If you own an Apple iPad, it is good to know if you are using the latest version of the iPad operating system (called “iPadOS”). Here’s how to check – and how to update if a new version is available.
Check for iPadOS updates via Settings
The easiest way to check for iPadOS updates is to use the Settings app. Make sure your iPad is connected to the internet then tap the gray gear icon to launch Settings.
When Settings opens, tap “General” in the sidebar on the left.
In General, tap Software Update. (If there’s a number in a red circle with a number next to “Software Update,” that’s your first clue that an iPadOS update is available.)
If a new version of iPadOS is available for download, it will be listed at the top of the “Software Update” page. You will also see a “Download and Install” or “Install Now” button.
Now when you’re ready to update, plug your iPad into a charger first if possible (and consider running a backup just in case). Then tap “Download and Install” or “Install Now” and follow the instructions that appear. It’s a simple process, but it can take a while to download and then install a major update.
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If no updates are available for your iPad, the ‘Software Update’ page will display the current iPadOS version number and a message that says ‘iPadOS is up to date’.
As long as you are connected to the Internet when you load the “Software Update” page in Settings, you can rest assured that you are using the latest version of iPadOS available for your device. If you think you should see an update but you don’t, read the troubleshooting section below.
Check for iPadOS updates with iTunes or Mac Finder
It’s also easy to check for iPadOS updates with iTunes (on Windows or macOS 10.14 or earlier) or Finder (on macOS 10.15 or later). Before you start, connect your iPad to your Mac or PC with the appropriate USB cable.
Once connected and using an older macOS installation (prior to 10.15) or running Windows, open iTunes and click the “iPad” icon in the toolbar.
If you’re using macOS 10.15 or later, open Finder, look in the “Locations” section of the sidebar, and select your iPad name.
Once you see information about your iPad on the screen, select the “General” tab (if using Finder) or select Settings> Summary (if using iTunes). Then click on the “Check for updates” button.
If no update is available, you will see “Your iPad software is up to date” below the current iPadOS version number. But if an update is available, make a backup and then click the “Download” button. The on-screen instructions will guide you through the update process.
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If an update does not appear as expected
If you’ve heard that a new version of iPadOS is available, but you don’t see it in the list when you check for updates, there are at least two known reasons why this could be the case.
The first is that when Apple releases a new version of iPadOS (especially major versions), the company will release it in different regions during the official release day. So if you don’t see an update that you expect yet, check for updates again later.
You may also have an older iPad for which Apple no longer provides iOS (as it was called on older iPads) or iPadOS updates. Apple usually supports iPads with OS updates for about three to five years, depending on the model. After that time, you will need to buy a new iPad to use the latest version of iPadOS.
If you’re still confused and want to check directly for the latest updates from Apple, Apple lists the official latest iPadOS release for each device on its support website. Using that list, you can find your device and the latest iPadOS update version and then compare it with the current iPadOS version information on the Settings> General> Software Update screen. Good luck!
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