Apple is throwing a bone to iPhone and iPad owners who complained that software updates took up too much storage space on their devices. A new update, iOS 8.1.3, released Tuesday night, brings the storage requirement down to a more manageable level.
Previously, iOS 8 required over 1 gigabyte to download and 5.8 GB to install, which freaked people out. Those with 16 GB iPhones were basically forced to delete old apps, pictures and video, which isn't fun.
Deleting apps: A major cause of heartache in our modern age. (Source)
For those who haven't yet taken the iOS 8 plunge and are still using iOS 7, the iOS 8.1.3 download is about 25 percent smaller -- a slender 753 megabytes or so -- according to the outdated Apple devices we looked at. That may not seem so much smaller, but the difference will potentially save you a dozen or so podcasts, a bunch of pictures or a couple of meaty apps.
Once you've downloaded the software, you still need to install it, and while it's unclear what the final install size is, it's certainly smaller than past updates. A couple of factors may affect the actual space an iOS update will consume on your device:
• Downloading "over the air" directly to your phone, as opposed to connecting your device to a computer and iTunes, might result in a bigger file on your iPhone or iPad.
• If it's been a while since you've updated, the file might be bigger. For example, my colleague Tim Stenovec wasn't on the most recent version of iOS 8 when he downloaded 8.1.3, and his update required 260 MB vs. the 246 MB reported elsewhere.
Apple's promise of a smaller-sized software update comes less than one month after the Cupertino-based company was sued over storage space on iOS devices. The lawsuit claims Apple does not disclose that nearly a quarter of the advertised storage space on certain devices could be consumed by the iOS 8 operating system.
According to one report, Apple makes billions by selling iPhones with small storage space.