Apple could fix the worst thing about setting up a new iPhone

Apple iPhone 15 review.
(Image credit: Future)

One of the worst parts of the new iPhone experience is having to update it to the latest version of iOS before you can start moving your data over. Apple may soon be making that a thing of the past.

Apple expert Mark Gurman's latest Power On newsletter claims that Apple Store employees may soon be equipped with a new "pad-like device" that can update an iPhone without removing it from its packaging. The pad forces the iPhone to turn on, update itself and switch off again with no direct interaction required, he explains.

Apple's aiming to start introducing this system before the end of 2023, Gurman adds. He doesn't indicate how long this process will take, which could be considerable given the worldwide reach of Apple Stores.

A quality-of-life win

iPhone software updates normally happen out of your view, such as when your phone's charging overnight, but the update that's often required during set-up is inescapable. And it's not something you can skip, since you'll want the update if you need to get your new iPhone on the same software version as your current one, or if there's a bug on an older version of iOS, as we saw during the iPhone 15's launch.

Since pre-installing the necessary update would make set-up easier for its users, Apple is smart to offer this to its customers if it is indeed possible as Gurman suggests. We wonder however if this would be a permanent Apple Store-exclusive service, or if certain approved third-party retailers would be offered the use of these devices too. Plus there's the question of whether this technology could be used for iPads, Apple Watches, Macs, and so on in the future.

Right now, buying an iPhone 15, iPhone 15 Pro or any of the other best iPhones is going to mean updating to iOS 17.0.3 yourself, no matter which retailer you buy it from. Hopefully Apple will start introducing this magical iPhone-updating pad soon, so that Black Friday/holiday sales buyers can benefit from it, or failing that, in time for next year's iPhone 16 launch.

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Richard Priday
Assistant Phones Editor

Richard is based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.