If you have an iPhone, you probably already know that every so often, at least once a month, new iOS updates are released . It is also possible that you have ever found yourself in the situation where this happens and you do not have a WiFi network nearby to download it. This is because Apple prevents downloads of this software using mobile data, however there is a little trick that can be used to do so. We tell you everything in this article.

Why does Apple limit these downloads?

The reason why an iPhone cannot be updated with mobile data is actually easier to explain than it seems. Data rates are usually mostly limited and slower than WiFi networks. Apple understands that with these limitations, downloading heavy software such as iOS updates could take much longer than expected and even exhaust users’ fees. Although it is true that there are already unlimited data plans in many companies, this is still a limitation that, except with what we will explain later, cannot be resolved.

Depending on the model you have, you will have to do it one way or another. The thing is, Apple didn’t allow software to be downloaded on its devices without a Wi-Fi connection. Although it is also possible to achieve it, as of iPhone 12 there is an option to update iOS easily with mobile data . We will tell you how to do it in each case.

iPhones with 5G can update

With the arrival of the iPhone 12, Apple included a change in this section. The fact that these devices included 5G connectivity on an iPhone for the first time made the company rethink the limitation of downloading iOS via mobile data. This technology offers a much faster internet connection that even improves WiFi, so it is more than enough reason to allow users to update the software as long as they have this function activated and their company is providing them with 5G.

Trick to download iOS with mobile data

If you don’t have an iPhone with 5G or directly don’t even have the possibility to connect to this network, don’t worry. There is a way in which you will be able to download each iOS update. To do this you just have to change the date of the iPhone and set it to later days. There is no exact period, so we recommend putting it a week later.

You can change the date of your iPhone in the following way:

  • Open Settings.
  • Go to General.
  • Click on “Date and time”.
  • If you have “Auto Adjust” turned on, turn it off.
  • Click on the date and select a different one.

Once you do this you can go to Settings> General> Software update and start downloading a new iOS update if there is one. Once the download has started you will be able to put the date back correctly. The exact reason for this bug is not known, but it has been present for years and for the moment it is still fully functional.

Of course, we remind you to bear in mind that the download will be slower and that if you are also doing it at a time when the servers are collapsed, this will be even more tedious. Also keep in mind that if you do not have an unlimited rate you could end up spending all your data.

Update your iPhone from your Mac, without Wi-Fi or mobile data

There is also a possibility to download an update that you have available for iOS without the need to connect your iPhone to a Wi-Fi network or mobile data. However, this is a method intended for cases in which your mobile cannot connect to Wi-Fi due to a system failure, since you will need that internet connection on your computer . Or it simply gives you more security by updating it from your computer.

Apart from these two conditions, you have to have a Mac connected to the Wi-Fi network to use the Finder or iTunes program, depending on the MacOS version. To carry out the update from the PC, you have to do the following:

  • Check the system version your Mac has. If it has MacOS Catalina or higher, you can use Finder. In previous versions, it uses the iTunes program, although both have a similar operation.
  • Open Finder or iTunes .
  • Connect the device to the computer.
  • Select the device in the left sidebar of the program window.
  • Click on « General » and then on « Check for update «.
  • Click on « Download and update «. Follow the instructions on the screen to continue.
  • If prompted, enter the access code.

How to download iOS updates on iPhone without Wi-Fi and with 5G

From the arrival of the iPhone 12, the story changed. The fact of being the first model to include 5G connectivity made Apple change this limitation to be able to install iOS on the iPhone with mobile data. The data rate problem is still there (unless you have an unlimited plan), but the download speed increases considerably, matching or improving the Wi-Fi capacity.

To achieve this, both your mobile and your rate must be compatible with this connectivity. Apart from that, you have to check first if 5G is activated and then give it preference for downloading updates:

  • Go to the Settings app on your iPhone.
  • Look for the « Mobile data » section within that menu.
  • Click on the access to « Options «.
  • When you enter, go to « Voice and data «.
  • Select « 5G activated «.
  • When you have verified that it is activated, you have to access « Mobile data options «.
  • Within that menu, go to the “ Data mode ” section.
  • Finally, activate « Allow more data in 5G «.

With all these options to update your iPhone without Wi-Fi, you just have to take into account which is your case. That is, look at the model you have, if you have any problems connecting to a local network, etc. In any case, solutions are not lacking.


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