How to fix a 2019 iPad Air 3 that cannot update iOS wirelessly

Having trouble updating your 2019 iPad Air 3 wirelessly? Find out why this happens and what to do on your end to eliminate the underlying causes.

Installing software (OTA) updates on your iOS device is supposed to be a piece of cake. But there are just some instances when what’s supposed to be a plain sailing process gets complicated to the point that it couldn’t be completed. If you have landed into this page because of the same dilemma, then this post highlights some potential solutions you can make use of. Read on to find out why and what to do if your 2019 iPad Air 3 cannot update iOS wirelessly.

For those who are looking for a solution to a different problem, drop by our troubleshooting page for we have already addressed some of the most common issues with this device. Browse through the page to find issues that are similar to yours and use the solutions we suggested. If they don’t work for you or if you still need our help, contact us anytime through our iPad issues questionnaire.

Troubleshooting a 2019 iPad Air 3 that cannot update iOS wirelessly

Any of the following methods will be able to solve the problem unless Apple’s update server is at fault. If possible, check out the Apple Support status page to verify the current status of Apple services including the update server. You may proceed and troubleshoot your device when ready. Don’t forget to retry updating your device after applying each solution to find out if the problem is fixed. 

First solution: Reboot your iPad Air 3.

Should this be the first update attempt and your iPad Air 3 cannot update iOS wirelessly, this could be just a minor system flaw, which might have ruined the updating process on your device. More often than not, minor issues are remedied by rebooting the device. Hence if you haven’t already, try performing a soft reset or reboot your iPad Air 3 to eliminate random symptoms particularly update downloading errors inflicted by minor firmware crashes. Here’s how it’s done:

  1. Press and hold down the Power/Top button for a few seconds until the Power off slider appears.
  2. Drag the slider to power off your device.
  3. After a few seconds, press and hold the Power/Top button until the Apple logo appears.

Allow your device to reconnect to Wi-Fi Internet and then retry downloading and installing the update from your iPad settings.

Second solution: Refresh your Internet connection.

When your device encounters network connectivity issues, relevant services may likewise become unstable or unavailable. And to make sure that this isn’t hindering your iPad Air 3 from updating wirelessly, try to refresh its internet connection using any of the following procedures:

  • To refresh your iPad Air internet connection using the Wi-Fi toggle, simply go to Settings-> Wi-Fi menu then tap the Wi-Fi switch to turn the feature OFF. After a few seconds, toggle the switch again to turn Wi-Fi back on.

To refresh your iPad Air internet connection using the Airplane Mode toggle, just refer to these steps:

  1. Go to Settings-> Airplane mode meu, from the Home screen.
  2. Then toggle the Airplane Mode switch to turn the feature ON. Doing so disables the iPad’s wireless radios hence, wireless features and relevant services are turned off simultaneously.
  3. While Airplane Mode is enabled, reboot or soft reset the iPad.
  4. As soon as it boots up, go back to Settings-> Airplane Mode menu.
  5. Then toggle the Airplane Mode switch to turn the feature OFF again. 

Wait for your iPad to re-establish Wi-Fi signal then enable Wi-Fi to reconnect to your Wi-Fi network and get back online. 

You can also try to power cycle the modem or wireless router. Doing so will fix minor Internet problems that are attributed to random firmware crashes on the modem or router in use. If you have access to your wireless router or modem at the moment, then you can do the power cycle method, which is done through these steps:

  1. Press the power button to turn the device off.
  2. When it’s turned off, unplug its AC adapter from the power source. Keep it that way for about 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  3. After the elapsed time, plug it back in then turn on again.
  4. Wait for the signal indicator to become stable.

If your iPad Air was not configured to auto-connect to the wireless network, then you will need to manually reconnect to Wi-Fi as soon as the network is ready.

ALSO READ: How to fix Apple iPad Air 3 that won’t connect to WiFi

Third solution: Manage memory to fix your iPad Air 3 that cannot update wirelessly.

Update files do need to occupy space from your iPad’s internal memory. Thus if your device is running out of storage, it wouldn’t be able to save the update file. As a result, your iPad Air 3 won’t be able to download or install the iOS update. Typically, you will be prompted with a warning prompt saying something about insufficient storage and the like but in case you don’t see any, just head on to your iPad settings and make sure it has ample memory space to allocate the iOS update file.

  1. From the Home screen, tap Settings.
  2. Select General.
  3. Tap [Device name] Storage.

Check and see how much is the available storage space. If it’s already below 1 gigabyte, then that means the need for you to free up some space. The main reason why your iPad Air 3 cannot update iOS wirelessly is because your device is already running low on memory and therefore there’s no sufficient storage space to allocate the new update file. 

To free up space, you can delete all unwanted apps and contents including old messages, unused photos, videos and other contents that are no longer useful.

Fourth solution: Forget Wi-Fi network then set it up as new.

The problem may also be due to a corrupted Wi-Fi network. If your iPad Air 3 is connected to a corrupted Wi-Fi network, chances are that wireless services including updates couldn’t be completed because the Internet connection is unstable. To rule this out, try to forget the Wi-Fi network from your iPad and then set it up like what you did the first time you connect your device to the Internet. Just refer to these steps if you need help in the process:

  1. From the Home screen, tap Settings.
  2. Select Wi-Fi. To view the list of Wi-Fi networks with range, the Wi-Fi switch must be turned on.
  3. Scroll down and select your Wi-Fi network.
  4. Then tap the information “i” icon next to the SSID or name of the Wi-Fi network.
  5. Finally, tap the option to Forget This Network
  6. If prompted, tap Forget Network to confirm that you want to delete the selected Wi-Fi network. 

You can also delete all other saved Wi-Fi network from the iPad to make sure none of them would cause conflict to the selected wireless network. There are some instances that a device would just auto-connect to any Wi-Fi network available the moment it’s turned on.

Fifth solution: Reset network settings.

Network-related errors, particularly those that are tied to invalid network settings or configurations are usually dealt with by performing a network reset on the device. This is likely what your iPad Air needs to eliminate network errors that might have caused conflicts and prevented it from connecting to Apple’s update server. There’s no need to back up files beforehand since this reset does not affect any internal data stored on the iPad’s internal memory. Just follow these steps whenever you’re ready:

  1. Go to the Home screen then tap on Settings.
  2. Next, tap General.
  3. Scroll down and tap on Reset.
  4. Choose Reset network settings from the given options.
  5. Enter your device passcode when asked to continue.
  6. Confirm when asked if you want to reset network settings on your iPad.

When the reset is finished, your device restarts automatically and then loads up the default network configurations. This means the need for you to set up your Wi-Fi network as new and then reconnect. To ensure that your device has Internet access, open your browser and try navigating to different websites and pages. If everything works as intended, retry downloading and installing the iOS update on your iPad Air 3 wirelessly. 

Last resort: Use iTunes to update your iPad Air manually.

If all else failed to resolve the problem and your iPad Air 3 still cannot update iOS wirelessly, you can use iTunes and try to implement the update manually instead. You must have a computer that’s connected to a stable Wi-Fi network and has the latest iTunes app installed to proceed. Just follow these steps whenever you’re all set:

  1. Connect your iPad to the computer using the original USB cable or Lightning cable that came with it.
  2. Open iTunes on your computer and wait for it to detect your iPad.
  3. When your iPad appears in iTunes, click on its icon to select it.
  4. Then click the Summary pane.
  5. Click the button to Check for Update.
  6. If a new update is available, click Download and Update.
  7. Enter your passcode when asked to proceed.

Follow the rest of the onscreen prompts and commands to finish updating your device. If your iPad Air 3 still failed to update iOS, then this is likely a problem with the update server and therefore could not be resolved on your end. At this point, you may need further assistance from the Apple support team or your carrier’s customer care.

ALSO READ: How to fix iPad Air 3 apps that won’t update via App Store

Still couldn’t get your iPad Air 3 to update iOS wirelessly?

The update server is likely not available at the moment or perhaps it’s very congested that it couldn’t process your update request. If it doesn’t show on the Apple status page, then you can report the problem straight to Apple Support so that they can scour the real-time server status update straight through their system. You can also confirm with your carrier/service provider if your device is already eligible for the update. Sometimes, your device shows up an update notification but the software is actually not yet available for your device.

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