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Latest iOS 15, iPadOS 15, watchOS 8 betas enable software updates with minimal storage

In what could be a boon for owners of older Apple Watch models, like the Apple Watch Series 3, Apple's latest beta versions of iOS 15, iPadOS 15 and watchOS 8 allow devices with less than 500MB of storage to perform an update without additional steps.

Quietly announced in Apple's release notes for the latest round of betas, which was issued to developers earlier today, the new functionality resolves an issue that would disallow software updates on devices with limited onboard storage.

"You can now update your device using Software Update if less than 500 MB of storage is available," Apple says.

The new option will be particularly useful for owners of Apple Watch Series 3, the oldest of Apple's wearables to support watchOS 8. GPS-only models of the product came loaded with 8GB of storage, which by today's standards is not much. Storage is used for the operating system, apps and, when the time comes, temporarily storing software updates for installation.

Apple Watch Series 3 owners have been acutely aware of the issue for some time. Apple previously instructed users to erase data from their Watch before performing an installation, but the procedure changed with iOS 14.6 in May. Now, Series 3 owners are instructed to unpair and restore their device to complete a software update.

It appears that Apple has discovered a solution to the cumbersome installation process with watchOS 8.

9to5Mac spotted the change earlier today.

How the new feature works is not clear, though it is also available for iOS 15 and iPadOS 15.

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