How to fix ‘Unable to install update’ error while updating to iOS 8.1


iOS 8.1 Logo

Apple has just released iOS 8.1 for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch with Apple Pay support, SMS Relay, Instant Hotspot, Camera Roll and more. The update is available as an Over-the-air (OTA) download, but some users are reporting problems while installing the update.

Unable to install Update

Our readers are reporting errors that say “Unable to install update” when attempting to install iOS 8.1 OTA. While there could be multiple reasons this alert pops up, one reason is if you have low battery on your iPhone or iPad. If this is the case, just plug your Lightning cable to your device to start charging it, and now you should be able to install the update without any problems. If the update had already been downloaded, you won’t have to download it again.

If this doesn’t work you can try manually updating to iOS 8.1 via iTunes on your Mac or PC. You can find the direct download links to iOS 8.1 here.

If you faced similar errors, let us know if this tip fixed the error.

➤  How to Install iOS 8.1 Update on your iPhone, iPad and iPod touch

Like this post? Share it!
  • Retribution1888

    Installed fine in my wife’s phone, as for me I’m waiting for a jailbreak before I update mine

    • Retribution1888

      Forgot to say iPhone 5s on EE network over the air update

  • 8lias

    To lose the jailbreak or not. That is the question 😉

  • Noam Rahamim

    4S updated from 8.0.2 OTA – No Problems…

  • My iTunes kept telling me it wasn’t connected to the internet, so I had to free up space on device before being able to download.

    Even so, the install failed without explanation, so I just deleted one more 80MB app and it installed just fine. Was a storage problem for me.

  • James Dinan

    yes i plugged in power and was fine

  • kas

    iPhone 6 after trying to update OTA, then iTunes, now it stack on recovery mode…

  • Danboy

    downloaded OTA but went into DFU mode and gave me the itunes logo with lightning cable image. Plugged into computer and now it is downloading the update via itunes. I hope this is not a clean install as I just got my phone exactly how I wanted it.

    • Roy Thomson

      I’ve just had the same problem is yours ok now?

    • Cecilia lee

      i have the same problem too.
      Fail to update finally. I try to update many times but all fail.
      Update or Restore can let you choose only.
      How you fix it??

      • gerald

        hope this help… I got all crazy errors like you guys had.. all i did is this.. for windows go to CONTROL PANEL, PROGRAMS/UNINSTALL A PROGRAM-look for recent downloads and uninstall it-this may affect iTunes…and then the last thing you need to do is TURN OFF your firewall..you can restore/update your iphone.. after you update you can turn back on your firewall…

    • Scpkumom

      Has anyone figured out how to fix this?

  • hmanders

    Continuing to try on my iP5. I had over 80% batt life when I tried the update unplugged. I plugged it into power and tried again. Same “Unable to Check for Update” error. I just tried it on a coworker’s iP5 and it worked fine. Not sure what’s wrong with my phone.

    • gerald

      hope this help… I got all crazy errors like you guys had.. all i did is this.. for windows go to CONTROL PANEL, PROGRAMS/UNINSTALL A PROGRAM-look for recent downloads and uninstall it-this may affect iTunes…and then the last thing you need to do is TURN OFF your firewall..you can restore/update your iphone.. after you update you can turn back on your firewall….

  • mars

    Tried OTA at first and the updade stopped because low battery percentage. I plugged my phone and stuck on checking the version…now it requires iTunes because I have to restore my device. I just hope all my media files will be preserved. Not good…

  • Yusuf Dhuliawala

    Hey guys i am getting a no service message when i am switching to 2g network from 3g and turning my data off. My current network is Vodafone (India)

  • WriterGuy10

    iPad 2 won’t update from 8.02 to 8.1. Keeps telling me I don’t have enough room — that I need 880MB of room. In fact, I have 10 GIGS of space available, according to the Summary page. Have cycled power, opened and closed iTunes. And currently out of ideas… Anyone have a clue?

    (Meanwhile, my iPhone 5S updated just fine…)

    • mich

      u replied doing it through iTunes?

  • DasH0212

    Going to update mine 6 tday

  • Roy Thomson

    I started my update on my 5s then the plug in to iTunes picture came up on my phone then i had to download it all again had to restore it to factory settings once downloaded, glad i had backed it up yesterday!!!

  • Guest

    Safari barely works on ipad 3rd generation after ios 8.1 update. Pages will not load, cannot click links on pages when they finally load (5+ minutes later).

  • Louise Kelaher

    just got new 5s which only has 7.1.2 on it.. cant seem to update to 8.1, is it too big a jump? i cant sync phone now with bought apps etc

    • Deb

      I”m having the same issue. Ugh!

  • mich

    anyone got it done easy on an ipad 2?

  • Golfpro

    I have iPhone 5s and running on 8.1 beta 2, what should I do? Is it the same version?

  • Andy

    I’ve got an iPad 4, ive tried several times to install the update (it did download) but it’s just not having it, my iPad just goes through the install process reboots but doesn’t install.

    I’ll probably delete the download and try again but I think the update is bugged.

    iOS 8 is a major fail !

  • Nathaniel David Hulme

    I was able to start dowloading iOS 8.1 on my iPhone 5. When it was almost finished it stopped. It’s been about two hours and still no change. Help please!

  • Rassmz

    How do you fix this? Downloaded new update OTA as well and got stuck with iTunes logo with lightening cable telling me to connect to iTunes. Connected and tried to update through iTunes but only gives option to restore to factory settings. Don’t want to do this as I didn’t back up information so would lose everything! What to do??

  • gsmbooster

    iphone 5 ios8.1 error 16 stuck in recovery mode

  • Ali Akbar

    Downloaded fine for me, clicking install brings license agreement, when hitting Accept Agreement button, my installation doesn’t go anywhere. Any help.

  • EasyGoing1

    I was doing a MANUAL update from 7 to 8.1 using a downloaded IPSW for an ipod touch 5th gen. I put the device into DFU mode with Tiny Umbrella because the home button doesn’t work (needs to be pressed down EXTREMELY hard), then using iTunes, I used the option+update method, selected the IPSW and started the update (again, NOT OTA). 80% of the way through, it failed, and now it wont boot. All I get is an apple logo acting like its going to boot, but then after about 10 seconds the screen goes blank and thats it. Hitting the power button repeats the logo + blank screen.

    • GrandeDaughter

      Did you ever resolve this issue?

  • Gerald

    hope this help… I got all crazy errors like you guys had.. all i did is this.. for windows go to CONTROL PANEL, PROGRAMS/UNINSTALL A PROGRAM-look for recent downloads and uninstall it-this may affect iTunes…and then the last thing you need to do is TURN OFF your firewall..you can restore/update your iphone.. after you update you can turn back on your firewall.

  • Mitch

    I’ve downloaded this and my iPad says on the home screen An error occurred installing iOS 8.1.2. and there’s a loading symbol on the screen saying verifying update, i can’t use my iPad any more even when shutting it down and restarting its still there i can’t open my iPad, help please

  • serksin

    i have and issue my mini ipad is in disable mode and I set up in recovery mode and connected to iTunes it begun to down load reset and it stop a meassage came out saying can down load cus it lock I pad mini it says error im lost

  • rash

    i still cant update nor restore my ipad mini. it still says that there is an error. now i cant open my ipad anymore. there is only that image of the connector and the itunes logo whenever i open it. help.

  • am

    i change the cable and it works.