The Forbes reported that upgrading to iOS 10.3 is unusually slow.
iOS 10.3 is here and I’ll be writing my usual upgrade guide soon, but – following some confusion from users who have already upgraded – it’s important to tell you about one important part of the update which is giving users a nasty surprise…
‘Great Secret Features’ and ‘Nasty Surprises’ are my regular columns investigating operating system updates for the best features / biggest problems hidden behind the headlines.
As AppleInsider confirms: upgrading to iOS 10.3 is unusually slow. The update itself is only around 600MB (relatively small when major releases are several gigabytes) but installation times can be excruciating. In fact AppleInsider says still-sprightly devices like the Apple iPad Air 2 are taking around 50 minutes, so iPhone 5 and iPhone 5C owners might as well go watch a movie and come back.
It means the progress bar can appear stationary
The good news is patience is all that’s required, but when install times are this slow it means the progress bar can appear stationary. As AppleInsider reports, Apple Support is recommending users don’t panic and forcibly halt the upgrade thinking it has crashed. This can cause damage and it will be entirely self inflicted.
Why iOS 10.3 Installs So Slowly
The good news is there is a reason why you’ll be giving up a sizeable chunk of your time while iOS 10.3 installs on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch: it introduces an entirely new file system.
Simply called ‘Apple File System’ (APFS), it replaces the ageing HFS+ (launched in 1998 and based on HFS launched in 1985!) and will roll out across macOS, watchOS and tvOS as well. Aside from under the hood benefits like SSD optimisation, improved backups and cross platform full disk and individual file encryption, end users will also find APFS can free up storage space.
Notably, Forbes’ own Brad Moon found iOS 10.3 freed nearly 2GB on his 32GB iPhone 7. Apple has a detailed PDF on APFS for those looking for (very) detailed information.
As such, while iOS 10.3 may appear to lock up your device on upgrade and have you reaching for the panic button, the reality is if you wait this one out your patience will be rewarded. Eventually.