iOS 8.1.1 on iPad mini 2: Impressions & Performance

Yesterday, Apple finally pushed out its long awaited iOS 8.1.1 update for iPhone and iPad and as expected, it’s aimed at improving performance on iOS 8 powered devices. With the iOS 8.1.1 release here and iOS 8 problems continuing to plague iPhone and iPad users, we take a look at how the iOS 8.1.1 update is performing on iPad mini 2. This is our early iOS 8.1.1 review on iPad mini 2.

Over the past couple of months, Apple’s released a number of iOS 8 updates aimed at curbing the problems that iOS 8.0 delivered to iPhone and iPad users. iOS 8.0.1, iOS 8.0.2 and iOS 8.1 all arrived with bug fixes on board though, as I’ve pointed out, all three delivered some problems of their own. And with iOS 8 and iOS 8.1 issues still causing problems for iPhone and iPad users, Apple’s delivered another update to iPhone and iPad users around the world.


That update is iOS 8.1.1, a bug fixer that comes to iPhone and iPad a few short weeks after the company surprisingly dropped it into the beta program. I say surprisingly because incremental iOS updates typically aren’t dropped into beta. Beta is almost always reserved for much larger updates, updates like iOS 8.0 and iOS 8.1.


Apple, it seems, didn’t want to take any chances after the debacle that was iOS 8.0.1. For several weeks it, and its developer partners, poked and prodded the iOS 8.1.1 update ahead of its public release. And yesterday, Apple deemed the update fit for public consumption. Right on cue, the company started rolling out the iOS 8.1.1 update for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.


After some quick preparation, I installed Apple’s brand new iOS 8.1.1 update in an effort to provide iPhone and iPad users with some initial impressions of Apple’s new software. 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. They’ll also provide feedback to those of you currently on iOS 8.1.


Here are our early impressions of the iOS 8.1.1 update for iPad mini 2.

iOS 8.1.1 Installation

After successfully downloading and installing the iOS 8.1.1 update on the iPhone 6, iPhone 5 and iPad Air without any difficulties, I felt good about the installation process for the iPad mini 2. Typically, if we’re going to see widespread installation issues, we see them emerge in the seconds and minutes after an update’s release.

I did not run into any problems with the iOS 8.1.1 upgrade process for the iPad mini 2. The entire process took about 20 minutes to complete over a fast Wi-Fi network. Now, that doesn’t mean that you’re not going to run into problems so I suggest setting aside some time so that you can complete the process without distractions. You never know what might go wrong.

If you do run into installation problems when trying to install iOS 8.1.1 on the iPad mini 2, have a look at our how to for iOS 8.1. This how to will run down some fixes and preventative measures which will ensure a smooth transition from whatever you’re on to Apple’s latest iOS 8 update.


iOS 8.1.1 on iPad mini 2 Performance

In the past five hours, I’ve spent a ton of time with iOS 8.1.1 on iPad mini 2. 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, play more games, or use my home screen more than you do. So, consider this a general guide as you try to decide whether iOS 8.1.1 is worth installing on your iPad.


While I encountered some app problems immediately after installing the iOS 8.0 update in September, those issues were primarily on the iPhone, not the iPad. My app experience on the iPad mini 2 and iPad Air has been far more stable and that stability continues inside iOS 8.1.1. I haven’t seen any issues with any of my applications in the hours after getting iOS 8.1.1 on board.


Part of that probably has to do with the fact that the iOS 8.1.1 update was put into beta. Developers were able to poke and prod it ahead of its public release to ensure a smooth transition from iOS 8.1 to iOS 8.1.1. It also has to do with the fact that developers have been pushing out compatibility updates and bug fixes for a number of weeks now, all aimed at shoring up the experience with iOS 8 on board. They’ve done a commendable job. My hope is that they continue to do a good job.

If you are experiencing issues in iOS 8.1.1 or below, you should consider installing the latest bug fix updates. They will almost certainly help deliver a better experience on your iPad.


iOS 8.1.1 Battery Life

Battery life has never been a problem on the iPad Air or the iPad mini 2. They’ve always had enough juice to easily get me through an entire day of heavy use. So far, iOS 8.1.1 looks like it will continue that trend. I haven’t noticed any peculiar battery drain, the device charged up relatively fast, and it continues to hold a sturdy charge when in standby mode. Can’t ask for much more than that.


As I’ve said before, iOS updates like iOS 8.1.1 are not supposed to bring battery life problems to the iPad. 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 with iOS 8.1 and the same advice applies to Apple’s latest iOS 8.1.1 update. Have a look at those if you install iOS 8.1.1 and you start noticing issues.

Wi-Fi, LTE, & Bluetooth

For the record, I own a Wi-Fi + LTE version of the iPad mini 2 on AT&T’s network. And for the record, this iPad mini 2 LTE + Wi-Fi is holding up quite well, from a connectivity standpoint, after making the move from iOS 8.1 to iOS 8.1.1. Wi-Fi is still very crisp, AT&T’s LTE network is running fine and I was able to connect to various Bluetooth devices including speakers from Bose and HP.


Issues with LTE, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi tend to pop up immediately after an update so I’m pretty confident that the experience I’m getting now is the experience I’ll be getting days, weeks and perhaps months down the road.

If you’re still not sure about iOS 8.1.1 and you’re having issues with your connections, 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 all of you.

Bugs & Issues

iOS 8 has been very stable on the iPad. iOS 8.0.2 and iOS 8.1 both ran extremely well on the iPad mini 2 and I did not encounter any massive issues or any other small, noticeable issues. Same goes for iOS 8.1.1, at least for the moment. While I can’t say that the software is bug free, it’s probably not, I will say that I haven’t encountered any debilitating issues in the hours since I put it on the 7.9-inch slate.

The thing about bugs is, they often don’t pop up for several days or weeks. For instance, I began noticing iOS 8.1 landscape issues on my iPhone 6 several days after the update landed. So while everything is all good right now, there’s always a chance that an iOS 8.1.1 bug or two will pop up on the iPad mini 2 at some point in the future.


So far though, iOS 8.1.1 appears to be very stable, maybe more stable than iOS 8.1. If that turns out to be the case, it wouldn’t be too surprising. iOS 8.1.1’s entire purpose is to plug up lingering iOS 8 problems.


The iPad mini 2 is still very fast with iOS 8.1.1 on board. All of my apps open quickly and efficiently, animations are snappy and fluid, and so are transitions. I haven’t seen any noticeable slow down on Apple’s second-gen iPad mini, at least not yet. Performance on older devices can deteriorate over time but I’m confident that this device is going to hold up. It held up over a series of iOS 7 updates and it’s held up over a series of iOS 8 updates.

Should You Install iOS 8.1.1?

If you are dealing with a ton of issues on iOS 8.1 or below, you probably want to think about installing the iOS 8.1.1 update on your iPad mini 2. I haven’t run into any headaches and performance seems to be very solid all around. The iOS 8.1.1 update also comes with bug fixes and performance improvements so there’s certainly incentive to get it on board immediately.

Gelaskins iPad mini Retina Skins

However, if you’re having a good experience on iOS 8.1 or below, you might want to hold off for a few days, wait for the smoke to settle, and then revisit the iOS 8.1.1 update for iPad mini 2. Again, bugs and issues have a weird way of popping up in the days after a release so we could see iOS 8.1.1 take a turn, for better or worse.