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Inside iOS 9: Apple makes it easier to upgrade with automatic overnight updates, smaller files

In a bid to drive the already-impressive iOS upgrade rate even higher, Apple has brought a bit of OS X to iOS 9 with a new automatic installation option that will let iPhones and iPads update themselves— at a convenient time for the user.

"We're also changing the way software updates are presented to the user," OS X platform lead Andreas Wendker explained at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference in June. "Users will be given a choice to install right now, or later at night when they might not need access to devices."

This change has brought iOS in line with OS X, which began offering such an option in Mavericks.

On the desktop, selecting "Try Tonight" will automatically install available updates between the hours of 2 a.m. and 5 a.m., whenever the computer is not being used. The update process is fully automatic— the computer saves state, restarts itself when necessary, and presents the same state when the user logs on again.

The new iOS 9 update mechanisms appear to follow the same pattern. A post-update dialog shown on screen confirms that the update was successfully installed, and gives the user an option to read more information about the changes.

Apple has also reduced the amount of free space required to install updates on the device, from 4.6 gigabytes for iOS 8 to 1.3 gigabytes for iOS 9.

"So we think this is going to keep pushing users to update quickly, and will allow you to keep focusing your energies on the latest version of iOS," Wendker told audience.