How to Upgrade Your iPhone or iPad to iOS 7

iOS 7 LogoWith Apple’s latest release of iOS 7, you may be asking what this is all about and if it is something you should consider. It helps to first understand what iOS is and what it does.

Similar to a computer, the iPhone and iPad run software to accomplish certain tasks. Software programs such as Mail, Safari, and Maps are called apps, and are designed to perform specific functions. Software is also used to create the user interface and manage the basic functionality of the device. This software is called the operating system. The operating system for a computer may be Mac OS X or Windows. For the iPhone and iPad, it is called iOS.

The iOS 7 software is a significant update to iOS 6. It has a redesigned user interface and hundreds of new features. Many of these features will be discussed in future articles, but for now, we will focus on how to upgrade your device to iOS 7.

The iOS 7 software is available from Apple as a free download for the iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPad 2, iPad third and fourth generation, iPad mini, and the iPod touch fifth generation.


Update to iOS 7 Directly From 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 limitations from your cell phone provider.


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

Software Update


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


If iOS 7 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 7 Install


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


Update Your Device Using iTunes on the Computer

You have the option to update your device by connecting it to iTunes on a computer. Some of the older iOS versions were not capable of being updated directly on the device. The device needed to be connected to iTunes to perform an upgrade.


Make sure you are using the latest version of iTunes. When iOS 7 was initially released, iTunes version 11.1 was also released to support the new features.

  • 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.


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:

  • Use iTunes to download and install the update,
  • 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.