What to expect when upgrading to iOS 8

iOS8IconXMaybe you’re ready to install iOS 8, or maybe you’re going to give it a few days, but when you finally do install the upgrade, there are several issues you might run into, and some general behaviors when installing that might have you wondering if something has gone wrong.

First and foremost, the 16GB iPhone and iPad are the most popular models; however, even though this update is a 1.1GB download to your phone, it will require about 5.8GB to install. This is about half of the usable space on the 16GB models, so if you have yours relatively full, then you will be required to first remove some items and then update your phone.

To manage this, go to the General > Usage section, where you can tap the Manage Storage option. In here, you can see which apps are using the most data and remove it. For most people, the Photos and Music sections will be largest. In these cases, connect your iDevice to your Mac and use iTunes to remove music from it. In addition, use iPhoto or your preferred photo management software to remove any photos from the device. In addition to photos, videos, and music, remove any unneeded apps. When enough space is available, you can go back to the Software Update settings and install the update.

Next, be sure your iPhone is either charged, or plug it in when installing iOS 8. For my iPhone 5s, about 40% of the battery was used during the installation, which is ample for most people, but some may have lower battery capacity (especially for older devices), or you may have forgotten to charge your battery, in which case the update may be interrupted.

Overall, the update took about three hours to fully install, including downloading. Granted, the download was likely hindered by high traffic (Apple does not show download speeds), but the main wait time was spent after the download had completed and the iPhone was progressing with “Preparing Update” as the status. This took about 1-1.5 hours, in which I thought it may have hung up, but could see the progress bar inching along.

Finally, once this preparation step was complete, the iPhone notified me that iOS 8 was ready, and prompted me to verify the upgrade. Doing this prompted for my passcode, and then took another 10-15 minutes of a spinning status wheel before the phone reset to the black screen with the Apple logo, and the familiar loading progress bar. This took some time to complete (about 30 minutes), followed by the phone resetting and going through this progress bar again. At this second reset, the phone sat at the progress bar for another ~10 minutes, before dropping me back into iOS.

Once logged in, iOS 8 notified me that the update was complete, and then asked for iCloud passwords and acceptance of other online services like location services and app analytics. When done, it said “Welcome to iPhone” and I am back up and running.

Here is a chronological gallery of the update process (starting at the top-left):

9 thoughts on “What to expect when upgrading to iOS 8

  1. B. Jefferson Le Blanc

    Did you gain back some of the space on you iPhone after the upgrade finished? Hopefully iOS 8 doesn’t take up 30% of the space on a 16GB phone or iPad.

    1. Topher Kessler Post author

      I thought I had replied to this. The space is returned once iOS 8 is installed. The installation by downloading to the phone requires the full 5.8 GB for downloading, unpacking, and then installing the software before these temporary files are deleted.

      1. darkdreamer4u

        Ok, so the update downloaded itself (w/o my doing) and is 2.8GB. I have 4.2GB free right now (with the downloaded 2.8GB update on it) – so this should be enough, right?

        1. Topher Kessler Post author

          It may depend on several factors. Try installing it, and if there is not enough space, the installer will let you know. If there is enough space, then it will simply proceed with the installation.

  2. David Byrum

    Thanks for the informative and helpful info about how long this upgrade can take. I would have been concerned if after 1 hr nothing was completed and probably would have been tempted to turn-off the iPhone & iPad and start over. Now I know not to do that!

  3. Alan Rothberg

    Good information, thanks! I always do the download first to my desktop. When the update notice appears in iTunes, it gives the user an option of “Download Only” or “Download and Install” (something like that). So, I’ll just start the download before going to bed or if I’m not using my desktop for anything important. Doing that greatly speeds up the process once you’re ready to actually update your device.

  4. Jay

    I always do upgrade downloads on my computer, not the phone. Does that require less free space on the phone? I have never gotten a message about insufficient space.


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