Apple's iOS 10.3 update can reclaim as much as 7.8GB of available storage

Posted:
in iPhone
While the feature enhancements of new OS updates generally take up more of your available storage, Apple's latest iOS 10.3 update has freed up gigabytes of available storage for many users making the upgrade. It reclaimed as much as 7.81 GB in our testing.


After updating, we found 7.81 GB of additional available storage


After upgrading a top of the line, 256GB iPhone 7 Plus (packed with over 40,000 photos and almost 200 apps) from iOS 10.2.1 to 10.3, the phone reported a jump in available space from 75.45 GB to 83.26 GB, an increase of 7.81 GB.

Curiously, the device also reported an increase in capacity, which jumped from 248.5 GB to 252.14 GB, a difference of 3.64 GB.

Capacity isn't just a measure of the hardware memory bits on the chips the device uses for storage; the OS also subtracts away some "capacity" allocated to the EFI partition map and other low-level storage overhead. The larger the storage of your device, the more free space iOS 10.3 appears able to reclaim.

APFS

It appears that the conversion to the new Apple File System (APFS) included in iOS 10.3 is more efficient in how it formats volume storage. APFS was designed specifically to take advantage of modern "solid state" storage technology (as opposed to the spinning magnetic disk hard drives of the era when Apple's previous HFS+ file system was developed). It also allows for much larger storage devices in the future, via its support for 64-bit file system structures.

Among the features of the new file system (which organizes how data is written, on a low level) is a new volume partitioning scheme that allows for flexible expansion. This appears to also result in a capacity increase, consuming less storage as part of the volume partition and file system structure. The iOS 10.3 update appears to take a bit longer than usual, in part due to the in-place update to APFS it includes. Depending on the device involved, the update may require 30-50 minutes.

Above the low-level partition map, APFS also includes support for new storage-saving features. One example is "clones," which let the file system create an identical copy of a file without taking up additional space, by referencing the same storage structure as representing multiple files in different locations.




It's possible that iOS and third-party apps will increasingly take further advantage of APFS features to save even more space in the future, optimizing their storage practices to match the capabilities of the underlying file system.

In addition to enhancements related to the new APFS, iOS 10.3 may also be optimizing higher level features of data storage, such as flushing cached data (used in streaming, for example) and dumping other unnecessary files. As with previous iOS versions, users can also optimize their storage by uploading full quality photos to iCloud and keeping mobile optimized versions on their phone.

Whatever the exact causes for the reported capacity increases, users will be happy to see increased available storage for their photos and other content on top of the new features added to iOS 10.3, including new features for Siri, support for locating lost AirPods, new CarPlay features and a revamped Settings app that centralizes user-related information related to passwords, devices and iCloud, App Store and Family Sharing accounts.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 42
    FatmanFatman Posts: 93member
    Yep, I got back 3Gb on a nearly full 64Gb iphone 6 after the upgrade 
    rich gregoryrepressthiscornchipwatto_cobramagman1979
  • Reply 2 of 42
    I'd say I got about 2 gigs on a 32 gb ipad pro. That's a welcome surprise!
    repressthiscornchipwatto_cobramagman1979
  • Reply 3 of 42

    Ha! Perhaps Apple can modify the warning on their website now that was required after CapacityGate.

    "1. Available space is less and varies due to many factors. A standard configuration uses approximately 4GB to 6GB of space (including iOS and built-in apps), depending on the model and settings".

    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 42
    hentaiboy said:

    Ha! Perhaps Apple can modify the warning on their website now that was required after CapacityGate.

    "1. Available space is less and varies due to many factors. A standard configuration uses approximately 4GB to 6GB of space (including iOS and built-in apps), depending on the model and settings".

    I think people should sue Apple saying they artificially used more space than needed to use space. They could use this upgrade as proof they could have implemented this 9 years ago.

    /s
    r00fus1aaronjjony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 42
    emoelleremoeller Posts: 273member
    I'm hoping that the across the board (MacOS hasn't yet rolled this out yet) APFS rollout will result in Apple finally putting in place a file handling system across Apple's entire line of products.
  • Reply 6 of 42
    coolfactorcoolfactor Posts: 1,051member
    emoeller said:
    I'm hoping that the across the board (MacOS hasn't yet rolled this out yet) APFS rollout will result in Apple finally putting in place a file handling system across Apple's entire line of products.

    That was a major design goal of APFS — one modern file system for all Apple devices, from the watch to massive servers.
    cornchipwatto_cobramagman1979
  • Reply 7 of 42
    SoliSoli Posts: 2,823member
    There was bound to be some space savings with caches and other pursuable data cleared with the update, as well the update to APFS which doesn't need to duplicate files, but something about the before and after capacity in the article aren't sitting well with me.
    edited March 28
  • Reply 8 of 42
    steven n. said:
    I think people should sue Apple saying they artificially used more space than needed to use space. They could use this upgrade as proof they could have implemented this 9 years ago.

    /s
    Actually wasn't there a lawsuit over this?
  • Reply 9 of 42
    stukestuke Posts: 18member
    iPhone 6s+, free space WAS 54.08, free space IS NOW 57.78, equals 3.7 GB savings.  Time for iTunes synced update (after download of update) equals 22 minutes.
  • Reply 10 of 42

    iPad Pro 9.7” 256 GB.  When I bought my iPad Pro during black Friday last November, I was surprised it still had the original OS installed, iOS 9.3.  So I took screenshots of before and after from 9.3 to 10.1.1 when I first turned it on.

    iOS 9.3 capacity 232 GB and 226 GB available.  Stock configuration out of the box with 6 Apple apps installed.

    iOS 10.1.1 capacity 248 GB and 240.36 GB available.  Same 6 apps and 1 photo for the screenshot under iOS 9.3

    iOS 10.3 capacity 252.56 GB.  Now my iPad is loaded up so I cannot give you an available capacity because I am not going to wipe it. 

    The capacity from 9.3 to 10.3 has increased from 232 GB to 252.56 GB.  So the file system and other features have improved the efficiency of flash memory space.  My iPhone 7 Plus 256GB reports a capacity of 252.19 GB after upgrading to iOS 10.3.  I think under 10.2.1 it was around 248 GB.

    lollivermagman1979adm1
  • Reply 11 of 42
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 29,087member
    steven n. said:
    hentaiboy said:

    Ha! Perhaps Apple can modify the warning on their website now that was required after CapacityGate.

    "1. Available space is less and varies due to many factors. A standard configuration uses approximately 4GB to 6GB of space (including iOS and built-in apps), depending on the model and settings".

    I think people should sue Apple saying they artificially used more space than needed to use space. They could use this upgrade as proof they could have implemented this 9 years ago.

    /s
    What?
  • Reply 12 of 42
    Soli said:
    Is anyone else showing more capacity than they were promised with the marketing size, which is based on BASE-10 (i.e.: giga = 1000, not 1024)?
    You mean the Great Storage Capacity Fleecing. Those USB stick drives have been playing that game for years. Not to mention HDDs.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 42
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 29,087member

    emoeller said:
    I'm hoping that the across the board (MacOS hasn't yet rolled this out yet) APFS rollout will result in Apple finally putting in place a file handling system across Apple's entire line of products.

    That was a major design goal of APFS — one modern file system for all Apple devices, from the watch to massive servers.
    Now, if they would only HAVE massive servers.
    magman1979adm1
  • Reply 14 of 42
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 29,087member

    hentaiboy said:
    steven n. said:
    I think people should sue Apple saying they artificially used more space than needed to use space. They could use this upgrade as proof they could have implemented this 9 years ago.

    /s
    Actually wasn't there a lawsuit over this?
    And it was thrown out. It was a silly lawsuit. The OS and apps take up a fair amount of space. That's just the way it is. Suing over that is nuts.

    but then, people sue over crazy stuff. If indeed APFS does take back some space, it's an advance for Apple. That certainly doesn't mean that "they used more space than needed". That makes no sense! It took whatever space it needed.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 42
    cornchipcornchip Posts: 731member
    Very nice
  • Reply 16 of 42
    SoliSoli Posts: 2,823member
    Soli said:
    Is anyone else showing more capacity than they were promised with the marketing size, which is based on BASE-10 (i.e.: giga = 1000, not 1024)?
    You mean the Great Storage Capacity Fleecing. Those USB stick drives have been playing that game for years. Not to mention HDDs.
    I wouldn't call it a fleecing. The terms kilo-, mega-, giga-, etc. we defined as 10^x long before they were adopted by the computer industry to refer to 2^x. It's there fault for using the same terminology for a measurement that is similar but different. We have notion that makes it very clear what measurement you're using, yet very few people have chosen to to adopt it. I've been using it exclusively for many, many years.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 42
    polymniapolymnia Posts: 564member
    I got 5.3GB more available space post upgrade on my iPhone 6s 128GB.

    Well done, Apple. 
    edited March 28
  • Reply 18 of 42
    emoeller said:
    I'm hoping that the across the board (MacOS hasn't yet rolled this out yet) APFS rollout will result in Apple finally putting in place a file handling system across Apple's entire line of products.

    That was a major design goal of APFS — one modern file system for all Apple devices, from the watch to massive servers.
    Massive Servers?

    Excuse me while I ROFL for a very long time
    I wish...
    Sadly never gonna happen.
    adm1
  • Reply 19 of 42
    Bit Rot still a problem?

    Some commentators [1] on other sites are saying that the new Filesystem can't cope with BitRot which happens with Solid State devices.
    It has been many decades since I was involved with the innards of filesystems so it would be nice to know if this is a real issue or not.
    Has it gone away with modern hardware?

    [1] ZFS diehards mainly.
  • Reply 20 of 42
    steveausteveau Posts: 102member
    emoeller said:
    I'm hoping that the across the board (MacOS hasn't yet rolled this out yet) APFS rollout will result in Apple finally putting in place a file handling system across Apple's entire line of products.
    Absolutely. filing stuff on a home computer so that you can find it again is hard enough, but if you are a professional, or a tradie running their own business, and you need proper filing practices for accounting and legal protection then the system of everyone typing in a document name for every document and then saving it in a folder that has also been named by the operator typing stuff in is Dickensian. And, anyone who replies with "just save everything in 'Documents' and Siri will find it" has clearly never had to survive a buisiness tax audit or a legal suit.
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