iOS 8.3 Review: Is It Worth Installing?

Last week, Apple released its eight iOS 8 update since the release of iOS 8.0. The new iOS 8.3 update is large update that delivers a new emoji keyboard and tons of bug fixes for iOS 8 problems. Over the past week, we’ve spent some quality time with Apple’s latest upgrade and today, we want to help you answer that ever so important question: Is iOS 8.3 worth installing on iPhone or iPad? Let’s take a look.

Apple’s stayed busy in the months since the original iOS 8 release back in September. The company’s rolled out eight incremental iOS 8 updates to tackle iOS 8 problems and deliver new features. It’s also planning to roll out at least one more. The iOS 8.4 release date is still unknown though it’s rumored to be coming this summer.


The company’s current iOS update, iOS 8.3, is more than your standard bug fixer. The update comes with a massive change log that features the over 300 new emojis, a look new for the emoji keyboard, some nice changes to the Message app, and an array of bug fixes. iOS 8 problems have been a problem since launch and Apple’s been doing its best to tackle the most glaring issues.

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iOS 8.3, like all iOS updates, has the potential to help, or hurt, the performance on your device. Apple never forces you to install its iOS updates which puts the power in your hands. To install or not to install, that’s a question that’s been on the minds of many iPhone, iPad and iPod touch users in the days after the iOS 8.3 release.


We continue to get bombarded with questions about Apple’s iOS 8.3 update and the most popular question revolves around whether or not it’s worth an install on the iPhone or iPad. Today, we want to help answer that question for you as we run down our experiences on top iPhones and iPads and offer you a definitive answer to one of the most popular iOS questions: Is iOS 8.3 worth installing?


iOS 8.3 Review

Since last week, we’ve spent a ton of time with Apple’s new iOS 8.3 update. And while we’re confident in our testing, we should note that mileage is going to vary from device to device, person to person. We probably don’t have the same apps installed and there’s a good chance that we stream more movies, use more LTE, and play more games than you do.

Consider these short reviews a guide to your final decision about whether to update to iOS 8 and iOS 8.3. Again, the final decision is going to rest in your hands. An update to iOS 8.3 isn’t required. These reviews should act as a starting point and we recommend gathering as much feedback as you can before coming to your final decision.

iPhone 6

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Apple’s iPhone 6, at least our versions of the iPhone 6, had been plagued with problems since the device’s arrival back in September of last year. Apple’s iOS 8.3 update has finally tackled some of our lingering iOS 8 problems and that’s lead to an enjoyable experience on Apple’s flagship 4.7-inch model.


While our iOS 8.2 experience on the iPhone 6 was mixed, iOS 8.3 on the iPhone 6 has been excellent. Battery life, connectivity, speed, and app performance are all solid after making the move. However, it’s the stability enhancements that has us excited.

Prior to iOS 8.3’s arrival, we were dealing with two nasty bugs, one related to Wi-Fi and the other related to landscape mode. iOS 8.3 fixed both of those issues on our iPhone 6 variants. iOS 8.3’s change log is made up of a few new features but it’s mostly bug fixes. So if you’re having problems on iOS 8.2 or below, the iOS 8.3 could certainly fix your iPhone 6 problems.

Right now, we’re recommending the iOS 8.3 update to iPhone 6 users dealing with problems on iOS 8.2 and below. It’s also worth a download if you use tons of emojis, get a ton of spam messages or if you’re planning to use the Apple Watch. For more information on the iPhone 6 iOS 8.3 update, check out our full length iPhone 6 iOS 8.3 review.

iPhone 6 Plus

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While we had been experiencing a number of iOS 8 issues on the iPhone 6, the iOS 8 experience on the iPhone 6 Plus was far more stable. The iPhone 6 Plus was troubled in the weeks after its initial release though Apple’s slowly stabilized the device’s software. iOS 8.3 is going to help a lot of iPhone 6 Plus users as well.

iPhone 6 Plus battery life is still phenomenal, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity is fast and stable, and the device hasn’t lost any of its speed after making the transition from iOS 8.2. We haven’t run into any major problems with the software, at least not yet. Given the list of bug fixes on board the iOS 8.3 update, we’re not expecting any surprises to pop up in the future.

We recommend the iPhone 6 Plus iOS 8.3 update is recommended to anyone dealing with problems on iOS 8.2 or below. For more details on the update, have a look at our full iOS 8.2 iPhone 6 Plus review. It will elaborate a bit further on some of the positives that we’ve noticed after getting the brand new software on board.

iPhone 5s



We’ve been using the iPhone 5s iOS 8.3 update since Apple’s release last week and so far, the update is holding up nicely. It’s important to note that the iPhone 5s hasn’t struggled like the iPhone 6. The device has held up pretty well with iOS 8 on board.

Unsurprisingly, the iOS 8.3 update brings continued stability to a phone that’s now more than a year old. Battery life is still very good, Wi-Fi is connecting when it should connect, and the iPhone 5s is still very fast. And those Bluetooth problems we were having on iOS 8.2? iOS 8.3 has wiped them out, hopefully for good this time.

We absolutely think the iPhone 5s iOS 8.3 update is an update worth installing, especially if you’re dealing with iOS 8 problems. You’ll also want to install iOs 8.3 if you didn’t install iOS 8.2 and you’re picking up an Apple Watch later this month. You need the Apple Watch application so that you can pair it with your iPhone 5s.

For more information on the iPhone 5s iOS 8.3 update, take a look at our full review.

iPhone 5

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The iPhone 5 iOS 8 experience has been up and down on the aging flagship. Slowly but surely, the device is clawing its way back to where it was before the company’s iOS 8.1 ruined things.

For those that don’t know, after upgrading to iOS 8.1, our iPhone 5 started exhibiting a ton of lag. While some slowdown isn’t unusual on an aging iPhone, this slowdown was frequent and disruptive to the point that the phone was nearly unusable.

Apple’s iOS 8.3 seems to repair more of the damage caused by iOS 8.1. It’s still not back to where it was prior to last year’s upgrade but it’s certainly getting closer. We have high hopes for iOS 8.4.

As for everything else, the iPhone 5 iOS 8.3 update gets high marks. Battery life, connectivity and apps are all working fine after making the move from iOS 8.2. For more information about the iPhone 5 iOS 8.3 update, check out our full review.

iPhone 4s

Read user iPhone 4s iOS 8.2 reviews to figure out if you should install.

Read user iPhone 4s iOS 8.2 reviews to figure out if you should install.

We haven’t gone hands on with the iPhone 4s iOS 8.3 update but we have rounded up reactions from iPhone 4s users. And from what we’ve seen, the iOS 8.3 is a solid update for Apple’s aging former flagship.

While we saw a large number of complaints about iOS 8.1.3, feedback about iOS 8.2 and iOS 8.3 has mostly been positive. We suggest taking a look at our roundup for feedback and then poking around forums and discussion boards if you’re not convinced.

Keep in mind, the iPhone 4s is an old device and new software can sometimes wreck havoc on old devices. Those of you with the iPhone 4s will need to do a ton of research before you make your move to iOS 8.3, especially if you’re on iOS 7 or below.

iPad Air 2

Apps work great on iOS 8.3.

Apps work great on iOS 8.3.

The iPad Air 2 blazes on iOS 8.3. It’s always been fast, but it feels as speedy as can be on iOS 8.3. There are no issues or bugs that we’ve experienced yet. Battery life is solid, even with heavy video use.

At this point, we see no reason not to install the iOS 8.3 update, though you’ll still want to take a look at our iPad Air 2 iOS 8.3 impressions for more detailed feedback about the new update.

iPad Air


iOS 8, across the board, has been stable on the first-generation iPad Air. And that’s why it hasn’t been surprising to see iOS 8.3 perform so well on Apple’s aging 9.7-inch slate.

The iPad Air iOS 8.3 update is running fine on our model. We haven’t run into any problems and battery life, connectivity, apps, and speed are exactly how they should be. It’s a fantastic update and one that we think iPad Air first-gen users will want to look into. Take a look at our full length iPad Air iOS 8.2 update review for more feedback.

iPad 3

iOS 8.1.3 iPad 3 early review

The iPad 3 iOS 8.3 update feels faster, but it is hard to quantify exactly how much faster it is than on iOS 8.2. This is a solid update and so far there are no issues that we’ve run into in our week with the software.

We recommend this update to most iPad 3 users though we still think you should gather as much feedback as possible before making a move. Start with our iPad 3 iOS 8.2 impressions and move on from there. This is an old device and there’s no reason to rush into the iOS 8.3 update.

iPad 2

While we haven’t spent enough time with the iPad 2’s iOS 8.3 update to offer a full length review of our own, we have rounded up impressions from various iPad 2 users. Overall, the update seems to be working out well for most users though we still recommend taking an approach similar to what we recommended for owners of the iPhone 4s.

Absorb as much feedback as you possibly can before moving to iOS 8.3. The iPad 2 is old and you really don’t want to take any chances now. You need to make sure iOS 8.3 is really worth it and the only way you can do that is by seeking out feedback from fellow iPad 2 users. Our review roundup is a great starting point but you’ll need to dig deeper than that.

iPad mini 2

Finally, we’ve been taking a look at performance on the iPad mini 2 also known as the iPad mini with Retina and we’ve found nothing wrong with Apple’s latest update. This is an extremely stable update on the second-gen iPad mini and it’s an update that we think you should look at if you’re dealing with iOS 8 problems. For more information, take a look at our full length review. It will help.

Should You Install iOS 8.3?

So with all of that in mind, we want to answer your burning question: Is iOS 8.3 worth installing on the iPhone or iPad?

It’s a hard question for millions of people but what we will say is this. There are only a few people that need to be extremely cautious with Apple’s latest iOS 8 upgrade.

Our experience with iOS 8.3 has been overwhelmingly positive on both the iPhone and iPad and the feedback that we’re seeing and getting from fellow iPhone and iPad users is mostly good. For most devices, iPhone 6 and iPhone 5 included, iOS 8.3 is an extremely solid update.

Most users can go ahead and install iOS 8.3 on the iPad Air 2 today.

Most users can go ahead and install iOS 8.3 on the iPad Air 2 today.

iOS 8.3 fixes bugs, it adds useful features and it doesn’t appear to bring any catastrophic issues of its own. There are complaints about iOS 8.3 problems but most of them are isolated issues, limited to just a few iPhone and iPad users. There’s always some risk involved when making a move to another version of iOS but from what we can tell, the risk here is minimal. iOS 8.3 is very solid for a lot of people.

If you’re having a great experience on iOS 8.2 or below, you can continue to take your time and dig through iOS 8.3 feedback from other iPhone and iPad users. There’s no need to rush into the update.

iOS 8.4 is expected to follow iOS 8.3 though an iOS 8.4 release date is still unknown. iOS 8.4 is currently available to paying developers and it’s not clear if Apple release an iOS 8.4 update to the public.