Can I skip software update when setting up new iPhone?

When setting up a new iPhone, you are prompted to update to the latest iOS software version. While it is generally recommended to install the latest updates for features and security, you may be wondering if you can skip this step.

Can You Skip Software Update During iPhone Setup?

Yes, it is possible to skip updating to the newest iOS version when initially setting up an iPhone. During the setup process, you will be asked if you want to update to the latest software. At this screen, you can tap “Later” to skip updating at that time and proceed with finishing the rest of the iPhone setup.

However, it’s important to note that even if you skip the update during initial setup, your iPhone will continue to prompt you to install the latest iOS update periodically. The update request will appear as a notification badge on the Settings app icon, for example. So you cannot permanently avoid installing software updates on your iPhone.

Should You Skip iPhone Software Updates?

In general, it’s not recommended to skip major iOS updates for too long. Apple releases software updates to provide new features, security patches, and performance improvements. Avoiding these updates means you miss out on important security and bug fixes that impact the usability of your device.

Here are some key reasons you should install iOS updates when possible:

  • Security patches – Apple frequently releases updates to fix vulnerabilities that could be exploited by hackers. Skipping updates leaves your device at risk.
  • Bug fixes – Updates often fix bugs and glitches in the current iOS software. Installing updates can improve system stability.
  • New features – Updating provides you with helpful new capabilities in iOS you wouldn’t get otherwise.
  • App compatibility – New apps may require the latest iOS version to run. Skipping updates could break app functionality.
  • Performance improvements – Updates sometimes include under-the-hood enhancements to improve speed and responsiveness.

Drawbacks of Skipping Software Updates

Aside from missing out on important security, stability, and feature updates, here are some other drawbacks of not keeping your iPhone up-to-date:

  • Increased security risks – Without the latest patches, your device can be vulnerable to hackers.
  • Poor system performance – Bugs and lags may occur without bug fixes and optimizations from updates.
  • App crashes or errors – Apps may have issues running properly on old iOS versions.
  • Limited access to services – You may be locked out of newer Apple services that require recent software.
  • Can’t back up or sync iPhone – iTunes may reject seriously outdated iOS software when trying to sync or back up.

Risks of Skipping Major iOS Updates

While it may be fine to briefly postpone a more minor .x.1 update, it’s not recommended to skip major iOS releases like iOS 15 to iOS 16 for extended periods. Major versions introduce significant new features and major security and performance enhancements that keep your experience up-to-date.

Some risks of sticking with an older major iOS version long-term include:

  • Severely degraded security and vulnerability to hackers
  • Loss of access to newest apps, services, and features from Apple
  • Poor device performance, crashes, and freezes
  • Inability to install important third-party app updates
  • Difficulty backing up and syncing device with iTunes
  • General bugs, glitches, and other issues

While the latest major iOS release requires adapting to new features and interface changes, staying extremely behind the curve can create significant downsides for app functionality, system stability, and security.

Can You Still Use an iPhone With Old iOS?

While not recommended, you can continue using an iPhone running older iOS software beyond when the updates stop being released. However, there are some caveats:

  • Security risks will grow over time as new threats emerge.
  • Performance and battery life will likely decrease without optimizations.
  • You’ll miss out on all new iOS features and updates.
  • App support will eventually be dropped as apps require newer iOS.
  • Backups and syncing with iTunes may not work reliably or at all.
  • You won’t be able to activate new iPhones on the same Apple ID until you update iOS.

So while you can physically keep using an iPhone on older, outdated iOS versions, it’s not recommended for optimal security, performance, and app compatibility.

How to Update iOS on iPhone

If you skipped iOS updates during setup and decide later on you want to install them, doing so is simple:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Tap General, then tap Software Update.
  3. Tap Download and Install if an update is available.
  4. Follow the on-screen instructions to download and install the latest iOS update.

Updates can take a while to fully install. It’s a good idea to have your iPhone charged or plugged in before starting an update. The latest iOS can provide optimal performance and features on your iPhone, so it’s generally worth taking the time to update.

Updating iOS Without Deleting Data

A major barrier to updating iOS for many users is the fear of losing data in the process. However, in most cases, you can safely update to the latest iOS version without any data loss:

  • Media like photos and videos are not deleted byupdating iOS.
  • Any apps you’ve installed from the App Store will remain installed after updating.
  • Settings, preferences, and app data all persist through the update process.
  • You can back up important data like contacts and messages to iCloud before updating as an extra precaution.

Resetting your iPhone to factory default settings will delete your data. But standard iOS updates typically do not affect the files, apps, and information already on your device.

Can You Revert to Old iOS After Updating?

Unfortunately, there is no official way to revert back to an older iOS version after installing an update. Since updates are designed to be progressive and add new features, Apple does not let users downgrade iOS versions.

However, if you have a complete backup of your device from before updating, you can fully erase your iPhone and then restore the older backup. This will effectively bring your device back to the older iOS version’s configuration.

Just keep in mind erasing and restoring an old backup means you will lose any new data/changes made after updating iOS. You’ll also have to re-download any apps installed after the update. In most cases, it’s better just to adjust to the latest iOS rather than try to reinstall older versions.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it bad to never update my iPhone?

Yes, it’s generally not recommended to avoid updating your iPhone altogether. Skipping major iOS releases in particular can negatively impact security, app compatibility, performance, and access to Apple services. It’s best to aim to keep your device within 2 major iOS versions of the current release.

Can I delete iOS update after downloading?

Yes, you can delete a downloaded but not yet installed iOS update. Go to Settings > General > iPhone Storage. Find the iOS update file and tap Delete Update to remove it. However, your iPhone will continue prompting you to install the update until you do.

Is updating iOS risky?

Updating iOS is typically a very safe process and carries minimal risk when done properly. As long as you back up important data before updating, the vast majority of users successfully update without losing any information or apps. Proper backups are key to ensure important data persists through the update.

How can I update iOS without Wi-Fi?

If you don’t have access to Wi-Fi, you can update your iPhone over cellular data. Go to Settings > Cellular > Cellular Data Options and enable the “Update Over Cellular” option. Then proceed with the iOS update as normal. Keep in mind updating over cellular may use significant data.

Will I lose all my data if I update iOS?

You should not lose any important data like photos, messages, or app information when updating iOS. Media content, installed apps, and app data all persist through the update process. However, it’s smart to run an iCloud and/or iTunes backup before updating as an extra safeguard.


While you can skip software updates when first setting up a new iPhone, it’s generally recommended to install major iOS releases as they become available. Updates provide important security protections, new features, performance improvements, and app compatibility. However, you can temporarily postpone less critical incremental updates if needed. Backing up your iPhone before updating can prevent any data loss issues.