Apple did not allow downloading large iOS updates through cellular/mobile data for a long time. That changed with the introduction of 5G. Those who use iPhone 12 and above need an active 5G plan to download iOS updates over cellular/mobile data. However, if you use the iPhone 11 or below, worry not, as there are other workarounds to download the iOS 17 with Cellular Data.
- iOS 17 compatible devices
- Things to know before upgrading to iOS 17 through cellular/mobile data
- How to install iOS 17 with cellular/mobile Data
- Change the date to download an iOS update
- Update your iPhone to iOS 17 through Mac or PC
- Share iPhone cellular data to Mac and use it as a Hotspot
iOS 17 compatible devices
List of iPhones eligible for the iOS 17 update:
- iPhone 15 Series
- iPhone 14 Series
- iPhone 13 Series
- iPhone 12 Series
- iPhone 11 Series
- iPhone XS and XS Max
- iPhone XR
- iPhone SE (2nd and 3rd Generation)
Things to know before upgrading to iOS 17 through cellular/mobile data
- There is a high chance that the Wi-Fi hotspot hosted from your Mac will be slower than your cellular/mobile data speeds.
- Please ensure you have fast, stable, and unlimited cellular/mobile data.
- If you have any existing updates or downloads happening in the background on Mac, please pause those downloads so that you do not exhaust your data limits. It’ll also ensure you get higher speeds if the bandwidth isn’t shared elsewhere.
- As long as you are using your Mac as a Wi-Fi hotspot host, AirDrop won’t be available on Mac. Also, the same applies to the iPhone being used to share mobile data via USB to Mac.
- For large software updates, we recommend you connect to a Wi-Fi network.
How to install iOS 17 with cellular/mobile data
A couple of iPhones with support for 5G (iPhone 12 and above) can download the iOS 17 update through Cellular/Mobile Data without any issues. All you need to change are these settings:
- Open Settings.
- Select Cellular/Mobile Data.
- Turn on the Cellular/Mobile Data toggle.
- Tap Cellular/Mobile Data Options.
- On the next page, tap Data Mode.
- Select Allow More Data on 5G.
You can now download and install iOS 17, as following the above-mentioned steps would remove the data cap limits. However, ensure you have enough data left before you proceed so that you do not get stuck in between.
Change the date to download an iOS update
In this method, you need to trick your iPhone into believing it is living in the future. I’m not certain how changing the date allows you to bypass the data cap set on iPhone, but it works.
- Open Settings on iPhone → Tap General.
- Select Date & Time → Toggle off Set Automatically.
- Select the date displayed below Time Zone. Example: 06-Sep-2023.
- Move the date to at least one month ahead. Example: 06-Oct-2023.
- Go back to General settings.
- Tap Software Update.
- Select Download and Install.
- Once the update is downloaded, head to Date & Time and toggle on the Set Automatically option.
- Once the Date and time has returned to the real Date & Time, go ahead with the installation of iOS 17.
If the Download and Install option still appears grey, even after changing the date, try to switch the date a couple of times, and the option will be available.
Update your iPhone to iOS 17 through Mac or PC
There is a possibility that you do not have a Wi-Fi connection but rather have an active internet connection on your Mac or PC. In this scenario, you can download and install iOS 17 by connecting your iPhone to a Mac or PC through a compatible Lightning cable. Here’s how:
- Connect your iPhone to Mac or PC.
- Open Finder if you’re using Mac and iTunes if you’re using a Windows PC.
Note: The upcoming steps are for Finder on Mac. They are similar to iTunes on PC.
- Under Locations, select your iPhone.
- Click Trust on your Mac.
- Tap Trust on your iPhone.
- Select General.
- On Macs, in the Software section, select Check for updates.
- Select Download and Update.
It is a possibility that if you have an unstable internet connection, the download will fail. In such cases, you will need to re-download the file. You can download the iOS update through a third-party website to prevent all this hassle. It is an especially useful method for users with unreliable internet connections. Follow these steps to download the iOS 17 update file.
- Open a web browser of your choice.
- Enter ipsw.me in the search bar and hit enter.
- Once you’re on the IPSW website, select iPhone and your iPhone model.
- Select the latest file under Signed IPSWs.
- Download the file and remember the storage path.
- Now, head to Finder → Select your iPhone.
- Press and hold the option key and click Check for updates.
- Select the file and click Open.
Your iPhone will restart once the iOS 17 update is installed.
This method will work for a specific group of people who own an iPhone and a Mac. All you need to do is connect your iPhone to the Mac and change a couple of settings. There’s no need to rely on third-party applications to perform any of the steps.
This works by sharing your iPhone’s cellular/mobile data to Mac via USB. Then, after tweaking some settings, the Mac will act as a Wi-Fi hotspot and share cellular/mobile data. Once the hotspot is set up, you can connect your iPhone to the Mac’s Wi-Fi hotspot, which is your iPhone’s mobile data.
All the steps mentioned in the steps are native Mac settings. Before we proceed with the guide, make sure to do the following.
- Disconnect your Mac from Wi-Fi: On the Menu Bar, click the Wi-Fi icon → click your current Wi-Fi network to disconnect it. The idea is to disconnect from any active connection, but Wi-Fi is still enabled.
- On your iPhone: Turn on mobile data. Ensure you have ample or unlimited cellular/mobile data allowance.
- Open Settings on your iPhone.
- Disable Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Personal Hotspot. Do not use the Control Centre to disable these features.
- Connect your iPhone to your Mac.
- Tap Personal Hotspot in Settings on iPhone.
- Toggle on the Allow Others to Join option.
- Once the pop-up appears, select USB Only. If another pop-up appears and asks Trust or Don’t Trust, select Trust and enter your iPhone’s password.
- On Mac, click the Apple logo at the top left corner of the screen.
- Click System Preferences.
- Select Sharing.
- Click the Internet Sharing option on the left of the screen. Please do not click the checkbox.
- There will be a dropdown menu beside the Share your connection from: option. Select iPhone USB. (If you do not see the iPhone USB option in the dropdown menu, we have a solution at the end of these steps)
- In the next option that reads, “To computers using:” select and mark the Wi-Fi checkbox.
- Now, select and mark the Internet checkbox. A pop-up window will appear if you haven’t performed this action before.
- The pop-up window has all the details, including Network Name, Channel, Security, and Password. While the default values are perfect, you can change these as per your needs.
- Fill in all the details.
- Click Start to confirm your actions.
- To check if all the settings have been successfully applied, navigate to the Menu Bar. The Wi-Fi icon will display an upward-facing arrow. This indicates that your Mac is using your iPhone’s mobile data and sharing it through a Wi-Fi hotspot.
Note: If you do not see an option to set a password in step 11, it means you have accessed this feature in the past. To change the settings, click Wi-Fi Options… and set your password. Finally, click inside the small Internet Sharing box to start sharing your iPhone Mobile Data Hotspot via Wi-Fi.
Now, you need to connect your iPhone with the Wi-Fi hotspot shared by your Mac and install the iOS update. To do this:
- Open Settings on your iPhone.
- Tap Wi-Fi.
- Toggle on the Wi-Fi option.
- After searching for nearby networks, tap your Mac’s Wi-Fi network and enter your created password.
- After establishing a successful connection, the iPhone will display the Wi-Fi logo at the top of its screen.
- Once done, navigate to General.
- Select Software Update.
- You can now select Download and Install to update your iPhone to iOS 17.
For users who did not have the iPhone USB option in step 11
- Turn on Personal Hotspot on your iPhone.
- Connect your iPhone to your Mac.
- Click on the Apple Logo at the top left of the screen.
- Select System Preferences.
- Click Network in System Preferences.
- Select the +plus icon located on the bottom left.
- In the Interface dropdown menu, select iPhone USB and click Create.
- Finally, click Apply at the bottom right and continue from step 11.
I am still unaware why Apple doesn’t allow users to download iOS updates through cellular/mobile data with a 4G network connection.
The above-listed methods will help you upgrade from iOS 16 to iOS 17 and work for other incremental updates. However, whenever you have the chance, please try and connect to a Wi-Fi network to update iOS on your iPhone. If you’re a beta user, you can easily uninstall iOS 17 beta and install the stable build of iOS 17.
If you have any questions regarding the steps mentioned above, leave a comment below, and we will try to resolve your query as soon as possible.
Other interesting reads about software released:
- Best iOS 17 features and supported devices
- New Apple Music features in iOS 17: Crossfade, Collaborative Playlists, and more
- How to limit Photos app access in iOS 17 and iPadOS 17
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