Updating in Apple’s mobile operating system is currently underlying a boring definition: once something new appears, the application is forced to download the new version completely, right from scratch. That means more time is spent while updating and more data traffic is being consumed. Of course, this might not bother those who only play indie games or use standard applications, but what about games where the installation client alone occupies several hundred megabytes?
According to the latest rumors, this major disadvantage may have been fixed in iOS 6, the next major version which will be introduced by the new iPhone. Allegedly, iOS 6 will arrive with a feature called “Delta” updates, which makes sure that only the newest parts of the software are being delivered and everything else is being preserved on the handset.
Is this how a Delta update will be delivered in iOS 6?
Besides changing the delivering algorithm, Delta updates are described to not alter any other aspect of the whole process. The package will still be delivered over-the-air (OTA) but the overall speed will increase significantly, possibly even for firmware upgrades. Imaging having a game which weighs past 700MB, like Dungeon Hunter 3, and an update is being issued. Owners will be forced to download over 1GB of content, and I can safely assume that not many afford to do so over the cellular connection.
Using Delta updates, this would have only required 300 MB or so, which is far less than the actual situation. The first evidence of the new generation algorithm comes as a video, where two iPhone 4S devices are tested head to head while downloading an update for Podcasts. Although they are both connected on the same network and iOS 6 is still in beta, the difference is quite major.
It’s worth noticing that Delta may just be rumor at this stage, and the speed difference seen above could be attributed to other factors, such as iOS 6′s ability of communicating with the network and simply delivering the same package, way faster.