iOS 6.1.2 on iPhone 5 Review: Impressions and Performance

Earlier today, Apple rolled out its second incremental update since it released the iOS 6.1 update back at the end of January. Like the iOS 6.1.1 update, the iOS 6.1.2 update is a small piece of software aimed at taking care of a pesky Exchange bug. However, as many iPhone owners know, these smaller updates can often fix other unspecified issues or bring other problems along with them. That said, here are our initial impressions of the iOS 6.1.2 update for the iPhone 5 in particular.

Read: iOS 6.1.2 Now Available for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.

In January, Apple released the iOS 6.1 update for owners of the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. As we’ve told you, the iOS 6.1 update brought a number of new features to the table including a new movie buying function for Siri, a bigger Report a Problem button in Apple Maps and my personal favorite, the new lock screen music controls that were a big improvement from those found in iOS 6.

And while the iOS 6.1 update brought lots of good, it seemingly brought quite a bit bad with it as well as users started reporting severe battery drain issues after updating to the software. iPhone 5 owners were amongst those complaining about the bad battery life and those dealing with the issue hoped for a fix in iOS 6.1.1.

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Only, iOS 6.1.1 was for the iPhone 4S only and it was aimed at tackling an issue that affected 3G connectivity. So, owners of other devices dealing with battery drain had to wait.

Over time, it became clear that the issue was a bug with Exchange, a common email service used by small and large companies alike. The issue, specifically, had to do with the calendar in Exchange wherein network activity would increase and the iPhone would start losing battery life quickly. In one particular instance we saw iOS 6.1 battery life on the iPhone 4S drop to 55% with just a few hours of actual usage.

Clearly, Apple needed to release a patch for the issue which it did today in the form of iOS 6.1.2, an update that is available to owners of all devices running iOS 6. The update is available now through iTunes or through an Over-the-Air update.

With that, here now are my first impressions about the iOS 6.1.2 update for the iPhone 5.

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iOS 6.1.2 rolled out today for owners of the iPhone 5.

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Flawless Installation

In the past, like many others, I’ve had issues installing iOS updates to my iPhone. In the past, I’ve experienced instability with Apple’s severs and I’ve seen updates freeze for no apparent reason. Fortunately though, in the past few updates, I’ve managed to avoid any issues.

The upgrade to iOS 6.1.2 was no different. Probably, in part, because it’s an extremely small update for iPhone 5 users. The update is tiny, 12MB in size, and takes about a minute, if that, to download. I downloaded the update Over-the-Air and soon the installation process began.

It was extremely quick, efficient and I didn’t run into any issues getting the new update on board.

Random Reboots Still Not an Issue

When I told you about the random reboots I was experiencing with my iPhone 5 after iOS 6 and the updates that came before iOS 6.1, I found out that others were also dealing with the issue. The random reboot issue, which saw the iPhone 5 reboot to the boot up logo and seconds later return to the lock screen, was an annoyance I had to deal with for months.

That is, until iOS 6.1 arrived and seemingly squashed the issue. Since installing iOS 6.1, I have not had a single random reboot. Same goes or the iOS 6.1.2 update.

Since I installed it earlier today when it became available, I have no see my iPhone 5 reboot on me. So, at this point, I think it’s safe to say that iOS 6.1 has taken care of the issue, albeit quietly.

Apple never confirmed the issue and the problem was never shown on the change logs for any iOS 6 updates.

No Problem with Apps, Yet

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Chrome has seemingly performed better in iOS 6.1.2.

As I said in my final review of iOS 6.1 for the iPhone 5, I started to have some problems with my applications, specifically, in Chrome. Until iOS 6.1, Chrome worked flawlessly. But after a few weeks, the browser started to slow down and often, it would hiccup its way along webpages.

I have also experienced some slow down in the Google+ application though it’s issue was less constant and it has only happened a few times since installing iOS 6.1. Additionally, the official Twitter app has crashed a few times since installing iOS 6.1.

So far, so good with iOS 6.1.2. The Twitter application has been updated since the iOS 6.1, on February 15th, so that update may have tackled the issues. Chrome and Google+ both are working flawlessly, as are the few games that I have installed on my iPhone 5.

Apps can become unstable after an update so it’s nice to see that everything is working normally (and better in my case) after updating to iOS 6.1.2.

I should also point out that other features of iOS, including the new ones in iOS 6.1, seem to be working as intended.

Battery Life Is Solid

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The iPhone 5 battery life is not any worse after iOS 6.1.2 it seems.

While many iPhone 5 owners were complaining about battery drain issues, I did not experience any battery drain after installing iOS 6.1. Instead, my battery life was the status quo. That is, until about eight days ago when I noticed that my phone was draining a little faster than normal.

I don’t use Exchange so the issue wasn’t related to that. I’ve heard from other iPhone 5 owners who don’t use Exchange who also saw worse battery life so I know wasn’t alone.

Again, the battery drain was minimal but it was noticeable.

It’s hard to say whether or not iOS 6.1.2 has made a big difference, but what I will say is that it hasn’t made it any worse than it already was. Often these battery life issues don’t make themselves known until a few days or in my case weeks after installing the software so it’s going to take some time before I can tell whether there is any sort of impact for better or worse.

At the very least, I can tell you that the update hasn’t wiped out my battery. And while I think I am noticing an improvement, I can’t say for certain yet.

The Exchange issues, from what I’ve heard, have been take care of and for those that don’t see a big difference in battery life after updating, I suggest taking a look at our how to fix iOS 6.1 battery life in ten seconds. It will likely help.

I also suggest taking a look at our how to get better iPhone 5 battery life. It too could help to mitigate any issues that you might be having on your smartphone.

Wi-Fi Connection Still Strong

Like it was in iOS 6.1, my Wi-Fi connection on my iPhone 5 is going strong after installing iOS 6.1.2. For those that are just joining, I run a WPA2 network, which in past iOS 6 releases, gave me some issues.

However, after Apple’s fixes, my iPhone 5 is running strongly both on my home network and on other public networks and iOS 6.1.2 seems to maintain that.

For those that are still experiencing issues with Wi-Fi, even after iOS 6.1.1, I recommend taking a look at this lengthy post in Apple’s support forums that outlines a number of different ways that iPhone 5 owners have solved their Wi-Fi issues.

Security Issue Wasn’t Fixed

By now, you’ve probably heard about the security issue that allows users access to the iPhone’s Contacts after using a bypass in the Emergency Call section of the lock screen.

The bug is evidently still active in iOS 6.1.2 which means that iPhone 5 owners are still at risk of getting their iPhone accessed by a stranger who knows how to take advantage of the exploit.

My guess is that Apple rushed out this Exchange fix to get that under control and now will focus on getting this security issue taken care of. I will say that it was a little odd that the fix did not come with this update, given that while it’s a tough bug to replicate, it still can give unwanted users access to the iPhone or iPad.

Should You Install iOS 6.1.2?

If you’re on iOS 6.1 already and use Exchange, absolutely install iOS 6.1.2. If you don’t use Exchange, it should be safe to install the update given that it doesn’t seem to significantly drain battery life and keeps things as they were.

Those who want to update to iOS 6.1.2 can as the Evasi0n 1.4 jailbreak tool supports the new software.

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The iOS 6.1.2 update should be OK to install for most users.

For those that haven’t updated to iOS 6.1 yet, given the existence of the security bug, I would say hold off and wait for Apple to patch that up. While it’s not exactly an easy exploit to perform, it’s still one that could wind up being a nasty problem for owners who leave their device unattended.