Ask Different is a question and answer site for power users of Apple hardware and software. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

My super old desktop is currently having problems connecting to the Internet.

Is there a way that I can update my iPhone to the new operating system without my computer connecting to the internet?

I'm afraid that if I connect my iPhone to my newish laptop to do the upload that it will delete all of the files and songs from my phone since they are not on the laptop's harddrive. I have not updated my phone in almost a year due to this problem.

share|improve this question

If your iOS device is on version 5.0 or higher, then yes, you can do it directly from the handset by going to Settings/General/Software Update.

If you're on iOS 4.x then no, you will need a computer to do this.

To upgrade in your situation, I would recommend the following steps: 1) On your new laptop, open iTunes, and in the preferences on the devices tab, make sure Prevent iPods, iPhones, and iPads from syncing automatically 2) Plug your iPhone in to the new laptop, and in iTunes, select the iPhone on the left pane. 3) Click Check for update.

It should find a newer version, and start to download the file. You can now disconnect your iPhone from your new laptop.

Once it has downloaded this file, you should be able to find it on an OSX system in your home folder/library/iTunes/iPhone Software Updates. On Windows it should be in your user profile folder\Application Data\Apple Computer\iTunes\iPhone Software Updates.

You can copy this file to your old computer, and then plug your iPhone in to that.

On a Mac, hold the Option key (alt on modern keyboards) (shift on Windows) and click Check for update. You should now be able to manually navigate to the ipsw file you just copied over.

It should now start the update process on your iPhone.

share|improve this answer

If you are already running iOS 5, you can download and update your iPhone just by going to Settings > General > Software Update and tapping on Download and Install.

Your device will do the download so a computer with iTunes can be skipped.

If your not, then you could try downloading the IPSW on a someone's computer, and then updating your device with iTunes by:

  1. Launch iTunes
  2. Option+Click the Update button
  3. Select the IPSW update file you downloaded.

iTunes will, then, update your iPhone with the latest version.

share|improve this answer

Yes - this is exactly the point of iOS 5.0 and the PC-free functionality.

You don't need a computer or iTunes to install free iOS software updates. To see if you are ready, open the settings app and choose About. As long as you are running 5.0 or higher, then choose software update from the settings app.

You should be able to see if updates are available as long as you have a data connection. You may need to connect to Wi-Fi or plug in to install the updates.

You are right to worry about a backup, so even if you are on iOS 5 it would be good to review the backup article to ensure you don't lose things you could have saved before updating your iPhone.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.