How to fix an Apple iPhone XS Max that is unable to check for update [Troubleshooting Guide]

If you’re getting an error prompt that says “Unable to check for Update” when trying to update your iPhone wirelessly, it usually means that your device cannot reach the update server or can’t verify the update for some reasons. This can occur when the update server is congested or currently unavailable. The same thing can happen if your iPhone is having some sort of Internet connection issues like slow Internet or Wi-Fi drops. Should this be a problem with the Apple server like a temporary downtime, you can just give it another retry at a later time. Everything should be working as intended for as long as the update server is back up and running again.

Outlined below are suggested workarounds and potential solutions to a similar issue on the Apple iPhone XS Max. Read on to find out what to do in case you would bump into the same problem when trying to update your iPhone software wirelessly or over the air.

Now, before anything else, if you have other issues with your phone, make sure you drop by our troubleshooting page for we have already provided solutions to hundreds of problems reported by our readers. Odds are that we may have already provided a solution to the problem you currently have so try to find issues that are similar with yours on that page and feel free to use the solutions we suggested. If they don’t work or if you need further assistance, fill up our iPhone issues questionnaire and hit submit to contact us.

How to troubleshoot iPhone XS Max that can’t check for update

Before troubleshooting, check your Internet connection and make sure that your iPhone is connected. Note that a stable connection to Wi-Fi Internet is necessary to update your iPhone wirelessly. To rule out wireless connectivity errors and other software-related problems from the underlying causes, you can apply any of the following procedures.

First solution: Toggle Wi-Fi off and then back on.

Working on your Internet connection must be considered among the first things to do when resolving this issue. Wi-Fi connectivity issues could be the main reason as to why your device couldn’t connect to the update server. To clear out random Internet errors, restarting your iPhone’s Wi-Fi connection can help. So here’s what you should do then:

  1. Go to Settings-> Wi-Fi menu.
  2. Toggle the Wi-Fi switch to turn it OFF.
  3. After a few seconds, toggle the switch again to turn Wi-Fi back on.

Alternatively, you can also toggle Airplane mode on and off your iPhone.

  • To do so, head back to your iPhone Settings then select Airplane Mode. Tap to turn Airplane Mode switch on to enable the feature. After a few seconds, toggle the Airplane Mode switch to turn it OFF again.

Enabling Airplane Mode automatically disables wireless radios on your device thus Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connections are turned off as well. Turning Airplane Mode ON and OFF therefore helps restart and refresh wireless connections.

Many people have found this trick a helpful remedy when dealing with minor network connectivity issues occurring randomly on their iPhones, so you may as well consider giving it a shot and see what happens.

Second solution: Restart/soft reset your iPhone.

Minor software errors affecting wireless features and services are likewise among the possible culprits. And the simplest method to get rid of these random software errors would be a restart on the phone (soft reset). Aside from fixing random software glitches, performing a soft reset will likewise clear cache from the internal memory and therefore dumps any corrupted temporary data that might have caused you this trouble. Here’s how to soft reset/restart your iPhone XS Max:

  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.

Allow your phone to finish booting up and to reconnect to Wi-Fi. Once connected, head back to settings and retry checking for OTA updates.

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

Should this be attributed to problem with your Wi-Fi network in use, forgetting or deleting the Wi-Fi network can help. Doing so will let you set up the wireless network and connect to it as if it’s the first time. This can also help fix network-related issues inflicted by corrupted Wi-Fi network on the phone. Here’s how it works:

  1. Tap on Settings to open the settings app.
  2. Tap Wi-Fi.
  3. Select your Wi-Fi network then tap on the information “i” icon next to it.
  4. Select the option to Forget This Network.
  5. Then tap Forget when asked to confirm.

The selected Wi-Fi network will then be deleted from the phone. After forgetting your Wi-Fi network, restart your iPhone and then set up and reconnect to your Wi-Fi network. Allow your device to re-establish Internet connection and when it’s reconnected try checking for new update again and see if the error is gone.

If you’ve set up another Wi-Fi network on your phone before, then try switching to other Wi-Fi network and retry checking for OTA updates.

Fourth solution: Reset network settings on your iPhone.

Network-related issues including those that are attributed to incorrect network settings or invalid network configurations are generally resolved by performing a network settings reset. Doing so erases your current network configurations and then restores the default network settings and options. Here’s how it’s done:

  1. Tap Settings from the Home screen.
  2. Select General.
  3. Scroll down to and then tap on Reset.
  4. Select the option to Reset network settings.
  5. Enter your device passcode when asked to proceed.
  6. Then tap the option to confirm network settings reset.

Your iPhone will reboot automatically when the reset is finished. Allow it to boot up and then enable Wi-Fi to restore Internet connection on the phone.

Fifth solution: Use iTunes to manually check for new update.

Using iTunes can be considered among the last options. Doing so will help you determine whether or not the problem is due to Wi-Fi errors. To get started, you will need to secure a computer that runs on a compatible operating system with your iPhone. You can use either a Windows or Mac computer that has the latest version of iTunes installed. Then proceed to these steps:

  1. Get a Windows or Mac computer and iTunes software ready.
  2. Connect your iPhone to the computer using the supplied USB cable or Lightning cable.
  3. Open iTunes then select your iPhone XS Max when it appears.
  4. Click the Summary panel on the left corner of iTunes.
  5. Then click the button to Check for Update. This prompts iTunes to scan for new iOS updates.
  6. If an update is available, click Download and Update.
  7. Enter your passcode if prompted.
  8. Follow the rest of the given commands to complete the entire downloading process.

If you see any error message in iTunes take note of the error code or warning message so you can use it to determine what went wrong and how to fix it.

Other options

  • Reset device in iTunes. Performing a factory reset through iTunes can be considered among the last options if all else failed to work. Doing so will wipe everything from your phone system including any system errors that might have barred it from accessing the update server and failed to update wirelessly. Just don’t forget to back up all your critical data for safekeeping. With this method, iTunes will automatically search for and download the latest software for your iPhone.
  • Contact Apple Support. If nothing really works and you’re still getting the same error message when attempting to check for iOS update on your iPhone XS Max, call Apple Support for further assistance. You can also ask them to check the current status of the update server on their system. There’s a higher chance that the problem is not on your end.


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