Here’s how to download iOS 13 on your iPhone or iPod Touch

iOS 13 is here. Here's how to get it on your iPhone or iPod Touch

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The public beta of Apple’s latest mobile software, iOS 13, has finally been released. It’s packed with Apple’s latest tweaks and enhancements, but also introduces a host of new features, including the long-awaited Dark Mode.

There’s a lot to look forward to, but you need to update your device to iOS 13 before you’re able to play with all the latest toys. Here’s how you can update your iPhone or iPod Touch to iOS 13.

Note: For the first time in Apple’s history, the iPad is going its own way and will no longer be tied to iOS. As such, iPads will not be receiving iOS 13. Instead, the iPad will get its own operating system called iPadOS, and we’ve written a separate guide on how to download it.

Compatible devices

First, make sure your device is capable of running iOS 13. While Apple is noted for supporting older devices with new software updates, some older iPhones that were eligible for iOS 12 will not be getting iOS 13, so don’t assume you’ll be getting iOS 13 just because your device received iOS 12. The following iPod Touch and iPhones devices support iOS 13:

Registering for the iOS 13 public beta

At the moment, it’s only the iOS 13 public beta that’s available, and you’ll need to enroll in the iOS beta program to get access. To register for the iOS 13 public beta, head to Apple’s Beta Software Program website and hit the Sign Up button to enroll in the program.

Feel free to spend a little time here too, as you can find out more about iOS 13 and leaf through the FAQs to get a better idea of what to expect.

Back up your iPhone or iPod Touch

Backup iPhone

Backing up your device is strongly advised before installing any update, and it’s doubly important when getting involved in software betas. Backing up your data ensures that it will be easy to restore your device and uninstall the iOS beta if something does go wrong.

You can update your iPhone or iPod Touch using Apple’s iCloud, or by connecting your device to a Mac or PC via iTunes.

Backing up using iCloud

Using iCloud is probably the easiest way to back up your device. Here’s how to do it:

  • Connect to a Wi-Fi network.
  • Head to your Settings app, then select your name and tap iCloud. If you’re on iOS 10.2 or earlier, then you’ll have to scroll down and tap iCloud.
  • Scroll down and tap iCloud Backup > Back Up Now. If you’re on iOS 10.2 or earlier, just tap Backup.

You can check whether the backup is complete by heading back to Settings, hitting iCloud > iCloud Storage > Manage Storage, and tapping on your device on the list.

Backing up on a Mac running MacOS Catalina

MacOS 10.15 Catalina has done away with Apple’s iconic iTunes, replacing it with separate apps for Books, Podcasts, and Music. However, you can still back up your iOS device on the new MacOS. Here’s how to do it:

  • Connect your iPhone or iPod Touch to your Mac and make sure it is up-to-date.
  • Follow any onscreen instructions if you need to enter your device pass code or Trust This Computer.
  • Open your Finder app and select your iPhone from the sidebar.
  • Hit the General tab, then hit Back Up Now to manually back up to your Mac.

Backing up on a Mac or PC with iTunes

If you’re blessed with an older Mac or Windows PC, then you can still use iTunes to back up your iPhone or iPod Touch. Here’s how to do so:

  • Make sure your iTunes is up-to-date and connect your device.
  • Follow any onscreen instructions if you need to enter your device pass code or Trust This Computer.
  • Select your iPhone or iPod Touch in iTunes.
  • Hit Back Up Now to save your data.

Downloading and installing iOS 13 on your iPhone or iPod Touch

how to download ios 13 page

The easiest way to download and install iOS 13 on your iPhone or iPod Touch is to download over the air.

  • On your iPhone, navigate to the Apple Beta Software Program website on Safari and tap Sign In. Use your Apple ID to sign in, and agree to the terms and conditions.
  • Tap the Enroll Your Devices link and head to the iOS tab.
  • Scroll down to the Install Profile section and press the Download Profile link.
  • Once the download has completed, head to Settings, after which you should see a message saying the profile can be installed. Tap that and install the profile. Your iPhone will restart.
  • Head to Settings > General > Software Update.
  • Your device will check for updates, and a notification about iOS 13 should appear. Tap Download and Install.
  • Updating your device can take a little while, and you won’t be able to use your device while the update is running.

Rolling back from iOS 13 to iOS 12

iOS 12 Review
Brenda Stolyar/Digital Trends

Did you download and install iOS 13 but aren’t happy with the prerelease bugs and issues? Thankfully, you can go back to iOS 12. Remember those backups we created before we started? Those will come in handy here. Here’s how to roll back from iOS 13 to iOS 12.

  • To downgrade to iOS 12, you’ll need to put your iPhone into recovery mode. Power off your iPhone by holding down the power button and either volume button, then sliding off the Slide to Power Off slider.
  • Plug your iPhone into your computer using the cable that came with it.
  • On an iPhone with Face ID, hold the top button until you see the Recovery Mode icon. On an iPhone 8 or 8 Plus, press and hold the side button until you see it. On an iPhone 7 or 7 Plus, or 7th-gen iPod Touch, hold the volume down button until you see it. On an iPhone 6s or older, hold the side or top button until you see the icon.
  • On the iTunes popup, click the Restore button.
  • Click Restore and Update to confirm.
  • An iOS 12 updater should appear. Press Next.
  • Click Agree to accept the Terms and Conditions.
  • Once the updater is finished, you’ll have a clean install of iOS 12 on your device. You’ll need to restore from your iCloud or iTunes backups to get your data back.
  • Follow the instructions below depending on the type of backup you made.

Restore from an iCloud backup

Here’s how to restore your device from an iCloud backup.

  • On the Apps & Data screen, tap Restore from iCloud Backup and sign into iCloud.
  • Tap Choose Backup and choose the backup you made before installing iOS 13.
  • Make sure you select the right backup — if you’ve had your device for more than a day, you may have another backup from when you were already on iOS 13.

Restore from an iTunes backup

Did you backup from iTunes? Here’s how to restore from an iTunes backup.

  • Tap Restore from iTunes Backup on the Apps & Data screen.
  • Open iTunes on your computer, make sure your device is connected through a cable, then tap Trust This Computer.
  • Select your device in iTunes, then press Summary and hit the Restore Backup button.
  • Pick the backup from when your device was still running iOS 12.
  • Keep your iPhone connected to your computer until after it finishes syncing.
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