How to download iOS 16

how to download ios 16.5
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

iOS 16 has been around since September, which has given Apple enough time to release two major updates to its iPhone software. The latest version is iOS 16.5, which you can now download and install on your iPhone.

iOS 16.5 isn't the most feature-packed update — it simply adds a My Sports tab to the News app and makes a few notable bug fixes. Consider the lack of major enhancements a reflection of iOS 16 being out for a while and Apple turning its attention to the forthcoming iOS 17 preview.

Still, even without any show-stopping changes, it's a good idea to stay up to date on the iOS version you're running, as these iOS updates include security patches that will make it as secure as it possibly can be. 

For these reasons, you should learn how to update your iPhone regularly to make sure your device keeps its place as one of the best phones around. Better yet, you should also learn how to update an iPhone automatically, as this will take all the leg work out of the process. We'll show you how to do both here.

Let's get down to it then. Here's how to download and install iOS 16, using the latest iOS 16.5 update as our guide.

How to download iOS 16

  1. Back up your phone before any major iOS update.
  2. Charge your device if possible while upgrading
  3. Connect to Wi-Fi if you're able
  4. Open the Settings app and tap General
  5. Tap Software Update
  6. If an update is available, tap Download and Install
  7. Enter your passcode
  8. Once downloaded, tap Install Now

Read on to see more detailed instructions for each step.

1. Plug in your iPhone and connect to Wi-Fi

Make sure your device is charging and connected to Wi-Fi. Neither are strictly necessary — we installed this update while not hooked up to a power source, so if you have full battery and are installing a smaller update, you probably won't run out of juice. Still, it's probably best to plug in, especially for large updates like the iOS 16 update. Similarly, you can use cellular data to download the update, but it's advisable to use Wi-Fi if you don't have spare data or an unlimited data plan.

It's also a good idea to back up your iPhone before any big iOS update, archiving the update in case you need to go back and restore your iPhone to an earlier iOS should something go wrong.

2. Go to Settings.

(Image: © Tom's Guide)

Open the Settings app, then tap General.

3. Go to Software Update

(Image: © Tom's Guide)

From the General section of the Settings app, tap Software Update to see if there's an available iOS 16 update.

4. Download and install the iOS software update.

(Image: © Tom's Guide)

At this point, iOS 16.5 should be waiting for you. Tap Download and Install.

5. Enter your passcode.

(Image: © Tom's Guide)

You'll be prompted to enter your passcode to continue.

In some cases, you may be asked whether you want to use cellular data. If so, make your choice. If you don't have spare data or aren't on an unlimited data plan, tap Don't Use Cellular Data.

6. Agree to Apple's terms of service.

(Image: © Tom's Guide)

You'll be prompted to agree to Apple's terms of service. Once you do, the iOS 16 download will begin.

7. Install the iOS 16 update.

(Image: © Tom's Guide)

7. Once the update has been downloaded, tap Install Now.

The update will install and your device will restart. This could take a while. Be patient and don't power off your device manually.

Your device will restart after iOS 16.4 is installed. You'll need to enter your passcode to unlock the phone, but when you do it should be pretty clear that iOS 16.4 is now running on your iPhone. If you want to confirm, go back to the Software Update menu. It should now tell you that iOS is up to date. 

You also have the ability to set up you device to update automatically. Here's how it works.

1. Set Automatic Updates.

(Image: © Tom's Guide)

From the Software Update section of the Settings app, tap Automatic Updates.

2. Slide the iOS Updates toggle to On

(Image: © Tom's Guide)

Turn on automatic downloads by sliding the toggle next to Download iOS Updates. You can also set up your phone to automatically install iOS updates. Additionally, turning on Security Responses & System Files will automatically install rapid security updates as they become available.

You may have noticed on the Software Update screen that there is also an option to automatically install beta updates if you're participating in Apple's software beta program. That's a new addition as of iOS 16.4.

You now know how to update an iPhone, and how to update iOS automatically. You can now sleep soundly with the knowledge that your phone is as well optimized and as secure as Apple can make it. And if you're new to iOS 16, be sure to check our iOS 16 guide for tips on how to use all the new features.

If you'd like more tips on getting the most out of your iPhone, our extensive range of tutorials has you covered. New iPhone? check out how to transfer data from iPhone to iPhone or how to transfer Google contacts to iPhone. Dropped your iPhone down the toilet? You'll need to learn how to eject water from an iPhone. Bored of the stock iPhone ringtone? Find out how to set a ringtone on iPhone. Auto macro mode annoying you? Here's how to turn off auto macro mode on iPhone. Want to take Safari to the next level? Read how to install Safari extensions on iPhone.

Peter Wolinski
Reviews Editor

Peter is Reviews Editor at Tom's Guide. As a writer, he covers topics including tech, photography, gaming, hardware, motoring and food & drink. Outside of work, he's an avid photographer, specialising in architectural and portrait photography. When he's not snapping away on his beloved Fujifilm camera, he can usually be found telling everyone about his greyhounds, riding his motorcycle, squeezing as many FPS as possible out of PC games, and perfecting his espresso shots.