iOS 8.1: 5 Things iPad mini 2 Users Need to Know

In mid-October, Apple released its second major iOS 8 update in the form of iOS 8.1. iOS 8.1 brings new features and bug fixes to iPad users including owners of the iPad mini 2 also known as the iPad mini with Retina. With iOS 8.1 moving into its second week of existence, we want to take a look at the five most important things iPad mini 2 users need to know about their iOS 8.1 update.

Earlier this year, Apple released the iOS 8.1 update into the beta program. For several weeks Apple, and its developer partners, poked and prodded the update ahead of its public release date. In mid-October, Apple took the stage to announce several new products and there, it confirmed an October release for the highly anticipated iOS 8.1 upgrade for iPhone and iPad.


Just over a week ago, Apple released the iOS 8.1 update to iPhone, iPad and iPod touch users all over the globe. As we’ve noted in our reviews, the iOS 8.1 update seems to have tackled some of the annoying problems that emerged last month in iOS 8.0 on the iPhone and iPad. However, as is the case with all iOS updates, it appears that the iOS 8.1 update failed to squash all the bugs lurking inside Apple’s brand new iOS update.


These issues have left some iPad users wavering. iPad mini users, particularly those with the first-gen Retina iPad mini have been speaking up in the days since iOS 8.1’s release and many users are still struggling with a decision about whether to upgrade. We don’t blame them. The iPad mini 2 experience with iOS 8.0.2 and iOS 7.1.2 on board was extremely solid in all facets including battery life, speed, and connectivity. No one wants to ruin a good thing.


With that in mind, we want to take a look at the most important things that iPad mini 2 users need to know about their iOS 8.1 update, an update is small in size but one that has a ton of potential.


iOS 8.1 Stable on iPad mini 2

We’ve been using the iOS 8.1 update on the iPad mini 2 for a little over a week and we’ve yet to experience any debilitating bugs or issues. iOS 8.1 has been a near flawless experience on the iPad mini, far better than the iOS 8.1 updates for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 5.


We’ve run into some iOS 8.1 problems on the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and iPhone 5 but we still haven’t noticed any major issues on the iPad mini 2 or iPad Air. It’s strange, we usually expect to run into a few noticeable bugs, but at this point we’re not complaining. iOS 8.1 seems to be far more stable and far more polished than the software on the iPhone. Whether that’s a product of internal testing or what, we aren’t sure.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t any iPad Air bugs. It just means that we haven’t seen them yet. Still, the fact that we haven’t run into any major issues is a great sign for the future. And it’s a good reason to think about installing the iOS 8.1 update on the iPad Air. For more information, check out our full review.


Solid Performance

We should also touch on the all-around performance of iOS 8.1 on Apple’s iPad mini. While we experienced some initial hiccups on the iPad Air iOS 8.1 update, we haven’t noticed any on Apple’s smaller slate.

Right now, we’re getting the same quality performance that we got in iOS 8.0.2, iOS 8.0, and iOS 7. The speed of the software is fast, connectivity is holding up and battery life is still as fantastic as ever. Basically, this update delivered the performance of iOS 7 alongside iOS 8’s new features. And you really can’t ask for much more than that.

iPad mini 2

Point is, you shouldn’t anticipate much of a difference between iOS 8.0.2 or iOS 7.1.2. The iPad mini 2 was built to handle years of Apple iOS updates. It’s no wonder the iPad 2 got its fourth iOS update with iOS 8. The iPad delivers high quality performance over a number of years and with iOS 8 being the first update, we didn’t expect the performance level to deteriorate.

iOS 8.1 Features for iPad mini

In our reviews, we’ve focused on performance and bugs. However, iPad mini 2 users need to know that there are some new features that Apple’s baked into iOS 8.1, features that will make it worth your while.


First of all, the company brought back Photo Roll. Photo Roll is one of our most used features, even on iPad, and it’s one that we desperately missed in iOS 8.0. It’s back in iOS 8.1 and we couldn’t be happier about it.

Gelaskins iPad mini Retina Skins

iOS 8.1 also adds iCloud Photo Library and the ability for iPhone users to send and receive SMS and MMS messages from the iPad and the Mac. That last feature is absolutely huge for those of you that live in the Apple ecosystem. This is absolutely huge for a portable device like the iPad mini 2 and it’s one of the key features found iOS 8.1.

Yes, Apple Pay is getting all of the attention but there are some other likeable features that are a part of the iOS 8.1 update. Apple Pay isn’t available on the iPad mini but we think these features will help make up for that.


You Do Not Need to Install iOS 8.1 Right Now

We feel the need to remind you iPad mini 2 users that you simply do not need to install iOS 8.1 right now. In fact, some of you probably shouldn’t install iOS 8.1 right now. iOS 8.1 for iPad mini isn’t going anywhere any time soon and that means that there’s really no reason to rush into things. Especially those of you who are still enjoying yourself on iOS 7.1.2 and below.

Remember, there is no way to downgrade from iOS 8 to iOS 7 or below so you’ll need to think about that before jumping in with the update. If you’re already on iOS 8, then there’s really no reason to skip this update. Not only does it come with bug fixes it comes with the aforementioned features for Camera and Continuity.

iOS 8.1.1 and iOS 8.1 Fixes

Finally, you should know that the iOS 8.1.1 update for iPad mini 2 (or any other device) is still in the shadows. iOS 8.1.1 is presumably going to be the first update to fix iOS 8.1 problems though it remains unannounced. We haven’t even seen a pick up in our analytics, something that typically happens as Apple ramps up testing ahead of a release.

So what does this mean for iPad mini 2 users? Well, it means that if you do make the move to iOS 8.1 and you experience iOS 8.1 problems, you are going to need to rely on temporary fixes. Our fixes for common iOS 8.1 problems should help at least some of you overcome the difficulties you’re having with iOS 8.1 after download.

iPad Air vs iPad mini -  7

For those of you that haven’t already moved to iOS 8, well, then you’re going to absolutely have to do your research before you make your move. For many of you, iOS 8.1 will be worth the upgrade. Just remember, mileage is going to vary from device to device so a lot of the performance stuff is going to have to do with luck and how well you prepared for the move.