Home How To Download iOS 8 When Your iPhone Is Too Full Of Stuff

How To Download iOS 8 When Your iPhone Is Too Full Of Stuff

My husband’s iPhone 5 showing the iOS 8 update screen.

Apple has been touting iOS 8 as the “The biggest iOS release ever.” And boy, it’s not kidding.

Last year’s iPhone software update, iOS 7, was considered large at almost 1GB. Depending on your device, the new version may weigh in at even more. Even worse, in order to install it, Apple requires that you have plenty of space cleared out.

Here’s how to find out if you have enough room, and if not, some tips on doing some house cleaning to make way.

Space Jam

On my husband’s iPhone 5, the iOS 8 download shows up at a svelte 957MB; on my iPhone 5S it’s 1.1GB, and it’s 1.3GB on my iPad mini. For installation, it needs even more room—between 3GB to 5.8GB on our iPhones, and 6.9GB on the iPad mini. 

Woe unto those with 16GB iPhones, iPads or iPod touches. Even if you can get through to Apple’s servers, the installation may demand more than a third of your device’s storage. Fortunately, you get most of that space back after you’re done updating. But that doesn’t relieve the immediate overcrowding problem. 

Here’s how you can tell whether you’ve got the capacity to handle the update: On your iPhone or other iDevice, go into Settings > General > Software Update. In some cases, it may tell you to update to a later version of iOS 7 first. Otherwise, it will show the iOS 8.0 software update page; that’s where you’ll learn whether you can immediately download the software or not.

My iPhone 5S, breaking the bad news that I don’t have enough space. 

If you don’t have the room, you’ll see a “Usage Settings” link at the bottom. Tap that, and at the top of the Usage page, you can see how much space you have available. In my case, I have just 2.3 GB left—more than enough to accommodate iOS 8’s file size, but less than half what I need to do the installation. Yikes. 

Making Way For The New Software

Before you start deleting things, try downloading the update via iTunes on a computer sync it to your iDevice.

If that works, then hurray for iTunes syncing. (Said by no one, ever, until now.) By allowing another program to handle the installation, this tactic can sometime reserve just enough space to let us merrily continue overstuffing our phones with apps and other stuff.

If that doesn’t work, then yes, it’s housecleaning time. If you care about preserving your stored data, be sure to back it up in iTunes or iCloud before you delete anything.

Some of the biggest things hogging our precious iPhone space:

  • Photos: If you’re an avid iPhone photographer, you may want to offload some of those pictures. Again, make sure they’re backed up somewhere. That could be on your computer or iCloud account, or even synced to a cloud service.
  • Videos: A single video can take even more room than a wealth of photos. Back these up too, if you care about any of them.
  • Games: Some game apps take up a massive amount of space. For instance, Infinity Blade comes close to 1GB in file size, and RAGE HD tops that at 1.81GB. Be aware that you might lose your game stats and scores if they’re not tied into a cloud service like Game Center.
  • Media-packed texts: If friends love messaging you with pics and vids, you may want to check out your Messages app and get to culling.
  • Other apps: Instead of removing tons of little apps, you can kill off a few big ones instead. To find the biggest offenders, revisit the Usage page (in Settings) or open iTunes and check the App section, which shows up once you connect your iPhone. Sort the apps according to size to reveal the biggest space hogs.

After you’ve ditched a few items, you’ll want to periodically check into Settings > General > Software Update, and see if you’ve liberated enough room. If you’re lucky, you might be able to get away with not doing the full removal. The only way to know if your installation can slide by is to check. 

Good luck with the update process. Let us know below how it goes! 

Photo and screenshots by Adriana Lee for ReadWrite

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