iOS 8.1 on iPhone 6: Impressions & Performance

Today, after a short stint in the beta process, Apple has released the iOS 8.1 update for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. With an iOS 8.1 release here, we want to take a look at how the iOS 8.1 update is performing on the iPhone 6. This is our early iOS 8.1 review on iPhone 6.

In late September, just a few weeks after iOS 8.0 came out of the beta program, Apple released iOS 8.1 beta. Apple did not attach a public iOS 8.1 release date to the beta leaving consumers wondering when the update might come out. iPhone and iPad users had put great importance on iOS 8.1 release due to a number of iOS 8.0 issues and iOS 8.0.2 issues on board Apple’s latest update.


Last week, Apple finally announced an iOS 8.1 release date, confirming the update for Monday, October 20th. Today, right on cue, Apple released the iOS 8.1 update for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. The update, as expected is a sizable update that not only includes support for Apple Pay but comes packed with an assortment of tweaks and changes that are meant to improve Apple’s new iOS 8 update.

Here are the iPhone 6 deals you need to know about, many of which end soon.

The iOS 8.1 change log is massive, much larger than your standard incremental upgrade, and it’s an update that iPhone and iPad users are clearly interested in given the problems plaguing iOS 8.0. Problem is, Apple’s iOS updates will often deliver some problems of their own. With that in mind we have decided to, once again, serve as your guinea pig.


Earlier today, we installed Apple’s brand new iOS 8.1 update in an effort to provide iPhone and iPad users with some initial impressions of the iOS 8.1 update. These impressions don’t serve as a final review but they will help those of you who are straddling the fence about whether to install the company’s latest iOS 8 upgrade.


Here are our early impressions of the iOS 8.1 update for iPhone 6.

iOS 8.1 Installation

I didn’t anticipate too many iOS 8.1 installation issues or download problems I felt surprise when I encountered a number of headaches right off the bat. Fortunately, those problems were not related to the iPhone 6 and were limited to iTunes and the iPhone 5 and iPad iOS 8.1 updates. I installed the iPhone 6 iOS 8.1 update Over-the-Air.

The iOS 8.1 installation process on the iPhone 6 was extremely smooth. The update is big but it only took around 20 minutes or so to download and install on the iPhone 6. You’ll want to make sure that you have enough space free if you’re planning to install OTA and you’ll want to be on a fast Wi-Fi connection so that the process completes as quickly as possible.

iPhone 6


If you do run into installation problems when trying to install iOS 8.1 on the iPhone 6, have a look at our how to. The how to will run down some fixes and preventative measures. These will ensure a smooth transition from whatever you’re on to Apple’s latest update.

iOS 8.1 on iPhone 6 Performance

In the past few hours, I’ve spent a ton of time with iOS 8.1 on iPhone 6. Before getting into the early review and my impressions, I should note that mileage is going to vary from device to device, person to person. That is to say, I probably don’t have the same apps installed and there’s a chance that I use Google Chrome, LTE, or my home screen more than you do. So, consider this a general guide as you try to decide whether iOS 8.1 is worth installing on your new iPhone.

iOS 8.1 Apps

As I’ve noted many times in the past, applications have the potential to start acting up after iOS updates and particularly after big iOS updates like iOS 8.1. Developers have done a great job keeping their applications updated throughout iOS 8’s short life and I was hopeful that applications would perform admirably after the upgrade to iOS 8.1 especially since the iOS 8.1 update was put into the beta program.

So far, so good. While some applications took a little longer to load the first time I fired them up, it has been smooth sailing ever since. I’ve been using Facebook, Twitter, The Weather Channel, Google Chrome, Google Hangouts, Instagram, Spotify, Soundcloud, and Google Maps in the hours after the update and all of them are working fine. No crashes, no weird hangups, nothing.

Now, keep in mind, there’s a chance that performance will decline in the hours, days and weeks after iOS 8.1. App performance has a tendency to do that and I started to see issues crop up with Google Chrome and Facebook in the weeks after installing iOS 8.0.2. Still, it’s worth noting that I haven’t experienced any game changing app issues since iOS 8.0.2’s arrival last month.


iOS 8.1 Battery Life

iPhone 6 battery life remains strong inside iOS 8.1. I’ve only been using the software for a few hours so it’s impossible to give you a report on my entire day but what I can say is that I haven’t seen any abnormal battery drain after installing the software and using tons of apps and both Wi-Fi and LTE. It seems to be holding up well.

Speck CandyShell iPhone 6 Review - 2-X3

iOS updates are not supposed to bring battery life problems to iPhones or iPads and typically, bad battery life is caused by third-party apps or users themselves. We’ve outlined a number of strategies to get better battery life inside iOS 8 and the same advice applies to Apple’s latest iOS 8.1 update. Have a look at those before writing iOS 8.1 off or throwing your iPhone 6 against a wall.

iOS 8.1 Wi-Fi, Cellular Data & Bluetooth

All three of these, Wi-Fi, cellular data and Bluetooth, have been troublesome in iOS 8.0 and iOS 8.0.2. I myself have not experienced any issues with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth (including the car) or cellular data on AT&T though I know these have been problematic for iPhone 6 users inside iOS 8. Several of my colleagues have experienced issues inside iOS 8.


iOS 8.1 comes with fixes for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth though given that I was not experiencing any issues before the update, I can’t tell you if they fix anything. What I can say is that all three are performing nicely with iOS 8.1 on board. Wi-Fi and LTE are both extremely fast and I’ve been able to connect to all of my Bluetooth devices.

Should iOS 8.1 fail to fix your problems, we advise you to take a look at these potential fixes. They might dislodge your issues though as is the case with all iOS fixes, they may not work for you all.

iOS 8.1 Bugs & Issues

Apple’s iOS 8.1 update comes with a huge list of bug fixes. Fortunately, many of those fixes are directed at problems we’ve been complaining about for weeks, something that bodes well for many of you iPhone 6 users out there.

Prior to the arrival of iOS 8.1, I was dealing with an assortment of iOS 8 bugs. And while they were small, they were no less annoying. It appears that I wasn’t alone with these problems because Apple issued a fix for a bug that caused the iPhone to get stuck in landscape and a fix for iMessages showing up as unread after being read. These were two of the most annoying iPhone 6 bugs inside iOS 8.0.2 and iOS 8, at least for me.

Speck CandyShell iPhone 6 Review - 3-X3

I’m happy to report that both bugs appear to have been resolved. I’m also happy to say that I haven’t run into any debilitating bugs after installing iOS 8.1. Bugs typically don’t jump out at me for a few days as I comb through the dark reaches of Apple’s new software so there’s a good chance that iOS 8.1 isn’t bug free. For the moment though, the update appears to be very stable, more stable than iOS 8.0.2. If you’re struggling, have a look at our fixes for common iPhone 6 problems. They might help.

It’s also worth noting that setting up Apple Pay on my iPhone 6 took all of a minute. Enter my information and my card got verified almost immediately. I’m not sure if people are having problems setting it up but figured it was worth relaying my experience on day one.

iOS 8.1 Speed

No one likes a slow iPhone. Apple’s iPhone 6, backed by its A8 processor, has been extremely fast and iOS 8.1 doesn’t change that. The speed of iOS 8 remains after the upgrade and transitions and animations remain fluid throughout. Apps open quickly, folders open quickly, and moving between home screens and such is still very fast.

Should You Install iOS 8.1?

In my few hours with iOS 8.1, I’ve had a very solid experience. Connectivity is fast, iOS 8 itself is fast and battery life is still good. On top of that, Apple appears to have fixed two nagging bugs that were hampering my overall iOS experience. If you’re dealing with serious problems on either iOS 8.0 or iOS 8.0.2, it’s probably going to be worth taking a chance on it. The iOS 8.1 update is full of bug fixes that could potentially settle your iOS 8 problems.

iOS 8.1 on iPhone 6

If you’re having a stable experience inside iOS 8.0.2 or below, you might want to hold off for a few days as I, and other brave iPhone 6 users, comb through the iOS 8.1 update in search of reasons not to install it. iOS updates have a habit of becoming unstable in the days and weeks after their release and it’s still too early to tell if that will apply to iOS 8.1.