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How Long the iOS 6 Update Will Take

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After a large amount of anticipation iOS 6 is finally arriving today. While this is great news it may be helpful to know how long it will take to install iOS 6.

Although the process is fairly straightforward in how to install the update, it does require some time. Different factors can effect how long the update can take.

Your Internet connection, the time it takes to backup the iPhone or iPad and stress on Apple’s servers can cause the time it takes to update to iOS 6 to vary greatly.

Read: 5 Things to Do Before Upgrading to iOS 6

There are usually some issues updating to iOS 6 on release day, so users that can wait 24 to 48 hours may enjoy a better iOS 6 upgrade experience.

iOS 6 Time

We don’t know when the iOS 6 release time is, though it usually falls around 10 AM pacific, 1 PM Eastern. The first two steps usually take the longest, so it’s OK to start preparing your iPhone for iOS 6 now.

The outline below is based on the past experience of GottaBeMobile staff, actual times can vary greatly. Make sure you set aside enough time to perform the upgrade. While the phone can be used while the update is downloading you will not be able to make calls or use the iPhone while the iOS 6 software update installs.

Sync and Backup: 1-60 Minutes

Connect the iPhone to iTunes. At this point iTunes will begin to sync the iPhone and perform a backup. If this task is done on a regular basis it will most likely go more quickly than others (myself included) who only plug in their iPhones once in a while.

Transfer Purchases: 1-30 Minutes

Once that step is done it is a good idea to transfer purchases just in case they did not transfer over from the automatic sync. This can be done by choosing File —> Transfer Purchases. This is also a good step for users syncing to a new computer.

Download iOS 6: 15-30 Minutes (Depending) 

When it comes time to download iOS the main factors in length of time are the file size and Internet connection speed. The iOS 6 update will likely be a large file so downloads could take some time. On iOS 6 release day, Apple’s download servers are typically overloaded, so downloads could take longer. Users that see an error 3200 when upgrading should try again later, as Apple’s servers are too busy.

Install iOS 6: 5-10 Minutes

Once the file is downloaded and verified it will be installed on the device. Plan on around 10 minutes for this step. This is the step where the phone cannot be used.

How Long Does it Take to Upgrade to iOS 6?

The chart below highlights the average iOS update times based on past iPhone and iPad iOS updates. Some iOS 6 updates will go faster and others slower. We suggest budgeting for at least 90 minutes, unless the iPhone was already backed up.

Initial Sync 1-60 Min
Backup and Transfer of Purchases 3-30 Min (low end)
iOS 5 Download 15-30 Min
Device Firmware Update 10-15 Min
Total 28-135 Min

Although iOS 6 may seem like a lot of effort, the new software is worth the time it takes to install on the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.

Read: iOS 6 Release Date and What to Expect from iOS 6

The video below covers many of the new iOS 6 features.

76 Comments

  1. VernonJButler

    09/19/2012 at 6:38 am

  2. e

    09/19/2012 at 7:08 am

    Come on ios 6

  3. Tsavvy

    09/19/2012 at 9:15 am

    Yawn!

  4. Es

    09/19/2012 at 11:18 am

    It’s really slow

    • blaire

      09/21/2012 at 2:53 pm

      i know toooooooooooooooo much

  5. Nick

    09/19/2012 at 11:29 am

    It’s taking some time, but it’s stuck on preparing to update. I have patience though

    • Jeffrey Patrick

      09/20/2012 at 12:59 am

      After 1 hour on preparing to update, mine Finally Start installing… :) Patience

  6. Jarrod

    09/19/2012 at 11:50 am

    13 minutes

  7. Zach

    09/19/2012 at 1:09 pm

    My iPhone 4 has been updating for a solid 2 hours. It’s almost done, though…

  8. andiejane

    09/19/2012 at 1:23 pm

    mine says 5 hours remaining..

    • aaron kelly

      09/21/2012 at 1:44 pm

      mine says 15 hours remaining :’(

      • julianne

        02/23/2013 at 6:55 pm

        takes half an hour

        • Julianne

          02/23/2013 at 6:58 pm

          BUT then u have to reassemble ur phone completely it sucks. make SURE u have a backup

  9. julie

    09/19/2012 at 1:24 pm

    About 20 minutes.

  10. Ana

    09/19/2012 at 2:14 pm

    mine says 1 hour left -___-

  11. Mary

    09/19/2012 at 3:37 pm

    Mine is flashing different languages. Doesn’t say anything about time remaining.

  12. nikki

    09/19/2012 at 3:40 pm

    shut up mine says 11 hours haha

  13. Newways

    09/19/2012 at 4:04 pm

    hahaha mine says 17 min.

  14. lindsay

    09/19/2012 at 4:09 pm

    mine said 5 minutes but its taking foreverrrr to restart!!!!!

  15. emma

    09/19/2012 at 5:09 pm

    mine took about 2 hours to update…install didnt take that long though…i wonder i should have done it at night so that it didnt take this long..:(

  16. janet

    09/19/2012 at 6:20 pm

    I’ve got about 3 hours into it. Will it continue if I head off to bed and my MAC doses off too?

  17. cassie

    09/19/2012 at 7:03 pm

    mine has been in the same place for about 2 hours!!! is something wrong with it?

  18. Anthony

    09/19/2012 at 7:40 pm

    5 hours later, its done. It tells me to plug it into my computer. I do, It erased my iPod. I LOST EVERYTHING. But I did just recently back-up… but not I have to redownload. It’s been 30 minutes… it says 6 hours left. FML

    What if it doesn’t even work… oh my god. I’m going to kill someone.

  19. brea

    09/19/2012 at 8:06 pm

    Mine has been downloading for 30 mins and says 15 hrs left… O_O

    • Anushka

      09/27/2012 at 6:06 am

      Did it really take that much time or ended earlier ?!

  20. Mike Rochac (@mikerochac)

    09/19/2012 at 8:20 pm

    My internet speed is 10 mbps and I started 3 hours ago now it says 15 hours remaining. WTF? it’s a lousy 660 MB download how can it take so long? I have to go work tomorrow in exactly 9 hours and now I cant take my phone with me. What a failure.

  21. Samantha

    09/19/2012 at 8:20 pm

    My phone says 10 hours, this better be worth it.

  22. Shannon

    09/19/2012 at 9:12 pm

    Mine says 16 hours! I have 20 meg/ cable internet! Why so freaking slow?

  23. Steve Edelman

    09/19/2012 at 10:04 pm

    Mine says 9 hours! G-r-r-r!!!

  24. Shaheen Hindukush

    09/19/2012 at 10:37 pm

    Mine says 29 hours… OMG! I can fly to USA and come back! :-(

  25. Gyn

    09/20/2012 at 1:47 am

    The best time to update is late at night…took me less than 25 minutes(:

  26. ramcal

    09/20/2012 at 4:41 am

    Mine said 6 hours and actually took just over 3 hrs

  27. Rastunas

    09/20/2012 at 5:34 am

    10Mb/s 16 hours. get your act together Apple. Not impressed.

  28. Mahesh

    09/20/2012 at 6:02 am

    mine says ‘less than one minute’ for about 15 mins now… oh, gosh, why did I chose to update :( My bad!

  29. gigili

    09/20/2012 at 6:13 am

    mine says 3 hours. i’ve never waited this long in my life even for my girlfriend loool

  30. brooke

    09/20/2012 at 7:34 am

    it only took 30 minutes:)

  31. Ryan

    09/20/2012 at 8:40 am

    Mine has taken about an hour and 45 minutes and install is almost finished

  32. EJ

    09/20/2012 at 9:40 am

    Oh my gosh that was scary! Doing work at the coffee shop and noticed the update bubble on my “Settings” app on my iphone4. Didn’t want to bother with anything so I took a chance and decided to download and install without synching or backing up anything. After 15 minutes of downloading, my progress/status bar just sat there and didn’t move. So, I ended up googling and finding this webpage. I was sweating for a little while, but fortunately that puppy started moving again. Less than 40 minutes (on the coffee shop’s crappy wifi) and I’m upgraded!! Thank God! I don’t think that I would take such a risk again … oh will I?

  33. alyh

    09/20/2012 at 12:31 pm

    I have an ipod touch and it has been 30 minutes already. Its not done

  34. johnniec

    09/20/2012 at 2:14 pm

    backup your system first and shut off programs not using,should get a download spped fast

  35. the707man

    09/20/2012 at 9:42 pm

    ha ha ha. people be hating, 12min overall

  36. Todd Hooper

    09/21/2012 at 2:12 pm

    iPhone 4, Download was zippy, but the install is going on 45 min… moving but creeping along. Is the processor really that much slower than the 4s?

  37. ccdaisymae

    09/21/2012 at 4:58 pm

    my iPhone 4S has completely shut off & won’t come back on… should I even bother calling tech support?

    • Brenda

      09/22/2012 at 9:03 am

      I’m having the same problem.

  38. Katie

    09/22/2012 at 2:32 pm

    I think mine took a lunch break?!

  39. Patty Murray

    09/23/2012 at 7:29 am

    It took 20 minutes. I have a fast Wi-Fi at home. It’s not necessary to hook it up to your PC your laptop. I love the new upgrade and the maps is great!

    • GeriZ

      09/23/2012 at 7:55 am

      Started last night at 8 PM. Still going this morning at 9:48AM. Just got a notice that the update has failed from Apple!!!

  40. Mitch Lawrence

    09/23/2012 at 9:01 am

    Why in the hell do I have to redownload the 900mb file from apples slow ass servers FOR EVERY DAMN iDEVICE I OWN?

  41. wlisses

    09/23/2012 at 8:10 pm

    will it still download if i lock it?????

  42. shannonclements

    09/24/2012 at 8:31 am

    Ok my phone wont even turn on now its ment to be installing how longs in ment to take?

    • Ilana

      09/29/2012 at 6:53 pm

      Its happening to me too.im scared if it wont turn on.

  43. Sarah

    09/24/2012 at 11:02 am

    Mine says 24 hours remaining…

  44. tomasz

    09/24/2012 at 2:24 pm

    takes forever

  45. Shari

    09/29/2012 at 1:35 pm

    18 hours remaining -____- omg. It said 18 hours remaining 4 hours ago. -_________-

  46. Mikaela

    09/30/2012 at 8:34 am

    C’mon iPod 4G…… IT’S BEEN OVER AN HOUR!!! -_____________- I just hope I don’t lose everything on my iPod…

  47. Crystal-mae

    10/01/2012 at 6:11 pm

    Wtf. 25 hours?

  48. tyler

    10/06/2012 at 11:54 am

    iv been downloading it for almost 48hours…… gee this sure is taking a long time.

    • Windy

      10/08/2012 at 2:42 pm

      I’ve been loading mine for 3 hours now and it says connect to i-tunes. I was told this means its still loading. I’m scared I messed up my phone. Does anyone know what this means?

  49. PAULA

    10/08/2012 at 7:05 pm

    I’m trying to reset my phone because I traded someone for it but it’s giving me an error code 1611 and it’s also stuck on the connect to itunes screen.Does anyone know what that means? By the way I have an iPhone 3GS 32GB.

  50. Margaret

    10/19/2012 at 6:48 am

    It took mine 1 1/2 hours using a Wifi connection at McDonad’s. I was about ready to rip my hair out. Don’t like the new phone keypad though. Do like the update to the photos app. Just wish it would not have taken SOOOOO long.

  51. Bobbie

    10/20/2012 at 6:07 am

    I am concerned on many levels. I am the type of person that updates scare me after hearing horror stories of losing everthing, I finally decided to update from 4.2.8 last night and did all the backups and syncs prior to the sofware update and all went well, took a while for the new ios 6 to install about 45 minutes and was happy, the bad is that the backup is still going. I started at 1 am and the status bar has barely moved a quarter of an inch and it’s 8 am now. After reading Tyler”s post and it’s 48 hours still for him, I’m not as scared with the delay. However, I’m hoping it works! My job is to be on the phone daily, I’m a home health nurse.

  52. Pao

    11/01/2012 at 7:26 pm

    I downloaded the iPhone Software Update blaah last night. Hoping it’ll load faster cause it’s already midnight. I finished downloading and I was so happy. Then this morning, while I was fixing my iPhone and everything. I clicked update, then blah blah. I was so scared with what will happen if ever I update it. Then took the risk and clicked the install button. Then a download began, and saw its the iPhone Software Update. I was like, WTH???? If only I knew I will start all over again, I already updated my phone last night. Now I’m stuck in here. Still waiting for that fcking thing to finish. :(((((

  53. naved

    11/05/2012 at 5:36 pm

    Mine dont say no hours left, just says itunes with a music logo and a cable wire coming from the bottom am getting worried any help please

  54. wackyman

    11/06/2012 at 9:45 pm

    took only 20 min

  55. SunFlower

    11/07/2012 at 10:24 am

    I started updating my iPhone like 3 hours ago and it’s still backing up! The status bar has barely moved a quarter of an inch! How do i make it go faster? Because i need it urgently tomorrow and if i cant make it go faster, if by the morning it wasn’t finished yet how do i pause or stop the process?
    Thank you

  56. Ahmed

    11/25/2012 at 7:17 am

    It’s so slow :(

  57. dylan

    11/26/2012 at 7:16 pm

    Mine says 17 hours remaining

  58. harisan

    01/18/2013 at 8:08 pm

    yah my updating hours 4 to 5 hours but my download speed 500 so that speed your connection fast so you download 2 hours but good most money earning games and apps in ios 6 apptrailer,and spin2win,and most apps you search your app store

  59. still patience

    01/30/2013 at 4:18 am

    mine says january 2014 will be finish????? how??

  60. vansh

    01/31/2013 at 8:03 pm

    aftr reading all ur commnt…
    thankgod…
    mine says 3 hrs remaining…
    :)

  61. emily

    02/17/2013 at 7:15 pm

    this make me scare of what happen after updating iphone, mine say 2 hours remaing.. hopefully its ok.. sigh :(

  62. Jigyasu AP

    07/07/2013 at 3:31 am

    it seems strange, mine says hrs remaining

  63. Jigyasu AP

    07/07/2013 at 3:32 am

    it seems strange, mine says 30 hrs remaining

  64. hamisi

    10/23/2013 at 2:38 am

    mine is giving me 6 hours…for the last 7 hour…i guess patience pays

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