Last week, Apple released the long-awaited iOS 6.1 update for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch owners. The update is the first iOS 6 update to deliver new features to owners of Apple’s mobile devices and it’s the biggest iOS update since Apple pushed out iOS 6 alongside the iPhone 5 all the way back in September. The update, while maybe not the most exciting incremental update that Apple has ever released, is still one that we have been looking forward to. Here now are our first impressions of iOS 6.1 for the iPad.
Read: iOS 6.1 on iPhone 5 Review.
While my experience with my iPhone 5 and iOS 6 has been a bit of a mixed bag, my experience with iOS 6 on my iPad has been much better. With the iPhone 5 and iOS 6, I ran into a number of different issues including problems with 4G LTE connectivity, a random reboot problem that drove me nuts and some Wi-Fi issues.
With the iPad, I’ve dealt with a few Wi-Fi issues including the inability to connect to a Wi-Fi network and stagnant connections, but never to the frequency of my iPhone 5. Even without the issues, the Wi-Fi problem went away with iOS 6.0.1, I’ve been looking forward to the iOS 6.1 update for my iPad ever since Apple released the first beta for the software in late last year.
iOS 6.1 is Apple’s first major update to its iOS 6 software which made its debut with the iPhone 5 in September. And while it’s not necessarily as big of an update as iOS 5.1 was, it’s still a nice incremental update nonetheless and one that Apple will use to help tide iPad owners over until the presumed release of iOS 7 sometime this year.
As with all iOS updates, I’ve received plenty of email from iPad owners asking whether to update to iOS 6.1 or not. iPad and iPhone owners are often timid about updating to new software due to performance issues, battery life problems, and other bugs that might have found their way on board the software. Apple’s software isn’t immune to those kinds of things.
That said, over the weekend, after using iOS 6.1 for a week on my iPhone 5, I felt confident enough to update my iPad to iOS 6.1 and take it for a spin.
Installation Was a Breeze
Unlike my experience installing iOS 6 onto my 16GB iPad, I ran into no issues when installing the iOS 6.1 update for my iPad which checked in at 76MB or so, much smaller than the 107MB iOS 6.1 update for the iPhone 5.
As a 16GB iPad 3 owner, and someone who uses up much of that space, the fact that the update was kept small was a blessing and made it so that I didn’t have to uninstall a bunch of applications or delete photos just to get the software installed and ready to use.
Of course, I don’t expect to say the same when iOS 7 comes around.
I also didn’t experience any errors when downloading and installing the update Over-the-Air and it took all of about 15 minutes, maybe less, before my iPad was running iOS 6.1, new features and all.
Thoughts on iOS 6.1 Features
About those new features. iOS 6.1 is the first iOS 6 update to deliver new features to owners of the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. And while they aren’t anything earth shattering, they do have their usefulness. Let’s take a look at the three major ones that have arrived for iPad owners.
Lock Screen Music Controls
As I said in my review of iOS 6.1 on the iPhone 5, the new lock screen music controls that Apple added in iOS 6.1 are my favorite part about the new upgrade.
As someone who listens to a lot of music on both the iPad and iPhone, being able to easily switch between songs, without the fear of skipping, is a godsend.
The new lock screen music controls resemble those that are found in the actual Music application and that means that the buttons are more stretched out than they previously were. This is perfect for music-lovers like myself and for those that listen to books on device as it will ensure that you don’t switch chapters by mistake.
The previous lock screen controls were much closer together making it much easier to make accidental chapter or song changes.
Problem is, the change, while evident for the iPad, isn’t as drastic as it is on the iPad. In fact, I think the controls in the top left are far too close together. We’ll see if I can get used to them.
Apple Maps – Report a Problem
I’m not a big user of Apple Maps on my iPad but on occasion, I do find myself looking at it in 3D mode or looking for directions when my iPhone is not easily accessible. I’ve also used it while in the car, connected to a hot spot, while trying to conserve my iPhone battery.
That said, the addition of the giant Report a Problem button in Apple Maps is nice, but I doubt I use it very often. It’s more of a feature geared toward Apple’s smartphone users who use Maps while mobile.
Still, if I run into a problem with 3D in Apple Maps or a bug when looking for a business or location on my iPad, I’ll still be more inclined to report the bug because of the location and size of the new button.
Siri and the Movies
The other major iOS 6.1 feature that came to iPad owners is the ability to use Siri to order movie tickets. Apple has partnered with Fandango to make it easy for iPhone and iPad owners to purchase movie tickets, right from the comfort of the Siri interface, provided the Fandango app is installed.
As I’ve said, I don’t see myself using this on a daily or weekly basis, I just don’t see that many movies, but for someone that is a theater-goer, it’s certainly a feature worth using. In my time spent using it, its been a seamless experience.
Well, that is, once I got Fandango installed.
No Major Issues, Yet
So far, I haven’t encountered any serious iOS 6.1 bugs. My Wi-Fi connection is stable, even on a WPA2 router, and that’s good because my iPad is Wi-Fi only. That means that I can’t speak to the stability of 4G LTE connectivity but from what I’ve heard from other Gotta Be Mobile team members, the connection is stable.
I also haven’t had any of my applications crash, something that often occurs when I download new software for my iPhone or iPad.
Often, major issues lurk in the shadows for a spell before showing themselves to the world, an example is the Do Not Disturb bug, but for now, at least for me, iOS 6.1 seems to be squeaky clean.
Battery Life Solid Thus Far
We’ve heard reports that iOS 6.1 is bringing battery life issues with those who download it, including owners of the iPad. One Gotta Be Mobile team member claims that the battery life for his iPad and iPad mini has plummeted since installing iOS 6.1 and that they both die much earlier in the day now that iOS 6.1 is on board.
My experience with iOS 6.1 battery life has been much better. I haven’t seen any significant drop in battery life, even whilst playing intense games like Grand Theft Auto 3.
Like my battery life with iOS 6.1 on the iPhone 5, it’s par for the course. Those who are struggling with battery life might want to check out some of our tips as they may help make it improve.
iOS 6.1 Jailbreak
Those who are looking to jailbreak their iPad need not fear iOS 6.1. That’s because the Evadr3s team behind the evasi0n iOS 6.1 jailbreak released the software today for iPhone and iPad owners running iOS 6.1.
Personally, I’m not going to jailbreak my iPad but those who are looking to do so can follow our guide and get the iPad jailbroken and using Cydia in no time at all.
Should You Upgrade Your iPad to iOS 6.1?
Like I said, my experience with iOS 6.1 on both my iPhone 5 and iPad 3 has been fantastic. I haven’t discovered any major bugs, my Wi-Fi connectivity is solid, the features, while small, are useful, and those looking to jailbreak are able to do so after installing iOS 6.1.
So, at this point, it’s hard not to recommend installing the iOS 6.1 update for iPad owners.
How has your iOS 6.1 experience on the iPad been thus far?