How to install iOS 9 without deleting apps and data

If you’ve tried to install iOS 8 on an iPhone or iPad, you may have got a nasty surprise.

Apple demands that you clear up to 6.9GB of space on your device before it allows the installation to proceed. For those with 16GB devices, that will almost certainly require multiple apps to be uninstalled before you can start the upgrade, which is a pain in the backside.

At this point, we should note that iOS 8 doesn’t actually consume that much disk space. Once installed, you will still have around 12GB of free space on a 16GB device. It simply needs more space at the point of installation, although 6.9GB is far more than any previous OS upgrade has required.

how to update to iOS 8

There is, however, a way to install iOS 8 without first having to clear out apps or data on your iPhone or iPad, using iTunes.

1. Update iTunes

We generally avoid using iTunes on Windows if we possibly can, so if you’ve not opened the app recently, you will need to make sure that you’re updated to the latest version. A pop-up warning will appear when you first open iTunes if you’ve not got the latest version. Keep an eye out for Apple trying to sneak other software onto your PC as part of the installation, such as QuickTime.

2. Back up your device

Connect your device to the PC/Mac via USB cable and select it from within iTunes. Now hit the Back Up Now button to ensure everything is protected before you proceed with the upgrade.

3. Check for updates

Once the back up is complete, hit the Check for Update button. iTunes should find the iOS 8 update, although if you’ve failed to install any previous OS updates you may have to install those first.

Hit the Download and Update button from the pop-up that appears. By downloading and installing this way, you will only need around 800MB of free space on your device, instead of the 6.9GB if you upgrade from the device itself.

4. Complete the install

Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the installation. The whole process can take an hour or more, especially if you’ve not backed up your device for a long while or are on a slow broadband connection, so don’t start it running if you’ve got to go out in the next hour or two, as your phone will need to remain plugged into the computer for the entire process.

It’s disappointing that Apple, having made a big deal of not having to connect iPads and iPhones to your computer any more, can’t find a more efficient means of making on-device upgrades. But if you want to upgrade your device without first having to clear half of your applications off, it’s the lesser of two evils.

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