iOS 5.1: Over the Air Software Updates

Updating the operating system on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch has always been fairly straight forward: Wait for the update to come out, then connect your device to your computer and let iTunes handle the installation. With iOS 5 and 5.1, however, you can install those new system updates without ever getting your i-device near your computer.

Here’s how to install an iOS update on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch using iOS 5’s over-the-air update feature:

  • Tap Settings.
  • Tap General.
  • Tap Software Update.
  • If an update is available, you’ll see a list showing what’s new. Tap Download and Install.

iOS 5 lets you update the OS without needing iTunesiOS 5 lets you update the OS without needing iTunes

Be sure you’re connected to a Wi-Fi network with Internet access when installing OS updates, and make sure your battery has a reasonable charge so it doesn’t conk out part way through the installation process because the iOS 5.1 update weighs in at almost 200MB.

The over-the-air update feature is especially handy with the iOS 5.1 update because it’s proving to be a more reliable way to get iPhones and iPads up to the latest operating system for many people. It also cuts down the reliance on a desktop or laptop computer, which fits well with Apple’s efforts to make the iPhone and iPad stand-alone devices.