On January 28th, Apple released iOS 6.1, its first big update to iOS 6, a piece of software that emerged with the iPhone 5 back in September of last year. We already took several close looks at the iOS 6.1 update for both the iPhone 5 and the iPad, and now, two weeks later, it’s time to revisit iOS 6.1 on the iPhone 5.
The build up to the release of iOS 6.1 was immense. iPhone, iPad and iPod touch owners looking for a few good features, especially those who use Siri often, were excited about the prospects of iOS 6’s first big update. And those who were suffering through issues with their iPhone 5, specifically battery drain after iOS 6.0.2 were looking forward to Apple’s release as well.
Read: iOS 6.1 on iPhone 5 Review.
After several weeks of betas and a little bit of confusion about the iOS 6.1 Beta 5 update, Apple unleashed iOS 6.1 unto owners of its mobile devices. Like many others, I swiftly downloaded iOS 6.1 to my iPhone 5, much like I do with every iOS update. As I’ve said, the process was extremely flawless and in no time at all I was up and running iOS 6.1 and its new features.
My first impressions of the update were good. No serious issues, the new features seamlessly integrated into my daily iPhone 5 usage, and I was excited about my device’s future running iOS 6.1
My full review, after spending a considerable amount of time with iOS 6.1 yielded similar findings. Everything on my iPhone 5, including my battery life, appeared to be stable and my connections and my apps appeared to be working properly. However, my experience wasn’t the same as many other iPhone 5 owners out there.
Almost immediately we heard about battery life issues, about an auto-brightness bug, and more recently about connectivity issues on devices running the iOS 6.1 update.
In the aftermath of those claims, I wanted to revisit my experience with iOS 6.1 on the iPhone 5 as some thing’s have stayed consistent while others, well, others have changed.
Here is how iOS 6.1 is performing on the iPhone 5 after two weeks.
New Features Work Great
In iOS 6.1, Apple added some new features including three major ones which include Siri’s ability to purchase movie tickets using Fandango, a larger Report a Problem button in Apple Maps and new lock screen controls.
All three work flawlessly and are welcomed additions to the iOS 6 family. However, as I’ve said, one of these features truly has been a miracle worker in my daily use iPhone use.
One in Particular
The new lock screen controls are one of my favorite features of iOS 6, period. Before iOS 6.1, the controls were funky with odd spacing that often led me to skip songs when I didn’t want to skip songs, or fast forward a chapter in an audio book when I didn’t want to fast forward the audio book.
The new controls mirror the ones found in the Music app and this has been marvelous for me. The spacing is that so I never have to worry about skipping something by accident.
It has been a headache free listening experience for me over the last two weeks and I have iOS 6.1 to thank.
Wi-Fi Working Flawlessly
While I had experienced some Wi-Fi connectivity issues in the past, wherein connections would die unexpectedly or they’d be extremely slow when they shouldn’t have been, I still haven’t experienced any issues with Wi-Fi in iOS 6.1
My connection has worked flawlessly and despite a few issues, which I think were issues with public Wi-Fi networks and not the phone itself, I’ve been seeing great Wi_Fi connectivity since iOS 6.0.2.
Again, I didn’t see the grayed out Wi-Fi issue before iOS 6.1 and for those that might be seeing it or seeing other issues, I suggest, again, checking out this thread for remedies.
No Random Reboots
One issue that had permeated through the versions of iOS 6 up until iOS 6.1 was a random reboot issue where my iPhone 5 would shut off unexpectedly, show me the boot screen logo, and then take me back to the lock screen in a matter of seconds. I wasn’t the only person experiencing the issue and certainly not the only one hoping for a fix.
So far, iOS 6.1 has been treating me well in this area. In two weeks, I’ve not seen a single random reboot and believe me, it’s a breath of fresh air. The issue was starting to happen with a bit of frequency and while it wasn’t completely ruining by iOS experience, it was annoying.
After two weeks of no issues, I hope that the problem is gone for good.
Lag in Apps
As I’ve said, issues in iOS often materialize in the days or even weeks after installing new software and I unfortunately have noticed a couple of interesting issues, bugs, whatever over the past couple of weeks.
A few months ago, I finally stopped using Safari and switched to Chrome. However, I might have to switch back to Apple’s browser if this Chrome lag issue I’ve been having keeps acting up.
Up until iOS 6.1, Chrome was working flawlessly as my daily driver. After iOS 6.1, I’ve experienced noticeable slow down when trying to scroll, particularly when scrolling fast. The app slows down and hiccups through a web page. For instance, I was trying to scroll through ESPN’s home page over the weekend and every time I swiped, it lagged. Same went for Yahoo’s home page.
Oddly enough, I’ve seen a bit of slow down in the Google+ app as well though no to the extent that I’ve seen it in Chrome. Right now, I consider this to either be a me problem or a Google problem and not an iOS 6.1 problem but whatever the case may be, I’ve a noticeable difference two weeks into my iOS 6.1 experience.
Minor Battery Life Issues
Many iPhone 5 owners are complaining about battery life issues with iOS 6.1. Some of the team here at GBM have noticed significant decreases in battery life after installing the update and my significant other claims her iPhone 4S battery life has plummeted.
At first, my experience was the status quo as I didn’t detect any differences from the battery life on my iPhone 5 prior to iOS 6.1. This weekend though, I saw a little bit of an abnormal drain.
I went hiking over the weekend and left my iPhone in the car with 62% battery life. I came back and it had drained down to about 50%, one of the two, something that hasn’t happened in the past. Generally my iPhone 5 keeps a steady charge, especially when I’m not using it. I saw a bit of an unusual drain over night last night too.
I’ve used several of our own iPhone 5 battery life tips to combat the issue this morning, and after turning my iPhone 5 off and then on last night, things seem to have returned to close to normal.
4G LTE Acting Up
I’m hoping the battery issues, much like a 4G LTE issue I’ve been having over the past two weeks, is a hiccup and not a constant issue. In the beginning, all my connections worked fine. Wi-Fi, 4G LTE, and 4G on AT&T were all working fine until a few days ago I noticed that my 4G LTE connection was showing, but I wasn’t getting any data. This, shortly after leaving my Wi-Fi network.
Over the weekend, the same thing happened. After transitioning from Wi-Fi, my 4G LTE connection died in an area where it always has connectivity. I tried looking to see if there was an outage but there was none reported.
So, I flipped Wi-Fi off. Nothing changed. After a few minutes, I decided to restart my iPhone 5 which seemed to do the trick. What it’s looking like is that it is having trouble handing off from Wi-Fi to LTE, something that I’ve heard people complaining about, but it’s not happening every single time.
Today, I made the transition without any issues. Still, this is something I did not encounter with iOS 6 before iOS 6.1 and given that people are seemingly experiencing cellular issues with iOS 6.1, it could be that this isn’t an issue solely with my iPhone 5.
Needless to say, I’ve been frustrated a few times with my iPhone 5 over the last few weeks. Abnormal battery drain and connection issues will do that to a man. However, they haven’t persisted and that’s a good sign.
Another good sign is the quality Wi-Fi connectivity and the lack of random reboots. I’ve also enjoyed the new features including the lock screen controls.
However, given the issues I’ve seen in the past two weeks and given that others are indeed experiencing some pretty major ones, including some Exchange problems, those who haven’t installed yet might want to hold off until iOS 6.1.2 arrives as iOS 6.1.1 was just released for the iPhone 4S.