Each year Apple releases a new version of its iPhone software, called iOS. This year we’re up to iOS 17 and it’s almost time for the official public release.
There are plenty of new features you’ll find useful, and most are coming even to older phones and aren’t restricted just to newer ones with the right hardware.
As ever, the update is free, and it’s easier than ever to get it.
So, without further ado, here’s how to get it and if your phone is compatible. To find out more about what’s in the update, read our guide to iOS 17.
When is the iOS 17 release date?
Expected: Week beginning 18 September
Apple is holding an event to launch the new iPhones on 12 September. While we don’t know the exact date iOS 17 will be released to the public, it’s typically around a week after the event. This means it’ll be some time between 18 and 22 September.
Can my iPhone run iOS 17?
The list is long, but this year the iPhone X, 8 and 8 Plus drop off the list and will remain on iOS 16.
Here is every eligible model. The iPhone 15 range will come with iOS 17 pre-installed, so there’s no need to update if you’re buying one of the new phones at launch.
iPhone 14 Pro Max
iPhone 14 Pro
iPhone 14 Plus
iPhone 13 Pro Max
iPhone 13 Pro
iPhone 13 mini
iPhone 12 Pro Max
iPhone 12 Pro
iPhone 12 mini
iPhone 11 Pro Max
iPhone 11 Pro
2020 iPhone SE
iPhone XS Max
How do I update to iOS 17?
Simply open Settings, tap General, then Software Update.
If you have Automatic Updates enabled, a check is made to see if there’s a new version available and you should then see iOS 17 appear, with an option to Download and Install.
Simply tap that, agree to the Ts & Cs and the update will be first requested, then downloaded. The amount of time it takes will depend upon the speed of your internet connection, but it can also take longer on the first day or two due to the sheer number of people downloading it from Apple’s servers.
Once downloaded, the button should change to Install Now. The update file will be checked and, if everything is ok, it will be installed.
During the update process, your iPhone or iPad will reboot and once you’ve tapped in your passcode you’ll be able to try out the new features.
Should I install iOS 17?
If you have one of the oldest supported devices, it’s worth holding back for a week or two just to see what other owners say about performance. Some iOS updates improve performance, but generally speaking, updates demand more from iPhone hardware and – in the past – some have regretted upgrading as the new software caused problems and made their device less responsive.
It’s not easy to downgrade to an earlier version of iOS, so caution is advised.
Before you update, it’s well worth making a backup of your iPhone – or iPad – using iCloud or iTunes. The risk of something going wrong is very small but, as ever, you should back up anything you can’t afford to lose, such as photos and videos from your camera roll.
Those should be backed up as a matter of course, in case your phone is stolen or damaged, but that’s just common sense!