Is it possible to download the latest version of iOS without connecting my iPad?

I have ordered the iPad, but it has still not come. So can I download and keep the iOS update in the meantime? Because I think that the iPad would not come with it installed.

  • What do you mean by it not coming preloaded with an iOS version? It probably won't have the latest updates, but it should come with iOS 4.3 or thereabouts. – Cajunluke Apr 29 '11 at 18:02
  • As it's already answered yes, it's possible but no, that's not a good reason to do it - it does come installed. By the title of the question I thought it would be "how can I download / update iOS directly from iPad, without connecting". Now that would have been a very good question to which I have no answer! :P – cregox Apr 30 '11 at 13:49
  • I think you're interpreting the need to activate an iOS device with iTunes before being able to unlock it as there is not a OS preloaded when shipped. I can see where you may assume that, but it's not the same thing. There is no OS download required for activation. It just "unlocks" it. – Randy6T9 May 1 '11 at 15:25

It is possible to download these individually. Many blogs provide links when new updates come out to the direct downloads. For example, heres a page that has links to IPSW's for 4.3.2.

It will come preloaded with the OS, you don't have to worry about that. Though, depending on delays and when you get it (And when it was packaged), you may have a minor update to do (ie, updating from 4.3.1 to 4.3.2).

While you can download these updates, its really not worth it - or there is no real reason to do so beforehand. And it adds an extra step to apply it. When you get your device, it will ask you if you want to update it (you have to option-click 'Update' in iTunes). This is a common way to apply beta iOS builds for developers.

So, to answer your question - yes, it is 'possible', but really not worth it whatsoever. And your final guess is incorrect - it will come preloaded with an OS. The only thing you have to do to start using it once you get it is plug into iTunes to activate it, then can either start using it, or apply applications, etc.


In general, no. IOS is downloaded by iTunes based on the connected device ir finds. While you can apply a firmware version directly, it would be the same version iTunes would download for you.

But really, why bother. Your iPad will come with IOS installed, and if it's not the most recent version, iTunes will ask if you want to update it.

  • Oh ok..I thought there will be no preloaded IOS on the iPad...I mean atleast that was the case when I first bought the iPod Touch... – hmthr Apr 29 '11 at 17:13
  • Actually, you can option click on Update and apply other ipsw's without jailbreaking. – jmlumpkin Apr 29 '11 at 17:37
  • Sorry but By ipsw's do you mean IOS S/W and where do I download the same from ? – hmthr Apr 29 '11 at 17:49
  • jmlumpkin, I've modified my answer to clarify it, but the only ipsws (firmware version, hmthr) that you'd be applying are the same ones that come through iTunes, so that just adds complexity with no benefit. Hmthr just wants to make sure the device is up to date, as I understand it. – David Apr 29 '11 at 18:18
  • David, read the other answer. I like yours better because it's shorter, but it's wrong in saying "no". Because it is possible - and not hard at all. – cregox Apr 30 '11 at 13:50

iOS 5 now supports over the air updates, and no longer requires a computer to update iOS itself.

If you have an earlier iOS version, you'll still need a computer to install iOS 5.x, but once it's installed you can perform wireless updates by going to the Settings app, choosing General, and choosing Software Update. It will then report if there's a newer update than what you're running and give you the option to download and install it. All new iOS device (iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch) now come with iOS 5.x or later loaded, and so you will only need to do this with devices purchased prior to 2012. Many late fall 2011 devices also came with iOS 5 pre-loaded.

It is highly recommended to plug in the device while doing an update as it requires a little more power than the average app, and if your device is low on charge it might not complete successfully, requiring you to attach a computer with itunes to perform the update.

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