Remember when updating to iOS 8 meant having to free up maybe as much as 6.9 gigabytes of free space on your device by deleting huge swathes of precious data? Those were dark times. But Apple has promised that updating to iOS 9 will be a lot less painful.
Apple likes to make things as simple as possible, and one of the great features built into iOS is OTA (Over The Air) updating that allows me to download new operating system updates direct to my iPhone and iPad. But what was once a simple and streamlined process rapidly became clumsy and awkward. Depending on the hardware, iOS 7 users needed between 4.7GB and 6.9GB of free storage space to apply iOS 8. That's a massive amount of space, especially for devices that started out with only 16GB of space in the beginning (minus what iOS takes when installed).
In order to get the requisite amount of free space, I spent almost an hour deleting apps and files off my iPhone and iPad, and then had to waste even more time redownloading and reconfiguring the apps once iOS 8 was loaded.
I was lucky. I heard from people who lost data - irreplaceable stuff like photos - trying to clear up enough space for the update.
Users complained, and Apple listened. It was announced at the WWDC 2015 keynote that when iOS 9 lands this fall, users will only need 1.3 gigabytes of free space to install it. Not exactly painless, but a lot less painful for people who are tight on space.
There was also a hint that iOS apps might get smaller, only downloading to the device the assets required for that specific platform. Smaller apps not only mean more free space on iDevices for apps and data, but also smaller download packages when it comes to updating. Only the other day I updated five apps on my iPhone, and I was shocked to see that this amounted to over 250 megabytes.
Anything that can help reduce the amount of bloat I have to carry around and update on my iOS devices is very welcome.
iOS 9 will be compatible with the following devices (tl;dr: Anything that runs iOS 8 will run iOS 9):
iPad 2, iPad third-generation, iPad fourth-generation, iPad Air, iPad Air 2, iPad mini, iPad mini 2, iPad mini 3, iPhone 4s, iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, and iPod touch fifth-generation.
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