Ever wondered how to update your iPhone without Wi-Fi? As a long-time iOS user, I’ve asked myself the same question. It’s just not always possible to connect your device to high-speed Wi-Fi. Or maybe you just want to put your cellular data to good use by updating your phone.
According to Apple, OS updates require a Wi-Fi connection to prevent stability and reliability issues. If this isn’t possible for you and you must update your iPhone, read this article to learn some cool tricks to bypass this Apple policy.
How To Update iPhone Without Wi-Fi?
Here are some of the advanced yet easy ways to update your iPhone without connecting it to a Wi-Fi network. I tested these on my iPhone 14 running on iOS 17 and all of them worked just fine. I’ve also attached screenshots below for each different method so you can follow along.
Solution 1: Update iPhone Using Cellular Data (5G)
A 5G cellular network is the fastest possible wireless internet you can get. It offers up to 10 Gbps download speed. Also, it has minimal ping values that make it highly reliable for major iOS updates. Here’s how you can use 5G to update your device with ease:
- Swipe down from the top right corner of your iPhone to access Control Center.
- Tap the antenna icon above the Bluetooth icon to activate 5G cellular internet.
- Now, go to the iOS Settings and access the General window.
- There, tap Software Update.
- Tap Update Now, if there are any pending iOS updates.
- Your iPhone will show the Update Requested message.
- Then, in a few seconds, you should see the downloading status bar.
Finally, wait for the iOS update to download and install.
Solution 2: Update iPhone Using 4G/LTE
Though iOS updates work just fine when you’re using 5G cellular internet, it won’t work if you try it under 4G/LTE or an older cellular network. However, there’s a secret trick I’ll share with you. Here are the steps:
- Access the iPhone Control Center tool.
- Activate your 4G/LTE mobile internet by tapping the mobile antenna icon just above Bluetooth.
- Then, go to Settings > General > Date & Time window.
- Slide the Set Automatically button to the left to disable this feature.
- Manually set the date of the device exactly one month ahead of the current date.
- For example, if it’s October 14, change the date to November 13.
- Now, go to the Software Update window through Settings > General.
- If there are any pending updates for your iPhone, you should see Download Now or Download & Install.
- Tap on that and the update should happen as usual.
Solution 3: Update Your iPhone Using the Finder App
Imagine this: you’re unable to connect to high-speed Wi-Fi to update your iPhone but you have a Mac connected to broadband internet. In that case, you can use the Finder app. Just follow these instructions:
- Connect your iPhone to the Mac with an appropriate USB cable.
- If prompted by a Mac or iPhone or both, Trust/ Authorize the devices.
- Now, launch the Finder app on your Mac.
- Find the Locations section in the left-side navigation pane of the Finder app.
- There you should see your iPhone’s name or model details.
- Click on it.
- On the iPhone window look for the Check for Update button below the Software section.
- Click Check for Update.
- If there are any pending updates for your iPhone, you’ll see the Download and Update dialog box.
- Click Download and Update.
- Wait for the Finder app to download and install the latest updates.
Updating your iPhone will always require a working internet connection. As in this method, you must connect your Mac to a high-speed internet network to download the required files.
Solution 4: Update Your iPhone Using IPSW Downloads (Unofficial)
IPSW is the iOS file format for installing an operating system on iPhones. Apple hosts these files on its servers but they aren’t public. However, you can access them via the IPSW Downloads website. However, keep in mind it isn’t an Apple-owned website nor does it encourage iPhone owners to update their devices this way.
So, here’s the magic:
First, you’ll download the latest IPSW file for your iPhone from this website. Then, apply the update using a Mac and the Finder app or Windows PC and the iTunes app. I myself tried this without any problem.
However, if you’re willing to go down this route, do it only after trying out the previous steps. Here’s how:
- Visit the IPSW Downloads website.
- Click on the iPhone icon.
- Choose your iPhone model from the list of iPhones.
- On the Choose an IPSW for the iPhone 14 page, click the IPSWs tab.
- Now click on the latest file just below the Signed IPSWs section.
- Click the Download button to get the software.
Then, go to the Downloads folder of your Mac or Windows PC to ensure you’ve got the full file by matching the file volume with the IPSW repository. Now, here’s how to apply this iOS software update to your iPhone:
- Using a Lightning or USB-C cable, connect the iPhone to your Mac.
- Click the Go button on the Mac Menubar.
- On the context menu that opens, choose Computer.
- Click on the iPhone option in the left-side navigation pane.
- The iPhone window on Mac will pop up.
- Press the Option key on your Mac and then click the Update button on the Finder app.
- You’ll see a file selection window.
- Go to the Downloads folder and select the IPSW file you just downloaded.
- Follow the on-screen instructions to install the latest iOS software to your iPhone.
If you need to do the above on a Windows PC, use the iTunes app. The steps are similar. Press the Shift + Update button to get the file selection window on a Windows system.
So, now you know how to update your iPhone without Wi-Fi! This skill saves the day when you’re traveling or experiencing connectivity issues. In such scenarios, follow the methods mentioned above to update your device. Also, don’t forget to comment below and share which method you liked the most!