How to Update an iPhone Without a Backup

by Kefa Olang

Although Apple recommends creating a backup of your iPhone before installing iOS updates, you can install the latest system updates for your phone without a backup. Backing up your system is not a mandatory prerequisite for installing iOS updates. It merely provides an option to retain previously saved content such as contacts and media files in case your iPhone runs into problems. If you choose not to back up your iPhone, you can update the iOS directly from your phone or through iTunes on a computer.

Using Your iPhone

Step 1

Touch the "Settings" icon on your iPhone's home screen and touch "General" to display the General Settings screen.

Step 2

Touch "Software Update" and wait for your iPhone to check for system updates.

Touch "Download" if an update is available. Wait for the iPhone to download the update. When the process completes, tap the "Install" button. The installation process begins. Your iPhone restarts automatically when the iOS update has been applied.

Using iTunes

Step 1

Download and install the latest version of iTunes if you are using an outdated version.

Step 2

Connect your iPhone to your computer and [launch iTunes]( if it does not launch automatically.

Step 3

Locate your iPhone's icon from the Library view in iTunes by clicking the Devices button in the upper right corner of the screen and selecting it in the drop down menu. Click the "Check for Update" button and wait for iTunes to automatically check for updates.

Click the "Download and Update" button if an update is available for your iPhone's iOS. Wait for the update to download and install and then disconnect your iPhone from your computer.


  • Installing iOS updates directly to your iPhone uses your cellular data allotment unless you connect to a Wi-Fi connection before installing the system updates.


  • This information is specifically for iPhone 5 running iOS 6 and iTunes 11. The instructions may vary slightly or greatly with newer or older iPhones and software versions.


About the Author

Kefa Olang has been writing articles online since April 2009. He has been published in the "Celebration of Young Poets" and has an associate degree in communication and media arts from Dutchess Community College, and a bachelor's degree in broadcasting and mass communication from the State University of New York, Oswego.

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