iOS 9 on iPhone 6: First Impressions & Performance

The iPhone 6 iOS 9 update is here and it brings a ton of changes to Apple’s former 4.7-inch flagship. We’ve been using the official iPhone 6 iOS 9 release for several hours now and we want to provide you with some feedback about its performance so far.

In June, Apple confirmed an iOS 9 release for several devices including the iPhone 6, the flagship that arrived alongside the iPhone 6 Plus last year. The iOS 9 update represents the iPhone 6’s first major iOS update and it follows in the footsteps of Apple’s iOS 8.4.1 update.

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The iOS 9 update brings several new features including a News application and a revamped version of the popular Notes app. It also brings several enhancements including a supposed hour long boost to the iPhone’s battery life.

It’s a big update for the iPhone 6 and it’s an update that many users have their eyes on as we push away from the iOS 9 release.

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Like a good guinea pig, I downloaded the iPhone 6 iOS 9 update right when it was released. And per usual. I want to supply you with some initial feedback about the update’s performance in the hours after the initial roll out.

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These initial iPhone 6 iOS 9 update impressions don’t serve as a final review but they should help those of you who are struggling over the decision to install now or wait a few hours or even a few days. Remember, there are some very valid reasons to wait.

iOS 9 Installation

I love and loathe iOS release day. Love it because of all the new features and all of the potential. Loathe it because there are always problems. iOS updates also have a tendency to hurt performance rather than help it so I’m always leery ahead of release.

At 10:01AM PT, Apple released the iPhone 6 iOS 9 update. And right on cue I, like many others, ran into download issues. I don’t like iTunes and typically avoid it at all costs. So, I download all of my updates Over-the-Air.

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The iOS 9 OTA update failed to download on my iPhone 6. I fired up iTunes and managed to get iOS 9 downloaded on my iPhone 5 but I decided to wait and see how long it would take me to get it on board the iPhone 6. Self-torture, perhaps.

After about 30 minutes, the error message went away and I was able to download the iPhone 6 iOS 9 update. I was expecting more download problems but none came my way. I was able to get the 1GB (!) file downloaded and installed in about 15 minutes. That has to be a record for a major iOS update.

Download problems have continued to emerge in the aftermath of the update. If your download is showing long download times, wait a little bit or try changing connections. If your iOS 9 download gets stuck, hold down the home button and power button to get it unstuck.

iOS 9 on iPhone 6 Performance

My initial impressions won’t spend much time talking about the new features and enhancements. Instead, I’ve decided to focus on performance. For detailed information about iOS 9 features, please check out our full iOS 9 review.

Before I get into these impressions, you’ll want to remind yourself that I am just one person with one version of an AT&T iPhone 6. I probably don’t use the same applications that you do and I probably don’t use my iPhone 6 the same way. Mileage always varies when it comes to iOS updates so use my thoughts as a general guide.

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iOS 9 Apps

iOS 9 went through a lengthy beta process that saw developers, and the general public, poke and prod it ahead of today’s release.

Apple gave developers ample time to prepare for today’s arrival and it looks like iOS 9 beta paid off. At least for the apps on my iPhone 6.

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My core group of apps include Asana, Slack, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Gmail, Hangouts, Chrome, Dark Sky, Amazon, SoundCloud, Spotify, and Xbox One Smartglass. These are the apps I use the most and they’re the apps I’ve been digging into the most in the hours since release.

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Other than one Chrome crash, I haven’t noticed any difference between their performance on iOS 8.4.1 and their performance on iOS 9. They’re stable and I hope that they remain stable in the weeks ahead.

Now, keep in mind, I’ve been downloading a ton of bug fixes over the past few days, some with iOS 9 support. If you’re seeing problems with your apps, try downloading the latest bug fix, especially if it brings support for the new update.

If that doesn’t help, try reinstalling the app. And if that doesn’t work, you’ll want to contact the developer. It might be able to help.

iOS 9 Battery Life

The iOS 9 update supposedly comes with an hour long boost for the iPhone 6’s battery life. Apple highlighted it on stage and it highlighted it in the iOS 9 update’s change log.

The update is only a few hours old so it’s impossible to tell you if Apple’s delivered on its promise but what I will tell you is that I haven’t noticed any major iOS 9 battery drain issues. I also haven’t seen any widespread complaints about iOS 9 battery life. That’s a great sign.

If you are dealing with battery life issues after installing the iOS 9 update, take a look at our tips and fixes. They should help.

iOS 9 Wi-Fi, Cellular Data & Bluetooth

I’ve been using the iPhone 6 (and thus iOS 9) with several different routers and Bluetooth devices. I haven’t noticed any weird drops in speeds and I haven’t had any problems connecting to my speakers, headsets or routers.

I haven’t seen any iPhone 6 users complain about grayed out Wi-Fi just yet but I imagine that those complaints are coming. If you see problems with Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, take a look at our list of fixes for common problems.

I’ve been using the iPhone 6 on AT&T’s LTE network and so far so good. Speeds are solid and the device hasn’t been dropping calls or data connections. I haven’t had any cellular problems yet so I expect performance to hold.

iOS 9 Problems on iPhone 6

While there are iOS 9 problems, I haven’t seen anything jump out at me after installing the iOS 9 update. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t problems on board my iPhone 6 though.

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Bigger issues typically jump right out at you while smaller bugs and problems are a lot harder to find. I’ve spotted bugs weeks after an iOS update’s release. So far, I haven’t spotted either.

I’m going to spend the next few weeks digging through the iOS 9 update. There’s a good chance that I’ll find something and when I do, I’ll let you know. I like how the iOS 9 update is holding up out of the gate though. Much better than iOS 8.

iOS 9 Speed

I’ve seen my iPhone 6 drag a few times in the hours after the iOS 9 release but that’s not out of the ordinary. It can take a few hours, sometimes even a few days, for iOS updates to settle.

I’ve seen lag on three occasions in my time with iOS 9 but I expect the issue to dissipate later today or tomorrow.

For the most part, the software is snappy and fast. Animations and transitions are fluid and I expect them to remain that way in the weeks ahead.

Should You Install iOS 9 Right Now?

To me, the iOS 9 features outweigh the potential for iOS 9 problems. iOS 9 looks and feels great on the iPhone 6 and while some people have run into some issues, those issues appear to be isolated.

If you’re feeling a little bit nervous, wait a few days for the smoke to settle. iOS 9 isn’t going anywhere and Apple won’t force you to update.

If you’re jailbroken, you won’t want to update today because there is no iOS 9 jailbreak. And if you use your iPhone 6 for work, you’ll want to check in with IT (if you have it) to make sure the iOS 9 doesn’t break critical apps.

For most of you, the iOS 9 update should be perfectly fine. I’ll be back in a week or so with a full review of the iPhone 6 iOS 9 update. For more on iOS 9 features, please take a look at our review.

12 iOS 9 Release Date Tips

Get Familiar with iOS 9

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Get Familiar with iOS 9

Before you install iOS 9, you should get familiar with iOS 9 and its changes. We've put together a walkthrough that will take you through these changes and we highly recommend taking at look at all of these changes before you make your move.

You'll also want to consult our full iOS 9 review for a broad look at features and performance on the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. 

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