Over the Air OS Updates? Please?

Vandam500

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Sep 29, 2008
1,822
41
First why do we have to download the whole entire OS (200+MB) everytime Apple issues a update... Look at WebOS and Android, their updates to the OS's only need to download just that,the updates.

Second, why must we have to connect to a computer to update? Why can't we get the update over Wifi or 3G. Now this would make sense if they fixed the ridiculous "downloading whole OS" for minor bug fixes.

I really hope OS 4.0 does this cause the whole having to be plugged to a computer is so 2007. What do you guys think?
 

biggerboy

macrumors newbie
Jun 26, 2009
22
1
First why do we have to download the whole entire OS (200+MB) everytime Apple issues a update... Look at WebOS and Android, their updates to the OS's only need to download just that,the updates.

Second, why must we have to connect to a computer to update? Why can't we get the update over Wifi or 3G. Now this would make sense if they fixed the ridiculous "downloading whole OS" for minor bug fixes.

I really hope OS 4.0 does this cause the whole having to be plugged to a computer is so 2007. What do you guys think?
Given how often we update the OS (not very), it doesn't matter to me.
 

Small White Car

macrumors G4
Aug 29, 2006
10,888
1,125
Washington DC
The phone was designed so that updating would fix any problems you have, not make them worse.

Pay attention when Mac OS 10.7 comes out and read all the threads about "How should I update?" ~ Wipe and start fresh? Update? Archive and install? Oh, no, my logitech drivers messed up the update! etc.

(Or just google 'Update to Windows 7' for more recent tales.)

The iPhone was designe to avoid all that. Your personal data sits in one place and the OS sits in another. You can pave over either one without affecting the other which is what it does to update: Erases the OS and starts fresh. So unlike with a Mac or PC, when you update your iPhone you know EXACTLY what's going to happen. If you had some weird bug or glitch it doesn't mess up the update or suddenly get worse. It goes away.

That's actually a huge improvement over computers as we're used to them. But the only way to make that happen is to download the whole thing and start from scratch each time.

And now you can see why your over-the-air idea isn't possible. The OS doesn't 'update.' It wipes and installs. There's no way for an OS to wipe itself out and then install itself again. It's possible a computer could do that by controlling it over wifi, but at that point you're forced to sit in front of a computer with Wifi to do it...why bother making it wireless? That's not really 'mobile' in the sense you meant it.
 

design-is

macrumors 65816
Oct 17, 2007
1,219
1
London / U.K.
I'm in agreement with Small White Car.

Though it would be nice to be able to sync wirelessly. As long as the iPhone knew it had enough power to do so.
 

patrickdunn

macrumors 6502a
Apr 16, 2009
981
83
St. Louis, MO
I think OTA updates need to come. I know 4-5 moms who have iPhone that have yet to plug them into a computer (or use iTunes). Seriously, one has had one for 5 months now.
 

Vandam500

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Sep 29, 2008
1,822
41
Small White Car I see what you are saying. Putting it that way it makes sense but there has to be a workaround for it. How are other mobile OS's able to do it and iPhone OS can't?
 

tobefirst

macrumors 601
Jan 24, 2005
4,030
1,140
St. Louis, MO
An excellent explanation, Small White Car!

As for me, I agree with biggerboy. It doesn't happen often enough for me to worry about.
 

Vandam500

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Sep 29, 2008
1,822
41
patrickdunn said:
I think OTA updates need to come. I know 4-5 moms who have iPhone that have yet to plug them into a computer (or use iTunes). Seriously, one has had one for 5 months now.
Haha 5 months! That's crazy. Also it would be nice if Apple sent out a push notification or something to all the devices stating that there is a new update. That way people that don't usually connect their iDevices to their computers know.

Note- I know AT&T sends text messages sometimes but not everybody gets them.
 

Applejuiced

macrumors Westmere
Apr 16, 2008
40,650
6,404
At the iPhone hacks section.
It would be nice but you can imagive all the people with JB and unlocked devices would be in trouble.
Bad enough now they update their iphones without thinking when plugged to itunes. Then cry how they accidentally or dont know how it updated it self and locked up again.
Imagine over the air :D They will just click ok or accept and then be in bigger trouble :D
 

Vandam500

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Sep 29, 2008
1,822
41
Also Small White Car what if when downloading the OTA update it
automatically checks for differences in the OS and if found then it can
download that part too. That way it would be downloading the update and any parts of the OS that don't coincide 100%.
 

FSMBP

macrumors 68020
Jan 22, 2009
2,490
1,339
Also Small White Car what if when downloading the OTA update it
automatically checks for differences in the OS and if found then it can
download that part too. That way it would be downloading the update and any parts of the OS that don't coincide 100%.
There may not be differences but corrupted files. Or a preference file that is corrupt which causes an App to randomly quit.

Apple has been doing this for a while (issuing whole updates) on Mac OS X and Windows (iTunes, iPhoto etc..)

Yes, it is annoying to download a huge file just for a .01 upgrade that fixes 2 bugs but it allows most people peace of mind.
 

androiphone

macrumors 65816
Dec 13, 2009
1,000
1
I think a free push notification is an excelent idea to let people know there is an update available, because sometime you just dont need to sync with a pc and will just use a wall charger esp if you have no new music and your data is in the cloud eg google sync.

I also agree clean install is best if it is OTA then you would have to be in a wifi zone and likely be plugged in so it may just as well be to a pc
 

0309385

Suspended
Apr 4, 2009
839
27
I'm in agreement with Small White Car.

Though it would be nice to be able to sync wirelessly. As long as the iPhone knew it had enough power to do so.
There was evidence in a earlier build of the SDK that there will be wireless syncing it was called uhhh i think OTASYNC.framework, i believe this will happen because the iPhone 4G will have a N chip in it so it will be powerfull enough to support it. Ontopic: The whole firmware update thing would be an interesting idea but would cause too many problems...After all apple doesn't want alot of calls saying "MY iPHONES BROKEN HELP!". Think of it what if your internet goes out when it's unpacking or installing or even downloading? Your screwed. But still i can see this being implemented as well. :apple:
 

Small White Car

macrumors G4
Aug 29, 2006
10,888
1,125
Washington DC
Also Small White Car what if when downloading the OTA update it
automatically checks for differences in the OS and if found then it can
download that part too. That way it would be downloading the update and any parts of the OS that don't coincide 100%.
I'm sure it's possible, but I'm reminded of a wonderful Steve Martin quote:

"Many people are unaware that the sledgehammer has only 1 moving part: It."

The beauty of the current system is in how simple it is. Any time you add complexity you give randomness and chaos a chance to take hold. It's kind of like how the most secure computer on the internet still isn't as safe from attack as one off the 'net. 99.9% is not 100%.

My point is, complexity should only be introduced when it's worth it. I'm not convinced that the advantages to your idea are worth it. Would it be cool? Yeah. But is it worth adding complexity for? I say no.

BUT, if they want to change the iPhone so that it severs ALL ties to the computer...make it so it NEVER has to sync...so you can own an iPhone WITHOUT a computer at all...then that's a worthy goal. But to only attack 1 or 2 of the connections but still need the computer for other things? That's not worth the trouble.

So I think it will happen someday, but it will be when the iPhone evolves into something more and changes drastically. It won't be added as just a new feature on a list of trivial changes.

It's not a bad idea. It's just not a 'right now' idea.
 

Vandam500

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Sep 29, 2008
1,822
41
Yeah I think removing all ties to a computer would be awesome! I mean think about it:

-Sync over wifi whenever you want to backup
-Cue downloads from iPhone to iTunes so it can download large files (Movies,TV Shows) on your computer and when it's done it transfers via Wifi to your device
-Download/Install Updates Via Wifi

So basically the computer would only be used if you want to restore or something like that.

The possibilities!!!! :)
 

0309385

Suspended
Apr 4, 2009
839
27
Yeah I think removing all ties to a computer would be awesome! I mean think about it:

-Sync over wifi whenever you want to backup
-Cue downloads from iPhone to iTunes so it can download large files (Movies,TV Shows) ok your computer and when it's done it transfers via Wifi to your device
-Download/Install Updates Via Wifi

So basically the computer would only be used if you want to restore or something like that.

The possibilities!!!! :)
Excellent point, my friend.
 

benfica88

macrumors regular
Nov 21, 2008
203
9
I just did the new update for the Pre+. It was 40mb download that took about 20min. Then it sat for over an hour just processing. I seriously thought it had locked up. I rather just have a clean install that takes about 15min even if I have to hook it up to my pc.
 

TheSpaz

macrumors 604
Jun 20, 2005
7,032
1
Not a good idea. What happens if your connection drops while you're updating your iPhone?

How hard is it to plug your iPhone into a computer every 6 months or so?
 

ViViDboarder

macrumors 68040
Jun 25, 2008
3,447
0
USA
The phone was designed so that updating would fix any problems you have, not make them worse.

Pay attention when Mac OS 10.7 comes out and read all the threads about "How should I update?" ~ Wipe and start fresh? Update? Archive and install? Oh, no, my logitech drivers messed up the update! etc.

(Or just google 'Update to Windows 7' for more recent tales.)

The iPhone was designe to avoid all that. Your personal data sits in one place and the OS sits in another. You can pave over either one without affecting the other which is what it does to update: Erases the OS and starts fresh. So unlike with a Mac or PC, when you update your iPhone you know EXACTLY what's going to happen. If you had some weird bug or glitch it doesn't mess up the update or suddenly get worse. It goes away.

That's actually a huge improvement over computers as we're used to them. But the only way to make that happen is to download the whole thing and start from scratch each time.

And now you can see why your over-the-air idea isn't possible. The OS doesn't 'update.' It wipes and installs. There's no way for an OS to wipe itself out and then install itself again. It's possible a computer could do that by controlling it over wifi, but at that point you're forced to sit in front of a computer with Wifi to do it...why bother making it wireless? That's not really 'mobile' in the sense you meant it.
Actually, it is totally possible. :) The iPhone could download an update and, instead of wiping itself, it could just install the updates as patches. There is no NEED for the phone to re-write the entire file system for a small update.

I don't see what you're saying is an improvement over computers either... On the iPhone and on a Mac there are two main sections of the file system to be aware of. There is / which is the root and there are user directories. When you "back up" your iPhone to your computer it stores that user directory which holds, basically anything not system related.

This separation allows patches to be made to the system files without effecting the users files.

On the iPhone I'm pretty sure that they are two separate partitions as well. When jailbreaking an iPhone you have the ability to set / to any size (default of 500mb) and the rest of the filesystem is /var. /var is the biggest portion as it holds App Store apps and music. Even if the iPhone did a full restore of the / directory as it does now, it could download the new firmware to the /var directory and then reboot to /var instead of / and preform the upgrade and then reboot again. I still think that patching would be better than doing this anyway.

Not a good idea. What happens if your connection drops while you're updating your iPhone?

How hard is it to plug your iPhone into a computer every 6 months or so?
Most devices download the entire patch before actually doing the update. So if you lose connection it doesn't matter. It can either finish downloading later and check the integrity with an MD5 hash or just re download the whole thing later.

A bigger issue would be running out of battery when actually running the update. This could easily be prevented by not allowing the patch to install until there is a minimum % on the battery of until it is plugged in.
 

ngenerator

macrumors 68000
May 12, 2009
1,834
0
USG Ishimura
I could actually see Apple trying to pull some crap with OTA updates. What's to stop them from just pushing the update to your iPhone, therefore breaking any jailbreak permanently?
 

TheSpaz

macrumors 604
Jun 20, 2005
7,032
1
I could actually see Apple trying to pull some crap with OTA updates. What's to stop them from just pushing the update to your iPhone, therefore breaking any jailbreak permanently?
Yeah, you go to user your phone and it says you can't continue unless you update first.

I don't think we're seeing over the air updates any time soon from Apple.
 

Small White Car

macrumors G4
Aug 29, 2006
10,888
1,125
Washington DC
Actually, it is totally possible. :) The iPhone could download an update and, instead of wiping itself, it could just install the updates as patches. There is no NEED for the phone to re-write the entire file system for a small update.
But patches would not fix corupt files.

My wife's phone started chewing through the battery for no reason once. I did a restore and reinstalled everything. That fixed the problem.

That's how desktop machines work too: You find a computer nerd to fix the problem.

But what about all those people out there without a nerdy friend to fix all their problems for them? If that happened to one of them, they'd just live with it! It wouldn't get fixed. I've seen this exact kind of thing happen when working on regular people's computers. They just spend their lives living with annoying problems that they don't know how to fix.

And the patch-style update you've suggested would leave the corupt files intact and it would never get better.

By erasing everything for each update Apple gets those kind of people to at least help themselves once or twice a year. It's not ideal but it's better than the old system where they'd just live with the flaw for the rest of the device's lifetime.
 

ViViDboarder

macrumors 68040
Jun 25, 2008
3,447
0
USA
But patches would not fix corupt files.

My wife's phone started chewing through the battery for no reason once. I did a restore and reinstalled everything. That fixed the problem.

That's how desktop machines work too: You find a computer nerd to fix the problem.

But what about all those people out there without a nerdy friend to fix all their problems for them? If that happened to one of them, they'd just live with it! It wouldn't get fixed. I've seen this exact kind of thing happen when working on regular people's computers. They just spend their lives living with annoying problems that they don't know how to fix.

And the patch-style update you've suggested would leave the corupt files intact and it would never get better.

By erasing everything for each update Apple gets those kind of people to at least help themselves once or twice a year. It's not ideal but it's better than the old system where they'd just live with the flaw for the rest of the device's lifetime.
Solution to that is to not have a system that corrupts it's own system files...

Also, you could still do a full restore anyway. It would just push patches to the system.

And as far as it hurting jailbreaks... I'm sure there'd be a clever way to just block any firmware pushes.