One of the more welcome new features in iOS 5 is support for over the air system software updates. To help streamline things, the updates will be delta updates so that users will only need to download portions of the iOS codebase that’s been changed.
When Scott Forstall first introduced the feature, he didn’t clarify if these updates would be relegated to wi-fi only or if they’d be possible via 3G as well.
Well wonder no more – 9to5Mac has discovered that iOS updates can be downloaded via 3G thanks to some code they found in the iOS 5 SDK.
Typically, though, there are some caveats.
For starters, Mark Gurman of 9to5 relays that only certain iOS updates will be available via 3G. We can only assume that more mammoth updates will only be available via Wi-Fi in an effort to appease carriers, and let’s be honest, to keep users from going crazy.
And speaking of, it remains to be seen if iOS updates over the air will be implemented on a carrier by carrier basis.
Further, the report speculates (and indeed, it does make sense), that iOS updates via 3G will only commence when a user has sufficient battery life remaining and a sufficient amount of storage space on any given device. “[It] looks like Apple will expect 500 MB of necessary storage per delta update,” the report states.”