Susan Prescott, Apple vice president of Product Management and Marketing, speaks during the Apple WWDC on June 8, 2015 in San Francisco, California / Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The only fix seems to be to wait it out – though some have reported success when trying through iTunes

Those rushing to download iOS 9 were hit by problems in the time after it launched – being greeted by a message that the "software update failed", rather than their shiny new operating system.

The download launched 10am pacific time, and is accessed through the iPhone or iPad's Settings app. But before it can be installed the device has to download it – and that seems to have been proving tricky.

New launches of iOS often run into problems because so many pile into Apple's servers at once. It's for that reason that Apple often waits to send out notifications that the update is live, so that the load on its servers can be staggered.

There doesn't at the moment seem to be any workaround to get the update to work over the air on the phone.

Some have suggested that downloading the update through iTunes – by plugging the phone in and selecting the update from there – gets around the issue. Plugging in the phone might trigger iTunes to automatically prompt you to upgrade, and if not it can be manually started from the "Summary" tab when looking at the phone in the app.

The error message simply sends users back to the Settings app. But trying to download again is likely to prompt the same problems, though some users have reported success after multiple attempts.

The problem seems not to be affecting all users.

It's expected that the software update failed messages will go away in time, as the load reduces, and so the best advice is to leave the phone and then try again later.


The iOS releases are often hit by network troubles since so many people try to download the files at once. Virgin Media UK said today that last year's iOS release increased traffic by 10 per cent.

While waiting, users might want to check that they are fully-prepared for the update. That includes backing up the phone in case of further problems.

iOS 9 brings a range of small upgrades, many of them focused on fixing old problems and saving time while using the phone.