While iOS 8 is probably the most substantial update Apple’s mobile software platform has ever received, adoption has been shockingly slow compared to earlier iOS updates. It makes sense that people might not be quite as quick to update to iOS 8 as they were with iOS 7, which introduced an exciting new look for iOS. But the gap has been fairly significant, and most people seem to agree that the explanation for the slower adoption rate is fairly simple: People just don’t have enough free space on their devices to download and install iOS 8 or iOS 8.1 over the air.
Connecting to iTunes to perform the update is one possibility, but many people have never connected their iPhones and iPads to a computer and don’t want to start now. If you fall into that category, here’s the best thing you can to free up space and update your smartphone or tablet.
Apple recently sent out reminders to people asking them to upgrade their iPhones and iPads to iOS 8, but the company completely ignored the fact that many people simply cannot. If you’re one of those people, however, you’ll be happy to learn that there’s a pretty easy way to see which apps are hogging all of the storage on your device.
In the iPhone or iPad’s Settings app, tap General and then Usage. On this screen, the second group of options you’ll see is labeled “Storage.”
Tap the Manage Storage option and you’ll be presented with a list of all your apps arranged by the amount of storage they are taking up. Some of the biggest storage hogs will be Apple’s own apps — as you can see in the screenshot below, the Messages app has 4.3GB of data associated with it on my iPhone 6 — but you’ll also see all of the third-party iOS apps that are eating up space on your device.
If you’re short on available storage and have been unable to update your iPhone or iPad to iOS 8, deleting some apps and then reinstalling them might be a fast, easy solution to your problems.
For example, looking at my apps above, you’ll see that Spotify and Hype Machine are taking up about 1.5GB of space on my phone. TweetBot and Twitter occupy 841MB together, and some app I don’t even remember installing called Localscope is taking up another half of a gigabyte.
Then there’s an app like CoPilot Live, with giant locally stored maps for navigation that take up plenty of space, and the Google search app is hogging 422MB of space for some reason.
By deleting all of those apps, I can free up more than 3.6GB of space in just a few seconds. Then, once I’ve upgraded to iOS 8, I can quickly and easily reinstall those apps and things like songs in Spotify or maps in CoPilot can be downloaded again for free.
Of course, be careful when deleting your apps. Some applications have data that isn’t backed up online or files that can’t easily be downloaded again.