iOS 8 has had its share of problems, and now we can throw one more on the pile: a lawsuit. Two plaintiffs have filed a suit claiming their 16GB iPhones and iPads don’t actually come with 16GB of storage, and iOS 8 takes up too much space—and Apple should make that clearer, in case we are all idiots who don’t get that operating systems do use storage.
Ars Technica’s iOS 8: Thoroughly Reviewed includes a look at how much more storage space iOS 8 consumes, versus a clean install of iOS 7.1.2, and it does gobble a significant chunk: about 740MB on iPhones and 1.03GB on iPads. If you’re using a 16GB device, that’s 4.5 to 6.4 percent. Which doesn’t sound like a ton, but 740MB can hold a lot of photos.
This lawsuit is still pretty silly on its face, for a couple of reasons. The plaintiffs want the class to include not just people who upgraded their devices to iOS 8, but people who bought new devices with iOS 8 preinstalled on them. But those people didn’t “lose” anything—they never had that storage space, because every computing device that ships with an operating system works the same. Some of the advertised space is taken up by the OS. That’s baseball.
The complaint comes with its own table of capacity figures, sort of like Ars Technica’s…except that the data displayed is “represented capacity” of 16GB versus the actual capacity with iOS 8 installed. So that particular table isn’t showing that iOS 8 hogs more space than iOS 7—just that it uses capacity, period.
And the suit also mentions that Apple cruelly offers "to sell that capacity in a desperate moment, e.g., when a consumer is trying to record or take photos at a child or grandchild’s recital, basketball game or wedding.” The lawsuit is referring to iCloud storage here of course, but it’s not like once you give Apple your money while sitting courtside at the recital portion of your grandkid’s basketball-themed wedding, suddenly your iPhone grows more gigabytes and you can magically take more photos—unless you delete some.
But before you delete them from your Camera Roll, you’ve got to put them somewhere else. iCloud—free or paid—won’t really help you unless you’re able to upload all the photos from the rehearsal dinner over Wi-Fi. So lesson learned: If you’re going to a big event, make sure there’s plenty of room available for photos and videos. And of course there are copious options for storing your photos so you can delete them from your Camera Roll: Flickr, Google+, Google Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox, and their cousins, or—gasp—just plug your device into your computer once in a while and save them to your hard drive.
So this lawsuit strikes me as being a bit whiny—kind of “Apple never said I’d have to plug in my iPhone to charge it!” you know?—but I’m sure people have sued Apple over dumber things. Yeah, iOS 8 does take up a lot of storage. And it’s true, 16GB feels stingy even for entry-level devices these days. But as Lesa Snider just wrote in her review of cross-platform photo-storage solution Mylio, “The reality is that you won’t have fewer photos in five years, you’ll only have more.” Figuring out where to store them all is on you. Not Apple.