How to Fix iPhone 13 Unable to Check for Update error

This post will walk you through resolving an iPhone issue regarding over-the-air update download and installation. Read on to learn how to deal with the iPhone 13 “unable to check for update” error.

Over-the-Air iOS Updates

Installing new iOS updates on an iPhone can be done manually or automatically. For automatic update installation, all you have to do is to enable the automatic update feature from the software updates menu. That should prompt the device to automatically download and install new updates wirelessly. Just be sure to keep your iPhone sufficiently charged and connected to the internet. Ample storage space is also necessary for the device to allocate the new update file.

If automatic updates are disabled, new iOS updates can be downloaded and installed manually instead. 

Typically, your iPhone will notify you whenever a new iOS version is up for grabs. But in case you’ve disabled update notifications, manually checking for new updates would be necessary.

To manually check for updates on an iPhone 13, you will need to access the Settings-> Software Update menu.

And for the device to be able to access the Apple server, it has to be connected to the internet preferably via Wi-Fi network. 

Checking for updates on an iPhone is fairly simple. The same thing when downloading and installing them.

However, there are also multiple factors that can make the process a bit more complicated. Thus, instead of getting your device software updated, you’ll be hindered by an error instead.

The solutions outlined in this context are aimed to address a relevant error on the iPhone 13 that’s unable to check for new updates.

Feel free to refer to this simple guide, if you need more input to troubleshoot this error on your new iPhone.

Troubleshooting iPhone 13 Unable to Check for Update error

The following procedures will help you rule out common factors that might have prevented your iPhone from checking for new updates, wirelessly.

These methods are also applicable when dealing with the same error while attempting to check for OTA updates on other iPhone models that are running on the same iOS version with the iPhone 13 series. 

Don’t forget to test your iPhone after performing each solution to determine whether or not the error is gone. Proceed to the next applicable solution if needed.

Solution #1: Terminate Background Apps and Services

Apps and services that are left open or running in the background may likewise cause conflicts to other apps that are currently in use. As a result, unexpected errors and software glitches are triggered.

To make sure these aren’t the ones preventing your iPhone from checking for OTA updates, access the multitasker and end or terminate all background apps.

Here’s how:
  • Swipe up from the bottom edge of the screen to launch the app switcher or multitasking menu that contains previews of all apps  you’ve recently used and left open/running in the background.
  • Swipe up on individual app previews to terminate them individually. Do the same to end the rest of other background apps on your iPhone.

After clearing all background apps, retry heading back to your iPhone settings and retry checking for new iOS updates available.

Solution #2: Reboot your iPhone.

Performing a soft reset or iPhone reboot can help fix various types of system errors including those that are causing conflicts to the iOS update checker. 

Having said that, rebooting the iPhone is among the first recommended solutions. This doesn’t affect any saved data from the internal storage so you won’t lose critical files in the process.

Just follow these steps to soft reset or reboot  your iPhone 13, if you haven’t already:
  • Press and hold the Power/Side button and either Volume buttons for a few seconds and then release when the Power off slider appears.
  • Then, drag the slider to turn your iPhone completely off.
  • After 30 seconds, press and hold the Side button again until the Apple logo appears.

When your iPhone is finished rebooting, give it a few moments to re-establish a stable internet connection preferably through a Wi-Fi network.

Once the connection is stable, retry checking for updates.

Solution #3: Refresh Wireless Connections.

Random internet problems resulting in slow internet, intermittent connection or no internet may also be the underlying cause of the problem. 

To rule these out, optimizing your iPhone’s wireless connections is recommended. There are many different ways to get this done.

The first tweak  you can try is to turn the Wi-Fi switch off for a few seconds and then turn it back on again.
  • To do this, just go to Settings-> Wi-Fi menu then toggle the switch off and on. You can also toggle the Wi-Fi control off and on straight from the Control Center of your iPhone.
If the first tweak doesn’t yield a positive outcome, you can try the Airplane mode tweak next.
  • To do this, go to Settings-> Airplane mode menu then toggle the switch on to put the iPhone in Airplane mode. While Airplane mode is enabled, reboot/soft reset your iPhone to clear system cache and to refresh system functions. After it reboots, head back to Settings-> Airplane mode menu then toggle to turn the switch OFF again. Doing so re-enables the wireless radios of your iPhone. You may have to manually reconnect to the Wi-Fi network, if you haven’t enabled auto-connect.

Performing the Airplane mode tweak gives a simultaneous restart to all wireless features  and clears out any transpiring connection errors on your device.

If you’re connected to the internet using cellular data, performing the Airplane mode tweak can likewise help rectify any glitches and errors affecting cellular network services.

Removing and reinstalling the SIM card can also be deemed among other potential solutions, especially if the cellular network signal on the iPhone is poor and unstable.

Solution #4: Forget Wi-Fi Network or Switch Network.

Network connectivity issues resulting in failed updates can also be due to a corrupted Wi-Fi network in use. When the network gets corrupted, there’s a higher chance that the iPhone’s internet is not stable. As a result, online apps and services may not work as intended.

Should this be the case, forgetting the problematic Wi-Fi network and setting it up as new is recommended.

To forget a Wi-Fi network on the iPhone 13, just follow these steps:
  • Go to Settings-> Wi-Fi menu and make sure the Wi-Fi switch is turned on.
  • Find and then tap the information (i) icon next to the Wi-Fi network name (SSID) that you’d like to forget.
  • Tap Forget This Network then tap Forget on the pop-up warning to confirm.

Deleting unused Wi-Fi networks that are saved on your device is also recommended to prevent any of them from causing conflicts with the currently used network. Just follow the same steps to forget other Wi-Fi networks on your iPhone.

After forgetting the Wi-Fi network, reboot your iPhone then head back to Settings-> Wi-Fi menu and set up your Wi-Fi network to connect or join like the first time you did. Be sure to enter the correct Wi-Fi password to ensure that network connection is successful.

Solution #5: Reset Network Settings.

Persistent network issues affecting internet services like OTA updates can also be tied to some invalid network configurations. To clear these out, performing a network reset or reset network settings on an iPhone is advised.

A network reset on the iPhone deletes all custom network settings including recent settings network overrides containing network bugs. 

It doesn’t affect any saved data from the iPhone storage so there’s no need to worry about losing critical information from your device.

Just follow these steps if you wish to proceed with this reset on your iPhone 13:
  • Go to your Home screen and then open the Settings app.
  • In the settings app, scroll to and tap General.
  • Tap Transfer or Reset iPhone to proceed.
  • Then tap on Reset. 
  • On the succeeding menu, tap Reset network settings from the given options.
  • Enter your device passcode if prompted.
  • Tap the option to confirm all system settings reset on your iPhone.

When the reset is finished, the phone reboots by itself. Just let it finish rebooting and don’t do anything that would interrupt the process.

As soon as your phone reboots, all network defaults are restored.

To get back online and use online apps and services, you will need to set up the Wi-Fi network and connect to it like the first time. This means entering the correct Wi-Fi password is needed.

Solution #6: Update your iPhone in iTunes/Finder.

If all else fails to fix the problem and the same error occurs while attempting to check for OTA updates, your next option would be to use iTunes or Finder on your Windows or Mac computer.

Just make sure that your computer is connected to a stable Wi-Fi network and that the internet connection is all good.

If you’re using iTunes on Windows, make sure that you’re using the updated version of the iTunes app. Then, proceed with these steps whenever you’re all set.

  • Connect your iPhone to the computer using the Apple-supplied lightning cable.
  • Open iTunes on your computer then select your iPhone 13 on the top-left corner of the screen.
  • When your iPhone is selected, click Summary then click the button to Check for Update.
  • If a new iOS version is available, tap Update to download and install the new update through iTunes.

If you’re using a Mac, make sure that your computer is running on the latest macOS version to ensure that Finder is updated. Then, proceed with these steps to check for available iOS update:

  • Launch the Finder app on your computer then connect your iPhone using the USB/lightning cable.
  • In the Finder sidebar, select your iPhone.
  • Then, click General at the top of the screen.
  • To continue, click the command to Check for Update.
  • Wait for Finder to check for the latest iOS version available then click Update to download and install.

Is your iPhone still showing an “unable to check for update” error?

Delete iOS Beta Profile. If your device is currently enrolled to an iOS beta, it may not be able to check for new updates. To fix the problem, you need to remove the beta profile from your device beforehand.

To do this, go to Settings-> General-> VPN & Device Management then tap iOS Beta Software Profile. Finally, tap Remove Profile then reboot your iPhone.

If all else failed to fix the problem and the error continues, chances are that the Apple server is currently unavailable.

Thus, checking the current status of Apple servers is the next recommendation. Just visit the System Status page from the Apple support website.

On this page, you can view the real time status of all Apple servers and associated services.

Access to any of the Apple servers may be halted by unexpected technical difficulties, scheduled maintenance and network congestion. Thus, your iPhone is likewise unable to check for new software update if too many users are attempting to access the update server.

Seek more help

For further assistance and added recommendations, you may contact Apple Support. 

Please keep posted for more comprehensive iOS tutorials and troubleshooting guides on this site. Or you can check out this YouTube channel to view more comprehensive tutorial and troubleshooting videos including recent iOS devices.

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