Skip to Content

If You Update Your iPhone Will It Delete Everything?

As an iPhone owner, I was frustrated to discover that updating my device would potentially delete everything I had stored on it. After doing some research and testing, I’m here to share the solutions I found and how I solved the issue.

In this blog post, I’ll be explaining if updating your iPhone will delete everything and what steps you can take to protect your data.

Is My Data Safe After an Update?

Your phone is a little safe deposit box that stores all facets of your life in digital format. Contacts, photos, videos, and files related to school or work—you name it, it’s on there. 

A software update won’t delete your data. If everything goes smoothly, all your data will stay intact.

If there’s a new software update available for your iPhone, you’ll receive regular notifications to remind you of it. A badge will also appear on your Settings app icon. 

Once you decide to start the update process, you have to plug your device into a power source and connect to Wi-Fi.

The latest smartphones have systems in place to make the software update as smooth as possible. For one, it will only let you proceed if your phone has enough battery to avoid interruptions.

If the software update finishes without incident, all your data will be safe and you don’t even need to restore anything. 

What Can Go Wrong When Updating an iPhone

You shouldn’t lose your data when you’re doing something as basic as a software update, but some things could go sideways during or after an update. 

If the phone is interrupted in the middle of an update, it might corrupt the software. This can get your phone bricked. 

A bricked phone will fail to boot or won’t respond to input. The telltale sign is an idle black screen with the Apple logo.

Fortunately, it happens rarely.

The following can get your iPhone bricked during or after a software update:

  • Power loss
  • A bad battery 
  • Running low on storage
  • Unstable iOS update version
  • A malware attack

How to Restore a Bricked Phone

You can restore a bricked phone using iTunes by placing the device on Recovery Mode. Sadly, you cannot restore your data unless you’ve backed up your phone.

The only thing that prevents you from losing your data after a software update is by creating a backup

How to Create a Backup Data

1. Back Up Your iPhone to iCloud

With a reliable internet connection, do these steps on your phone:

  1. Open the Settings app and tap on the name of your Apple ID at the top of your screen.
  2. Tap iCloud > iCloud Back Up Now.
  3. Toggle on Back Up This iPhone, if it’s not turned on yet. 
  4. It’ll automatically back up your data when your phone is connected to a power source and Wi-Fi and the screen is locked.

If you have tons of pictures and videos, it’ll take a long time to back up to iCloud. Additionally, you may also need to top up your iCloud, which only has 5GB of free storage.

2. Back Up Your iPhone to a Computer 

Creating a backup on a computer shouldn’t eat a chunk of your time. Unlike an iCloud backup, it’s faster and less inexpensive.

After plugging your iPhone into a computer via a USB cable, do these steps:

Using Finder

If you have a Mac with macOS 10.15 or later, follow this process:

  1. If you’re doing this for the first time, the Trust This iPhone pop-up alert will appear. Tap on Trust and proceed.
  2. Open Finder.
  3. Under Locations on the lefthand side of the screen, tap on the name of your iPhone ID.
  4. The General tab will display. 
  5. Under Backups, select the box next to Backup all the data on your iPhone to this Mac.
  6. Check the circle next to Encrypt local backup. If you want to skip this option, tap on Back Up Now.
  7. Create a password that’s easy to remember and memorize it. Better yet, write it down and keep it somewhere safe. You’ll use this password to recover this backup.

Using iTunes

If you have a Windows PC or an old Mac, back up your data to iTunes with these steps:

  1. If you don’t have iTunes on your PC, download it here.
  2. Click on the icon of a phone next to Music.
  3. Click Summary, then check the box next to Encrypt local backup
  4. Create a password.
  5. Click Back Up Now.

We always recommend encrypting your local data. This process stores the keychain data containing your data health, saved passwords, Wi-Fi settings, and call and website history.

Final Thoughts

If you update your iPhone will it delete everything? It won’t if the update goes smoothly. 

However, some things could go haywire in the middle of a software update. The best thing you can do to prevent data loss is to back up your data before updating your software.

There’s nothing like the peace of mind you get knowing you’ve taken all the safety precautions before you hit that software update button.