iOS 7.1.1 on iPad mini with Retina Display Review

Last week, Apple pushed out its latest iOS 7.1 update in the form of iOS 7.1.1. The incremental bug fix update touched down for all iPhone and iPad models running iOS 7, the company’s operating system that launched back in September. After spending a week with the iOS 7.1.1 on iPad mini with Retina Display, we want to take a look at how it’s performing on Apple’s current 7.9-inch iPad.

When the iPad mini with Retina Display finally arrived on shelves in November, it was running Apple’s iOS 7 update, the update that debuted alongside the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c in September. And like other iOS 7 powered devices, the iPad mini with Retina Display has seen its fair share of improvements to its software including the iOS 7.1 update that arrived for iPhones and iPads back in March.

iOS 7.1 wasn’t an ordinary incremental update. It debuted with a laundry list of bug fixes, performance enhancements, and design tweaks that helped to unify the overall look of Apple’s new operating system. iOS 7.1 is expected to serve as a bridge between the iOS 7 update and the upcoming iOS 8 update that is rumored to be coming later on this year alongside the iPhone 6. Apple is expected to show it off for the first time at WWDC 2014 in San Francisco in June.

While an iOS 8 update is on the way, Apple is using the months in between to improve its iOS 7 software and the experience on board its iOS 7 powered devices. On Tuesday of last week, Apple delivered iOS 7.1.1, the first update to iOS 7.1, and an update aimed at tackling some problems including an issue with the keyboard and a problem with Bluetooth keyboards.

iOS 7.1.1 has good intentions but there is always a chance that an update like iOS 7.1.1 could cause some problems of its own. That’s why we like to take a close look at these updates, no matter how small they are.

Last week, after taking an initial look at iOS 7.1.1, we promised that we would deliver an updated review about the software for those iPhone and iPad owners who were on the fence about installing it. Many people take a cautious approach to these incremental updates, especially when their device is working perfectly fine on the previous version. That said, here’s how iOS 7.1.1 is performing on the iPad mini with Retina Display, one week later.

iOS 7.1.1 Performance

iPad mini with Retina display

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When it comes to the performance of incremental updates like iOS 7.1.1, I like to look at five different areas in particular. Those areas include applications and how they’re performing post update, battery life and whether there is abnormal drain, bugs or hiccups, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and cellular performance, and overall speed. After spending a week with the iOS 7.1.1 update for iPad mini with Retina Display, here is what I’ve found.

Apps

As I’ve noted, several times in the past, incremental iOS updates have caused some of my third-party applications to go haywire. Random crashes and general instability have plagued apps like Facebook and Chrome. Fortunately, after spending a week with iOS 7.1.1, I can say that I haven’t experienced any significant issues with the apps I use most.

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google Chrome, Spotify, Netflix, and Soundcloud were working fine last week after installing iOS 7.1.1 and a week later, they’re still working fine. Most of the time, issues crop up in the first week after installation so the lack of any major issues is a good sign moving forward.

Keep in mind, I likely have a different set of applications and it’s possible that there are apps out there that aren’t agreeing with Apple’s update. I do not own every app on the App Store so I’ve listed off some of the more popular ones on board my iPad mini with Retina Display.

Those of you who are experiencing issues with apps on the iPad mini with Retina after installing iOS 7.1.1 would be wise to restart the device. A quick restart will often dislodge issues. If the issues persist, contact the developer.

Battery Life

One of the reasons iPhone and iPad owners tend to avoid these incremental iOS updates, at least at first, is because they hear about the battery life issues that plague users after installing them. But while there are always complaints after iOS updates, the issues are rarely widespread. The last widespread issue that I can remember arrived with an iOS 6.1 update. Since then, I’ve found iOS battery life to be stable.

iOS 7.1.1 continues this trend. The battery life on my iPad mini with Retina Display was solid with iOS 7.1 and it remains solid after the arrival of iOS 7.1.1. I can still get more than a day of use out of one charge, even when I’m using a 4G LTE network to browse the web or stream content like I did this past weekend on a quick trip.

While I haven’t seen a noticeable improvement like some people have after installing iOS 7.1.1, I haven’t seen any abnormal drain or anything out of the ordinary. It’s par for the course which is fantastic given how good iPad battery life is.

Those who are experiencing bad battery life are encouraged to check out some of these tips. While they aren’t guaranteed to work, it’s possible that they will alleviate some of the issues that you may be experiencing inside iOS 7.1.1.

Bugs

Thus far, I haven’t run into a single issue inside iOS 7.1.1. I’m talking little bugs that cause temporary headaches and I’m talking hero level issues that cause larger headaches and compel Apple to work hard on an immediate bug fix. Now, that’s not to say that there aren’t any bugs inside iOS 7.1.1. I just haven’t seen them.

Bugs are finicky. They often show up weeks after an update’s arrival but I am hopeful that iOS 7.1.1’s performance remains solid. So far, it appears to be an extremely stable piece of software.

Connectivity

4G LTE, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity are all solid on iOS 7.1.1. AT&T’s data speeds have been right on par and I haven’t seen any issues with Wi-Fi. The connection on public and private networks remains extremely stable and reliable.

Gelaskins iPad mini Retina Skins

As for Bluetooth, I’ve been able to pair the iPad mini with Retina Display to a Logitech Bluetooth keyboard and my Bose SoundLink Mini.

Speed

iOS 7.1.1 is just as fast as iOS 7.1. The improvements to transitions and animations that arrived with the iOS 7.1 update remain inside iOS 7.1.1 and  I haven’t encountered any significant slowdown or lag with the new update. Everything just feels extremely snappy, especially when opening new apps or opening and closing a folder. Makes sense given that Apple designed iOS 7 with the iPad mini with Retina Display’s 64-bit A7 processor in mind.

Is iOS 7.1.1 Worth Installing?

Consider this your friendly push over the fence. iOS 7.1.1 is not a huge update but given that it provides some bug fixes and the potential for better battery life and it does that without sacrificing stability, it’s an update that iPad mini with Retina Display owners need to consider, especially those that haven’t moved up from iOS 7.0.

We expect an iOS 8 announcement and a new MacBook Air release on June 2nd.

We expect an iOS 8 announcement and a new MacBook Air release on June 2nd.

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It’s not clear when or if Apple will release another update to iOS 7.1. iOS 7.1.1 is an extremely stable piece of software though there is a chance that Apple will continue to refine the software as we head deeper into the year and closer to the rumored iOS 8 update. iOS 8 is expected to debut at WWDC in early June but may not arrive until after a beta period that extends into the fall.

Comments

  1. randel says

    DON’T UPGRADE! IOS 7.1.1 IS very BUGGY. With the billions of dollars Apple makes, they really should take Quality Control more seriously.

  2. Alan Myson says

    I need to install iOS 7.0 or later to be able to download a Word document free onto my iPad. Can you tell me how to as I am non technical! I blame it on the age thingy 63 this year!

  3. mari says

    Terrible update for me, it drains my battery HORRIBLY. it’s lacks literally, the half it used to!!! THE HALF!! yes it’s faster but that’s of no use for me! I want my battery back!!

  4. leo says

    I admit it is faster and improved battery life, but I never had to so many hard resets on my phone than ever before. very buggy. And if you are playing a high graphic game, sleep the phone, then turn it back on, it freezes for 10 sec before you can even press the home or power button. But again I love how fast it response to multi task, and switching between apps. hope apple does not become sloppy like their competitors

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