iOS 8.1 on iPhone 6: Is It Worth Installing Now?

In October, Apple delivered its second major iOS 8 update dubbed iOS 8.1. iOS 8.1 delivers new features and bug fixes to iPhone 6 users though it’s not without its faults. After using iOS 8.1 for two straight weeks, we want to take another look at how the update is performing and offer users a clear cut answer to all important question: Is iOS 8.1 worth installing on the iPhone 6?

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


Weeks ago, Apple’s iOS 8.1 update rolled out to iPhone, iPad and iPod touch users all over the globe and, as we’ve noted in our reviews, the iOS 8.1 update for these devices tackled some of the annoying problems that emerged last month in iOS 8.0. However, it appears that the iOS 8.1 update failed to squash all of the bugs.

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We’ve received feedback from many iPhone and iPad users, many of whom are dealing with assorted iOS 8.1 problems. We’ve also heard from iPhone and iPad users who, after hearing about these issues, are still on the fence about downloading and installing the iOS 8.1 update. If that sounds like you, we don’t blame you. In fact, by waiting, you probably did the right thing.


iOS problems tend to show up, or dissipate, in the weeks after the initial release and now that we’re at the two week mark, we feel like we have a pretty good gauge on iOS 8.1’s performance.


Today, we want to revisit the iOS 8.1 update on the iPhone 6 and give a definitive response to those on the fence. Here’s a look at how iOS 8.1 is performing on the iPhone 6 after two full weeks.

iOS 8.1 Review on iPhone 6: Two Weeks Later

Over the past two weeks, I’ve spent a ton of time with iOS 8.1 on iPhone 6. Before getting into this updated review, 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 iOS 8.1 review a general guide as you try to decide whether iOS 8.1 is worth installing on your iPhone 6.

iOS 8.1 Performance

When it comes to the performance of iOS updates, I like to focus on five different elements. They include performance of applications, battery life, connectivity including Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, assorted bugs and issues, and overall speed.

iOS 8.1 Apps

After two weeks with iOs 8.1 on iPhone 6, I’ve only experienced sporadic issues with applications. Google Chrome continues to cut off some webpages leaving empty white space where text is supposed to be. This only happens on certain websites, Yahoo! is one of them, and it’s not a problem that arrived with iOS 8.1. It’s an issue I dealt with in iOS 8.0.2 and iOS 8 as well.


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Other than that, all of my apps have been working fine. Facebook and Twitter, two problematic applications, have been flawless in the days since the iOS 8.1 upgrade and my guess is that recent bugs fixes eliminated bugs that cropped up after the iOS 8.1 release. All of my other apps, including The Weather Channel, Instagram, Google Hangouts, Amazon, YouTube, SoundCloud, and more all working fine inside iOS 8.1.

iOS 8.1 Battery Life

iOS 8.1 battery life remains solid at the two week mark. I haven’t noticed any abnormal battery drain, I haven’t run into any slow charging issues, and it continues to hold a solid charge when in standby.

I took my iPhone 6 out with me this weekend and was without a power strip or battery pack for close to nine hours. When I took the phone out, I was at 100%. After shooting tons of photos, sending the occasional text, making the occasional call, and taking loads of video, the iPhone 6 was at about 71%. That’s simply outstanding.

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On any given day, I’m able to get a full day of use out of the iPhone 6, on both Wi-Fi and LTE, and it’s clear that the iPhone 6 battery blows the iPhone 5 battery out of the water.

As I’ve noted many times before, iOS updates are not supposed to bring battery life problems to iPhones or iPads. 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.

iOS 8.1 Connectivity

Wi-Fi, AT&T LTE, and Bluetooth are all solid at two weeks. LTE and Bluetooth have both remained stable throughout the transition from iOS 8.0.2 to iOS 8.1. Wi-Fi was causing me issues in the week after its release though those issues subsided after I used some of my own Wi-Fi fixes.

Our fixes seem to have helped others as well though I’m not convinced that these problems won’t pop up again at some point down the road. Wi-Fi has been an issue in iOS for a long time and there’s always a chance the device acts up in the days ahead of Apple’s new iOS 8 update.


iOS 8.1 Bugs & Issues

While plenty of iPhone 6 users are reporting bugs and issues with iOS 8.1, I’m only experiencing a few frustrating issues. First, the device continues to get stuck in landscape when transitioning from the lock screen to iMessages. It’s extremely annoying though it does not happen every single time I make the move. The only way to fix the issue is by locking the orientation or tapping the home button.

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Apple’s iMessages continue to be problematic. I’m seeing multiples of the same thread and messages often get delivered hours late. I am not seeing the same issues on the iPhone 5. I’ve tried several fixes for these problems, including convincing friends to upgrade to iOS 8.1, but they still are causing issues two weeks after release.

I should note that I first started experiencing these iMessage issues after iOS 8.1’s arrival.

iOS 8.1 Speed

The iPhone 6 is still very fast and fluid with iOS 8.1 on board. I haven’t noticed any abnormal slow down or any weird lockups. Folders open up quickly, so do apps. iOS 8.1 maintains the speed found in iOS 8.0.2 and iOS 8.0.

iOS 8.1 on iPhone 6: Is It Worth Installing Now?

Apple Pay is working flawlessly and for the most part, iOS 8.1 is too. The update is far more stable than iOS 8.0.2 and iOS 8 and while it comes with a few issues of its own, iOS 8.1’s features make it worth installing right now.

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If you’ve waited, now is the time to make the move. It should solve many of your iOS 8 problems and it will deliver some useful features in the process. It’s hard to beat that combination. Those who aren’t as ambitious can simply wait for iOS 8.1.1 though I suspect that while it will come with some fixes for issues, it’ll likely deliver some problems of its own.