How Long the iOS 6 Update Will Take

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.

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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.

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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.