iOS 7.0.3 on iPad 3 Review: Three Weeks Later

Just about three weeks ago, Apple rolled out an iOS 7.0.3 update for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. The update promised to fix a bunch of issues that users had been encountering since installing iOS 7 several weeks prior. It also caused issues for some its users with many of them looking for an upgrade to iOS 7.0.4 or iOS 7.1 to alleviate their issues. Here, three weeks later, we take a look at how iOS 7.0.3 has been performing on our iPad 3, also known as the iPad third-generation.

In September, Apple, as promised, deliver the iOS 7 update for select versions of the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. The update, which the company tagged as the biggest update to iOS since the introduction of the original iPhone, delivered new features (AirDrop, Control Center, etc) and a brand new look that has received mixed reviews from its user base.

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Shortly after the arrival of iOS 7, users began noticing that the software also delivered some pesky bugs. This, of course, should have come as a surprise to no one. Software updates are never perfect and given how big of a change iOS 7 was, we assumed that Apple was going to have some kinks to work out. Thus, the company quickly rolled out iOS 7.0.1 and iOS 7.0.2 to fix some of the initial bugs including a much publicized lock screen issue.

After the arrival of iOS 7.0.2, we began reporting on the iOS 7 problems that iPhone, iPad and iPod touch owners said were lingering on board the software. Apple uncharacteristically acknowledged two of this issues, a bug with the iMessage service and another that impacted the controls that teacher use to monitor iPad usage in the classroom. The company promised a fix in October and it delivered iOS 7.0.3, a bug fix update that not only arrived with a number of big time fixes but also with new features like iCloud keychain.

Three weeks into the iOS 7.0.3 era of iOS 7 and we are still hearing about issues with Apple’s software. We’ve already revisited the iOS 7.0.3 update on the iPhone and now, it’s time to take a look at the iOS 7.0.3 experience on Apple’s aging iPad 3.

iOS 7.0.3 Performance

User Interface

While my experience with the UI in iOS 7.0.3 on the iPhone 5 has been up to par, I am still experiencing lag issues on the iPad. For those that haven’t been following along, the lag issues first surfaced after updating to iOS 7 back in September. The UI, overall, was extremely sluggish and even miniscule things like opening folders weren’t smooth.

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As I’ve noted, things have seemed to improve over time after installing iOS 7.0.2 and iOS 7.0.3. Things are not as bad as they were in the first couple of weeks but I still encounter a bunch of slow down inside iOS 7 when moving around the home screen. Opening folders often will lock things up for a second and even opening apps takes longer than I would like.

Just today, I was bringing my iPad 3 out of standby mode and it immediately locked up into the clock app and it stayed frozen for at least 15 seconds. There wasn’t a random reboot but that may have actually sped up the process of getting control over the iPad and the software. By far, this is my biggest problem with the software and it’s something that Apple really needs to address in future updates. Will it? Can’t say because apparently, it’s not a big enough problem for it to single out.

Here’s to hoping that that new iPad mini with Retina Display that I just bought doesn’t have the same issues. Doubt it will considering iOS 7 was built with its A7 64-bit processor in mind.

Battery Life

One thing that has never changed in my iPad 3 experience, from iOS 5 to iOS 6 to iOS 7, is the battery life. Overall, it has always been stellar and I’ve been able to take it with me on trips out of the house without having to worry about it dying on me. Now, I will say that this likely has to do with the fact that it’s a Wi-Fi only model.

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If I was out using LTE data, the battery would burn up much quicker. However, that doesn’t change the fact that I have had awesome battery life both in regular and in standby mode with my iPad 3. iOS 7.0.3 hasn’t changed that and I don’t expect any future updates to drastically alter the battery life either.

Interesting enough, I haven’t heard about many battery drain issues with the iPad. As I’ve pointed out, those issues seem to crop up at first and then settle down over time. So it’s not surprising to see that those issues have taken a back seat in the weeks since the iOS 7.0.3 update release.

Bugs

In the past three weeks, I’ve done my best to report on the bugs that I’ve been hearing are inside of iOS 7.0.3. There is a laundry list of issues for both the iPhone and iPad so there is no disputing that Apple still has some kinks that it needs to work out. And it will, in due time.

What’s interesting though is that I have no run into any of bugs other than the lag issues and issues with third-party applications. That’s not to say that there aren’t bugs on board, it’s just that in my three week experience with iOS 7.0.3, I haven’t encountered anything that stands out as problematic. Again, before you get riled up, understand that experiences are going to vary from person to person. Different apps, different use cases, etc.

So, no. I haven’t seen any reboots. I haven’t seen text disappear. I don’t have a broken multitasking function.

Connectivity

No much to report here. I haven’t run into the same Wi-Fi issues that many iPad owners have encountered and Wi-Fi connectivity overall has been top notch. Again, I can’t speak to 4G LTE connectivity.

Applications

Like I said, I haven’t run into any bugs inside of Apple’s software but I have run into problems with two third-party applications. In particular, the experience with Netflix has been absolutely terrible since installing iOS 7. The application locks up, freezes, and overall, feels like an unstable piece of software. It’s disappointing to say the least.

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The other application that has been giving me trouble lately is Google Chrome, the browser I use instead of Safari or Firefox. While things were seemingly stable before iOS 7.0.3, the browser has started to crash once a day on average. Fortunately, it restores my tabs, but the instability calls for a fix.

Other applications that I use, Twitter, Facebook, and more, have all been relatively stable in iOS 7.0.3 and I hope that that continues when Apple offers the next iOS 7 update.

Should You Install iOS 7.0.3?

So the biggest question on the mind of some iPad owners is, should I install iOS 7.0.3. If you’re already on iOS 7 or iOS 7.0.3, I would dare to say yes. The problems I’ve been having didn’t arrive with iOS 7.0.3 or iOS 7.0.2 but with the iOS 7 update itself. And while I think there are issues inside of iOS 7.0.3, I don’t think any are big enough to pass on the fixes that are inside iOS 7.0.3 or on iCloud Keychain. For many people, iOS 7.0.3 helped more than it hurt.

As for those who have been waiting on an extremely stable version of iOS 7, well, I would say wait for iOS 7.0.4 or whatever the next update is. I have a feeling that Apple will roll out an iOS 7.0.4 update and tackle some of the lingering bugs.

What’s Next for iPad Users?

It’s clear that Apple is working on a new update and that it is testing the software in and around its campus in California. What we don’t know is if that update will be iOS 7.0.4, a bug fix update, or iOS 7.1, an update that would likely bring bug fixes and perhaps a few new features to hold users over until iOS 8.

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At this point, we are inclined to believe that it will be iOS 7.0.4 and it will be an update aimed at shoring up issues that iPhone and iPad owners have been complaining about. If true, it should, in theory, be the most stable version of iOS 7.

However, keep in mind, incremental iOS updates can often bring bugs of their own so those who are campaigning for an iOS 7.0.4 or iOS 7.1 update will want to keep that in mind before installing.

  

Comments

  1. Deanna says

    My battery on the iPad drains very quickly now. Never had a problem before we loaded the new software update. I am also missing half my apps and can’t get them back!

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