How to upgrade your iPod Touch to the latest firmware for free?

Follow these simple steps to upgrade your iPod Touch’s firmware to the latest version for free.

If you end up with an iPod Touch that’s on sale this holiday season you might most probably end up with an iPod Touch that has a really old firmware. You might think it would be easier to upgrade to the latest firmware. Even though the upgrade process is lot simpler and straight-forward you might be surprised to hear that Apple charges you $4.95 (the latest charge, as of this writing) to upgrade to the latest firmware version.

It’s not that $4.95 that matters to most of us but it’s the feel that why should we pay again to just upgrade the firmware of a brand new device. If you find $4.95 not convincing enough to upgrade then, of course naturally, you’ll look for an alternative. And the alternative is pretty simple to do and the best of all it’s free. Here are the steps involved at a high level,

  • Figure out the Build Version of your iPod Touch
  • Download the appropriate “.ipsw” file
  • Use the “Restore” feature of your iPod Touch to install the downloaded latest firmware file
  • Sit back and let the iPod Touch upgrade itself

Figure out the Build Version of your iPod Touch

iPod Touch Build Version listed

Connect your iPod Touch and launch iTunes. On the iPod “Summary” tab you should be able to see the “Build Version” of your iPod OS (as you can see above). If you can’t see the “Build Version” label by default but if you see “Software Version” instead, don’t worry, just click on the “Software Version” label and you should be able to see the “Build Version” label. Note down the Build Version number, you’ll need it later.

Download the appropriate “.ipsw” file


Visit Scroll down to the “iPhone/iPod Touch” dropdown and choose the appropriate firmware file. The Build Version number that you’ve noted before would come in handy here to figure out the correct file that you’d need to download.

iPod Touch Firmware File

The downloaded file might be of “.zip” format. If that’s the case, rename the file and just remove the “.zip” portion of the file name. You might be prompted to not do it. Just do it, there is no harm. Ultimately, you should end up with a “.ipsw” file.

Restore your iPod Touch with the latest firmware file

iPod Touch Version infomation

Come back to iTunes and use the “Restore” feature to restore your iPod Touch to the downloaded firmware. When you click on the “Restore” button just be careful to hold down the “SHIFT” key when you click on the “Restore” button. You’ll be prompted to choose a “.ipsw” file. Choose the file that you’ve downloaded before and wait for your iPod Touch to upgrade itself to the latest firmware.

If you don’t mind the $4.95 charge then go for it through the official Apple channel to upgrade your iPod Touch to the latest firmware. But, in case, if you don’t want to pay that charge then I hope you find the above steps simple enough to follow to upgrade your iPod Touch to the latest firmware for free.

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3 comments so far

  1. SifJar

    I'm curious, is this legal?

  2. demogeek

    SifJar – It may not be legal but sure, Apple allows you to do it without jail-breaking your iPod and also the price for some is unreasonable for a device that costs $$$ already.

  3. M K

    Doesn't really work for all iPods. Perhaps Apple's smart enough not to make ALL their 3.1.2 firmware images available ;-)

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