Why does my phone keep saying software update failed?

It can be frustrating when you get notifications on your phone saying a software update has failed. There are a few potential causes for these failed updates that are worth troubleshooting.

Checking Your Internet Connection

One of the most common reasons for a failed software update is having a poor internet connection when trying to download the update files. Software updates often require downloading large files from the phone manufacturer’s servers. If you have a weak WiFi signal, limited mobile data connectivity, or an unstable internet connection, it can easily disrupt the update process.

Try checking your WiFi and mobile data connections to make sure you have a strong, stable internet connection when attempting the software update. If possible, use a strong WiFi network or connect directly to your modem/router with an Ethernet cable to ensure maximum bandwidth for the update to fully download.

Freeing Up Storage Space

Software updates require having enough free storage space on your phone to temporarily store the update files and install them. If your phone’s storage is nearly full, it can prevent successful completion of the update.

Try offloading some files and apps you no longer need to make more storage space for the update process. An update for a major version of Android or iOS can require gigabytes of free space. The update may have failed if you didn’t meet the minimum storage requirements.

Using a Stable Power Source

Software updates can take quite a while to fully download and install. If your phone loses power during the process, such as from the battery dying, it will abruptly fail the update.

Before attempting the update again, make sure your phone is plugged into a charger and has at least 50-75% battery power. Keep it connected to a stable power source throughout the full update to prevent power-related failures.

Restarting Your Phone

Sometimes restarting your phone can help resolve temporary software glitches causing update failures. The restart will clear out any memory issues, network problems, or instability from apps and services running in the background.

Try restarting your phone before attempting the software update again. Power it off completely, wait at least 30 seconds, then boot it back up and check for the update.

Clearing Cache and Data

Clearing your phone’s cache and app data can potentially fix update errors stemming from corrupted temporary files. The system cache and app data allows processes to run more smoothly, but can sometimes become unstable over time.

Go into your phone’s settings, storage settings, and tap to clear cached data and app data. Then restart your device and retry the software update.

Removing Third-Party Apps and Launchers

Some third-party apps, launchers, or other services that modify your phone’s software can actually prevent official OS updates from being installed. The modifications these services make end up clashing with the official update files.

Try temporarily uninstalling or disabling any apps, launchers, or services that customize your phone’s software before attempting the update again. If the update succeeds, you can then reinstall them one by one until you identify any that are causing conflicts.

Checking for Update File Corruption

In rare cases, the update files themselves may have been corrupted while downloading, leading to the update failure. Issues during the download like intermittent connectivity could potentially corrupt the files.

To test for file corruption, delete the update download file from your phone’s storage and try downloading it again fresh. Then attempt the installation again using those newly downloaded files.

Factory Resetting Your Phone

If all else fails, doing a factory reset of your phone can wipe out any lingering software problems causing repeated update failures. Back up important data first, then reset your phone to its original factory settings.

Once the reset is complete, try checking for the update and running the installation again. A factory reset eliminates any bugs, glitches, data corruption, and customizations that could be interfering with a successful update.

Fixed vs. Repeated Update Failures

In some cases, an update may fail once or twice for fluke reasons, but then succeed on subsequent attempts. However, if an update consistently fails even after troubleshooting steps, it likely indicates a larger underlying hardware, software, or connectivity issue requiring advanced troubleshooting.

Consult your phone manufacturer’s support channels or your mobile carrier’s tech support for further investigating repeated update failures after multiple tries.

Common Software Update Error Codes

Some failed software updates may show specific error codes that can point to potential causes. Here are some of the most common error codes and solutions to try:

Error Code Potential Causes Solutions
Status 7 Failed verification check, Invalid update package Clear cache partition, Try downloading update again
Status 194 Insufficient space for update Free up internal storage space
Status 9 Corrupted or missing system files Factory reset phone, Reinstall OS
Status 1 Installation issue Restart phone, Try again
Status 401 Download failure Check internet connection

Preventing Future Software Update Issues

To help avoid software update failures down the road, follow these best practices:

  • Maintain ample free storage space on your phone
  • Avoid installing unofficial OS customizations
  • Clear cache and data partition occasionally
  • Keep your phone charged during updates
  • Use a stable, fast internet connection for updates
  • Restart your phone before updating
  • Update over WiFi instead of mobile data when possible


Software update failures can stem from network problems, storage limitations, OS instability, battery drain, or file corruption. Troubleshooting steps like clearing your cache, freeing up space, factory resetting, re-downloading the update file, and restarting your phone can often resolve many update errors. Checking for error codes can also point you in the right direction. With some targeted troubleshooting and optimal update conditions, you should be able to overcome those pesky software update failed messages.