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Here’s How Long the iOS 16 Update Takes



Apple’s iOS 16 update is a massive upgrade and it could take quite a bit of time to install on your iPhone.

The company’s finally pulled its iOS 16 operating system out of beta and the software brings a long list of changes to the iPhone. The update includes new features, enhancements, and security updates.

If you’re moving your iPhone from the latest version of iOS 15 to iOS 16, you get the shortest list of changes and the smallest download size. The iOS 16 update is around 2-3 GB for users currently running iOS 15.7 or iOS 15.6.1.

If you’re upgrading from an older version of iOS, your iOS 16 download could be larger because the changes from the update(s) you skipped are baked in.

While some of you might want to skip the iOS 16 download for the time being, most people should install the software today, or, at some point in the near future.

If you decide to install iOS 16 on your iPhone, you’ll want to set aside some time to get the upgrade properly installed on your device.

Moving a device from one operating system to another can cause problems so you’ll want to monitor the download and installation.

We can’t tell you exactly how long the process will take because it will vary. That said, we can help you approximate how much time you should set aside should you choose to install the new operating system on your iPhone.

Sync (Optional)5-45 Minutes
Backup and Transfer (Optional)1-30 Minutes
iOS 16 Download10 Minutes to 1 Hour
iOS 16 Installation10 Minutes to 20 Minutes
Total iOS 16 Update Time20 Minutes to 1 Hour+


Before you start the iOS 16 download make sure you’re prepared.

If you don’t know how to properly prepare for an iOS upgrade, take a look at our pre-installation guide. It’ll walk you through the most important steps to take before you start the installation process.

You should be able to get through these steps in 30 minutes, but it all depends on your skill level and the current state of your iPhone.

If you haven’t backed up your data in awhile or you if you aren’t familiar with iOS 16, the pre-installation process could take you a longer.

You don’t need to follow every single step in the guide, but at the very least you’ll want to make sure your phone’s data is backed up properly.

Data loss issues are pretty rare, but if you store sensitive data (photos, videos, etc) on your device, it’s always better to err on the side of caution.

iOS 16 Download

Once you’ve prepared, it’s time to start the download process.

Again, the exact size of your iOS 16 download will depend on your iPhone model and the version of iOS it’s currently running.

If you’re on the latest version of iOS 15 you’ll see the smallest download size. If you’re running an older version, your download could be larger.

If you’re connected to a fast Wi-Fi network, the iOS 16 download should finish up in 10 minutes or so. If your connection is slower, or you’re downloading during peak hours, you might be looking at a lot longer than that.

iOS 16 Installation

Once your device is done pulling iOS 16 from Apple’s servers, the installation process will begin.

On newer phones, the iOS 16 installation process could take about 10 minutes to complete. It took about 10 minutes to install on an iPhone 12 that was previously running iOS 15.6.1.

Your iPhone might reboot itself a couple of times during the installation process, but this is perfectly normal. Your device should boot up in regular fashion once the installation process completes.


After the installation finishes up, you might need to spend time logging into your iCloud account, signing into your device’s various apps and services, and/or setting up Apple Pay.

You also might want to spend some time checking your important data (photos, music, etc) to make sure everything carried over properly from iOS 15.

After you do that, make sure you test your core applications and services to ensure they’re working normally. New operating systems can cause apps to go haywire.

If you notice an issue with one or more of your apps, try downloading the latest version. Developers are currently rolling out iOS 16 support updates.

You’ll also want to poke around your phone for bugs and performance issues. If you notice something take a look at our list of fixes for common iOS 16 problems.

4 Reasons Not to Install iOS 16.0.2 & 11 Reasons You Should

Install iOS 16.0.2 for Better Security

Install iOS 16.0.2 for Better Security

If security is important to you, and you're still lingering on iOS 15, think about installing Apple's iOS 16.0.2 update right away.

iOS 16.0.2 doesn't have any security patches on board, but if you're still running iOS 15 your iPhone, you'll get a bunch of new patches when you upgrade.

iOS 16.0 brought new security patches to the iPhone. If you're interested in the exact nature of these improvements, you can read about them over on Apple's security website.

If you skipped iOS 15.7, iOS 15.6.1, or any older versions of iOS, you'll get the security patches from those updates with your iOS 16 update as well. 

In addition to those patches, iOS 16 brings some additional enhancements to privacy and security including Safety Check which, according to Apple, will help "people in domestic or intimate partner violence situations review and reset the access they’ve granted others." 

The feature also resets system privacy permissions for apps and restricts Messages and FaceTime to the device on hand.

Apple's also made some improvements to Passkeys in Safari. iOS 16 brings a brand new sign-in method that's end-to-end encrypted and safe from phishing and data leaks. 

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