Last week, we took a first look at the latest iOS update for the iPhone 5 which arrived in the form of iOS 6.1.4, a small update that arrived only for owners of Apple’s latest iPhone model. Now, after spending a few days with the new software, it’s time to take a final in-depth look at Apple’s latest piece of mobile software in our iOS 6.1.4 on iPhone 5 review.
Over the course of 2013, Apple has released a grand total of five updates to its iOS 6 software which first emerged alongside the iPhone 5 back in September of last year. The first of those updates, iOS 6.1, represented the biggest update thus far to the iOS 6 operating system as it brought along a number of new features including the new lock screen music controls.
However, as iPhone owners soon learned, it also brought along a number of new bugs, bugs that Apple has been addressing over the course of the last several months in which it has unleashed a number of updates to its iOS 6 software.
The first of those updates came in the form of iOS 6.1.1 which was for iPhone 4 owners only and tackled a 3G connectivity issue that they had been experiencing shortly after installing the new software. Shortly after that, Apple rolled out iOS 6.1.2 which was meant to eradicate a pesky Exchange calendar bug that was seemingly draining the battery life on not only iPhones but iPad as well.
Also introduced were a number of lock screen bugs that allowed unwanted users access to Contact information and Photos. There were also complaints about smaller issues, issues that owners hoped would be taken care of with future updates.
iOS 6.1.3 arrived to take care of the lock screen issues but as we pointed out, there were still iPhone owners experiencing problems with Exchange and an assortment of other issues. And while many had hope that Apple would roll out an update between then and the release of iOS 7, there was certainly no guarantee.
Fortunately, Apple had at least one more update in store for iOS 6 and iOS 6.1 which arrived last week and rolled out to iPhone 5 owners as iOS 6.1.4, the fourth update to iOS 6.1.
Last week, we took an initial look at the performance and quality of the iOS 6.1.4 update for the iPhone 5 and now, it’s time to take a final look at iOS 6.1.4, its performance, whether its worth updating, and what’s next for the iPhone 5 as we get closer to the arrival of iOS 7.
iOS 6.1.4 Is Good, So Far
So far, the overall experience with iOS 6.1.4 on the iPhone 5 has been a good one. I haven’t discovered any significant bugs, which is important given the amount of bugs that previous iOS 6.1 updates have brought with them, and we haven’t noticed a significant drop off in performance of the iPhone 5, something else that is extremely important to iPhone 5 owners trying to decide whether to update or not.
As I’ve said many times, I’m generally apprehensive about installing new iOS software. Not because I’ve experienced terrible issues in the past, but because I also own an Android phone that has been decimated by incremental updates. So I am always a bit weary about installing something that appears to be a small update but may have harmful side effects.
iOS 6.1.4, at least on my iPhone 5, has been a good update with my experience not changing much from iOS 6.1.3, the previous version of iOS 6.1. Of course, I should also point out that the update hasn’t really bestowed any benefits upon my iPhone 5 either (the update mentioned something to do with the speakerphone but my speaker phone is performing as well as it ever has) making it, well, making it a bit of a strange 11.5MB update.
iOS 6.1.4 Battery Life
Maybe the biggest concern from iPhone owners before choosing to install a new iOS update is whether it has any significant battery life issues. With iOS 6.1, we saw the Exchange calendar bug wreck havoc on the battery life of many iPhone 5 owners and so it’s clear that while battery life concerns are almost always raised after installing an update, sometimes they can be on point.
With iOS 6.1.4, I myself haven’t experienced any battery life issues. My battery life, day-to-day, remains extremely solid and about on par with what it was for iOS 6.1.3. As I’ve pointed out numerous times, battery life is going to differ from person to person so I can’t speak for everyone, but my iPhone 5 still gives me a solid day of use. Keep in mind, I am not glued to my phone as some people are.
As we pointed out after the arrival of iOS 6.1.3, there were some owners experiencing battery life issues thanks to Exchange. However, we have yet to hear about any problems from those owners after iOS 6.1.4 and we haven’t seen any furor on any forums about any persisting issues. So it may finally be that the issues with Exchange have been fixed.
At the very least, my iPhone 5, which doesn’t use Exchange, is working as normal with a solid charge, solid standby battery life, and a happy owner.
iOS 6.1.4 Performance
Of course, battery life isn’t the only thing that iPhone owners are concerned about prior to installing an update. Performance is big as well with everything from Wi-Fi to 4G LTE connectivity being heavily scrutinized, and for good reason. Here is how iOS 6.1.4 breaks down performance wise. Spoiler: it’s working pretty well.
4G LTE Remains Strong
As I’ve noted in the past, my AT&T iPhone 5 once had some issues with the trade-off from Wi-Fi to LTE wherein the connection would simply be non-existent after leaving the radius of my Wi-Fi connection. Fortunately, that issue has not plagued my phone after the past two updates and I’ve been pleased with how my phone handles going from Wi-Fi to 4G LTE.
I should also note that my 4G LTE signal remains strong both in the Bay Area and in Southern California and I often find it to be faster than my home Wi-Fi network. It’s that good.
No Wi-FI Issues
One of the biggest complaints from iPhone 5 owners since its release back in September has been about Wi-Fi connectivity issues wherein connections are simply dead, slow, or the Wi-Fi option as a whole is grayed out. To date, I’ve only had issues with the first two, both of which were seemingly killed off by a previous iOS 6 update.
Since then, my Wi-Fi connections have been stable, even when connecting into a Wi-Fi network that is public. That was an area where my iPhone 5 struggled in the past. Speeds on my home network remain fast and stable as well.
I’m not hearing about any major issues with Wi-Fi with iOS 6.1.4 and as always, I advise those having problems to seek out advice in this lengthy forum post that has accumulated many possible fixes since its inception many months ago.
UI Is Smooth
When I owned an iPhone 3GS, one of my biggest fears when it came to installing an iOS update was whether it would slow down the user interface on my device. I still am a little bit weary, even though I own the latest and greatest iPhone, as I’ve had some problems with UI sluggishness in the past.
So far, with iOS 6.1.4, things are good. The UI zips as it should and I haven’t run into any distinct sluggishness after using the phone extensively over the past few days.
One other thing to note is that I haven’t noticed any problems with my apps either. They seem to be behaving as they should with only a few crashes here and there, most of which have likely been due to issues with Chrome and not iOS.
iMessage Issues Have Died Down
In addition to general sluggishness, I’ve also experienced issues with iMessage where in my iPhone 5 would lock up, become extremely slow, and sometimes become unusable for a number of minutes after receiving an iMessage and particularly one with an MMS. As I’ve pointed out, this often happened when I had the app open on my laptop at the same time.
What’s more is that my phone would buzz with apparent messages when I was on the phone, only, those messages weren’t new and were instead from hours ago.
So far in iOS 6.1.4, I’ve still experienced some slow down when my laptop and phone get a message at the same time, but the issues aren’t as frequent as they were prior to updating.
Whether or not it improves or gets worse in the days ahead is unclear but for now, the issue does remain.
Should You Install?
At this point, I have two words of advice. Those who aren’t looking to jailbreak can install this software and hope that it irons out some of the smaller bugs that you’ve been having. Often there are unadvertised fixes on board iOS updates and iOS 6.1.4 could have them. It’s also perfectly acceptable to skip this update as it doesn’t add much to the table. Ultimately, it’s going to be up to you.
What I can say definitely is that those jailbreaking should not install this software as it will kill off any chance of a jailbreak. Those who wish to jailbreak should be on iOS 6.1.2 as iOS 6.1.3 and iOS 6.1.4 will likely never get support.
What’s Next for the iPhone 5?
Honestly, I didn’t see an iOS 6.1.4 update coming for the iPhone 5 given the close proximity of iOS 7 and the fact that there weren’t any major issues on board the software. However, as Apple has proven, iOS 6.1 is an unpredictable piece of software when it comes to updates so I can’t say if there will or won’t be an iOS 6.1.5 at this point.
My guess is that there might be, especially if iOS 7 isn’t coming until the fall. If there is, don’t expect it to be anything significant though as iOS 6.1.4 issues don’t seem to be prevalent.
Who knows, it could be iOS 7 that’s next for the iPhone 5 and its owners.