iPad Stuck on “Preparing Update,” Fix

preparing update

Usually, updating your iPad or iPhone goes smoothly and sometimes you run into problems. You may even have your device set to update automatically – you simply wake up in the morning, and your device lets you know it has been updated. But what do you do when your update isn’t going so well? In this article, we will give some troubleshooting tips for dealing with update issues. We will specifically address the issue where your iPad is stuck on “Preparing to Update.”

Updating your iPad

The process of updating your iPad involves your device first downloading the necessary update files. After those files are on your iPad, the update can be installed. There are various things that can go wrong and cause the update process to stall, or fail.

See also:

What you Need in Order to Update

In order to update your iPad to the latest iPadOS, you will need to make sure the following are in order:

  • Your Wi-Fi is turned on and working properly and your iPad is connected to the Wi-Fi. See also: iPhone Wi-Fi Connection is Slow? How to Fix.
  • It is a good idea to connect your iPad to a power source to ensure it has sufficient charge to complete the update process.
  • Your iPad is compatible with the latest update. If you are trying to update to iPadOS 14.x, you need:
    • iPad (5th gen) or later
    • iPad Pro
    • iPad mini 4 or iPad mini (5th gen)
    • iPad Air 2 or iPad Air (3rd gen) or later

Steps for Updating

  1. Create a backup to make sure your important files are safe. You can back up to iCloud or to your computer using iTunes or Finder.
  2. Go to Settings > General > Software Update.
  3. Tap Download and Install. Choose Install. Enter your passcode if requested.

See also: iCloud Backup Failed, Fix


Try the following when you are having trouble updating your iPad.


Your update may take up to an hour. Connect your iPad to power and give it plenty of time to make sure it is truly stuck.

You may also want to check Apple’s update servers. See How To Check Apple System Status (Apple Services, Stores, and iCloud).

Delete the Update File

If something went wrong during the update process, you can restart it by first deleting the update file. If you can’t find your update file in the list and you cannot restart the update, try updating using your computer.

  1. Go to Settings > General > iPad Storage.
  2. Find the update file among the apps in the list. It should be listed with the settings icon and be named something like: iPadOS 14.x. Tap on the update in the list.
  3. Tap Delete Update.
  4. Start the update process again.

Update Using your Computer

If you are having trouble updating your iPad, you can try completing the update using Finder or iTunes.

  1. Connect your iPad to your computer using the appropriate connector cable. If necessary, enter your passcode on your iPad to unlock.
iPad in Finder window
  1. Open Finder (for Macs running Catalina or later) or iTunes (for Macs running Mohave or earlier and PCs) and select your iPad in the side menu. If this is the first time you are connecting your iPad, you may need to click Trust on your computer, then on your iPad. You may need to follow onscreen instructions to set up Sync between your iPad and computer.
  2. Click on Check for Update. Follow the onscreen instructions to update your device.

See also:

If you are still having trouble updating your device after trying these steps, you may want to contact apple support, or make an appointment at a Genius Bar for more help.

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Dr. Stacey Butler is a tech writer at macReports covering news, how-tos, and user guides. She is a longtime Mac and iPhone user and holds a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. Here is her LinkedIn profile.

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1 thought on “iPad Stuck on “Preparing Update,” Fix”

  1. Hi, my iPad Pro has recently experienced problems with the battery. It shows 100% charge and after using fir short time ( approximately 20 minutes) it’s just switches off completely. I’ve noticed that it used to take hours to charge but recently it’s showing a full charge really quickly.


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