iOS8 iTunes Update Vs OTA Update

Dino F

macrumors 68040
Original poster
Sep 16, 2010
Croydon, South London, UK
So, my iPhone 5 is still running iOS 7 and I am planning on passing it down to a family member, as I now have an iPhone 6, however, I am a little unsure as what to do regarding installing iOS8 on the iPhone 5!

I have always updated my iPhone 5 via the OTA updates whenever new iOS software has been released (and never used iTunes to do this) and have never had any issues on the phone.

I am now hearing people say that its best to install iOS8 via iTunes rather than do via the OTA update on the phone itself (as iOS8 is causing issues on the 5 if done OTA). Can someone explain if this is indeed the case as I am really stuck on which way to update my iPhone 5?!



Staff member
Jan 23, 2005
The reason you see people doing it through iTunes is because they don't have the free space required on the phone to do the OTA update, and doing it in iTunes gets around that. Assuming you have enough free space to do OTA, there is not really any benefit to one way over the other.


macrumors 6502a
Apr 22, 2007
The iTunes update will download the full installation package, rather than the delta package that only includes those system files that have changed. In the case of iOS 8.0, the OTA update will pull the full installation as well.

The OTA update requires more space on your device because you need room for 1) the downloaded installation package, which totals 1.9 GB; 2) all of the iOS 8 files after they are uncompressed and unbundled; and 3) a backup of all of the previous iOS files, so that your phone remains usable if anything goes haywire during the installation.

Generally, I always do my updates using iTunes because I want to reinstall the entire OS in case any files got corrupted since the last update. This primarily applies on the minor updates, since a major update like iOS 8.0 will use the same installation package regardless of whether you do the update through iTunes or iCloud.

If you're passing the device over to somebody else and they set it up as a new device, they'll have to install iOS 8 first. Apple is not signing any prior iOS versions anymore. If they remain on your Apple ID, then just do the iOS 8 update whenever you want (or don't).
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