Apple To Deliver iOS Updates Over-The-Air Starting This Fall?


These are the events that iOS users experience when a new iOS update is available:

1.) Read online that a new iOS update is available
2.) Go crazy happy because there is an update available
3.) Plug iOS device into iTunes via a computer, and update

The focus here is step 3, updating through iTunes. This is the method that Apple has used for iDevice updates since 2001. In recent years however, competing devices (Google) have used OTA, or Over-The-Air, updates that push the updates to the user’s device. In other words, no computer required.

As 9to5Mac reports, and I really hope this report comes true, Apple may be looking to provide OTA updates for iOS as early as Fall 2011.

Multiple sources say the new feature will debut in iOS 5, meaning iOS 5 will not come over-the-air but following point updates to it will. Just like tethering in iOS 3, Apple has the technology but cannot just unleash it everywhere.

According to the report, the initial rollout may be with USA wireless carrier Verizon, with a possible international launch to follow.

Also, if OTA is to be an iOS 5 feature, we can expect OTA updates to be available on iPad and iPod Touch as well.

What do you think of OTA iOS updates? I can’t wait!


  • Sunz

    Hopefully there will be ota jailbreaks as well!

  • Ex

    That would be something!

  • Ex

    That would be something!

  • MrAnonymous

    Jailbreaks are done independent of iTunes, so it doesn’t matter how the updates are delivered.

  • Derrick

    I can wait.

    1) OS updates are often not small. Limited bandwidth caps on cell coverage makes that less awesome.

    2) Seriously, how many OS updates have actually brought useful new features? Why rush to update an be amougst the first to suffer the early bugs? With any system – iOS, OSX, windows, android, Linux… It’s ALWAYS better to wait a few days and let someone else find the bugs.

    I mean, it’s a good thing and all – bite sized security updates easily obtained, but a big deal this is not. Its hardly groundbreaking, either. New for iOS sure, but patches available over the Internet? Not an innovation.

  • Elducker

    The author says he “can’t wait”. I don’t understand the appeal of OTA firmware updates. They happen infrequently and as has already been said they are big files…
    I don’t mind plugging into iTunes once every six weeks or so for the the 10 minute update.

    …and I agree that it’s wise to wait a few days while the kinks are worked out, and while a new JB is released!

  • Wuju

    i prefer over itunes

  • Anonymous

    Seems unlikely, unless Tim Cook has more sway over the Cult of Apple than we suspect. The forced connectivity required by iPhone, Touch and the rest of the iPods to the iTunes Store is not so much to guarantee a clean update, but rather, to get eyeballs (and wallets) onto the profit-making site. All of Apple’s mobile devices remain nothing more than content delivery devices to their iTunes Store – the iPhone simply has phone capabilities tossed in.

    OTA updates (be it via your wireless plan’s data connection or wi-fi) remain a positive option if the user has not the access (or desire) to sync with their computer and their iTunes account attached to it.

  • iOS 4.3.3 is a tweak

  • Drocass

    Next step to fight JBs is Apples auto update while you sleep via wifi for seamless upgrades without costing users time.
    Also to auto update security for jailbreaks lol.

    Might be a bit of a reach, but I could see it one day.

  • Kirk Armstrong

    I honestly think that if any of this OTA stuff takes place that they should leave the option to do both update OTA and through itunes. Not everyone has blazing fast connection speeds. Plus imagine trying to stream that stuff through a cell carrier connection when it is a huge 600 mb file. No thanks. Cloud storage can work but when it relates to a increase in people using mobile data, that concerns me. I don’t know. As long as they don’t remove hard syncing permanently I don’t mind it. I like to keep my store with me, so I know that I have something tangable. Ok now I am rambling… lol

  • Anonymous

    As long as you have the option to “turn off” OTA auto updates I’m fine with this tech but then again we are talking about Apple here. I would be infuriated if my device updated without my permission & I lost my JB in the process! I don’t trust Apple as they continue to thumb their nose at the US court ruling that allows for JB’ing yet they continue to patch exploits when found.

  • Drocass

    I sure hope not. Ota jailbreak also leads to ota access to your personal data depending on how the jb app is designed. Would you be able to tell? Apple is not there to check these things out for us.

    Double edge sword.

  • 666 meg tweak, how would that be good over OTA? Now sync with iTunes over wifi, or cloud sync would be great. Updates are to big.

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