How to Cancel an Over-the-Air iOS Update in Progress

Discussion in 'Guides, How Tos and Reviews' started by MacRumors, Jan 20, 2019.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    When an over-the-air iOS update starts downloading on your iPhone or iPad, you can monitor its progress in the Settings app via General -> Software Update.


    The lack of a cancel option on this screen seems to imply that there's no way to prevent a software update from downloading once it's started, but don't be fooled. You can stop the update process in its tracks at any time and even delete the downloaded data from your device to free up space. Here's how.

    First, you'll want to pause the download by temporarily disconnecting your iPhone or iPad from your Wi-Fi network. The easiest way to do this is by enabling Airplane mode: swipe down from the upper right of your device's screen (on iPhone 8 or earlier, swipe up from the bottom of the screen) and tap the Airplane button in the top left of the Control Center grid.

    Now that's done, follow these steps.
    1. Launch the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad.
    2. Tap General.
    3. Tap iPhone Storage.

      Locate and tap the iOS software update in the app list.
      Tap Delete Update and confirm the action by tapping it again in the pop-up pane.
    How to Turn off Automatic Updates

    As some of our readers have pointed out, there's currently no option in Settings to prevent iOS software updates from re-downloading the next time your device is connected to Wi-Fi. What you can do though is prevent an update from automatically installing once it has downloaded: To so, simply launch the Settings app, tap Software Update, and toggle off the switch next to Automatic Updates.

    Article Link: How to Cancel an Over-the-Air iOS Update in Progress
  2. iOSUser7 macrumors 6502a


    Jun 23, 2014
    About the last part, I believe that’s not how it works. Disabling the option in the iTunes & App Store settings only works for applications updates not iOS system updates.

    To prevent iOS from automatically downloading system updates, you need to go to General, Software Update and then disable Automatic Software Update here. This option is only available on iOS 12 though so if you are on a lower version your only option is to install a tvOS profile (or watchOS) to prevent the device from searching for updates.
  3. timmyh Contributing Editor


    Mar 18, 2016
    Liverpool, UK
    You're right, thanks for the tip. I've corrected that bit. I’m sure this setting used to work though?
  4. AnonMac50 macrumors 65816

    Mar 24, 2010
    Mine is switched off, but I hope it stops downloading the update and bugging me about it. Sometimes I can’t update for the time being and it downloading the update every day even when I delete it every day.
  5. JosephAW macrumors 68020


    May 14, 2012
    On older iOS version you can't clear the badge number on the settings icon.:mad:

    And another nuisance is it downloads iOS updates when I'm using my cellular hotspot device wasting data and costing me money. No way to disable wifi internet for apps like you can do with cellular settings.
  6. jecowa macrumors regular

    Mar 15, 2006
    That's great that the latest iOS has an opt-out feature. It's dumb having to change profiles, turn off wifi, or keep the storage maxed out to prevent giant files that I don't want from downloading without my consent.
  7. Grendelmon macrumors newbie


    Dec 5, 2011
    Midwest, USA
    You cannot disable iOS update downloads. The Automatic Updates only applies to iTunes and App Store purchases.

    Apple dictates when and how they try to push an iOS update to your device. I have complained to them many times regarding this matter. This is EXACTLY why they love to brag about their adoption rate.
  8. now i see it macrumors 68040

    Jan 2, 2002
    Automatic updates is different than automatic downloads. iOS 12 now has the feature (if you want to call it that) of actually updating the OS automatically without any user intervention. Older versions can't do this.
  9. Aston441 macrumors 65816

    Sep 16, 2014
    Definitely wanna turn off auto updates for everything these days.

    I lose functionality more often than I gain it, in apps, as well as OSes.

    I'm not sure why this is happening, but it is.
  10. randyhudson macrumors 6502

    Oct 28, 2007
    East Coast
    iOS updates will always download automatically. It doesn’t matter what the setting is. The setting only affects whether the update is installed after being downloaded
  11. cuencap macrumors regular

    Dec 12, 2011
    I love these how-to articles sprinkled into MR’s feed. Also like how it inspires conversation around said topic and related questions.
  12. MauiPa, Jan 20, 2019
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 21, 2019

    MauiPa macrumors 6502

    Apr 18, 2018

    Then turn it off, dah? General, software updates, Automatic Updates = off
    --- Post Merged, Jan 20, 2019 ---
    not true. turn software updates off
    --- Post Merged, Jan 20, 2019 ---
    General, software updates, Automatic Updates = off. My daughter was a whiner and complainer about this also, so I turned it off for her. Done!
  13. simonmet macrumors 68020


    Sep 9, 2012
    I’ve not noticed unsolicited iOS update downloads recently, but my storage is nearly maxed out at 252.2 of 256 GB, so maybe that’s why.

    I feel like once upon a time Apple didn’t, or didn’t have to, pull these unsavoury tricks—that was Microsoft’s domain. The nag-ifications on macOS are even worse. Is there any way to stop those?
  14. scuac macrumors member


    Mar 2, 2008
    This is a mixed feelings subject, on the one hand the information is useful and it is understandable that updates sometimes trigger at inopportune times. On the other hand, this information can be misused to disable updates entirely which can have negative results in the long run (and some people may disable then inadvertently). There should be a caveat somewhere in the article to encourage user to get updates done once they are back home or something like that.
  15. MauiPa macrumors 6502

    Apr 18, 2018
    Except, turn it off. General, software updates, Automatic Updates = off, you really don't think you are heading for trouble with no free space on your device? And Apple does not Microsoft you. There have been a few security updates, but not even in the same league as MS, issuing about 5 a day
    --- Post Merged, Jan 20, 2019 ---
    Maybe, but auto updates don't occur unless you on on wifi, plugged in and overnight, despite what some of the posters seemed to say (Now if that is not the way it works, despite the quite clear language that it does n the software update automatic setting description, that is a worthy discussion). You can turn cellular data off for almost all of the apps as well. There will be some minor system updates (but 5.6 MB on mine over many months, nowhere near a full iOS software update). I am not sure how it works with wifi assist turned on, As a rule, mine is always off, because I don't want to use cellular data except for a few apps. It is possible, that they have wifi assist turned on, they are on a weak wifi network and it augments the wifi with cellular data
  16. Westside guy macrumors 603

    Westside guy

    Oct 15, 2003
    The soggy side of the Pacific NW
    Wish I’d done all this on my iPad Mini back when it was running 10.3.3. :cool:
  17. TheIntruder macrumors 6502a


    Jul 2, 2008

    My two-week old phone came with 12.1.1 and I've had to delete the potentially troublesome 12.1.2 update (~500MB) at least three times, so the iOS update payloads still download in the background automatically. iOS update settings was one of the first things I double checked after setting up the phone.

    The change iOS 12 brings is that if the user declines the update when the nag dialog appears is that it will take that answer as a "no," and not follow up with the deceptive "affirmative" passcode screen with the "Remind Me Later" option in fine print at the bottom of the screen, as with earlier versions of iOS.
  18. [AUT] Thomas macrumors 6502

    Mar 13, 2016
    Graz [Austria]
    How come no one in the US sued Apple over depleting their mobile HotSpots data allowance so far? Just wondering...
  19. fredrik9, Jan 20, 2019
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 21, 2019

    fredrik9 macrumors regular


    Sep 30, 2018

    Wrong, wrong and wrong. It downloads even with Auto updates off. I know, it has been bugging me about 12.1.2 for weeks now and I have everything disabled. During night, when charging and on Wifi it redownloads the update even though I have deleted it several times.

    Edit: Though I don't think the bubbles are that bad, they mostly just suck because they can appear during games and disrupt everything. But we should have the power to disable downloads in addition to updates.
  20. Tofupunch macrumors regular


    Dec 4, 2014
    I really find the auto download of updates and the constant pop up messages that 'there is a newer version of iOS' to be very annoying. It's almost un-Apple like. It's very disruptive and tiresome- death by a thousand needles. Almost everyday I check my storage in settings to delete the update that has snuck its way back in. I hope Apple addresses this.
  21. timborama, Jan 21, 2019
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 21, 2019

    timborama macrumors 6502a


    Oct 12, 2011
    You couldn’t be more wrong.

    If there ever was a need for a class action suit, this is it. Apple burning through my data without my permission.
  22. Jimmy James macrumors 601

    Jimmy James

    Oct 26, 2008
    It turns off installation. Not downloads. Not done.
  23. Grendelmon macrumors newbie


    Dec 5, 2011
    Midwest, USA
    This does not disable the iOS update downloads, like I previously stated, and despite what you consider "whining."
  24. Bawstun Suspended


    Jun 25, 2009
    How does one go about this? Simply ABSURD that my SE downloads a 1.61gb update each time I’m on WiFi and charging and that you can’t escape it or delete it.

    Worse is if you don’t try to delete it and keep skipping the prompt to install. Eventually Apple decides you must want it and notifies you that now the next time it’s connected to power between 11pm and 5am, that it’s going to install anyway. Crazy stuff
  25. fredrik9 macrumors regular


    Sep 30, 2018

    It shouldn't install without permission, then there's something wrong. However, the downloads are impossible to stop on iOS. The best way to get rid of them is simply to install, something I have always done until this unnecessary 12.1.2 update came along.

    There are workarounds though, like blocking access to the Apple update server on your router. But that's not for everyone.

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24 January 20, 2019