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The simplest explanation of why iOS 8 adoption has almost stopped

Updated Dec 19th, 2018 8:52PM EST
iOS 8 vs iOS 7 Upgrade
Image: Zach Epstein, BGR

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Unofficial statistics and Apple’s own iOS adoption stats have revealed that iOS 8 isn’t as “popular” as its predecessors when it comes to fast updates — iOS 8 was installed on 47% of iOS devices 20 days following its release, while iOS 7 was installed on 70% of devices in the same period of time. There may be plenty of reasons for why some iOS device users keep away from iOS 8, but Apple blogger John Gruber thinks he has figured out users’ main concern.

FROM EARLIER: It looks like Apple’s recent blunders may be scaring people away from iOS 8

Upgrading to iOS 8 directly on a device may be troublesome for many users, as they don’t have enough storage space to do so. Obviously, the procedure can be performed in a different way, by connecting the device to a computer and upgrading iOS with iTunes. However, not all iOS device users are aware of this alternative option.

“I don’t think I have ever received so much reader feedback on a post in the history of Daring Fireball. Hundreds of emails. Dozens and dozens of replies on Twitter,” Gruber wrote. “All of them saying the exact same thing: that either they themselves or people they know want to upgrade to iOS 8 but haven’t yet or can’t because the OTA software update won’t fit on their devices.”

“This is a serious problem for Apple, because all those 16 GB devices (let alone the 8 GB ones) aren’t going to suddenly gain more free storage space on their own,” he added. “A lot of these devices might never get updated to iOS 8, but would if the OTA software worked. Unless they can rejigger the OTA software update to require less free space, iOS 8’s adoption rate might lag permanently.”

Gruber further reminded readers of one of his main concerns with the new iPhone 6 models, the limited storage for the base model, that might cause similar concerns in future major iOS updates. “iOS itself takes up about 4GB, so these 16GB devices only have about 12GB free right out of the box. If there is any way that Apple could have brought the base model storage up to 32GB with the new iPhones, they should have. And it’s inexcusable that they’re still selling new devices with only 8GB of storage,” he said.

“iPhone makes it so easy for casual users to take gigabytes of photos and videos but nearly impossible for those users to know what to do with them,” Jonathan Hoover concluded in his own storage-related slow iOS 8 update rate explanation.

A Re/code comic strip addressing the slow iOS 8 adoption rate tackles the matter from the same point of view, as seen below.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.