iOS 8 update was available a few minutes before 10am today, here in the Bay area and as soon as I tried to update my iPhone 5S, I was welcomed with this dismal looking screen saying that the free space available on my iPhone (900 odd MB) was too little for the upgrade that required almost a whooping 6GB of free space. What in the world is happening here, was my first response. My iPhone 5S is only 16GB and I have barely managed so long with it by maintaing very little junk on the phone. But now suddenly I had to free almost 50% of my iPhone to upgrade to iOS? I wasn't aware of this requirement all along and I certainly did not go through this situation previously even while upgrading from iOS 6 to iOS 7. Anyway with gritting teeth, I proceeded to clear up my iPhone 5S to free up almost 5Gb of space!
Firstly I proceeded to delete a whole bunch of small Apps (less than 100MB in size) and then proceeded to delete any un used Apps, then Apps that I knew I could install later and not lose any information as it was already synced to the cloud (like Facebook, Numbers, Feedly, Pocket, etc.). But still I had more than 2 GB to free up. I deleted all my music as I have iTunes Match, but still not cleared up enough memory. Lastly I deleted all my useless videos and panoramas, still more than a GB short. Finally I went to my Photos collection and started the arduous job of cleaning up my photos. Luckily for me I had setup WhatsApp (by mistake) to store all media to my iPhone by default, so it was easily for me to clear up all those WhatsApp photos. But I had to do it manually as there was no way of clearing only WhatsApp media on the Photos App automatically. But thank god, that was enough... I was able to reach 6GB free space with just that and not having to lose my personal photos. But still this was a tense process, as I had to be extremely careful to not to delete something that is important and cannot be recovered, in my eagerness to install iOS 8!
Though through this process, I ended up clearing my iPhone 5S of a lot of junk, I was forced to do it and am not happy about it. Till that time I had not wandered into the Internet forums for a work around to this as I thought, if there was one, Apple would have provided it for me already. Boy was I wrong. Turns out that there were at least a few things I could have done to avoid deleting stuff from my phone, at least the way I did it. Firstly I could have apparently just connected my iPhone to my computer and tried upgrading to iOS 8 and it would have worked. That would have been easy. Secondly I could have basically backed up my existing iOS 7 installed iPhone 5S to iCloud, then reset it to factory settings, that will clear up a whole lot of memory and then after upgrading to iOS 8, I could have restored my original data from iCloud. Wow! Two things are bugging me now. Firstly though none of these options are straight forward, they are certainly more user friendly and less heart stopping than having to delete half my data. Then why didn't Apple suggest one of these options for me instead of just asking me to delete a bunch of stuff on my iPhone?
Secondly when even at this time iOS requires so much space for a normal operation on the iPhone 5S, how can Apple think that it can get away with only 16GB on the base models of the new iPhone 6? If it was ridiculous a year back for Apple to demand its customers to pay an additional $100 more (on top of the $650 for an unlocked iPhone) for a 32GB iPhone, now it sounds even more outrageous. Yeah I agree that Apple bumped its second and third memory tiers from 32GB and 64GB to 64GB and 128GB for the same cost, but that seems pointless. There are going to be a lot of people who are going to be buying the base iPhone 6 model, either due to its affordability or due to lack of awareness of their space requirements and end up being extremely unhappy with their iPhone 6 experience. The wiser thing would have been for Apple to bump its base model, at least on the iPhone 6 (not the iPhone 5S) to 32GB and then do what ever it wanted with the next two upper tiers. 16GB iPhone 6 at this day and age sounds ridiculous and the iOS 8 upgrade experience (for me at least) made this even more clearer. I can afford a $100 more for my iPhone 6 and am now (painfully) aware that 16GB is nowhere sufficient even for an average user like me, but what about those people who are unlike me in this regard? I am almost 100% positive that Apple will have the next iPhone (7?) upgraded to at least 32GB in its base configuration, next year, but it might be too late and Apple might already have a lot of upset iPhone 6 users to pacify!
P.S: I perfectly understand why Apple decided to keep its 16GB base iPhone 6 strategy, i.e., to maintain or lessen the reduction in its profit margins, but Apple being Apple, must have found another way to tackle both the company's high profit margin requirements and maintain what it is historically known for and is best at, i.e., customer satisfaction...