I have a data plan for all of my smartphones, computers, and tablets, so I have to be very careful staying within my allotted usage. When I discovered that my iPad downloaded a 3 GB software update (not apps, the iOS update), I am not happy. I do not know how to turn off the automatic downloading of iOS updates. All of the answers I get on the Apple Support Communities tell me that iOS updates are not installed, only downloaded. It is the automatic downloading of iOS updates that is the problem, because my data gets unintentionally used. How do I turn off the automatic downloading of iOS updates?

  • I thought iOS updates were deltas now? i.e. Much smaller download of just the changes. Never a full 3GB. I don't have details on how small they are though. What is you mobile data use showing for Software updates? (Settings -> Mobile -> System services)
    – D.G.
    Commented Sep 20, 2015 at 15:19
  • 1
    Looks like I can't post an answer, so here's my comment: iOS now downloads point release updates in the background when your iPad is plugged in and charging. They might be 300 MB in size or similar. This happens regardless of whether you have automatic updates turned off. It has rightly made many people angry, as control has been taken away by Apple. One way to stop this is to switch your iPad to flight mode before charging your iPad. If you forget to put in flight mode, you can delete the update from your iPad by going into manage storage and deleting it.
    – hiJump
    Commented May 11, 2016 at 9:46

2 Answers 2


This is really now a non-answer - empirically, it appears no-one has yet found a way to prevent iOS updates from downloading except by leaving insufficient space for it to fit.

Settings > App & iTunes Stores...

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Switch off either Updates specifically, or all Mobile data

  • "a new software update (not apps, the iOS update)" Are you sure this applies to iOS updates too?
    – grg
    Commented Sep 20, 2015 at 13:08
  • @grgarside I'm not absolutely certain - but I never get iOS [or any] updates to my phone at all, after some careful shutting down of background services. I prefer to get all updates via iTunes. I'll have a poke around to check I've got nothing else that may be contributing.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Sep 20, 2015 at 13:16
  • This is not my phone I am asking about, it is the ipad. And the update I want to turn off is not an app, but the IOS update.
    – Gail C
    Commented Sep 20, 2015 at 14:56
  • phone/pad - same difference, just with a slightly different screen layout.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Sep 20, 2015 at 18:00
  • 1
    Yup - it would appear there is no way to stop iOS updates from downloading.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Nov 3, 2015 at 18:54

You should also be able to go into General > Usage > Manage Storage and delete the iOS update from the device.

But it will just download again. You can't stop that easily.

  • For iOS 9.3.2 at least, this was the third time I deleted the update. THIRD! Absurd. But deleting it does prevent the update alert though, for some time. Commented Jun 21, 2016 at 12:33

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