How to Update Your iPhone or iPad to iOS 9

iOS 9 IconApple released the iOS 9 software for their mobile devices on 09 September 2015. It contains many new features and performance improvements from iOS 8. Many of these features will be discussed in future articles, but for now, we will focus on how to upgrade your device to iOS 9.

The iOS 9 software is available from Apple as a free download for the iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPad 2, iPad third and fourth generation, iPad Air, iPad mini, and the iPod touch fifth generation. The iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus are delivered with iOS 9 preinstalled from the factory.

When upgrading the iOS, you can choose to upgrade directly on your device or you can upgrade the iOS using iTunes on your computer. Most people will upgrade directly on their device. However, if there is limited storage space remaining on your device, you may be better served to upgrade using iTunes.

Before upgrading to iOS 9, it is recommended to backup your device to either iCloud or iTunes on your computer.  This will allow you to recover the information on your device if something goes wrong during the upgrade. This link the Apple website provides more information about backing up your device.


Upgrade to iOS 9 Directly On Your Device

Before starting the upgrade process, you may want to backup your device to iCloud or your computer in case there are any issues with the upgrade. You may also need to connect your device to the charger if it has less than 50% battery charge. This is a typical requirement for most iOS updates to make sure the device does not run out of power during the upgrade. Additionally, you may want to connect the device to a Wi-Fi network to avoid potential data usage charges from your cellular provider for exceeding any cellular data limitations associated with your service plan.

Open the Settings app on your device, select General, then select Software Update. The device will automatically check for available updates.

Software Update Menu


If the icon for the Settings app has a red circle on it with a number inside the circle, this indicates a software update is available for your device.

Update Badge on Settings Icon


If iOS 9 is available for your device, you will see a screen similar to the one below. Select Download and Install to begin the upgrade process.

iOS 9 Install Screen


When the upgrade is complete, follow the on-screen instructions to complete the setup.


Not Enough Storage When Updating

When updating directly on your device, there needs to be enough storage space available to download and install the update. If the “Download and Install” button is grayed out or you see the message “This update requires at least x.x GB of available storage”, there is not enough space available on your device. You have two options to install the update:

  1. Use iTunes to download and install the update
  2. Remove things you no longer need from the device. This can be items such as apps, photos, videos, or movies. These things can be transferred to iTunes and reloaded on the device after the upgrade is complete. This link provides additional information for identifying what is using the most storage space on your iPhone or iPad.


Update Your Device Using iTunes on the Computer

To update your device using iTunes on a computer, the device needs to be connected to your computer using the USB cable that came with your device.

If you already have iTunes installed on your computer, make sure it is the latest version of iTunes before upgrading to iOS 9. You can verify the version by opening iTunes and checking for updates as follows:

  • Windows: From the menu bar in iTunes, choose Help > Check for Updates
  • Mac: Choose iTunes > Check for Updates.

If you do not have iTunes installed on your computer, you can download it from


Once the latest version of iTunes is installed on your computer, iOS 9 can be installed on your device as follows:

  • Open iTunes on the computer and connect your device using the USB cable
  • Within iTunes, select your device under the Devices menu
  • Select the “Check for Update” button in the top pane of the window
  • If an update is available, iTunes will prompt you to download and install the update
  • Do not disconnect your device until the update is complete.