Apple released iOS 8 to the public today, but users are a bit confused.
The system update takes up about 1 GB of space, but iPhones and iPads require users have 4.6 GB of free space before they can download and install iOS 8.
Now before you freak out and start blaming Apple for this plight brought down upon you and your iOS device that’s full of too much stuff, consider this: System updates need all this space.
When you’re downloading a new system update like iOS 8, all the contents are stored in a compressed file. Once the download is complete, your iOS device will start unpacking that compressed file. Your iDevice needs enough storage to both handle the compressed file and all its uncompressed contents as the system reboots.
In addition, it needs to be able to store the previous system version — in this case, iOS 7 — while the compressed system update and its uncompressed contents initialize and take effect.
Once the update is complete, obviously, iOS 7 and the compressed file of iOS 8 will disappear, thus freeing up space on your iPhone or iPad again. At that point, you can reload your device with all your movies, music, and apps, which you hopefully backed up to your computer or the cloud.
If you need help clearing out space from your iDevice, we have a comprehensive guide to help you out. You can also install iOS 8 by plugging your device into your computer and syncing with iTunes. That process won’t require you to free up any extra space beyond the size of the actual update.
And if you’re still having issues downloading iOS 8 from Apple’s servers, be patient.