fun - it's the same for me - I go out to car meets and see cars I've already seen last month in my town. But it's the interaction with peers that draws me back in. It is a pointless waste of time (as you said) but it's something to do for fun. Apple helps by making a show out of it with salutes and visits by CEO himself. Add some news trucks and cameras to the mix - and this becomes a great event. So, while you're posting photos of your cats on Facebook, these people go out and have fun with likeminded people. Source: people seem to be having a blast at these events.

3. kick413

Posts: 162; Member since: Sep 16, 2012

No trolling* Honestly want to know. Why should I replace my S6 Edge for a 6S?

4. Mxyzptlk unregistered

Speed, clean UI, buttery smooth interface, no TouchWiz.

5. kick413

Posts: 162; Member since: Sep 16, 2012

Lol why does everyone hate touchwiz? I like it, more now that i can theme it. And 1-3 i already have. Thanks but i think i'll stick.

6. Mxyzptlk unregistered

It uses up more resources than it should. It makes the S6 and the Note 5 run like molasses.

11. kick413

Posts: 162; Member since: Sep 16, 2012

I have to disagree. My edge is very smooth.

17. Mxyzptlk unregistered

I have to disagree the S6 is slow.

19. kick413

Posts: 162; Member since: Sep 16, 2012

Have you had an S6 or is this speculation? Cause I've had an iphone6 and the smoothness between the 2 are pretty much the same.

9. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Because they are stupid. TW exists only because it seems OEM are only allowed to change very little of the Android code. Samsung had to make TW because since they don't own Android, that can't code in TouchWiz features at the OS layer, which is why Samsung's own Tizen is better because even tho the UI looks like TW, it isnt and everything is written at the OS level. So Samsung made TW to add all the great features that no other Android phone has, which is why they dont sell either. They hate TouchWiz because Apple told them they should because it belongs to Samsung who Apple hates because Samsung is better than they are.

8. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Speed = One app at a time Clean UI - Boring simplistic piece od crap Buttery smooth = one app at a time, apps coded to use less ram making them near;y featureless, no full multi-tasking. No TouchWiz - Yes and no features either. Just boring point an click UI that we've had since day one of point and click UI's. If you liek the phone, like it. But at least admit to how boring it is, useless it is and how behind it is.

16. Mxyzptlk unregistered

I'll take boring over a laggy resource hogging mess. Multitasking doesn't work when you have very aggressive ram management on the S6 and Note 5.

26. nodes

Posts: 1160; Member since: Mar 06, 2014

4GB of RAM to run ads service in the background. typical Android.

7. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

You shouldnt. The S6 has better cameras, more RAM, most customizations, better design, higher resolution, faster CPU's, default apps, allows sideloading apps and so much more. Buying an iPhone would be a complete downgrade. TouchWiz is what actually makes the Galaxy the best Android phone on the planet. No Android phone is better...PERIOD. That isn't an opinion, that is fact.

12. bucky

Posts: 3791; Member since: Sep 30, 2009

It's purely a matter of preference.

14. discharge unregistered

I agree its preference I use a galaxy note 5 for work and a iPhone for my personal use!! Best of both!! No matter what people use its $$$$$$ and competitive world out there I got my devices and happy the way they perform

18. bucky

Posts: 3791; Member since: Sep 30, 2009

yep. I use a galaxy s5 active for work and an iphone 6 for personal use.

23. darkkjedii

Posts: 31328; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

You shouldn't, just use what you have. You did make that post for attention though, seeing as no one told you to do it.

24. AlikMalix unregistered

It would be stupid to replace your edge of you like it... People buy the 6s instead of edge because they prefer iOS to android. Simple!

10. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

I make 2 backups, one to cloud and one to my PC. I then download the package manually with my PC, not directly to the iPad. I place the iPad in DFU mode and I use iTunes to install the device cleanly.

13. discharge unregistered

Uhh any idiot who uses an iPhone should known this already....stupid topic if not them idiots can go line up at the Apple Store LMAO!!

20. darkkjedii

Posts: 31328; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Hurry up Wednesday, my Air 2 awaits split view, slide over, and picture in picture. It's time for 9.

25. Diezparda

Posts: 941; Member since: Oct 23, 2013

Heeey number 8 & 9 sounds good for those who own 16gb model & small battery capacity is always a problem with many iPhone user (except 6+)

27. dimas

Posts: 3383; Member since: Jul 22, 2014

Reading the article on back uping contacts, files, and apps and I was like "Eh? Can't you just upload everything on your gmail profile then download everything again on your new phone?"

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