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When you connect an iPhone or iPad to a computer with iTunes and an iOS software update is available, you will get a notification with a pop-upup which tells you that a new version of iOS is available and asks if you want to update to the new version of iOS system software. If you also click on “Check for updates” button in iTunes when an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch is connected, the same iOS software update process starts and the software is downloaded and attempted to install.
If you’ve chosen to accept an iOS software update in iTunes that you immediately realize you don’t really want to install, you can stop the iOS update process in iTunes by taking quick action on a Mac or Windows PC.
Speed matters if you hesitate for too long after pressing the update buttons in iTunes it is quickly too late (depending on the side of the update download) and you just have to install the update, you may be considering a downgrade. Note that this actually prevents iTunes from downloading the update and proceed with the installation, it doesn’t just stop the iOS update notification as available on the device.
Stop an iOS software update and iTunes downloads
After iTunes warns you that new software updates are available and after clicking “Check for Update” or “Download and Update”, you need to act and act quickly to stop the update …
- Click on Download button in the top right corner of iTunes, it looks like a small arrow pointing down
- Look for the item “iPhone Software Update” or “iPad Software Update” and quickly click the (X) small stop button to finish the download and stop the iOS software update from continuing
If the iOS software update progress bar in iTunes changes to “stopped”, you will know that you have successfully quit the download and update process. Then you can simply select the item in the download list and press the “Delete” key to delete it. The process can be repeated the next time an update accidentally starts downloading, but it always requires quick action.
You have to act fast as some software updates are quite minor and with a fast internet connection the iOS update will download and try to install quickly. Once the update installs itself, you should let it complete because trying to intervene in the middle of the update is a recipe to render the iPhone, iPad or iPod touch unusable and restore it completely. Some versions of iOS can be downgraded afterwards so that would be the next approach if you accidentally installed an update you didn’t want, you can downgrade system software here.
Prevent iTunes from searching for an iOS update by ignoring an iOS update
If you want to prevent iTunes from checking for the same iOS update you just stopped, you should ignore the update. The easiest way to do that is when the pop-up appears in iTunes, choose the “Don’t ask me again” check box and don’t choose to download or install it.
Obviously, this requires iTunes, and at this point there is no way to ignore or end iOS software updates happening directly on the device itself in iOS. Users can stop the iOS software update notifications on an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch, but the iOS update will try to keep downloading itself to the device and prompt the user to install unless preventive measures are taken. Maybe a future version of iOS will allow you to completely override an iOS software update directly on the device, but in the meantime, the only way to accomplish this is when the device is connected to a computer with iTunes.
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