iOS Update via mobile data – Is it possible?

Hello everyone,

today I heard that it might be possible to download an iOS update on a supervised via mobile data since the release of iOS 12.

I could not believe that because I tested a while ago the “update defer” feature. You can force to update etc. But downloading an update doesnt work if the device doesnt have a Wi-Fi connection. I tested it a few minutes ago and pushed an update policy on a supervised device.

At first I got a message “update requested” but nothing happened. I even changed the SIM card and rebooted the device and there was no entry in “iPhone Storage” for the update.
After I connected the device to a Hotspot the download started immediately and an entry in “iPhone Storage” appeared. At least in my case a Wi-Fi Connection is necessary to download the update.

I can only speak for supervised devices with XenMobile. Maybe another EMM allows to force the update over mobile data. But I could not find anything in the Mobile Device Management Protocol Reference.

Does somebody have another experience and can download an iOS update via mobile data?

Yes it is possible.

There are a few factors here, your mobile carrier must support iOS updates (it is possible for carrier to block updates over mobile data).

  • iOS updates over mobile data only become available 7 days after iOS version release (available almost immediately over WiFi).
  • After 7 days devices go into a “pool” where update may become available for them (updates are staggered to limit strain on mobile networks), this pool is afaik random and not much information is available from apple.


thank you for you fast answer!

You said it`s possible if the provider supports it? I tested it with Vodafone and Telekom in Germany. Do you have first-hand experience with that? Which provider in your country supports that?

In my case the update is always “available” but can`t be downloaded over mobile data.
Is this “pool” a provider rule?

Yes we have a customer in New Zealand that updates iOS on thousands of iOS devices over a local carrier (Spark).

The “pool” is an Apple controlled pool afaik, it is best for you to engage both your Mobile Carrier and your local Apple team to see why the update is not working over mobile data.

Well this is very interesting. I will definitely contact both. But it`s very strange that there is zero documentation about it.

Thank you for your help!