iOS 8.4.1 Review: Should You Install It?

Last week, Apple released a brand new iOS 8.4.1 update for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. The update is small but even small iOS updates can negatively impact performance. We’ve spent more than a week with Apple’s latest update and today we want to help you answer that all-important question: Is iOS 8.4.1 worth installing? Let’s take a look.

Its nearly a year since Apple first released the iOS 8 update. In those eleven and a half months, the company’s been extremely busy. First it was iOS 8.0.1 and iOS 8.0.2. Then it was iOS 8.1, iOS 8.1.1, iOS 8.1.2, and iOS 8.1.3. Next it was iOS 8.2 and iOS 8.3. And in late June, the company rolled out an iOS 8.4 update for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.

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Many believed that the iOS 8.4 update would serve as the bridge to Apple’s next big release, iOS 9. As it turns out, that’s only partially true.

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Earlier this month, Apple released iOS 8.4.1 for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. It’s a new version of iOS 8.4 that’s focused on security and fixing Apple’s new Music platform that launched alongside the iOS 8.4 update back in June. It’s about 50MB in size and it’s available right now Over-the-Air in Settings and through iTunes and it will probably be the last update before the iOS 9 release.

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Because it’s so small and because there are iOS 8.4.1 problems, we’ve started getting questions about the importance of the iOS 8.4.1 update. iPhone and iPad users are curious about its performance and whether it’s worth an install ahead of the rumored iOS 9 release date next month.

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That’s the question that we want to help you answer today by running down our iOS 8.4.1 reviews for top devices like the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and iPhone 5.

iOS 8.4.1 Review

We’ve been digging into the iOS 8.4.1 update for more than a week now. And while we’re confident in our testing, it’s important to note that mileage is always going to vary with iOS updates. You probably have different applications and you might use your phone or tablet differently. So use our reviews, and the other reviews listed here, as a general guide.

iPhone 6

We’ve been using the iPhone 6 iOS 8.4.1 since release day and what we’ve found is that the iOS 8.4.1 update’s performance is identical to the performance we were getting from iOS 8.4. That’s a good thing. For more on the iPhone 6 iOS 8.4.1 update, we’ve put together a full length review that examines everything from battery life to Wi-Fi to the speed of the UI.

iPhone 6 Plus

We’ve also been using the iOS 8.4.1 update on the larger version of the iPhone 6. You know it as the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus. And like the iPhone 6 iOS 8.4.1 update, the iPhone 6 Plus iOS 8.4.1 upgrade has been performing beautifully after the upgrade last week.

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iPhone 6 Plus iOS 8.4.1 Update - 9

We haven’t encountered any major issues with the update. Battery life is holding up. Connectivity is still strong including Bluetooth in the car. The UI is still fluid and fast. And we haven’t run into any major problems with app performance. That last part could be a product of the iOS 8.4.1 update’s lengthy stay in Apple’s beta program.

The Apple Music fixes that come with the iOS 8.4.1 update are handy, though we still are using Spotify as Apple has more to fix with Apple Music to bring it up to that level.

iPhone 5s

When we first installed the iPhone 5s iOS 8.4.1 update, it was very capable. And after a week with the update, the update has retained its outstanding performance.

We haven’t run into any battery drain issues, the device is still extremely fast for a two year old phone, and we haven’t encountered any problems with LTE, Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. Bluetooth had been giving us problems in earlier versions of iOS 8 though the problems have since dissipated.

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Our apps are working fine including Microsoft’s Outlook and OneDrive. Both were giving us issues with the iOS 8.4 update on board.

iPhone 5

We’ve also taken a deep dive into the iPhone 5 iOS 8.4.1 update. And what we’ve found is that the update is solid in key areas like battery life, connectivity and app performance.

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However, the iPhone 5 (at least our version of the iPhone 5) still suffers UI performance problems. We’re still seeing the occasional slow down and stutter and we’re hopeful that the iOS 9 update and its performance enhancements help to iron things out.

For more on the iPhone 5 iOS 8.4.1 update, you’ll want to check out our full review. It delves into performance and some of the problems we’ve been having.

iPad Air 2, iPad Air & iPad mini 2

We’ve also been taking a look at the iOS 8.4.1 update on iPad Air 2, iPad Air and iPad mini 2. We haven’t noticed much of a difference between it and the iOS 8.4 update. We took a close look at the iPad Air and iPad mini 2 iOS 8.4.1 update and you can find the full review here.

As for the iPad Air 2 iOS 8.4.1 update, we started using it extensively last weekend. And like the update for the original iPad Air, the iPad Air 2’s iOS 8.4.1 upgrade is performing well in all key areas which include battery life, Wi-Fi, LTE, Bluetooth, speed, and apps. We haven’t noticed any major issues with the update, at least not yet.

Other Devices

These are the iOS 8.4.1 updates that we’ve been using since its release but they obviously aren’t the only iOS 8.4.1 updates out there. Every single iOS 8 powered device got the iOS 8.4.1 update.

We recently put together a roundup of feedback for the iPhone 4s. If you own the aging former flagship, you’ll want to take a look at that. If you don’t own the iPhone 4s or any of the devices we covered, you’ll want to poke around elsewhere for feedback about the iOS 8.4.1 update’s performance.

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There are several places to look for feedback about iOS updates. Our favorites though are the iOS and iPhone/iPad Reddits, Apple’s discussion forums, MacRumors forums, and social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. Look around and then come to a decision about iOS 8.4.1.

If you’re feeling extremely anxious, you might want to take a look at our list of fixes for iOS 8.4.1 problems. That way, you’ll be prepared should anything happen to your device after the update.

Should You Install iOS 8.4.1?

So far, the only update that’s shown problems is the iPhone 5 iOS 8.4.1 update. The other iOS 8.4.1 updates that we’ve been looking into are still performing well. So, here’s our recommendation.

If you are using an iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 5s, iPad Air 2, iPad Air, or iPad mini 2, you should come out of the iOS 8.4.1 update unscathed. If you own an older device like the iPhone 5 or iPhone 4s, you’re going to want to take your time with iOS 8.4.1 and really dig into feedback.

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iOS 8.4.1 comes with some fixes for Apple Music problems and some security updates that are aimed at Enterprise users. If you’re feeling leery, you can hold out for a few more days to see if performance continues to hold up. If you’re feeling extremely nervous, you have the option of waiting for the iOS 9 release next month.

iOS 8.4.1 appears to be a solid update but there’s no need to rush into things. Take your time, gather feedback, and then make your decision. It’s going to be around for a few more weeks.

10 Things to Know About the iPhone 6 iOS 8.4.1 Update

iPhone 6 iOS 8.4.1 Impressions

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iPhone 6 iOS 8.4.1 Impressions

The first thing you'll want to know about the iPhone 6 iOS 8.4.1 update is that the update has been performing well in the days since its release on Thursday.

We've been using the iOS 8.4.1 update on several variants of the iPhone 6 (and iPhone 6 Plus) and they are all exhibiting good behavior in key areas like battery life, connectivity, UI speed, and app performance. We haven't discovered any big problems with the iPhone 6 iOS 8.4.1 update and we expect it to remain stable in the days and weeks to come. 

Before you install it, we still recommend gathering feedback from other iPhone 6 iOS 8.4.1 users. Apple-centric forums and Apple's own discussion forums are great places to start. 

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