How to fix an iPhone XS Max that cannot update iOS wirelessly

Installing iOS update wirelessly i.e. through over-the-air (OTA) is the quickest way to get the iPhone update to the latest iOS firmware version although a strong internet connection is required for faster download but the same applies even if your iPhone XS Max is tethered to Mac or computer and you are updating the iOS through iOS. The thing with OTA update is, these updates are visible in the notification panel itself which means you can simply download it as soon as it arrives and get the phone updated to the latest iOS that broadly has two benefits.

The first benefit is probably bug fixes and optimizations that developers and users alike either suggest or report based on the severity of bugs they encounter. This enables Apple to understand which aspect of the firmware is facing problems and release a patch update for the same. In fact, at any given time, an iOS update says from iOS 12.4 to iOS 12.4.1 could be targeted to fix a particular issue or a string of issues thus, updating it is a must. The second benefit is the changes related to UI and UX and the functionalities it brings to the system which is why I recommend users to get their firmware updated whenever available.

How to fix an iPhone XS Max that cannot update iOS wirelessly

But what would you do if the iPhone XS Max that cannot update iOS wirelessly? This literally means that there’s some error or problem either downloading the file or installing the update file causing the error. The question is, what to do? Well, if you are facing the same issue, you have landed on the right page as I will be discussing the various methods that you can employ to try and fix the issue and hopefully, it’ll work.

How to fix an iPhone XS Max that cannot update iOS wirelessly?

Before proceeding further, there are certain things that you need to take care of. First is the internal storage since iPhone XS Max doesn’t have any external storage except the cloud. What you need to understand is that lack of internal storage can trigger the phone to fail to download an updated file which can be as much as a few gigabytes if not more although the size varies. Go to Settings >> General >> iPhone Storage to check what proportion is free and what is used.

You can kick out some apps that you don’t require or use which is helpful at times. Also, check if the currently available update is applicable on your particular model or not because it happens that an update is available but limited to iPhone XS where iPhone XS users might not be able to install it which can create a problem as well. This usually doesn’t happen with OTA update but there’s always a probability so remember this.


Solution #1: Toggle Wi-Fi

Since you are not able to update the iOS firmware, I am assuming that it is some kind of internet issue. As iOS update could have a varying file size which could run over 1 gigabyte, people usually download it on Wi-Fi rather than sticking to expensive mobile data for that matter. Thus, any problem with the Wi-Fi or the connection could disrupt the download which is why you need to comply with this procedure.

  • To toggle Wi-Fi, pull the Control Center and tap on Wi-Fi to turn it OFF.
  • Wait for a few seconds before turning it ON.

Do the same several times and then, check if the Wi-Fi is properly working or not. I advise you to go near the Wi-Fi modem or router for a strong network and faster download but that’s on you since depending upon the internet speed, the download could take from a few minutes to half an hour or more.

Solution #2: The almighty ‘Flight Mode’

Flight Mode or better known as Airplane Mode is truly an almighty method to fix network and software-related issues for that matter. Although the underlying reason why it works is not that easy to decipher, this method does work by fixing many issues and that’s after reviewing comments from users who have used this method to fix various issues. Give it a try with the iPhone XS Max that cannot update iOS wirelessly and scrutinize if it works or not.

  • You are required to toggle the Airplane Mode simply how you did it with the Wi-Fi.
  • Once you are done with it, go to Safari and check if the internet is working properly or not.
  • Then, go to Settings >> General >> Software Update to proceed and download the update.

Solution #3: Restart the iPhone XS Max

In my defense, this is a mother-of-all-fixes method before it works and in fact, it works by fixing a lot of different issues you would face on your iPhone XS Max. Not to go deep into how it works, assume that your phone has to handle hundreds of processes where it uses its processor and other resources to process it all. Even though smartphones are capable of handling millions of instructions, apps and processes can hurt their performance causing it to dilute temporarily depending upon how many apps are active.

This also causes the battery to suffer and thus, a reboot takes away the strain and frees the system from any resources being hoarded or used and clears any cache or corrupted data. Although not new but it will surely feel as if you are using a newly bought phone thanks to the improved performance after a reboot. Thus, if there’s any problem, you can simply restart the phone and check if it is gone or not and this works in most of the issues although not all so go through with it.

Solution #4: Reconnect the Wi-Fi network

Another workaround to fix issues with the internet connection that could disrupt downloading the iOS update at the first place. One of the effective methods that you can employ here is reconnecting to the same Wi-Fi network. It is done in a few simple steps mentioned below.

  • Firstly, navigate to Settings >> Wi-Fi and select the network you are connected to and ‘Forget’ it.
  • Next up, wait for a few seconds and proceed to Settings >> Wi-Fi.
  • Locate the available Wi-Fi network that you want to connect to and tap on it that will ask for a password.
  • Enter the password and hit ‘Connect’.
  • Open Safari or any other browser you are using right now to verify if the internet works or not.
  • Go to Settings >> General >> Software Update to download the update that will render the method effective or obsolete.

Solution #5: Restore all network settings

Invalid, non-configured, and faulty network settings can throw the iPhone XS Max off the rails. Since you are using an iPhone, it has several different settings which allow for enhanced services. However, invalid or incorrect network settings can, of course, cause a problem in any functionality related to network and that includes Wi-Fi. This is why you need to restore all the settings and this will eliminate the issue if causing due to the same or at least, it will remove one of the potential reasons why you could face the issue at the first place.

  • To do it, navigate to the Home Screen and go to Settings >> General >> Reset.
  • Scroll to find ‘Reset Network Settings’ and click on the same.
  • A pop-up should appear prompting users to enter the password to confirm it so go through with it.
  • Reboot the phone once and check if the issue is gone or not.

Solution #6: Restore through iTunes

If that doesn’t work, it could be probably due to a complex issue with the phone. Here, you can always restore the phone without the use of iTunes but what if the problem still says? The simple way to update the system is through iTunes where you can first restore the phone to its default settings while attaining the latest backup of all the data saved and then, update to the latest iOS update all via iTunes.

  • Download and install the latest iTunes app on your PC or Mac and then connect the phone via USB cable or lightning cable (yes this is not a wireless method).
  • The iTunes on the phone will give a pop up where you need to select ‘Trust this Computer’ to establish the connection.
  • Use the iTunes on the computer to complete the procedure as the phone will be inaccessible until the process is done.

Solution #7: Get help

The iPhone XS Max that cannot update iOS wirelessly continue, what should you do? Well, if nothing from this troubleshooting guide works in your favor, you would need someone’s help. I didn’t say you need an Apple authorized Genius for help but you can ask for help to a friend or someone who knows the updates on Apple. You can download the update file from your PC or Mac and transfer it to your phone to see if it works this way. If you are still facing difficulty updating the iOS wirelessly, do write to us.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.