How to fix Software Update Failed error on your Apple iPhone XS Max, cannot update iOS wirelessly [Troubleshooting Guide]

While various types of post-update exist, keeping phone software up-to-date is still highly recommended. Updates are generally intended to serve good purposes from bringing in new features to fixing bugs and system errors on certain devices. But because of many factors, installing an update can sometimes cause you headaches and troubles as new issues begin to emerge. On the brighter note, these problems are software-related and therefore possible to fix by some workarounds.

To give you some inputs whenever you bumped into a relevant issue, I’ve mapped out some simple solutions below. Read on to find out what to do whenever you’ll end up facing a “Software Update Failed” error when attempting to install the latest iOS update wirelessly on your iPhone XS Max. Feel free to refer to this walkthrough whenever you need help updating your new iOS device.

But before anything else, if you have another issue with your phone, drop by our troubleshooting page as we have already addressed hundreds of issues reported by the owners. Odds are that there are already existing solutions on our website or at least, there are similar problems we already fixed. So, try to find ones that are similar or related to your problem. If you need further assistance, however, feel free to contact us by filling up our iPhone issues questionnaire.

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First solution: Restart your Wi-Fi connection.

The first factors that you need to rule out are Wi-Fi problems on the phone. A stable Wi-Fi Internet connection is necessary for you to install OTA updates. If your phone is experiencing problems like slow browsing, internet drops, and no Internet access, it won’t be able to access or connect to the Apple server. Thus, software update would fail. The easiest possible solution to this would be restart your Wi-Fi Internet connection. If you can access your modem or wireless router, then reboot it. Otherwise, restart your Internet connection from your iPhone. Here are your options:

  • To turn Wi-Fi off and on, head over to Settings-> Wi-Fi menu and then toggle the switch to turn Wi-Fi OFF for a few seconds then turn back ON.

Performing the Airplane Mode trick can also help rectify minor errors affecting the phone’s wireless radios that may have caused random Wi-Fi drops and other wireless connectivity errors. If you wish to give it a shot, then here’s how it’s done:

  1. Navigate to Settings-> Airplane Mode menu.
  2. Toggle the Airplane Mode switch ON to enable the feature. Doing so disables wireless radios including Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections.
  3. While Airplane Mode is enabled, restart/soft reset your iPhone XS Max.
  4. As soon as the phone boots up, head back to Settings-> Airplane Mode menu and then toggle the switch to turn Airplane Mode OFF again. Wireless radios are then re-enabled.

Performing this trick is like giving a quick restart on the phone’s wireless functions. And it turned out to help rectify random problems with your iPhone’s Wi-Fi feature.

Second solution: Reset network settings on your iPhone.

Network system errors affecting the phone’s wireless network services may also be underlying cause. To clear this out, performing a network settings reset can help. Doing so erases current network configurations, APNs and server settings on the phone. This method is often used when dealing with complex network problems in other iOS devices. Before doing so, take note of your Wi-Fi passwords because you will need to enter then again later to reconnect to your Wi-Fi network. Once you’re all set, follow these steps:

  1. From the Home screen, tap on Settings.
  2. Select General.
  3. Scroll down and 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.

After the reset, your iPhone will restart automatically. Allow it to finish its boot-up sequence and then set up your Wi-Fi network to reconnect and go back online. When your iPhone is connected, retry downloading the update.

Third solution: Reset all settings on your iPhone.

Performing this reset will help clear out various types of software issues including network connection errors that are inflicted by incorrect settings or misconfigured options. There may be some settings or options that are not properly configured on your device and for some reasons that caused troubles on the phone’s downloading functions. Unlike factory reset though, this reset does not affect any saved data thus won’t result to data loss. All your customized settings will be deleted. If you wish to try it, then follow these steps:

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

Your phone will then start wiping customized settings and then restores the original values and options. After the reset, your iPhone reboots by itself. When it’s finished restarting, enable individual features you need to use including Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections on your iPhone.

Fourth solution: Delete then download the iOS update again.

It’s possible that some parts of the update file has already been downloaded but weren’t completed. As a result, the update has been corrupted. In that case, you will need to remove the unfinished or corrupted file and then re-download the complete update file on your phone. Here’s how it’s done:

  1. Navigate to Settings-> General-> iPhone Storage menu.
  2. Find the iOS update file in the list of apps.
  3. Tap to select the iOS update when you find it.
  4. Then tap the option to Delete Update.
  5. When the update is deleted completely, go back to Settings-> General-> Software Update menu and re-download the latest iOS update.

If the update is successfully installed, reboot your iPhone to clear its cache and to apply the recent system changes.

Fifth solution: Download and install the update on your iPhone XS Max using iTunes.

If none of the prior methods worked and the iOS update download still failed, then try updating your iPhone XS Max through iTunes on a computer instead. Here’s how it’s done:

  1. Get a Windows or Mac computer with the latest version of iTunes 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 that doesn’t work either, then factory reset your iPhone XS Max using iTunes. Doing so will wipe all system errors that caused updating problems and at the same time install the latest software version available for your iPhone. Here’s how:

  1. Open iTunes on your computer. Be sure to use the latest version of iTunes software to avoid system conflicts.
  2. Connect your iPhone XS to the computer using the supplied USB cable.
  3. If prompted, tap the option to Trust This Computer then follow the onscreen prompts to continue.
  4. Select your iPhone XS Max when it appears in iTunes.
  5. Navigate to the Summary section then click the Restore iPhone button. If possible, back up all your important files before restoring your device.
  6. Click the Restore button on the message prompt to confirm.
  7. Allow iTunes to finish restoring the default settings and then downloads the latest software for your device to its factory settings. Your iPhone should reboot when the reset is finished.

Wait until it boots up and then follow the setup wizard to set it up and configure your iPhone as new.

Seek more help

Contact Apple Support to escalate the problem for further assistance. Also check if there are any problems with the Apple server that’s halting over-the-air updates. To verify and ensure that the update is already available on your device, call your carrier and raise your concern. Sometimes, it would take longer for the new update to become accessible on certain devices even if it’s already rolled out officially. So you may just have to wait a little longer.


Connect with us

If you need more help with the use of certain functions and features of the Apple iPhone XS Max smartphone, feel free to visit our Tutorial Page. There you can find a list of how-to contents, step-by-step tutorials, as well as answers to FAQs regarding iPhone XS Max. If you have other concerns or encountered some troubles while using the phone, you can reach us through this form. Just be sure to tell us more details of the problem or device issue(s) you may have and we will be more than happy to assist you further.

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