Microsoft knocks iOS 8 install requirements, ups OneDrive free space

Microsoft offered to nearly double the free space for its OneDrive cloud storage service

Microsoft yesterday levered the news that some iPhone owners had to delete content before installing the new iOS 8 with an offer to nearly double the free space for its OneDrive cloud storage service.

"While it might seem strange to announce new features on a Friday evening, we've been listening to the commentary about storage on the new iPhones released today and we wanted to get you more storage right away," wrote Douglas Pearce, a group program manager with the OneDrive team, on a blog. "We think you'll appreciate having more free storage while setting up your iPhone 6 or upgrading to iOS 8."

OneDrive has a free-space allotment of 15GB, or three times that of Apple's iCloud. An additional bonus of 3GB was available if customers enabled automatic backup of photos and video to OneDrive, which Microsoft calls "camera roll backup," from the iOS app. The OneDrive offer, which is good only through the end of September, retained the 15GB base allowance but increased the photo auto-backup space from 3GB to 15GB for customers who enabled the feature.

To get the extra 12GB or 15GB of camera roll backup space -- 12GB for those who had previously enabled camera roll, 15GB for those who had not -- users must download and install the OneDrive iOS app, then switch on the feature when asked. If added by Sept. 30, the extra space is permanent.

Microsoft also automatically added the 12GB extra space on camera roll to all existing users on all platforms, including iOS, Android, Windows Phone and Windows. (Microsoft did not explicitly mention the OS X version of OneDrive, but those users, too, will receive the additional space if it was enabled on another supported device.) New customers on those platforms will receive the full 15GB if they enable camera roll.

Microsoft used a classic public relations tactic -- pointing out deficiencies of a competitor -- as the basis for the offer.

One of the biggest beefs with iOS 8, which Apple released Wednesday, has been the free-space requirement for installation. At 1GB or more, iOS 8 was larger than its iOS 7 forerunner, and required 5GB or more of free space to install.

That was problematic for many owners of 8GB and 16GB iPhones, who scrambled to delete content, including precious apps and photos, to install iOS 8.

The workaround was to upgrade after connecting the iPhone to a Windows PC or Mac that had the latest version of iTunes installed. However, customers new to the iPhone after October 2011, when Apple first offered over-the-air updates, may not even have known that iTunes could be used to install upgrades. Even those who owned iPhones before that have largely forgotten about the functionality.

OneDrive for iOS can be downloaded from Apple's App Store.

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