How To Fix An iPhone Stuck On Preparing To Update

Few things are more frustrating than trying to download the latest version of iOS, only to see your device get stuck on "Preparing to Update." Minutes turn into hours and your iPhone steadfastly refuses to budge. Fortunately, it's relatively easy to fix the problem. An issue with an update can happen for any number of reasons and, unfortunately, Apple doesn't provide much detailed information on a definitive cause. Despite their simplicity for the user, iPhones are incredibly complex devices that can experience any number of failures.

One common issue with an update is a failed, or unusably slow, Wi-Fi connection. An iPhone needs an internet connection throughout the process, both to download and to verify the update once it is downloaded. As a result, the simplest step is to make sure your Wi-Fi connection is stable. Apple recommends limiting your internet activity while the iPhone is updating to relieve any strain on your network connection. If the problem still persists, try switching to a different network to perform the update.

Alternatively, sometimes what appears to be a stalled update is just a case of the phone needing more time to complete the task. Some iOS updates are a couple of gigabytes in size. Even after the update is completed, your phone needs to unpack and verify. It then needs to make sure there's enough available space, get rid of unnecessary data, and do general housecleaning. This process can take a significant amount of time, especially on older devices.

Deleting An Update And Starting Over

If a more serious problem occurs — such as a corrupted download, not enough available space to install the update, or an error trying to verify the update — further action may be required. Specifically, you may need to delete the downloaded file and start over. To do so, open the Settings app. Then, select "General" and tap "iPhone Storage." In the list of apps and data on your phone, look for the update you just downloaded. This could be listed as "Software Update," or it could be the name of the specific update you were trying to download, such as "iOS 15.2." Tap on the update and select "Delete Update." You will be asked to confirm that you want to delete the update.

From there, restart the update. To make this entire process faster, Apple notes that a connected Apple computer can be used to make the update on your iOS device. There's no guarantee any update will go smoothly. In fact, it's usually a good idea to wait a few days after a major update to see if other people report issues migrating to the latest version. Then, try it for yourself. If you do run into problems, the above steps should get you back on track.