iOS 7.1 on iPad Air: Impressions and Performance

Apple’s brand new iOS 7.1 update for iPhone and iPad is finally here and it brings the biggest changes to iOS since the arrival of iOS 7 back in September. We’ve taken a look at how the update is performing on the iPad 3 and iPhone 5 and now, it’s time to dig in and provide some feedback for iPad Air owners thinking about installing the new iOS 7.1 update.

Back in November, Apple released two major iOS updates. The first, iOS 7.0.4, an incremental update that rolled out to the public and delivered a crucial bug fix for FaceTime Audio users. The other, an iOS 7.1 update that arrived for developers in Apple’s beta program. iOS 7.0.4 was exciting but most iPhone and iPad users starting looking ahead to iOS 7.1. And who could blame them.

Apple’s iOS x.1 updates almost always deliver new features and enhancements and also tend to deliver big time fixes to its most current piece of software which in this case is iOS 7. The iOS 7.1 update saw several beta releases that confirmed what many iPhone and iPad owners expected. The iOS 7.1 update was, and is, a fairly large update.

For four months, the iOS 7.1 update remained in the beta program as Apple and its developers worked to provide a smooth transition from iOS 7. Today, the update came out of the beta process and into the arms of iPhone and iPad owners across the globe. Yes, the iOS 7.1 update is now available.

The iOS 7.1 release is here for iPhone and iPad users.

The iOS 7.1 release is here for iPhone and iPad users.

iOS 7.1 delivers a number of changes to iPhone and iPad users including fixes, enhancements and even CarPlay, a feature that aims to make using iOS easier in the car. And while there is a lot of good coming with iOS 7.1, there is also potential for bad. iOS updates have a tendency to bring fixes but they also tend to bring problems of their own as well.

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With that in mind, we want to take an initial look at the iOS 7.1 update for the iPad Air. These serve as first impressions on its features and performance and we’ll provide more detailed analysis in a full review after spending some more time with Apple’s brand new update its mobile devices.

iOS 7.1 Installation

As I’ve pointed out in previous iOS update reviews, I’m always nervous the morning an iOS update rolls out. iOS updates, in the past, have caused a ton of extra headaches for me (and other users) thanks to server issues and other strange problems that tend to pop up during the download and installation process.

Larger updates tend to get more attention lavished upon them which means that there is a greater potential for server issues on Apple’s end. iOS 7.1 is a large, well-publicized update so I was definitely leery prior to installing it.

iPad Air

Fortunately, my experience was good. The iOS 7.1 update was a smooth install on both my iPhone 5 and my iPad Air and I didn’t encounter any of the usual issues. The update, which is almost 300MB in size, did take awhile to download and install. I didn’t use a stopwatch but it should take around 20 to 30 minutes for the process to complete. It’s slow, but I’ll take slow and steady over slow and problematic any day of the week.

I highly suggest taking a look at some of our ways to prepare for the iOS 7.1 update before installing it. It’ll save you time and some serious headaches.

iOS 7.1 Performance

iOS 7.1 promises to deliver big time fixes and enhancements for iPhone and iPad. Like I do with all iOS updates, I want to focus on five things when it comes to performance on the iPad Air.

Here, I take a look at how apps are running after the update. I observe overall battery life. I take a look for any initial hero level bugs. I play around with 4G LTE and Wi-Fi to ensure that everything is working. And finally, I take a peek at the overall speed of the phone after the new update.

Apps

Applications are the life blood of any mobile device and thus, I’m always nervous about major iOS updates. In the past, applications have started acting wonky after an update. For instance, after iOS 7 arrived back in September, Netflix started performing horribly on the iPad 3. I use Netflix a ton on the iPad so it was very detrimental to my daily use.

So how is everything performing after iOS 7.1? Pretty good, so far. While I can’t speak for every application on the App Store, I can provide some feedback about some fan favorites. Google Chrome, Netflix, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Angry Birds, Angry Birds Space, and Tiny Wings are all performing well after iOS 7.1. So are all of Apple’s applications.

As I’ve pointed out, the real test will be the first couple of weeks. If applications do break down, they typically break down in the first few weeks after an update arrives. For now though, applications are performing admirably.

iOS 7.1 Battery Life

My iPad Air got fantastic battery life inside iOS 7.0 and from the looks of things, the trend will continue inside iOS 7.1. I haven’t noticed any serious battery drain after using the software for just about seven hours and it appears that the device is still holding a pretty serious charge. Charging the device is about as fast as it usually is as well.

When I have experienced battery life issues on Apple devices, they typically have shown their face almost immediately after installing the software. So my guess is that things aren’t going to change much between now and my final review of iOS 7.1 on the iPad Air.

Those who are dealing with issues should check out our tips for better life inside iOS 7. These tips have helped many people and there is a good chance that they will smooth over the issues that iOS 7.1 users encounter after installing the update.

iOS 7.1 Bugs

After every iOS update, I go on the prowl for hero level issues that greatly impact the overall experience of iOS. Most of the time, I come up empty, at least on day one.

Bugs have a nasty habit of coming to the surface in the days and weeks after the initial release. For example, the iMessage bug that struck my iPhone 5 back in iOS 7.0.2 didn’t materialize until a few days after iOS 7.0.2 was released.

Point is, I haven’t found any major bugs in iOS 7.1 for the iPad Air but that doesn’t mean that the software is bug free. It’s possible that in my travels over the next week, I’ll encounter something. For now though, I haven’t discovered any missing files, any broken files or apps, or any annoying glitches. Things appear normal.

I never experienced the random reboot issues that many iPad Air owners have complained about. I haven’t seen any random reboots today with iOS 7.1. That’s a good sign.

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Connectivity

I don’t own a 4G LTE iPad Air so I can’t speak to how cellular data is working out after iOS 7.1 but I can say that Wi-Fi connectivity is as sharp as it was before iOS 7.1′s arrival. I am still getting extremely fast data speeds both on my office network and on public networks. I’ve heard about the major Wi-Fi issues that iPhone and iPad owners have faced for years now but I still haven’t seem them on my devices, for whatever reason.

Speed

iOS 7 on my iPad Air was fast, much faster than the iOS 7 experience on my iPad 3. The iPad Air’s new 64-bit processor probably had a lot to do with that. Fortunately, the experience inside iOS 7.1 is no different.

The software is fast, responsive, fluid and appears to be faster than iOS 7. Animations just seem to be a little snappier than they were inside iOS 7. It may not be much of a difference but if it’s noticeable I still consider that to be a good thing.

Should You Install iOS 7.1?

iPad Air Review -  12

If you had a gun to my head and asked me whether or not to install iOS 7.1, I’d tell you to install the update. I haven’t been able to pinpoint any major issues on the iPad Air. The update seems to have made iOS 7 a littler snappier as well and that’s never a bad thing.

Those who are skeptical can simply wait until I’m able to dig in deeper and provide a full on iOS 7.1 review. I also recommend checking Apple’s discussion forums because they will provide additional feedback about the iOS 7.1 update for iPad and solve any potential problems that you might encounter.

iPad Air users who are thinking about jailbreaking should avoid the update as it plugs up the exploits used by the Evasi0n 7 jailbreak. If you’re like me and have no interest in using a jailbreak, iOS 7.1 seems stable enough to install.

  

Comments

  1. Mark S RPh says

    Maybe a “nit”, but the first city on the Weather app on my 64Gb 4S was lost/deleted in the update process. I use the app regularly so I am certain I didn’t delete it.
    Also, at least 9 other add-on apps required subsequent updates (maybe more or less on your phone). Be careful as you may need to re-enter your user-id and authorization code. (You did save those in a safe place, didn’t you ? (Yeah, right next to your weekly computer backups !!))

  2. James says

    My iPad Air 64gb wifi is now next to useless after upgrading to 7.1. I cant get a stable wifi connection at 2.4ghz even on an Airport extreme if I go to 5ghz the problems seem to go away but other devices on my network require 2.4ghz (Chromecast) and i need to be mobile. No random reboots for what it is worth.

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