A new feature of the iOS 9 operating system has been spotted by a young Apple developer. 16-year-old iOS development scholar Kaleb Butt was fiddling with the code of the new Apple operating system when he noticed that Apple software updates would change in this iteration of the software.
iOS 9 – Footprint changes
Apple updates are known for being extremely large, and typically force iPhone users to clear a large amount of storage, or run an outdated and potentially insecure version of the operating system. Neither of these solutions is ideal, and this issue was a particular bugbear with the release of iOS 8.
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But Apple has apparently solved this problem in the new iOS 9 release. This software seemingly features a sophisticated workaround for this problem, which involves iOS 9 temporarily deleting apps and data while an update takes place. Once the relevant files and updates have been implemented by the system, any apps which have been deleted are automatically reinstated.
Ahead of the release of the next generation iPhone 7, this new aspect of iOS 9 is thought to be a particular boon for people utilizing the 16GB version of the handset. There has been some speculation over whether Apple would consider dumping the budget 16GB model, and instead making the entry-level iPhone a 32GB device.
Butt, who has a Worldwide Developers Conference scholarship, has posted a screen grab of the apparent message online, and thus this seems to be an extremely solid feature of the operating system. It will certainly provide an answer to critics of this aspect of the iOS package when it comes to fruition.
According to Butt, users will be given the choice to cancel any update operation, allowing them to ignore it, manually clear space in order to operate the update, or allow deletion.
Apple teases feature
Apple had previously hinted at this functionality when it initially announced plans for iOS 9 on its official promotional page. The consumer electronics giant indicated at the time that iOS 9 was able to more efficiently stream new updates to devices without having to first download an app. The corporation proclaimed that this meant that Apple iPhone owners would need considerably less space in order to update. It seemed like an intriguing prospect at the time, and based on this new information it now seems that Apple’s boasts were accurate.
It has also emerged that iOS 9 will occupy approximately 1.3GB of space when it is released later this year. To put this figure into perspective, the existing iOS 8 takes up 4.58GB of memory, so this is obviously a very significant improvement by Apple.
Ahead of this anticipated feature, Apple has already released guidelines for developers for this feature, which it refers to as ‘app thinning’. This was initially outlined by Apple on the Apple Watch operating system developer library site, and was aimed at enabling developers to optimize applications to work on both iOS and the Apple Watch operating system.
This new functionality ensures that iPhones use the lowest amount of storage space possible by only downloading parts that are required for the particular handset in question. The software effectively slices the app into variants that only need access specific files on a specific handset. This is a departure from previous versions of the software, which would need to be able to run all of the various files, chipsets and power on every iPhone device.
Guidelines related to iOS 9 have also been improved with relation to on-demand resources. This new aspect of the operating system enables developers to omit features from a particular piece of software until it is actively opened or requested by a particular user. The App Store instead hosts these resources on Apple servers and manages the downloads for the developer and user.
One aspect of this new system which hasn’t been confirmed by Apple yet is whether it will apply to applications which are typically pre-installed on Apple devices. Popular software such as Stocks, Weather and Safari may not benefit from this particular aspect of iOS 9, although analyst predictions already suggest that Apple will indeed implement this to its most familiar programs.
In the iPhone 6 generation, it is typical for pre-installed apps, system files and software to amount to 8GB of storage space. Thus, when one has purchased a 16GB version of the smartphone, it doesn’t need Einstein to work out that half of the system storage is taken up before the user has downloaded anything of interest to the smartphone.
iOS 9 and the smartphone wars
With competitors of the iPhone range offering a much smaller percentage of memory to the user than this iOS 9 update promises, this could be a real weapon for Apple in the ongoing mobile wars. Previous handsets have typically ranged from between 54 percent and 80 percent of free space for some of the larger models, so if Apple could head towards the higher end of this range for an affordable iPhone 7 then that would be a massive achievement for the corporation.
It is notable as well that in the past iPhone users have even filed a lawsuit against Apple regarding this issue. Earlier in 2015, a pair of disappointed iPhone users filed a lawsuit in Miami in which the consumer electronics giant was accused of disguising and hiding the fact that over 20 percent of the advertised space isn’t available on the 16GB version of the iPhone. Although this would probably be viewed as an entirely frivolous lawsuit, it nonetheless illustrates the dissatisfaction with aspects of the iPhone range, and may conceivably have contributed to Apple’s decision to improve this is iOS 9.
Extra memory will certainly be useful for an iPhone range that promises to offer a considerably upgraded user experience. The momentum is developing for an iPhone 7 release in the next couple of months, and Apple has evidently included some extremely useful functionality in the attendant iOS 9 operating system.