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How to fix unable to check for update error on Apple iPhone XS, won’t update iOS wirelessly

Updating your iPhone wirelessly is supposed to be as easy as navigating through the settings menu and tapping a few options. But then again, there are some factors that can make the simple OTA updating a bit more complicated. And this is when errors occur.

Tackled in this post is a relevant issue transpiring on the new iPhone XS handset. Read on to find out what to do if ever you’d bump into an error that says, “Unable to check for update” when trying to check for, download and install new iOS update via over-the-air (wirelessly).

But before we actually move on to our troubleshooting, if you have other issues with your phone, then visit our troubleshooting page as we’ve already addressed some of the most common problems with this device. In case you need more help with your problem, fill up our iPhone issues questionnaire and hit submit to contact us.

How to troubleshoot iPhone XS that’s unable to check for updates

Before troubleshooting, check your Internet connection. Fast and stable Internet connection is among the key requisites for installing iOS updates via over-the-air (wirelessly). Another thing to check is the Apple server status. To check, you can visit the Apple Support website then navigate to Apple’s system status page. If you see a yellow (warning) icon next to an item, then it means that there is a problem with Apple’s server and services are currently unavailable. Unfortunately, there’s nothing much you can do but to wait Apple engineers fixed the problem on their end. If the service icon appears in green, then the problem is likely on your end and thus, you need to troubleshoot your iPhone.

First solution: Turn Wi-Fi off and then on again.

To update your iPhone wirelessly, fast and stable Wi-Fi access is required. If your device is experiencing Wi-Fi connectivity issues from slow browsing to intermittent or no Internet connection at all, then you need to deal with network problems first. Should this be a random network-related error, then restarting your iPhone’s Wi-Fi internet connection will likely fix the problem. As first workaround, try turning Wi-Fi off and then back on.

  • To do this, go to Settings-> Wi-Fi menu and then toggle the Wi-Fi switch to turn Wi-Fi off. After a few seconds, tap the switch again to turn Wi-Fi back on.

Another way to restart and refresh Wi-Fi internet connection on your iPhone is to toggle the Airplane Mode switch on and off.

  • To do so, head over to Settings-> Airplane Mode menu and then tap the switch to turn Airplane Mode on for a few seconds. This will disable or turn off wireless radios including Wi-Fi connection on the phone. After a few seconds, toggle the switch to turn Airplane Mode off again to re-enable wireless radios on the phone.

Wait for your iPhone to reconnect to your Wi-Fi network and then retry checking for new OTA update.

Performing the Airplane mode trick is like giving a quick reboot on the phone’s wireless network functions. It’s also a simple alternative method to clear out random issues and errors affecting the phone’s wireless functions.

Second solution: Reboot your iPhone XS (soft reset/force restart).

If the previous workarounds failed to offer some remedies and the error persists, then try rebooting your iPhone XS. A device restart or soft reset effectively resolves minor software errors and glitches including those affecting the phone’s Wi-Fi functions. For starters, here’s a soft reset is done on an iPhone XS:

  1. Press and hold the Side/Power button and either Volume buttons simultaneously for a few seconds.
  2. Release the buttons when the Slide to Power Off command appears and then drag the power off slider to the right.
  3. After 30 seconds, press and hold the Power/Side button again until the phone reboots.

You can also try a force restart if a soft reset doesn’t help. To do this, simply refer to these steps:

  1. Press and quickly release the Volume Up button.
  2. Press and quickly release the Volume Down button.
  3. Then, press and hold the Power button on the side of the phone and then release when the phone reboots.

Performing a soft reset and force restart also helps clear cached files and temporary data from the internal memory. Insufficient memory space is also among the possible hindrances for iOS update downloading and installation. While this isn’t likely the case on your end since what you’ve got is a new device with huge storage capacity, it won’t hurt to check the current memory status just to clear memory issues out from the underlying causes.

Third solution: Delete/forget Wi-Fi network then reconnect.

Another way to deal with Wi-Fi connection errors is to forget or disconnect from the Wi-Fi network and then set it up again to reconnect. This often needed when the wireless network in use gets corrupted and no longer working. If you wish to give it a try, then here’s how to forget Wi-Fi network on an iPhone XS:

  1. Tap Settings from the Home screen.
  2. Select Wi-Fi.
  3. Navigate to your Wi-Fi network and then tap the information “i” icon next to it.
  4. Select the option to Forget This Network.
  5. Tap tap Forget to confirm action.
  6. After forgetting the Wi-Fi network, restart your iPhone to refresh its memory and iOS and then go back to Settings-> Wi-Fi menu to set up your Wi-Fi network then reconnect.

If you’ve set up other Wi-Fi network on your device, then you can try switching to your other network and then try if you can update through that network.

Fourth solution: Reset network settings on your iPhone XS.

Performing a network settings reset usually helps when dealing with network problems attributed to invalid network settings and server errors. Doing so will likewise delete all your saved networks, APNs and server settings and then restores the default network values and configuration. Before you do so, take note of your Wi-Fi passwords as you need to re-enter them later when setting up your Wi-Fi network. Then follow these steps whenever you’re all set:

  1. Tap Settings from your Home screen.
  2. Select General.
  3. Scroll down to and tap on Reset.
  4. Select Reset network settings from the given options.
  5. If prompted, enter your device passcode to continue.
  6. Then tap the option to confirm.

After the network settings reset, your iPhone restarts and then reloads the default network values and options. Wait until your phone boots up then set up and reconnect to your Wi-Fi network.

If you happen to be a beta tester, delete your beta profile and then retry checking for and downloading new iOS update on your iPhone XS with these steps:

  1. Tap Settings from your Home screen.
  2. Select General.
  3. Tap Profiles.
  4. Then select the iOS Beta Software Profile you want to delete.
  5. Tap the option to Remove Profile.

After deleting the beta profile, restart/soft reset your iPhone XS and then retry updating.

Also try finding and delete partial updates from your iPhone XS. It’s also possible that a partial update has been downloaded and saved on the phone. In that case, you need to remove that update. Here’s how to check for partial updates on your iPhone XS:

  1. Tap Settings from the Home screen.
  2. Select General.
  3. Tap iPhone Storage.
  4. Find the iOS update file in the list.
  5. Once you find it, tap to select the iOS update.
  6. Then tap the option to Delete Update.
  7. After deleting the update, restart your iPhone XS and then go back to Settings-> General-> Software Update menu.

If you’re still prompted with the same “Unable to check for update” error, use iTunes to manually check for and download new iOS update on your iPhone XS on a computer.

Fifth solution: Use iTunes to check for new iOS update to download and install on your iPhone XS.

If none of the given solutions is able to fix the error and your iPhone still failed to check for and download new iOS update wirelessly, then try doing it manually through iTunes on a computer. You can use either a Windows or Mac computer for as long as it runs on a later or latest operating system and has the latest iTunes version installed. Your computer must also be connected to the Internet for it to be able to access the Apple server. Once everything is set, follow these steps:

  1. Connect your iPhone XS to your computer using the supplied USB cable/Lightning cable.
  2. Open iTunes on your computer.
  3. Select your iPhone XS when it appears in iTunes.
  4. Click on Summary and then click the button to Check for Update.
  5. If an update is available, click the option to Download and Update.
  6. Enter your device passcode if prompted to proceed.

Then follow the rest of the onscreen instructions to complete the iOS update installation. Do not disconnect your iPhone from the computer unless iTunes is finished implementing the new iOS update.

Seek more help

For other options and further assistance, call your carrier or Apple Support and relay every important detail about the problem you’re dealing with. Let them know exactly about how you ended up facing the error and what you’ve done to troubleshoot the problem on your end so far.

I hope that this how-to post has helped you one way or another. Please help us spread the word by sharing this post to your friends or people who may also have similar problems. Thanks for reading!

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