A new benefit has arrived for iPhone and Apple Watch users in the latest iOS 15 and watchOS 8 public beta releases. The release notes from Apple say the following.
“You can now update your device using Software Update if less than 500MB of storage is available.”
This, as they say, changes everything.
Right now, if you check Apple’s support pages, on a page titled, “If you need more space for an update”, it has three recommendations:
- Plug in your device to your computer to update using your computer.
- Delete content from your device and try updating again.
- Manage the storage on your device with recommendations.
None of those is convenient, so Apple’s solution is very welcome.
It will especially benefit those with older iPhones, when built-in storage was less than it is now and where it’s very easy to have less than 500MB of storage sitting idle.
And, of course, if you have an Apple Watch Series 3, since that model only has 8GB of storage, it’s often the case that updating the Watch requires users to restore their Watch before they can update. This is a faff as it means unpairing and then re-pairing the Watch afterwards.
So, removing this pain point is definitely desirable.
Apple doesn’t give more details of exactly how it’s going to make this happen, but it’s a sign that the company is going in the same direction as its announcement last month about new devices.
That concerned iCloud for non-paying subscribers, that is, those with only 5GB of online storage. When you buy a new device, with iOS 15, you’ll be able to move use iCloud backup to move your data to the new device, even if you’re low on storage. Apple said: “iCloud will grant you as much storage as you need to complete a temporary backup, free of charge, for up to three weeks. This allows you to get all your apps, data, and settings onto your device automatically.”
That extra storage is only available for a short time, of course, but easily enough for the update and transfer to take place.
More details will emerge about how this is achieved, so please check back, but for now this is a cool way of making upgrading painless even if your iPhone or Apple Watch is stuffed to the gills with data already.