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spires from Carfax

iphone software bloat

Technology — December 2020

Software bloat strikes again. I managed to get my old iphone SE upgraded to iOS 14 (from 12). That means it's getting security updates — always good! — and has stopped crashing semi-regularly. But the operating system in total (along with "other") is now using over 10GB of storage, leaving too little for me to run the apps I actually want to run (since I have a model with only 16GB).

This is really annoying, because another 2GB of usable storage would be enough, given my rather limited use. I only need to hold photos and videos till I offload them, I want offline maps (OS and OSMand) for Oxford and wherever I'm currently visiting, it's good to have a few of Helen's favourite apps, some essential banking and authentication apps, and so forth.

My options now look like:

  1. Buy a replacement iphone SE with more storage, maybe £80-100 for a 32GB model in good condition secondhand. The downside to this is that the original SE looks like being the next model to be dropped from OS support, probably in about a year's time.
  2. Buy a new iphone SE 2, around £400. It would be nice to have waterproofing and image stabilisation, and this would be good for another five years. The downside is that the damn thing is significantly bigger; I like the small phone.
  3. Buy a new iphone 12 mini, around £700. This is a smaller and lighter than the iphone SE 2, though still bigger than my current phone. The better camera would be nice, but the other bells and whistles I probably don't care about; it also has Face ID when I prefer Touch ID. With the latest processor, it'd probably be good for another six years.

I'm still attracted by options such as Purism, but need it to run some key apps. (My core computing platform is still my desktop and laptop, both running free software systems; the phone is just an integrated gadget.)

I suspect I'll just hang on with the current phone, doing remove-reinstall juggling, until it goes end-of-life, and see what's available then.


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