iPhone 5 iOS 8.3 Update: One Month Later

Its been a little over a month since Apple rolled out its iOS 8.3 update for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. And in that month, I’ve been using update on a number of different devices including the iPhone 5, Apple’s former flagship. Today, I want to take an updated look at the iPhone 5 iOS 8.3 update’s performance and share some thoughts about iOS 8.4 and the future.

As many of you know, I’ve been an iPhone 5 user for going on three years. I bought the device when it was first released back in 2012 to replace my iPhone 3GS. Yes, I skipped the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4s.

In that time, I’ve installed every single iOS update Apple’s offered to the iPhone 5 including the ill-fated iOS 8.0.1 update that lasted one day before it was pulled. I’m telling you this because I get a lot of questions about my experience with Apple’s first 4-inch iPhone. To recap: I’ve installed every single iOS update and I’ve owned the device since day one.

My experience with the iPhone 5 has been mostly positive. The only real negatives that I can remember took place after the iOS 7 update in the fall of 2013 and the iOS 8.1 update that arrived at the tail end of last year.

The problems with iOS 7 were expected. Huge upgrade, massive UI changes, the whole lot. I did not expect to encounter problems with iOS 8.1, however.

My issues with iOS 8.1 are well documented but since I’m recapping, here’s what you need to know. iOS 8.1 was great except for its ridiculous lag. Not even iOS 7 was as slow as iOS 8.1 was on my iPhone 5.


Slowly but surely, Apple’s redeemed itself. Each successive iOS 8 update has been better than the last. For a month, I’ve been stuck on iOS 8.3, an update that delivered a new emoji keyboard, new emojis, and tons and tons of bug fixes for iOS 8 problems. It was the update that many people had been waiting for since iOS 8.

I’ve taken a number of looks at the iOS 8.3 update for iPhone 5. I thought I was done. Well, leave to a few friends and a few readers to light a fire.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve continued to get questions about the iOS 8.3 update on iPhone 5. Some people want feedback, others just want someone to complain to. I’ll try and satisfy as many of you as I possibly can with this updated look at the iPhone 5 iOS 8.3 update.

You Cannot Downgrade to iOS 8.2

The first thing that I want to point out a month after the iOS 8.3 release for iPhone 5 is that you can no longer downgrade. Apple left the loophole open for a lot longer than I think anyone expected. The downgrade option is now closed which means that if you update to iOS 8.3, you’re stuck on iOS 8.3.

So, if you’re experiencing iOS 8.3 problems, you’ll need to rely on third-party fixes until the next update arrives. I’ve got you covered.

If you still haven’t made the move to iOS 8.3, well, that’s probably why you’re here. You want some more feedback about the iPhone 5 iOS 8.3 update. And that’s exactly what I am offering.

iOS 8.3 on iPhone 5: One Month Later

I’ve been using the iPhone 5 iOS 8.3 update for a month and some change. I’ve been using the device every single day. Sometimes I’ll use it a lot, sometimes I’ll only use it for 30 minutes to an hour.

After a month of use, the iOS 8.3 update is holding up very nicely. I haven’t run into any issues with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or LTE. I haven’t noticed any bugs, big or small, and believe me I’ve been digging. I haven’t experienced any problems with my applications other than the occasional crash. Facebook, Twitter and Chrome have always had issues, this is nothing new.

I haven’t seen any battery life problems after a month with iOS 8.3. And finally, the lag and sluggishness that plagued my device on iOS 8.1, iOS 8.1.2, iOS 8.1.3, and iOS 8.2 is virtually non-existent. Most animations are fast and fluid again and the only time I’ve experienced any kind of hiccup is in the multitasking interface. It has gotten a bit clunky a few times but I can handle occasional clunkiness.


Overall, the update is treating my iPhone 5 well. It only took Apple three updates to get it right (at least on my iPhone 5) and I’m hopeful that the company’s next update, iOS 8.4, continues this trend.

I continue to see and hear complaints about the iOS 8.3 update on the iPhone 5. The most common complaint I’ve seen has to do with battery life and not lag. iPhone 5 users are complaining about bad battery life which doesn’t come as any surprise given that battery drain is one of the most common iOS problems.

I’m not seeing abnormal battery drain on my iPhone 5 but that doesn’t mean that I don’t know how to solve the problem. Before you go bashing Apple on social media, hear me out.

If you start noticing weird battery drain, the first thing to do is to reset your network settings. After that, I recommend uninstalling any and all recent applications. While it’s easy to blame Apple, it’s typically a rogue service or connection that’s causing the problems.

If you’re running into another problem, I suggest taking a look at our iOS 8.3 problems and fixes. It addresses some of the most common iOS 8.3 problems.

I can’t say that you won’t run into problems with iOS 8.3. There’s a good chance that you might. What I can say though is that I haven’t run into any major problems with the update and I haven’t seen any widespread complaints. After a month, iOS 8.3 seems to be treating people well.

iPhone 5 iOS 8.4 Update

Now, if you are dealing with iOS 8.3 problems or if you’re not convinced that you need its fixes or the emoji keyboard (which I love), you only have a few weeks to go before the iOS 8.4 update arrives.

Apple hasn’t announced an iOS 8.4 release date but it’s looking like it will arrive with its new features and bug fixes sometime next month. Rumors say late June. Point is, you shouldn’t feel any pressure to download iOS 8.3 if you haven’t already. Take your time and if you’re unsure, wait for iOS 8.4. It should be Apple’s last major iOS 8 update before iOS 9.

If you’re not familiar with iOS 8.4 for iPhone, you can check out the slideshow below. It will catch you up to speed with what’s important.

7 Exciting iOS 8.4 Update Details

iOS 8.4 All but Confirmed for June 8th

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iOS 8.4 All but Confirmed for June 8th

Apple's WWDC 2015 press release didn't outline any specifics but it sure looks like June 8th will be an extremely busy day for Tim Cook and his cohorts. 

WWDC has historically been reserved for major updates like iOS 8 and iOS 7 but it looks like iOS 8.4 will steal some of the spotlight during the keynote. iOS 8.4 launch rumors put the software's announcement at WWDC in San Francisco. 

This is exciting for a few reasons. One, it means that a full iOS 8.4 reveal is only a few weeks away. And two, it means that we might get a concrete iOS 8.4 release window from Apple. It doesn't look like the company will release it straightaway. 

All the more reason to tune in on June 8th and follow along as the company addresses the developers in attendence and the thousands watching the live stream. 

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Some Final Thoughts

Prior to the iOS 8.3 update, I was worried. Worried that iOS 8.3 and iOS 8.4 wouldn’t fix things. Worried that the iPhone 5 was falling apart before an upgrade to iOS 9. For the first time in awhile, I’m feeling pretty optimistic. Cautiously optimistic, but optimistic nonetheless.

iOS 8.4 doesn’t scare me and neither does iOS 9. iOS 9 is supposedly going to focus on fixes and enhancements rather than new features and if that’s true, it could benefit those of you who are still clinging to devices like the iPhone 5.

iOS 8.3’s laid the groundwork for the iPhone 5’s next two updates. That said, if I were you, I wouldn’t install iOS 8.4 or iOS 9 on the first day of availability. Let guinea pigs like me download it first and provide feedback.

How’s iOS 8.3 treating you?