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9 Tips to Troubleshoot an iPad That Won't Update [Easy, Efficient]

Blake Sullivan Updated on Jun 23, 2022 4:12 PM

With the new iPad's operating system updates wheeling out constantly from Apple, users can harvest stable processor and supplemented features that doesn't come in the box directly from Settings menu. But that doesn't mean it's problem-free. There're still a tonne of "iPad won't Update" issues abashing users: inability to update the iOS or iPadOS to the latest version, failure on installing the software update downloaded, and not updating software errors.

To fix up an iPad that doesn't update software, we've researched everything under the sun and summed up several tricks to address the update process going haywire on any iPad models with iOS 10, 11, 12, 13 or iPadOS 13, or newer. This guided walk-through is the result of that effort.

Fix an iPad That Won't Update Software

The reasons of the issue can be traced to incompatible firmware version, inadequate storage space, draining out battery power, weak Wi-Fi signal and out-of-date function on obsolete models. Besides solving the common iPad not updating problems, we'll also spell out the fixes on some update failed messages.

Way 1: Check compatibility

Apparently, your iPad won't update if it doesn't support the software version. Hence, it's a necessity to verify if the iOS or iPadOS update released newly is compatible with your current iPad models before upgrading. You can head over the Apple's update compatibility page to do a direct search.

Way 2: Spare enough space

More often than not, the lack internal storage will automatically kick you off from the update download process over the air. You can check the left space on iPad by going to Settings > General > iPad Storage. Usually, at least 5 GBs of internal free data storage space is required for the installation and nominal performance of software firmware. If there's no enough space, go with these ways to fix iPad won't update problem:

  • Update your device with iTunes or Finder. (Go to method 6)
  • Delete content from your device after making backups then attempt again.
  • Manage storage space with recommendations in a device running iOS 11 or later and iPadOS.

Way 3: Make sure your device is fully charged

Abundant battery power is the basis for proceeding with the long-lasting update process. Your iPad won't let you update the OS software if its battery is under 50% or almost running out. For that, just keep the device plugged into its official charger until it's fully charged. Then go back to download the update again.

Way 4: Keep a stable Wi-Fi connection

Aside from enough space and battery power, maintaining an active and stable Wi-Fi connection is also a crucial step in building smooth wireless OS updating. To eliminate the possibility of slow Wi-Fi network that stops iPad from updating to the latest OS version, restart both the Wi-Fi router and your device first. Then reconnect the Wi-Fi and try updating your device once more.

iPad gets corrupted and stuck on update installing process? Force it to reboot.

  • iPad with Home button: Press and hold both the Home button and the Power button until you see the Apple logo appears.
  • iPad with Face ID: Press and instantly release the Volume Up button. Press and instantly release the Volume Down button. Then press and hold the Power button until the device restarts.

Way 5: Try your hand at using a robust tool

If iPad OS software update failed both with computers or over the air, there's another trick: utilize iOS System Recovery program to manage the update process on your behalf. This way offers you with twofold system enhancement. Not only it can automate flashing the corresponding up-to-date version of iOS or iPadOS firmware into your current iPad models, it'll also conduct in-depth scanning to pinpoint other underlying bugs and glitches and wipe them out for general system health maintenance.

Plus, its capabilities on correcting iDevice system issues, recovering lost data and backing up and restoring data are also in the front rank.

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Video tutorial: What do you do if your iPad won't update.

Now, download the utility and install it on your computer. Then it's matter of clicking few buttons to fix software update issues on iPad.

Step 1: Connect device to computer

First and foremost, run the tool and hook up your iPad to the computer with a lightning-to-USB cable.

Then, hover your mouse cursor to the More tools section and click it. Soon, you'll get a window showing three tabs as illustrated below. Click iOS System Recovery to proceed.

Can't Upgrade to the Latest Version of iOS on iPad

Step 2: Check "Standard Mode"

An introduction window will appear explaining its function of iOS System Recovery software. Scan through the list and hit Start button.

Thereafter, press the green Fix button. Then in the next window that opens, you'll find two repair types. To update your device with all data staying safe, stand with Standard Mode and Click Confirm button to apply the mode.

How to Update an iPad That Won't Update

Step 3: Download firmware package

Now, it'll direct you to a window listing all OS versions of software update. Highlight the latest one for your device, specify a firmware path to your liking and click Next button if you're pleased.

Step 4: Fix an iPad that can't update software

After completing the firmware downloading task, press the Fix button. Then it'll show you the real-time procedure status and process bar on the screen. When all it's done, your device will reboot and is running with the latest iPadOS software.

Related Article: How to Unfreeze an iPhone Easily: Frozen/ Unresponsive Screen, Apps, etc.

Way 6: Update your device with iTunes or Finder

This is a painless way to fix iPad not installing the latest iOS & iPadOS software problem with unavailable update in Settings, no access to Wi-Fi connection or shortage of internal space. Make sure the iTunes or Finder in your computer is running the up-to-date operating system, then dive into the below quick wizard.

1. Attach your iPad into your computer.

2. Select your device.

  • In iTunes: Click device button near the top left of the screen, then click Summary.
  • In Finder: Click your device from the sidebar, then choose General at the top of the window.

3. Click Check for Update.

4. To install the update, choose Download and Update.

Way 7: Fix iPad software update failed error

Though over-the-air update support does make it plain to install OS firmware, errors still will crop up unexpectedly. Two common ones are "Unable to Check for Update" and "Unable to Verify Update".

Tapping Try Again or Retry could be your first solution. If problems sustain, change another stable wireless network and then retry. Has the update downloaded on iPad but you can't install? Try deleting the downloaded iOS software and start all over again.

  • Head to Settings > General > iPad Storage.
  • Search for the update in the list of apps.
  • Tap the update, then choose Delete Update.
  • Re-download the latest update by going to Settings > General > Software Update or using computer.

Way 8: Return your device back to factory settings

Nothing changed on the failure for updating iPad to the new software version? Put your last hope into factory resetting your device and then restore it from backups you've made. Here're the detailed guidance to get you through the process conveniently.

  • Tap Settings > General > Erase All Content and Settings.
  • Tap Erase Now. If you've not backed up your device, choose Backup Then Erase instead.
  • Enter the passcode to confirm.

When it's complete, it will display the initial setup screen, where you can follow the on-screen instructions to restore your device from backups on iCloud or computers.

Get help from this dedicated post if you need to switch from OS beta version back to latest publicly-released version.

Way 9: Why old iPad will not update

The obsolete models like iPad 2, 3, 1st generation iPad Mini models, etc. are all ineligible and excluded from upgrading lists, as Apple deems that they're not shipped with enough internal RAM or powerful processor to run the barebones features embedded in the latest updates. Though, your iPad will still function as it always has and receive the same level of app updates relevant to your current software version. If you really long for the new high-end feature, consider trade in your old iPad for a new one.

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