How to Fix “Unable to Check for Update” Error on iPhone 13

This post will walk you through resolving an issue on the latest iPhone model that’s unable to check for new updates. Read on to learn what to do when you encounter the “unable to check for update” error while attempting to view the latest iOS version available on your iPhone 13.

iOS 15 OTA updates

Manually downloading and installing a software update (OTA) on an iPhone is as easy as falling off a log for as long as all the update requirements including fast and stable Wi-Fi access, ample storage and battery life.

However, there are also a number of factors that would make such a simple process somehow complicated. In fact, various errors and issues have been reportedly encountered by many people while attempting to manually install an iOS update on their Apple devices.

Tagged among the common causes including unexpected network connectivity issues such as internet connection drops and slow internet connection on the phone.

Network congestion like when the Apple server has overwhelming update requests is also another factor. The same thing can happen when Apple servers are facing unexpected outages due to technical difficulties.

Random software glitches causing system conflicts are also among the possible culprits that could hinder the device from viewing and implementing OTA updates.

Tackled in this context is an error that typically occurs when checking for an available software update on the new iPhone 13 device. 

Feel free to try the outlined solutions below if you too encounter an error that bars you from updating your new iPhone wirelessly.

Troubleshooting “Unable to Check for Update” error on iPhone 13

The following solutions will help eliminate common factors that might prevent your iPhone from checking for over-the-air updates and instead only prompt you with an error message.

Don’t forget to charge your device beforehand to ensure that it’s able to finish the entire updating process. Also make sure that your phone has sufficient storage space to allocate the new update file.

Once you’ve got everything set, you may go ahead and begin troubleshooting with these subsequent methods.

Solution #1: Close all background apps and restart your iPhone.

Apps that you’ve recently opened and might have been left running in the background. While this may benefit when multitasking between multiple applications, keeping apps in this state for long may likewise result in some conflicts and eventually halt other system functions including wireless updating.

To rule this out, end all background apps on your iPhone 13 with these steps:
  • 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 every app preview to close them one by one.

After clearing out all background apps, restart or soft reset your iPhone to clear any erratic residual app data and system cache.

Just follow these steps to proceed with a soft reset:
  • 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.

As soon as your phone gets back online, head back to Settings-> Software Update menu and retry viewing new updates.

Solution #2: Refresh and optimize your internet connection.

System update errors are often due to network connectivity issues on the phone. This is often the case if the device is experiencing intermittent, slow and no network access. 

The fact that network connectivity issues are inevitable among mobile devices makes it among the possible causes. 

To deal with rando internet problems affecting over-the-air updates downloads, optimizing the phone’s internet connection is recommended. This can be done in various ways as follows.

A. Wi-Fi refresh. 

Turning Wi-Fi off and on is often carried out when dealing with random internet problems in mobile devices with wireless network setup. 

  • To do this on your iPhone 13, just go to Settings-> Wi-Fi menu and then tap turn the Wi-Fi switch off and on.

B. Airplane mode tweak. 

Another effective solution to minor internet problems is the so-called Airplane mode trick. This is done by enabling Airplane mode, restarting the phone and then disabling Airplane mode again.

  • To do this, go to Settings-> Airplane mode then tap to turn the switch ON. When Airplane mode is enabled, all wireless features are disabled simultaneously. Restart the phone while in this mode and then turn Airplane mode off again.

Performing the Airplane mode trick gives a simultaneous refresh to all wireless services on your iOS device and thereby eliminates relevant errors including Wi-Fi glitches.

Note:

If the error occurs while your iPhone is connected to the internet via cellular data, try switching to a Wi-Fi network. This likely solves the problem if the slow or unstable cellular connection is the underlying cause.

After optimizing your iPhone’s wireless connections, go back to Settings and check for the new iOS version.

Solution #3: Forget the Wi-Fi network and set it up as new.

In the case wherein all online services on your device aren’t working as intended and you couldn’t get to access over-the-air updates through settings, deleting and re-adding the Wi-Fi network might help.

Internet apps and services often get problematic if an internet problem is transpiring due to a corrupted Wi-Fi network in use.

To forget the Wi-Fi network on your iPhone 13, just follow these steps:
  • Open the Settings app.
  • Tap Wi-Fi.
  • Tap the information (i) icon next to the Wi-Fi network.
  • Tap Forget This Network.
  • Read the warning prompt then tap Forget to confirm.
  • The network will then be deleted.
  • Reboot/soft reset your iPhone and then go back to Settings-> Wi-Fi menu. Make sure that the Wi-Fi switch is turned on to view available networks.
  • Select the Wi-Fi network that you’d like to connect to.
  • If prompted, enter the Wi-Fi password then tap Join.

Wait for the phone to connect to the network and establish Wi-Fi internet access. When the internet connection becomes stable, retry heading back to Settings to check for the latest software update available for your iPhone.

Solution #4: Reset all settings on your iPhone.

If the error continues after applying all prior methods, the next thing you can resort to is a settings reset.

Restoring the default app and system settings often resolves internet problems that are tied to misconfigured settings including errant custom networks.

The iPhone offers different types of reset options including reset network settings and reset all settings.

The reset all settings option is usually recommended when restoring the default settings without deleting user data.

To reset all settings on the iPhone 13, just follow these steps:
  • Open the Settings app.
  • Tap General.
  • Scroll down to the bottom and tap Transfer or Reset iPhone.
  • Tap Reset to continue.
  • Then, tap Reset all settings from the given options.
  • Enter your passcode if prompted then tap to confirm all settings reset.

The phone will then erase all custom settings and then restore the default apps, values and options.

After the reset, the device automatically reboots. Just wait for it to finish rebooting and once it’s back up online, retry heading back to the Software update settings menu to view the latest iOS version to download and install on your iPhone.

Still cannot update your iPhone 13 wirelessly?

Other iPhone users who have faced the same error have managed to fix it by performing the following tweaks.

  • Verify date and time settings are correct. Incorrect or invalid date and time can also cause conflicts when downloading over-the-air updates. If the date and time settings on your iPhone are set to manual, switch it to Set Automatically. That will prompt your device to use the date and time information based on the time zone of your current location.
  • Change DNS settings (optional). To verify if the internet connection on your iPhone is stable, try browsing the internet using Safari and visit random websites and pages. If you notice some problems like slow or intermittent downloads, check the DNS settings through Settings-> Wi-Fi menu. You may try using other DNS addresses like Google’s DNS server address 8.8.8.8 and see if the error is gone.
  • Remove any iOS beta profiles. If you’ve registered for iOS beta testing, the phone may likely encounter errors when installing the latest stable iOS version due to some conflicts. In this case, deleting the beta profile is recommended.
  • Use iTunes. Sometimes, the problem is only isolated to the iPhone system. As an alternative solution, you can try updating your iPhone in iTunes on a Windows PC or Mac computer. Just be sure to use the latest iTunes version on your PC and Finder on your Mac. Also ensure that your computer has a stable Wi-Fi internet connection.

If none of the above solutions worked, there’s a higher chance that the error is tied to a server issue. At this point, you may visit the Apple system status page and see if the servers are all good. 

An all green status means that the Apple servers are all good and thus the problem is most likely on your end. Otherwise, the problem is from within the Apple server.

Contact Apple Support

Sometimes, unexpected problems transpiring on Apple’s end won’t immediately show up on the System Status page. Contacting Apple Support is therefore recommended among the last steps if nothing else works on your end.

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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