Many times when you do an OS update, you get a bad surprise. You may find out that some of your apps are incompatible, or the new OS slows down your device, or it takes up valuable storage space on your hard drive.
When I upgraded to iOS 10.3 I had a surprise, but it was a good surprise — I gained storage space. When upgraded my 16 GB iPhone 6, I went from about 1 GB of free space to over 3 GB free. When I upgraded my iPad, I freed up over 2.5 GB of storage space. What was it that gave me the extra space?
Say Hello to APFS
With iOS 10.3, Apple introduced a new file system. Gone was HFS+, a file system that has been around since 1998. In its place is APFS, the Apple File System. The file system is the organizing principle behind placing data on your hard drive. Apple has jury-rigged HFS+ over the years to adapt to Macs, iPods, iPhones, iPads, and Apple Watches. Apple created the new system from the ground up. It includes many improvements beyond the more efficient use of drive space. If you want to find out more, here’s a Cult of Mac article with more details.
The new file system comes automatically with the iOS 10.3 update. This improvement, as well as other features in the new OS, make it a desirable update. For some reasons you may not want to do the update, see the GottaBeMobile website for an article that has eight reasons to install the update (the storage improvement is one), and four reasons you may want to hold off.