How to Download Apple’s New iOS 16 Right Now

ByLance T. Lee

Sep 14, 2022

It’s that time of year again! Apple has officially released iOS 16, a massive update to its iPhone operating system. This latest release offers some great and exciting new features, including a fully customizable lock screen complete with widgets plus shared iCloud photo libraries for families, live text in videos, the ability to edit and unsend iMessagesand much more.

Although Apple has offered iOS 16 in public beta for the past few months, what’s available now is the official release, meaning you can jump right in without fear of pre-release bugs, battery life issues battery or other issues. Of course, there are still some things you’ll want to be aware of before updating to iOS 16, so read on for more.

Unfortunately, while the last major iOS updates were compatible with all the same iPhone models as the previous version, iOS 16 drops a few older models from the list this year. You can find the full list of which iPhones are compatible with iOS 16 herebut in short, you will need an iPhone released in 2018 or later to install iOS 16. That means an iPhone 8, iPhone Xor a newer model.

Jesse Hollington / Digital Trends

Back up your iPhone

It’s rare, but sometimes you can run into issues even when updating to a version of iOS, so it’s always a good idea to have a current backup of your iPhone before you start.

If you’ve turned on automatic iCloud backups, chances are you already have a reasonably current backup, but here’s how to check to make sure.

Step 1: Open the Settings app on your iPhone.

2nd step: Select iCloud.

Step 3: Select iCloud Backup.

iCloud Backup Status screen showing the time of the last successful backup.

Jesse Hollington / Digital Trends

Step 4: Note the “Last Successful Backup” time below Back up now.

If it’s recent enough, then you’re good to go. If you want to make a more recent backup, tap Back up now to update your save.

If you’re using a 5G-enabled iPhone and your carrier allows it, you might be able to update your iCloud backup over a cellular data connection. However, we strongly recommend backing up to a Wi-Fi network unless you have an unlimited data plan.

We also recommend that you make an additional backup on your Mac or PC in case you decide to downgrade to iOS 15 for any reason. You cannot restore a backup made from a newer version of iOS to an iPhone running an older version, and iOS will automatically back up your iPhone to iCloud in the background every 24 hours. Only the three most recent iCloud backups are kept, so it won’t take long for your iOS 15 backups to be taken out of rotation. Backing up on your computer will ensure you have a backup to fall back on in case you want to go back.

You can find detailed instructions on how to do this in our article on how to backup your iphone.

Three iPhones showing iOS 16 beta installation steps.

Jesse Hollington / Digital Trends

Install iOS 16

Once you’ve backed up your iPhone, you’re ready to take the plunge and install iOS 16.

Step 1: Open your iPhone Settings app.

2nd step: Select General.

Step 3: Picking out Software update. After a few seconds, the iOS 16 update should appear.

Step 4: Select Download and install to start the process.

It may take a few minutes to an hour or more to download iOS 16, get it ready, and install it on your iPhone. If Apple’s servers are particularly busy, as they tend to be right after a major iOS release, you may also see “Update Requested” for a while before the iOS 16 download begins. This message indicates that you are in the queue for the next available download slot.

In either case, there is no need to sit and wait; you can close the Settings app and go back to using your iPhone normally. Your iPhone will tell you when iOS 16 has finished downloading and is ready to install. When prompted, you can install it immediately or schedule the update for the wee hours of the morning when you’ll probably be asleep.

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