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How to update your cell phone

Tuesday Tip: How to Update Your Cell Phone

To get the most out of your phone or tablet, you should periodically update its operating system. New versions of the OS offer new features, fix bugs and ensure that your device runs smoothly and efficiently. It’s easy to do. And it’s free.

However, you should consider waiting a short while before you download a new OS, because occasionally it will be accompanied by glitches that the OS maker (Apple or Android) will subsequently fix. A new OS may come with a range of issues. It may take hours to download. It might freeze your device. So think about waiting while the kinks get corrected.

Before you update any device, it’s a good idea to backup all your data in case something goes wrong.

Also, make sure your battery is charged before you start or plug your device in while you’re updating. And make sure to download updates while you’re connected to Wi-Fi, because updates are usually quite large.

Updating your Android device

Your device will alert you when there is an update available. It should appear at the top of your screen in the notification bar. In that case, simply pull down the bar and tap the alert.

If you don’t get a notification or if you think you might have missed it, go to:

  1. Settings
  2. and scroll down to About (or About phone, About device or About tablet, depending on what device you’re using—Android interfaces vary)
  3. If you don’t see About device (or some variation) tap System. On some Android devices, you’ll see a System updates option in the main Settings menu below About device. If you do see it, tap that instead.
  4. System updates. (Or Software updates or Download updates manually.)
  5. Check for update. (Again, the phrasing here may vary, depending on your device.)
  6. If you’re asked to confirm, tap OK and your device will check for updates. This may take a short while.
  7. If an update is available, tap Download or Yes and the update will download to your device.
  8. Tap Install once the update has downloaded.

Your device will restart and begin the update process. It usually takes around 30 minutes to complete.

Updating your Apple device

If you get a notification that an iOS update is available for your iPhone or iPad:

  1. tap Install Now. Or tap Settings
  2. then tap General
  3. then Software Update
  4. Tap Download and Install.
    1. If a message asks you to temporarily remove apps because more space is needed for the update, tap Continue or Cancel. Later, iOS will reinstall apps that it removed. If you do tap Cancel, you’ll have to make space manually by removing apps and/or photos and videos.
      1. (To remove apps and/or photos and videos manually, tap Settings, then General, then Storage & iCloud Usage, then Manage Storage. Select any app to see how much space it takes up and tap Delete App to remove it. Then install the iOS update again: tap Settings, then General, then Software Update.)
  5. To update now, tap Install.
    1. Or you can tap Later and choose Install Tonight or Remind Me Later. If you choose Install Tonight, just plug in your device before you go to sleep and it will update automatically overnight.
  6. If you’re asked, enter your passcode. Tap Agree to the Terms & Conditions. Tap Agree again to confirm.

Updating manually using iTunes

You can also update your device manually using iTunes. (If your computer is using Personal Hotspot on the iOS device that you’re updating, connect your computer to a different Wi-Fi or Ethernet network before you update.)

  1. First, make sure you have the latest version of iTunes on your computer.
  2. Then connect your device to your computer
  3. Open iTunes and select your device
  4. Click Summary
  5. Then Check for Update
  6. Click Download and Update.
  7. Tap Agree to the Terms & Conditions.
    1. If asked, enter your passcode.

You can also read Apple’s excellent support instructions here.