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Best iOS 8 Installation Method Revealed

Last updated: September 20, 2014 at 22:02 pm

So which is the best way to install iOS 8.0 firmware on our device? We finally have the answer to this question. It took us a lot of testing, reinstalling, and playing with the new iOS 8 to get to the right answer.

Our final results are based on our experience, which says that updating via Apple iTunes is the most convenient way to install iOS 8 firmware. That’s right — forget OTA update as it’s a pain in many ways (explained later).

First, let’s start with an overview of the various ways one can install iOS 8.0 firmware on their devices:

iOS 8 can be installed in two ways:

  • Method #1: From your computer or laptop
  • Method #2: From your Apple device (OTA)

When you install iOS 8 from your computer (Method #1), you have two more ways:

When you install iOS 8 from your device (Method #2), you have only one way:

  • Going to Settings -> General -> Software Update

This method of updating to iOS 8 is known as OTA (Over-The-Air) update. (We already have a tutorial explaining how to wirelessly (OTA) update iOS 8.)

Over The Air Update Vs. iTunes Method of Installing iOS 8

iTunes Vs. OTA Update For iOS 8 Firmware

Over The Air Update For iOS 8

OTA update has its advantages: You don’t need the help of any computer or iTunes player in this method. Plus, you can update iOS 8 on the fly — meaning you can be traveling and still install iOS 8 firmware with a tap of a button. All you need is a solid Internet connection.

OTA update has its disadvantages: You need large amount of free space. In fact, just updating iOS 8 via OTA requires over 4+ GB of free space. During installation process we have “Checking For Update” message or other messages like “Update Requested” and “Preparing Update.” You cannot pause and resume the iOS 8 OTA download. Plus, if you have an unstable cellular connection, you must be willing to try multiple times to install iOS 8.

One of the biggest reason we prefer iTunes method over OTA is simply because of the space. OTA method is not feasible on devices that have very less storage space. For example, take the new iPhone 4S 8GB model. It is not at all easy to make room for 5GB additional space out of the 8GB available.

This is where iTunes method works, and it works very well for installation purpose.

You have the power to either manually update or automatically update iOS 8 via Apple iTunes. Sure, there are a couple of problems with this, but the advantages outnumbers the disadvantages.

iTunes Update For iOS 8

iTunes update has its advantages: You can backup the complete data via iTunes before upgrading to iOS 8 firmware. Compared to OTA update, you need very less free space for installing iOS 8. You can instantly check for updates and sync the device. Plus, updating iOS 8 via iTunes is faster. Downgrading to old firmware is possible. Backuping apps and games is just a click away.

iTunes update has its disadvantages: You may face problems while restoring iOS firmware. You may want to upgrade iTunes to its latest version. Sometimes using an old iTunes can be a problem. If you don’t backup your library, you may lose all the songs and content during the installation process.

Why We Decided To Update iOS 8 via Apple iTunes

We have already written a couple of posts explaining why updating via Apple iTunes is the best way to install iOS 8. Sure, it’s not the easiest, but it is convenient. A perfect example is of the iPhone 4s. An iPhone 4S (8GB Model) can have iOS 8 installed via iTunes.

Why? That’s how Apple has designed the updates. If we do an OTA update, we need large amount of free space. Compare this to the iTunes method and you will need only half of the storage space. This is probably the key reason why we prefer iTunes way of installing iOS 8 firmware.

Sure, there are other reasons. For example, on our iPhones we received Software Update Failed message during an OTA update. This problem cannot be fixed, as it was from the Apple’s server side. The solution? We simply downloaded IPSW files of iOS 8 and installed it on our Mac computer with the help of Apple iTunes. See: How To Install IPSW Files of iOS 8.0 Firmware

Conclusion: Pick Your Update Method

It’s clear how much we love to update iOS 8 via Apple iTunes. The truth is simple: anything that works for us is good. For you, probably OTA method works the best. For example, if you have an extremely fast internet connection, you can get iOS 8 downloaded and installed in less than 10 minutes. You don’t need a PC and you don’t need to download any additional files.

However, in our case, we didn’t have the required storage space for iOS 8 installation. Plus, those few errors with OTA really tested our patience. And that is why we chose iTunes method to update our iPhones, iPads, and iPod Touches to new iOS 8 firmware.

Note: Articles written at are valid for every Apple device running iOS 8.0, iOS 8.1, iOS 8.2, iOS 8.3, iOS 8.4 / 8.4.1 firmware