Which smartphones can wirelessly update the OS?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by TomaxXamot, Mar 24, 2011.

  1. TomaxXamot macrumors regular


    Jan 15, 2009
    Seattle, Washington
    I am a long time Mac and, since the 3G, iPhone user and my friend just got an iPhone 4, so I'm the one he comes to with questions.
    He just asked me if there was a way to update the OS wirelessly and I said no, but it's coming probably in iOS 5 this summer. Hopefully at least for synching, I don't know about full on OS updates.
    My question is: do ANY smartphones allow this?

    Also, he said "Wierd that apps check 4 updates but the os doesnt"
    I guess part of that means you don't know there is an update to the OS until you plug into iTunes.
    So my other questions: Do other smartphones notify you of an OS update (and does the iPhone and I just didnt know it)? Is it weird?
  2. mltaylor macrumors regular

    Jan 6, 2011
    Android phones do this. iPhones would take forever to do. iTunes takes a while to download it it for me personally. iTunes always seems slow to me though.

    Anyways I have only messed around with a few Android phones but they update OTA
  3. e²Studios macrumors 68020


    Apr 12, 2005
  4. Joined:
    May 30, 2010
    Sunny Southern California
    IIRC, you can jailbreak and download an app called WifiSync (or so something very similar to that name) to do this with iOS.
  5. Orion126 macrumors regular

    Aug 25, 2010
    Android based phones can do OTA (Over The Air) updates.

    I'm glad iOS doesn't do that because it could block our JB's if the default was set to allow OTA updates.
  6. Mr_Brightside_@ macrumors 68030


    Sep 23, 2005
    According to whom?
  7. FSMBP macrumors 68020


    Jan 22, 2009
    Android devices and Palm webOS devices can.

    The two main reasons Apple doesn't do this is as follows:

    1. Unlike Android & Palm, Apple doesn't just give you the update to download, they give me the whole OS again. So, even though the new features are like 80MB, you still get a 500MB update (for the whole new OS), which would take forever to download via 3G or WiFi (B).

    2. By making it only update via iTunes, Apple performs a backup for the user. Therefore, if the device crashes while in mid update, they can still restore your phone how it was just before the update (ie. just because your phone crashes while updating doesn't mean you just lost everything currently on the device).
  8. TomaxXamot thread starter macrumors regular


    Jan 15, 2009
    Seattle, Washington
    Last year Jobs said they were working on it. There was also an email reply last year where he said it was coming "someday". Might be wishful thinking for iOS 5 but I hope so. I've also read it on other rumour sites, but that is hardly reliable.
  9. Rajani Isa macrumors 65816

    Rajani Isa

    Jun 8, 2010
    Rogue Valley, Oregon
    Are you sure it was in reference to OTA iOS updates, and not just wifi syncing?
  10. grantsdale macrumors 6502a

    May 11, 2008
    WifiSync syncs your phone with your computer. It does not have anything to do with firmware updates.

    Apple insists on full firmware loads instead of just patching the update in, like Android does. Apples way is better, but Androids is much more efficient.
    The reason why it takes a long time to download, in addition to the size, is server load. If you download at non-peak times for the OS release, like after a week of its release, it will be fast.
  11. SomeDudeAsking macrumors 65816

    Nov 23, 2010

    Hell NO! It is in absolutely no way "better". Apple does not have the expertise to implement patching and requiring the user to download hundreds of megabytes every time to fix even one bug is absolutely ludicrous. I just downloaded 600 megabytes for iOS 4.3 and it took like a half hour to install. Now, in a few days, I will have to do that AGAIN for iOS 4.3.1. That's an absolute waste of bandwidth and time.
  12. Ccrew macrumors 68020

    Feb 28, 2011
    You can push a full ROM to an Android device OTA. It's how the Android phones are getting 2.1 to 2.2 or 2.3 updates from the carriers. They can also be told to back their current one up via the update script so it's recoverable through hboot also.

    Beauty of the Androids though is that as soon as theyre updated and you re-activate they'll automatically pull all their apps back down from the Android App store without all the iTunes foolishness.
  13. OneMike macrumors 603


    Oct 19, 2005
  14. ChazUK macrumors 603


    Feb 3, 2008
    Essex (UK)
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (Linux; U; Android 2.3.3; en-gb; Nexus S Build/GRI40) AppleWebKit/533.1 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0 Mobile Safari/533.1)

    I'm sure some Symbian phones update OTA. I think Windows phone 7 does too.
    Not all Android phones update ota. My HTC hero, Nexus One and Nexus S do but my wife's Galaxy S relies on the godawful (windows only) Samsung Kies to update in a similar fashion to the iPhone via USB.
  15. grantsdale macrumors 6502a

    May 11, 2008
    First, if you're not going OTA, 600 megs isn't a lot. 600 seconds at even 1mbps? Wow! Thats a long time! Yes, its longer when the servers are getting hammered, but when they aren't its no big deal.

    Second, fresh installs are always better than patches on top of patches. It isn't more efficient in terms of megs downloaded, but it sure as hell is going to create a more stable operating environment.
  16. Daveoc64 macrumors 601

    Jan 16, 2008
    Bristol, UK
    iOS doesn't do a fresh install even if you download the 600+MB file
  17. Dumbledorelives macrumors 6502


    Oct 24, 2010
    Yes, it is. Mostly fresh. It leaves the user content, replaces the whole OS. So it's a hell of a lot fresher than android.
  18. kdarling macrumors P6


    Jun 9, 2007
    First university coding class = 47 years ago

    You've confused megaBITs and megaBYTEs. Rule of thumb is about ten bits over the net to get a byte, so the calculation is:

    600 MB * 10 = 6,000 Mb / 1Mbps = 6,000 seconds = 100 minutes

    Not even to mention the extra time iTunes takes to back up everything beforehand. It can take a long, long time to update an iOS device, whereas others are often done in 15 minutes.


    As for "fresh installs", iOS is the only handheld system where the manufacturer actually recommends a full OS restore if the device is acting up and doesn't come back on a reset. That is not a hallmark of a stable, well designed system. If anyone other than Apple came up with such a plan, they'd be laughed at.

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