iOS 4 Update: How To Install on your iPhone / iPod Touch

By Jamie Pert - Jun 21, 2010

If you are not sure how to install iOS4 on your iPhone / iPod Touch you are not alone, plenty of users out there are unsure, therefore we thought we would write a quick how to guide.

To be honest Apple have made the process very simple, firstly you must ensure that you back up all important data beforehand, just in case something goes wrong. Secondly ensure that you have the latest version of iTunes installed, to do this open up iTunes, click Help and then click about, if you see iTunes 9.2 you have the latest version, if not you should install the latest version.

If you have an older version of iTunes installed click Help and then click ‘Check for Updates’, iTunes should then show a message asking you to download the latest version if iTunes, iTunes will then use Apple Software Update to download and install iTunes 9.2.

If you do not have any version of iTunes installed you should check out this link, here you can download iTunes 9.2 for PC or Mac.

Once you have iTunes 9.2 installed simply connect your iPhone to your computer, iTunes should then open (if not open it manually), under devices select your iPhone, in the iPhone summary page you should see a ‘Check for Updates’ button, click this and wait for the update to download and install, do not unplug your iPhone until the process is complete.

If you check out the source link below you can see Apple’s official iOS4 installation instructions.

Source: Apple

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Also See: The iPhone Tracker: Apple are still watching, Consumers Still Unaware

  • jack0carlson

    Need help. I just downloaded the update instead of selecting download and install. However, after the download is complete for the update, I don't see where it goes. How do I update my phone from the file that I downloaded through iTunes. Any help?

  • Rick Shaw

    I wish someone would give a real solution. I look through dozens of forums and there doesn't seem to be a real solution other than wiping the phone clean manually first. Apple should be held accountable. WTF!

  • Mick

    Waited for hours for the update to finish.Then it froze folowed by an error message. Dis connected the iphone and now it wont switch on or sync with i tunes!!

  • Ciara

    omg. this is so freaking aggravating. do you think they can do it faster at the apple store? cuz i have an appointment with them tomorrow morning for something else!

  • Rahuu

    how long is it supposed to take? i have an iphone I tried to update it to ios 4 but when I did it took two hours and it got stuck on 2% each time what do I do?

  • Haggis

    Nancy – great advice, had almost given up on IOS 4. Followed your instructions and bingo!

  • Axel

    same problem… seems Apple is not as good as I always thought…

  • Fairies Wear Boots

    Hah. I did this update on my ipod touch (32gb 3rd gen) & now nothing works at all. Only get connect to itunes message but device does not even register on my computer now so can't do anything with it. Have tried restoring with home & off buttons but makes no difference. Well p*****d off.

  • Babycpink

    Been trying for 3 days solid and am loosing the will to live!! 🙁 Tryiny post from Nancy now… will let you know xxx

  • iPhone-user

    This is so frustrating. My backup has taken about 22 hours so far and its only 3/4 of the way through!! Is this normal? It used to take just minutes. I have invested too much time into this now to cancel it but what happens after the backup stage? Will it take any longer??
    I am using Windows XP, iPhone 3gS 32gb (with less than 2gb of data on it).

    P.S Nancy – Where is this stop button in the backup stage? I don't see one!
    Words cannot describe my annoyance…

  • mark

    same problem – unfeasibly slow backup! now following the steps the first person used to sort it successfully and then will try second persons so much for apple sorting it-thanks guys wish em luck!! Ive been trying to update all week every evening after work- isnt this meant to be easy?!!!

  • frustrated

    iTunes is the worst piece of s*** software I've ever used in my whole life!! feeling like shoving my iphone into mr. job's ass but have spent way too much money on this junk!

  • Nancy

    OK, got it working. Here's what you do: after the download, a backup starts (and hangs). Stop the backup (takes a few minutes), then go into iTunes, right-click on your iPhone in the device list, and do a manual backup. Mine took about 3 minues. Then, do a "restore to factory settings". It will ask do you really want to do this, say "yes" — you get the chance to reload your backup later on. It took about 20 minutes on my iPhone to do the restore, and it does load 4.0! Then, it asks if you want to set up a new iPhone or restore from backup. Check "restore from backup", select your last backup from the list, and hit "continue". It will take about 15 minutes to do the restore, then a sync will start, reload all your apps and data, and you are good to go!

    • Tim

      I did this but lost all my apps when I restored. Contacts, texts etc were there but all apps were gone.

      • Guest

        Tim…they are there!! You just have to get them seperately at times. My kids forgot their passwords two or three times when they first got their ipods and I had to go through this. So, this is not my first go round on the backing up and restoring. Simply my first shot at the upgrading. Anyway, There is a completely seperate tab for your apps in itunes. You may unknowingly have your account set up to not "automatically" add back your apps whcih would mean you would have to go select that tab to retrieve them. I just recently told someone else about this as well and turns out I was correct. Poor thing had redownloaded all of her apps by the time she told me her horrible story and was advised that THEY ARE THERE!! LOL I see this comment was a week ago and do not know if you get emailed my response or how this even works. Nevertheless I thought I would give it a shot and hope you get it…if not hopefully it will help someone else with this problem as well…good luck!!

    • angie

      thanks so much, Nancy! these are the 1st instructions i have found to be helpful! 🙂

    • guest

      Yup – sure enough – this worked! I started and stopped the update process so many times I had given up until I saw this post and thought might as well give it a try – Thanks!

    • Marc

      Woked like a charm!! Thanks very much for the info

    • John

      Having suffered like everyone else with failed backups, I followed Nancy's instructions and it worked perfectly. Thank you!!!

  • Nancy

    Stoopkitty: Tried your procedure, backup went fine, but "update" doesn't offer a "download only" option — it immediately launches a backup, which of course stalls again.

    I'm going to wait a few days to see if Apple can get this fixed before I try updateing again. BTW, I have iPhone 3G running level 3.13 currently

  • Added to that, several of my colleagues had some problems upgrading from a Jailbroken 3.2 platform to iOS 4.0. So as a rule of the thumb, it would be best if you shift first to un-jailbroken OS before heading on for an upgrade with this.

    Also, multi tasking only works with 3GS and the new iPhone 4. Things you didn't know about the iOS4

  • stoopkitty


    1. Right click on your iphone in the bar on the left and click backup (you don't have to but this is a good idea and it will go a lot faster than if you back it up with the update button)

    2. Click the update button but then click "download only". Don't install, just download.

    3. Hold down option (alt) and click on the restore button.

    4. in the box that pops up, navigate to <yourUsername>/library/itunes/iphone software updates/. There will probably be only one file (choose it) but if there is more than one than choose the one that looks like iOS 4

    5. After it is done installing, restore your iphone from the backup you made to get your stuff back.

    This worked for me in about 20 mins. I got it from

    • Rachel

      thanks! you saved my ipod and my sanity

    • Mauricio

      That's really works. Thanks!

  • Lucy

    Would u recommend updating to the new software. I just dont want to lose all my data.

  • Pat

    Same here, going on 3 hours

  • SaaHc2B

    My backup doesn't get past 3 or 4 bars overnight, then I get error -5000, which I think means 'interrupted process'. Anybody else have this problem? I'm using an 8 gb ipod touch and itunes 9.2 on a pc.

    • Josh

      I had this problem too. Im trying again but im getting fed up with it. I am going to try turning verything else off and just leave it again. But it just takes so long!

  • Simon

    I had 4 failed attempts. 5th was ok, but I had to re-boot and disabled all auto-start progams. i.e. only iTunes running. It then took about 40mins to complete the backup.

  • fbull

    Ditto. After several backup attempts I opted to do a restore.
    OS 4 now installing. Worked for me.

  • Jacquie

    good to know I'm not alone. I tried 3 times last night and now trying again … getting very frustrated.

  • dan

    Ditto…. Stayed backing up for 8 hours and didn't move
    past a few mil!
    Checked back and had an error message!
    Android is looking more and more likely to be in my pocket soon!

  • Ajay

    Have tried backing up last night, all day today and this evening. Deleted my photos and have less than 2gb on a 16gb phone. Back up ran for 8.5 hours and barely moved. Cannot believe these guys created a real smart phone but cant handle the basics, like a 2gb back up!! apalling!!!

  • JP219

    I am in the same boat too. I downloaded the new iTunes last night (9.2) and tried to install the iOS4. When it got to "1 second remaining", it stopped. Then when I tried to install again, iTunes kept trying to back up my phone but never made it far. I left it running all night as well, and this morning, the progress was still the same as it was when I went to sleep. Help!!!

  • Chris

    Same here, I have left it on overnight to update only to wake up to see it is at the same palce it was when I went to sleep at, back up wise. Using 9.2 iTunes, and I backed up my iPhone Sunday night. This makes no sense.

  • I have some question in my mind that some of my friends complanning about ios4 errors. They have updated iphone 3g and their contact list vanish. what do you say?

  • Steve

    Me four

  • Matt

    me three

  • guest

    I left it running overnight and it is only 1/2 way done.

  • jon bull

    this is not working. my backup failed three times already in 3 hours, and no apple support available. they are taking us for granted.

    • guest

      me too

      • Guesty

        Me too!!!! why is this?? i cant update my ipod touch! in eed help!