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iOS 6.1 on iPhone 5 Review: Impressions and Performance

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As predicted and after quite a bit of a wait, Apple released iOS 6.1 for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch to the public this morning. The update figures to be the biggest update to iOS 6 since the software was released in September adding a few new features while likely bringing bug fixes to the table as well. And while it’s maybe not the most exciting in-between update that Apple has ever released, it’s still one that we’ve been looking forward to. Here now are our first impressions of iOS 6.1 for the iPhone 5.

Since I acquired the iPhone 5 and with it, iOS 6, I’ve run into my fair share of issues with Apple’s mobile software. In fact, it has been a bit of a love-hate relationship that I’ve had with iOS 6. While there has been quite a bit to like – Do Not Disturb, the new Sharing functionality and Facebook Integration to name a few – there have been some headaches as well.

With iOS 6.1, I ran into the keyboard glitch, experienced the Wi-Fi issues that iPhone owners complained about and are still complaining about, and I’ve run into more than just a few random reboots in the days since the software was released. So while not as frustrating as Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich operating system was on my Galaxy Nexus, iOS 6.1 has frustrated me.

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iOS 6.1 has been released.

Read: How to Install iOS 6.1.

Fortunately, unlike Verizon and the Galaxy Nexus, Apple has worked diligently to repair the issues with iOS 6.1. With iOS 6.0.1, it tried to tackle some of the major bugs with iOS 6. With iOS 6.0.2, it directly addressed Wi-Fi issues associated with the iPhone 5 and iPad mini. The fix worked for many people, for many others, it apparently did not.

iOS 6.0.2 also seemed to introduce battery drain issues that iPhone 5 users have been complaining about since December. So, needless to say, users have had their eyes fixed to the web looking for the iOS 6.1 update.

Today, that update arrived in the form of a 107MB update that can be installed either Over-the-Air or through a manual install by using the good old iTunes method. And after spending a few hours, here now, are my first impressions of the latest iOS 6 update from Apple, iOS 6.1.

No Update Issues

With iOS 6.0.2, I ran into some issues updating to the software. It wasn’t the first time that it happened with an iOS update and probably won’t be the last. However, iOS 6.1 did not follow in its footsteps.

Over the past few days, I’ve been checking for iOS 6.1 every hour on the hour. Why? One, because I knew the update was likely going to be coming after the events over the weekend. And two, very plainly, I wanted the update, not for the features but mainly to see if my random reboots would stop.

Finally, after several days of checking, the update appeared and iOS 6.1 was ready to install. But would there be issues? Fortunately, no. I was able to seamlessly download and install the update OTA using my Wi-Fi network. The process went smoothly, seemed relatively fast and after a bit of maintenance, my phone was back up and running iOS 6.1.

I wish all iOS updates were this way. Maybe they will be from here on out, but I’m not holding my breath.

Maybe I’ll Start Using Siri Again, Maybe

iOS 6.1 is a big update in the eyes of many iPhone and iPad owners because unlike previous iOS 6 updates, which brought bug fixes and enhancements, iOS 6.1 actually brings some new features to the table. One of those features, and maybe the biggest, is the ability to use Siri to purchase your movie tickets.

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You’ll need the Fandango app to use Siri’s new feature.

The virtual assistant uses Fandango to acquire the tickets. As someone who rarely does this from a phone, or really, from a computer, I didn’t have Fandango installed when I tried to find tickets this morning. As Siri noted, you must have the Fandango application installed in order to take advantage of Siri’s new capabilities. Silly me.

Once I installed the app, it worked much better. Now, instead of just pestering Siri with movie times, as I’ve done once or twice in the past, now I can pester her with requests to purchase movie tickets. The service is seamless and works as advertised. Even if I don’t end up using it, I can’t ask for much more.

As someone who rarely uses Siri or goes out to the movies, I can’t say that this is going to bring me back into the fold, but it seems extremely useful for moviegoers who want to avoid a lot of the hassle of buying tickets.

Reporting Apple Maps Issues is Easy

Now, when using Apple Maps, users really don’t have an excuse not to report a bug to Apple.

I still use a combination of Apple Maps and Google Maps on my iPhone 5 as I like certain things about both of them. That said, I’d definitely like to see an improvement in both applications including Apple’s Maps. And luckily, Apple has made that a lot easier.

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Report a Problem is not prominently featured in iOS 6.1

In Apple Maps, there is now a prominent button to ‘Report a Bug’ to the company. Whereas the button was virtually hidden before, it now resides at the very top of the menu when you pull the little tab up from the bottom right hand corner.

I haven’t seen any glaring ones for awhile, the major ones that I saw have been fixed by Apple, but there surely are still some issues floating around the highly criticized application. That said, Apple wants to improve it and those that wish to help it do so can now do so very easily.

New Lockscreen Music Controls Are Useful

Another feature Apple has included are new lockscreen music controls. We’ve known that these would be coming for quite awhile now and they are finally here.

Obviously they aren’t anything groundbreaking, they essentially just line up the controls with the controls found in the Music application, but they are useful nonetheless and look a whole lot better than the previous controls.

As someone who often uses public transportation, any improvement to my mobile music experience is fantastic and I really like what Apple has done here.

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The new lockscreen controls look much better.

For those wondering what on earth I am talking about, double tap the home button on the lockscreen while playing music and controls will pop up toward the top of the screen.

Wi-Fi Connection is Strong

After iOS 6.0.2, I thought that my Wi-Fi issues were over. And for the most part, they have been non-existent. However, every so often, while on my home WPA2, I’ve had my connection die on my iPhone 5 for whatever reason. I am still not sure if this a router issue, though other devices worked fine including my iPad, or one with iOS.

I know others have been complaining about non-existent or poor Wi-Fi, even after iOS 6.0.2, and so far, everything appears to be normal with iOS 6.1. My Wi-Fi connection is strong, maybe stronger than before, and I haven’t had any weird, or quirky issues pop up yet.

Again, I’ve only used the software for a few hours so we may see some issues pop up in the next few days, but thus far, the connection is stable and strong.

So Far, No Random Reboots

Another issue I’ve been having since the release of iOS 6 and its subsequent releases is a random reboot issue that pops up, often when I am using iMessage.

Since I bought my iPhone 5, I’ve been seeing my iPhone reboot at random times for no apparent reason. More often then not, I am checking an iMessage and I’ll be taken to a black screen, then the boot up Apple logo, then back to my lock screen. It all happens within 10 seconds or so and while not a huge issues, it’s still frustrating.

After installing iOS 6.0.2, I got a reboot right off the bat. With iOS 6.1, that hasn’t been the case. Obviously, because it’s a random occurrence, I have no idea when I might see it occur but my hope is that iOS 6.1 has taken care of it.

Only time will tell.

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iOS 6.1 doesn’t seem to make iPhone 5 battery life better or worse.

Battery Life is Solid

Apple’s iOS 6.0.2 update seemed to wreck havoc on the battery life of iPhone 5 owners. Fortunately, I was spared and my iPhone 5 has been performing marvelously from a battery standpoint.

So I can’t necessarily speak to whether or not iOS 6.1 fixes the battery life issues from iOS 6.0.2 because I never had any issues in the first place. One thing I can say is that so far, iOS 6.1 does not eat up the iPhone’s battery life, something that should help those that are teetering on the fence about whether to install it or not.

Those that may be experiencing battery life issues might want to check out our tips on improving iPhone 5 battery life.

Should You Install iOS 6.1?

In my opinion, those with an iPhone 5 should not be scared of downloading the iOS 6.1 update. It doesn’t appear to have any nasty bugs on board, it has the potential to fix issues that people may have encountered with previous versions, and it even adds some nifty features to boot.

Read: iOS 6.1 Jailbreak: Success, Safe to Update, Sunday Release Teased.

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The iOS 6.1 update is, so far, a great addition to the iOS family of updates.

Those that wish to jailbreak their iPhone 5 should also be safe to download iOS 6.1 but make sure not to download it Over-the-Air. Instead, users should install, but do it on a computer. It’s a little unclear as to why but two of the four developers of the iOS 6.1 jailbreak say to do it this way.

If you’ve installed it, how is iOS 6.1 treating your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch?

62 Comments

  1. TheRealCBONE

    01/28/2013 at 1:25 pm

    It just works!

    Aside from all the things that don’t.

  2. Arn

    01/28/2013 at 1:55 pm

    “Apple’s iOS 6.0.2 update seemed to wreck havoc on the battery life of iPhone owners, including iPhone 5 owners.”

    This update only for iPhone 5.

    • Adam Mills

      01/28/2013 at 2:08 pm

      Thanks Arn. I keep forgetting it was only for the iPhone 5 and iPad mini. Was a strange update.

    • Amos Moledi

      01/29/2013 at 9:14 am

      True. Lol

  3. Jay

    01/28/2013 at 2:03 pm

    Do not disturb screwed up again on 6.1

    • Adam Mills

      01/28/2013 at 2:08 pm

      Will investigate but I haven’t seen an issue.

      • Lawrence

        02/02/2013 at 9:14 am

        I see more glitches on iOS 6.1 unresponsive screen and slower speeds, it seems every update fixes one thing but brings other bad, I think apple and hope they go down!! It’s to the point iPhones and iPads are played out

  4. Papasin

    01/28/2013 at 3:00 pm

    Battery is still draining faster on ios 6.1. I’m so done with apple and this shit!! My iPad mini was fine on ios 6.0.1, 6.0.2 was the worst update, ios 6.1 has done nothing to fix my battery issue!!

    • Johny

      01/28/2013 at 7:31 pm

      TOTALLY AGREE, battery drain fast than usual
      ….APPLE SUCKS!!!!!!

    • G.W.A.H.

      01/29/2013 at 6:24 pm

      I agree with you, I got pissed at a apple store and threw my iPhone 5 at the gay ass I fag that works there discussing the opisate issue to what I had he had lousy communication skills and than I smashed a iPad and ran out!! I was so relieved after that!! Apple sucks and so does Tim cook I think this is why Steve jobs died he knew his company is going down!!

      • Edward

        01/30/2013 at 7:57 am

        Really…

        Maybe you need to quit spending your money on tech gadgets and spend a few dollars on the appropriate medications.

        What a loser!

        • GWAH

          02/01/2013 at 11:23 am

          Ya you too i fag !!

      • Christopher Dickerman

        02/01/2013 at 9:42 am

        Dude! (Dudette) Your iPhone issues are secondary. Your interpersonal brain software needs some serious attention, (maybe meds, maybe just a serious Jap-slap)
        . If you carry this attitude into other areas of your life, I have no doubt you are one unhappy character. Thank the Goddess, I have the problems I do and not yours.

        • Brian

          02/01/2013 at 5:46 pm

          Apple will join Steve down fore sure the way Tim cook is going, I don’t blame Larry I’m on his side iOS 6.1 same crap!!

        • Larry

          02/02/2013 at 8:24 pm

          Ya Chris the dick!!! Nice name duche bag!! What was ur mom smoking wen u were born??

        • Larry

          02/03/2013 at 10:08 am

          Ah I know she met the milk man??? Nice bro!! lol lol

  5. Billy

    01/28/2013 at 3:45 pm

    Would love to hear from 4s users …has the wifi ghost disappeared on iOS 6.1 ?

    • Keith

      01/28/2013 at 4:55 pm

      My Wi-fi disconnects every time the phone goes to sleep. Sofa king annoying!

      • Scott

        01/28/2013 at 5:14 pm

        That is normal. Always has done that to save Battery.

  6. Prady

    01/28/2013 at 3:59 pm

    Greatest bug … When opening passbook auto brightness is screwed up

    Set auto brightness On and if you are in a low light area . Open passbook app

    Display suddenly become 100 % bright and switch back to some other app , it goes back to same old old

    Display become too bright when switched back

    This will definitely affect battery display and mainly your eyes

    • Christopher Vendemio (@bangbang023)

      01/28/2013 at 4:25 pm

      That might be intentional to help scanners read barcodes

    • Michael

      01/31/2013 at 5:00 am

      Maybe that is not a bug and something Apple intended. See, a few times I had to increase my brightness so a cashier can scan the barcode on my display. Not an issue now

  7. Paul

    01/28/2013 at 4:55 pm

    Been travelling around the US with my iPad 4 and iPhone 5.

    So far my iPad 4 with 6.0.1 will not connect to most hotel or airport lounge wifis I’ve tried. Those it did connect to, it dropped the connection or ceased to transmit shortly after connecting. Upgraded both to 6.1. Wifi on the iPad is unchanged. Wont connect to any of the 3 WIFI networks I’ve tried so far today. My iPad 2 was *flawless*.

    (sigh) Still broken.

    On the iPhone 5 – it worked on one network. On another (hotel), there is an “accept conditions” page that appears when you connect. The iPhone 5 gives me an error when I hit accept. Doesn’t happen on my Mac.

    (sigh) Still broken.

  8. Jamie

    01/28/2013 at 6:54 pm

    I have an iphone 4s and just updated to IOS 6.1. My wifi is still greyed out and when it does come back on with 4 to 5 reboots, it just says connecting without showing any networks. Sigh, all that wait for nothing…=(

  9. Joe

    01/28/2013 at 7:47 pm

    I’ve had iPhones for years and installed every update. Never had any problems.

    • Mike

      02/01/2013 at 5:54 pm

      Good for you joe blow!!

  10. Jonathan

    01/28/2013 at 11:03 pm

    I still think it would be better if they added in battery percentage for iPod touch, but still a good update. c:

    • jonathan

      01/30/2013 at 2:43 pm

      they did u dumb ass

  11. jesus

    01/28/2013 at 11:47 pm

    I just updated to ios 6.1 on my iphone 5 and it wont charge anymore and it is completely dead… im not sure if its the update or my phone but im furious

    • lance

      01/31/2013 at 3:33 pm

      My iphone4 is doing this sense 6.1 aswell, lucky I still had some power left to see the phone trying to blame the accessory, yes the apple charger is not supported to charge an iphone… what?

  12. Dele

    01/29/2013 at 1:54 am

    I just updated to Ios 6.1 on my iPhone 5, and now it won’t sync my songs between my iTunes on my laptop and phone. It only syncs the apps, and this is quite unhelpful, as I don’t buy new apps every other day.
    I have tried the usual things, like checking the settings on both my phone and computer to see if music syncing is allowed. I have enabled these options, but still nothing works.

  13. Tal

    01/29/2013 at 5:44 am

    The problem with the Wifi exists still I think. Same with my mini as your story. All other devices work well with the Wifi but not the mini. Restarting the router fixes it.
    Also battery has no issues at all. I left it idle for 8 hours an it didn’t even drop 1%.

  14. KC

    01/29/2013 at 8:15 am

    I have noticed the overall fluidity and smoothness of the operating system has greatly improved if not for anything else, the update is worth it for this alone.

  15. LWM

    01/29/2013 at 8:20 am

    Think I will wait on seeing if there are any positive reviews before I download. Never upgraded to the 6.0.2 after reading reviews. Same thing with apps, I wait and see what other have to say. Not all updates are great updates. Example: the big Facebook update last Fall that took away ability to copy photos. The old version still safely stored on my computer for those times I accidentally hit the “update all” button

  16. Miranda

    01/29/2013 at 3:45 pm

    The reason your battey is draining faster is because of the apps you use and the brightness of your screen…

  17. Lena Smithe (@LenaSmithe)

    01/29/2013 at 7:09 pm

    until I saw the bank draft which said $9075, I didn’t believe …that…my brother was like realey earning money parttime on their apple laptop.. there friend brother has done this 4 only 11 months and recently cleared the morgage on their apartment and bourt a new Smart ForTwo. we looked here, Great60.comCHECK IT OUT

  18. Dan Branch

    01/29/2013 at 8:39 pm

    You’re, supposedly, smashing and throwing things plus making deragortory remarks against people, yet they, and not you, have a communication problem. The sad part is you’re too stupid and ignorant to realize it. Then to bring a person whom is deceased into your rant is just classless. SMH

  19. Ron

    01/30/2013 at 1:23 am

    didn’t work, had to fully recover my 4S

  20. Frank

    01/30/2013 at 6:29 am

    My battery life has been terrible on both iPhone 5 and iPad since update to 6.1. Never had an issue before.

    • David

      02/04/2013 at 8:15 pm

      Me too I’m pissed!

  21. Darenwh

    01/30/2013 at 5:17 pm

    My cheap USB to lightning cables stopped working. This will be my last apple product.

  22. Elie

    01/30/2013 at 6:57 pm

    That is the most stupid update iv ever seen i mean dont apple hear about there bugs dont they see them?? So why the hell didnt they fixed bugs insted of making siri buy tickets i dont wana buy stupid tickets i want my phone to work properly idiots

    • Dr. No

      01/31/2013 at 1:41 am

      Valid point!

    • Mike

      02/01/2013 at 5:51 pm

      Don’t buy a stupid iPhone if u know this will happen than duche!!

  23. hynks

    01/31/2013 at 7:09 am

    The lock screen double-tap music controls aren’t new, dumbass.

    • Db123

      02/04/2013 at 6:31 am

      Lol seriously. Dumbass.

  24. Mike

    02/01/2013 at 5:49 pm

    Like always every update comes a fix than drags more on, than all u I fags have a jailbreak than its worse!!

  25. Kevin

    02/02/2013 at 2:38 pm

    Should delete this post cause its a horrible update.

    • Mike

      02/02/2013 at 3:06 pm

      U got that correct there Kevin 6.0.2 was bad but 6.1 WTF??? What iPhone u use?? The 5 is by far the worst!! I hear the 4 or 4s on 6.1 was not as bad????

  26. Serious Ray

    02/03/2013 at 7:41 am

    I will not be updating to 6.1 after reading all the bad reviews it got….

    • Mike

      02/03/2013 at 10:11 am

      Don’t ray please!! My ip 5 just froze up and bricked lol thank god apple will replace the shit lol

      • Serious Ray

        02/03/2013 at 11:54 am

        Thanks mike I’m actually still on 6.0 so I will just jailbreak it on my current firmware. Sad thing is I never saved my shsh blobs with tiny umbrella….

      • Serious Ray

        02/03/2013 at 11:56 am

        Thanks mike I’m actually still on 6.0 so I will just jailbreak it on my current firmware. Sad thing is I never saved my shsh blobs with tiny umbrella….

        • Mike

          02/03/2013 at 12:33 pm

          6.0 was not that bad except the maps deal but that’s what google was for lol 6.0 was the best so far 6.0 to 6.1 was the calm before the storm 6.1 to reck havick on apple..

          • Serious Ray

            02/03/2013 at 8:55 pm

            Yeah I agree and hopefully they can redeem themselves with a serious fix…..lol

  27. Tom

    02/06/2013 at 11:57 am

    Hey Adam did you update Over-the-air or through iTunes? Thanks.

    • Serious Ray

      02/06/2013 at 8:21 pm

      Does anyone have trouble with Cydia

      • Tom

        02/06/2013 at 9:20 pm

        I haven’t jb’d yet, what problems are you having?

        • Serious Ray

          02/06/2013 at 10:55 pm

          The repos are running really slow and a lot of the tweaks can’t be downloaded

          • Tom

            02/06/2013 at 11:24 pm

            Dang!… I’m on the verge of jailbreaking but if you say cydia isn’t up and running yet.. :/. Have you gotten themes at least?

          • Serious Ray

            02/07/2013 at 7:28 am

            No I haven’t been able to download a theme either

  28. Barb

    02/24/2013 at 7:51 am

    My iphone 5 signal has went fro amazing to total crap ever since this new update.

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