iOS 6 Upgrade Difficult for 16GB iPhone and iPad Owners

Apple released iOS 6 today and while many owners are installing the update with ease, many others, namely those with devices featuring smaller storage, are running into frustrating problems.

Personally, I own a 16GB third-generation iPad and a 16GB iPhone 3GS. With a smile on my face, I went to go install iOS 6 this morning and very promptly was reminded why I will never again buy an iPhone or iPad with 16GB of storage.

iOS 6 is an extremely large update and requires iPhone, iPad and iPod touch users to have 2.5GB of storage space available in order to download. For those with 32GB or 64GB devices, this likely isn’t any sort of an issue. Delete a few apps or songs here or there and the space becomes available and the download starts.

Read: Why I Regret Buying the 16GB New iPad.

16GB iPhone and iPad owners will have some issues installing iOS 6.

However, for those of us with limited storage, it’s a bit of a nightmare.


When I attempted to install iOS 6 on my iPad, I was unable to. Not because Apple’s servers were down, but because I didn’t have enough free space on my device. I had even taken my own advice and cleared out a lot of my unused applications in preparation for the update but it still wasn’t enough.

I then took on the joyous task of deleting applications. Most of the applications I have on my iPad are productivity or game related and I use pretty much all of them. So when I say that I hate having to pick and choose between which to delete, I truly mean it.

After getting it up and running, I then turned to my iPhone 3GS which I knew would not be a fun experience in the slightest because I was down to my last 100MB on the thing.


I then had to go about picking and choosing what to delete which put my installation on hold for a good 30 to 45 minutes. In fact, I’m still in the midst of installing the update right now.


Those who own an 8GB iPhone 4 or iPhone 3GS are going to get the worst of it with iOS 6 as the update will need up to one-fourth of the devices storage space. I do not envy folks with those devices.

So, after all that, two things to keep in mind before installing iOS 6.

  • Make sure you have ample battery life or are plugged in otherwise, the update won’t proceed.
  • Make sure you’ve got at least 2.5GB of storage space available otherwise you’ll be wasting time.

At this point, no one should be surprised that there isn’t an 8GB iPhone 4S. 8GB of storage space simply isn’t enough.


  1. HAHAHAHA, I’ll have no problem installing ios 6 on my 64gb 4S! HAHAHA! (CONTINUES LAUGHING). Lol laugh at me now for having too much storage in my phone with your puny 16gb or mediocre 8gb.

  2. 1) What a misleading headline. iOS users that have 16GB devices won’t face problems, only people like you who have no memory left to begin with will face problems. You fill up your iPhone with media, but there are plenty of 16GB users who don’t have their devices hanging on the last KB of data.

    2) Those who have older models may not need to have 2.5GB of data because iOS 6 is limited in their devices.

  3. I’m pissed because they got my hopes up for finally getting Siri; and it isn’t even compatible with the iPod Touch 4g. I am hating Apple right about now.

    • who got your hopes up???apple never said this would be available to ipod touch users?thats right blame apple for your lack of intelligence!

      • iOS6 is compatable with iPod touch (4th & 5th generation).
        colin you owe James an apology.
        And as long as i’m typing, it is compatable with:
        iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone5, iPad2, The new iPad

  4. I got the space back after I updated. I have an 8 GB iPhone4. I deleted some things I never use (I don’t have music on mine, I stream from the amazon cloud app), had 3.1 GB, and had no problem with the update. Once everything was finished, I was left with 3GB of space left.

    • Thanks! This is helping me get over the hesitation that it would take up too much space on my 8GB iPhone 3GS. I suppose I’ll be reinstalling some apps and music after the update haha

    • Me too no problems… Some parts of the update were intentionally left out for 4 users, like face time over 3G/4g, that’s what I was hoping for… Oh well I understand being in tech support, always incentive to get the next updated thing…

  5. I have a 16GB Iphone 4 ( I have about 6GB of free space) and after trying to upgrade I get stuck at the Apple Logo. I’m running the restore process now via Itunes.

    • I have similar problem during installation using wifi. It hangs at installation with logo and progress status in the middle.- don’t know what to do whether to reset the phone using power and home buttons. Advise would be appreciated

  6. If you have space problem, You can back up your phone then factory reset your phone and update your phone then restore your phone

  7. Well I had a wifi issue on my home network on my Ipad3 but I went into ‘Settings’ -> Click blue arrow next to home network -> scroll to bottom and change ‘Http Proxy’ setting to ‘auto’ works fine now…. Hope this helps :0)

  8. Several web sites eluded to us getting Siri with the new update. I was just saying that Apple’s web site should have been more clear on this and disputed the other’s claims. I was so hoping towards getting Siri; and then when I got the update and it didn’t include it I was a little upset. I just want siri on my iPod touch 4g too. I can’t buy a new iPod right now just started working again and don’t have the money.

    • Get Dragon Go, pretty similar to Siri. It’s only available from US but there are easy ways around that.

  9. i have problem to update my ipad this morning…my ipad already jailbreak….i want update ios6…please help me

  10. I too was having issues with slow download of IOs 6 on my iPhone 4S even tho I had 7GB available. I found I had data roaming turned off after traveling. I turned data roaming back on and it started loading much faster.

  11. why does it need to be so big, apart from the fact Apple messed up with iphone 5 the headphone jack is in the worst place possible now they are making bloated OS

  12. The download is 2.5GB but after it finished and the OS has been overwritten, you won’t have 2.5 GB permanently gone. Pictures or music are the easiest to move around I make space. Then once you have the updated OS you can put back whatever you moved. Any apps you delete aren’t “gone”. Just go into iTunes and check them under apps and sync. Temporary inconvenience.

  13. I have installed iOS 6 and ended up with more space on my phone (32gb 4s) !!!! So as far as I can tell iOS 6 takes up less space than iOS 5 ….. After the update the Other section in the summary view on itunes had over 1gb freed up.

  14. I have a 16GB iPhone 4.And had no problem updating to iOS 6. I have ALOT of apps, videos, pictures and still have over 7GB left after the update.

  15. Hi, I wish I had read this post before installing the new OS. My iphone turned off and wont turn on. What can I do now?????

  16. I keep getting an error unable to install ios6. Wont let me retry cause gives same error. Please help!

  17. What to do when iphone4 blocked and asked to be connected to itunes, after download of ios6? Are all pics etc gone?

  18. I have an 8gb iphone4, when I tried to update to ios6 it told me I didn’t have enough memory. I deleted most of my apps but still didn’t have enough, so I connected it to my computer in order to do a backup. I intended to delete everything in order to update. When I plugged in to my computer, it connected to itunes and set me up do download ios6 and asked me if I wanted to continue. I clicked ok, it went through the whole process and it’s all complete. I didn’t think it would but give it a try. Might work for you too.

  19. I have done update today on my iphone 4 16Gb, update loaded fine took about 10 minutes. i now cant use my wifi connection , doesnt load up safari or check my e mails , if i turn wifi off then all works ok through 3G. i have done reset on phone a few times , i have set wifi to auto proxy , tried to delete wifi , then reset, still no good.
    update was done on 23rd sept.
    thanks if you can help.

  20. Misleading article. I think this guy Adam did not try to install iOS 6 on his device. iOS 6, after installation, only takes around 400 to 450 MB and not 2.5 GB. Also I don’t understand why people need 64 GB or 32 GB. If your needs are not reasonable, even 64 GB will be less for you. Btw 16 GB is absolutely fine however if I wanted all the photos, all the songs and all the movies in my iPad, even 1 TB (forget 64 GB) would have been less. I only load stuff that I really need for the current week or month and 16 GB does the job very nicely, at least for me. After loading 200+ songs, 300+ photos, 50+ books, 2 movies, 25+ apps, and most importantly iOS 6, I still have 6 GB free. Do I need 32 GB? No way!

  21. ios 6 will “NOT” eat 2.5 GB of your phone / ipad storage. Actually the software needs this much blank space just to expand files during installation and to hold temporary files. After I upgraded my iPhone to ios 6, I hardly noticed any difference in space used by the new OS. I think this guy is trying to create panic! Wanker.

  22. after loading and restarting the apple logo shows up and a progress bar but has been in the same place for 15 minutes????WTF

  23. Well I have the 8GB iPhone 4, and I just got the iOS 6 upgrade today. I had to plug it in to upgrade because I didn’t have 2.5GB of memory free (I use up as much space as I can for music). When I plugged it in, it installed, but that memory NEVER freed back up. It still lists the operating system as taking up 2.7GB of my internal memory, leaving much less space for music etc. so not worth it! How do I get it to recondense to what it’s supposed to be.. like 450 MB?

  24. The main problem with IOS 6 is it seems to disable all sharing o photos and videos on Facebook !!! Why???

  25. I have a 4G and did not read before upgrade. Now phone has gone Rumple on me and I cannot restore. I get the logo blinking every 10 seconds but cannot get phone to finish download. I have tried to reboot but will not respond.

    Any advice?

  26. Trying to update my iphone4 for the first time on iTunes but keeps coming up update failed check setting or network try again. Why is this and how can I update it.

  27. No worries, the update will give the most of 2,5 Gb space back. It is just the space he need during the installation. So delete big apps and put them back afterwards.

  28. After making some room by deleting a few things on my iPhone 3GS last night, I installed iOS6 (which seemed to take FOREVER). I like the new features but since the installation my touch screen seems to be very delayed and its extremely annoying. I have to type much slower than usual or it won’t register and it is really annoying me. Seems like my touch screen needs calibrating but I’ve researched and researched and found no similar experiences or solutions. If like to keep iOS6 if I can get my touch screen back to normal otherwise I want to install it. How would I uninstall it of it comes to that and will it take as long as the dreadful installation process? HELP

  29. After update ios6 my iPhone can not open mail. Internet also become very slow super slow. Auto lock no working , totally shit

  30. I have the iPhone 3GS 8gb and I have Atleast 5gb of data. My issue is that when I go to download the new ios6 software it gets three quarters of the way through and then chrashes. I have also tried to do it via iTunes any other suggestions ?

  31. I updated my 3GS 16gb and have had nothing but problems since the update.. Camera for one takes pics on its own, when i open it or close it.. even when i put my phone to standby, camera takes a pic.. phone randomly shuts down, programs close out and shuts phone down, i now cant recieve texts unless im running the Imessage.. im about to thro the dang thing out the window!!!! and those are JUST a few of the problems.. dont think the page is long enough for the rest of it.. FRUSTRATED

  32. I have iPhone 3GS with 16GB and have a free space of 4.5GB. However on trying to upgrade to iOS 6.0, through a dedicated WIFI and directy power source (Phone).
    In addition to have taken over 6 hours to upgrade, It ultimately resulted in Apple Logo with the progess bar (60% complete) and the system is hung. It is not
    allowing to Hard-restart nor is allowing to reset in the home button. Appreciate a solution for the above problem.

  33. I upgraded to iOS6 on a 16GB Verizon, a 16GB Sprint and a 16GB AT&T 4s hand set. Of the three, Verizon finished fires, then AT&T then Sprint, finally. Update done OTA with wifi about midnight on the day the OS appeared. Everything works. Admittedly all the phones had 7GB or more of space.

    My issue is for those users that do not wnat to upgrade the OTA still downloads. On my 8GB iPhone 4, I lost 2.2.GB. I have an old iTouch 8GB and I turned the wif off so it cant download.

  34. Only work round right now is to restore 5.x using an external program to do so… 6 pretty much ruined my 3G 8gig with plenty of room… 6.01 locked the phone entirely, requiring a restore through iTunes. after the restore, the phone is pretty much useless. Forget WIFI, even over the cellular network there is only slow and no speed at all on connectivity… So, ya’ think Apple is forcing people to upgrade by jacking the O/S so badly that folks with older iPhones will HAVE to upgrade in order to make up for slower iPhone 5 release sales than anticipated? As bad as Microsoft funding people to create and distribute viruses, sheesh…

  35. i am unable 2 download ios6 on my ipad through my pc…btw i hv windows xp on my pc i know it is too old but still….plzz help it is taking too long

  36. Hi Im not tech savvy whatsoever and not sure how many GBs the iPhones come in I just know I have a 30 something gig and I still am unable to download the ios6 update! Ugh I got an error message that said I need at least 2.3 gs of available space. I deleted many apps and if I were to delete all my “delete-able” apps combined would not add up to that required 2.3 GBs. I’m confused here. What do I need to do to fix this?

  37. Hi Im not tech savvy whatsoever and not sure how many GBs the iPhones come in I just know I have a 30 something gig and I still am unable to download the ios6 update! Ugh I got an error message that said I need at least 2.3 gs of available space. I deleted many apps and if I were to delete all my “delete-able” apps combined would not add up to that required 2.3 GBs. I’m confused here. What do I need to do to fix this? Whoops forgot to mention I believe I have a 4th generation and I have iOS 5.

  38. I have had nothing but issues with this stupid update. It even deleted previous backups as well as other issue and has made my day an unproductive mess. How could apple think they could get away with yet another dodgy update and without warning those of us with small capcity iphones that we need to basically delete 3/4 of our phones content to accomidate such an intrusive update. This makes me think this is a deleibrate ploy by apple so people think they need to update to bigger devices. We are talking about apple here.

  39. Since downloading iOS 6.1 on my ipad I can no longer update my stuff nor buy anything on app as it now saying My Australian acc no good and must switch over to the us store. Wtf?? I tried three times to buy a game but it was no good. Although it still took my money anyway. I’m confuse. I thought this iOS 6.1 was great, had nothing but problems. Grr

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