Apple’s iOS 11.3.1 update is a small maintenance upgrade, but it could have a significant impact on your device’s performance. While most of you should install the iOS 11.3.1 update today, others might benefit from waiting a few more hours, a few more days, or even a few weeks.
iOS 11.3.1 is yet another bug fix release for iOS 11 and Apple’s latest delivers a collection of important fixes and security patches for potential exploits.
The iOS 11.3.1 update is a tiny download for all iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch models. If you’re coming from iOS 11.3, the update is just a few megabytes. It’s just 49.5MB for the iPhone X.
Your iOS 11.3.1 update will be much larger if you skipped iOS 11.0, iOS 11.0.1, iOS 11.0.2, iOS 11.0.3, iOS 11.1, iOS 11.1.1, iOS 11.1.2, iOS 11.2, iOS 11.2.1, iOS 11.2.2, iOS 11.2.5, iOS 11.2.6, or iOS 11.3. The fixes and features from those updates are baked into your version of iOS 11.3.1.
iOS 11.3.1 is a maintenance update, but small bug fix upgrades can have tremendous impact on your device’s performance. Some of you will see a boost, but many others will encounter performance issues. In fact, iOS 11.3.1 is causing numerous problems for iPhone and iPad users including a major issue on iPhone 7.
If iOS 11.3.1 starts causing problems on your device, you’re on your own until Apple rolls out the next version of iOS 11.
Apple’s stopped signing off on iOS 11.3 which means all downgrade options are now closed. This puts a greater importance on your move to iOS 11.3.1. Once you move you’re stuck there until Apple releases a new version of iOS 11.
There are plenty of reasons to consider installing iOS 11.3.1 right now. That said, there are also some reasons why you might want to temporarily hold off on an installation.
If you’re on the fence about upgrading your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch to the latest version of iOS, allow us to walk you through the best reasons to, and not to, install it right now.
Install iOS 11.3.1 for Better Security
Apple's iOS 11.3.1 update comes with four known security patches for all iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch models capable of running iOS 11.
If you skipped iOS 11.3, your iOS 11.3.1 update comes with 27 additional patches for potential exploits. Those of you lingering on iOS 11.2.6 would be wise to make the move sooner rather than later.
If you missed iOS 11.3, your iOS 11.3.1 update also includes a new privacy feature. When an Apple feature wants to use your personal information, an icon now appears with a link to access detailed information about how your data will be used and protected.
If you're running iOS 11.2.5 or older, you're exposed to an issue that lets people send a specific character that will crash an iOS-powered device and block access to the Messages app. It can also block apps like Facebook Messenger, Gmail, Outlook, and WhatsApp.
The iOS 11.2.6 update's main purpose was to patch up this issue. If you skipped iOS 11.2.6, you'll get these enhancements with iOS 11.3.1.
If you're running iOS 11.2.2 or below and receive a certain GitHub link through your Messages app, your iPhone or iPad can lockup or respring. The Messages app will also become unusable.
If you're on iOS 11.2.1, your iOS 11.3.1 update includes security improvements to Safari and WebKit to mitigate the effects of Spectre. If you're running an older version of iOS, your iOS 11.3.1 update will come with a lot more.
Apple's iOS 11.2 update fixed several problems, but it also brought problems of its own including a potentially nasty zero-day iOS HomeKit vulnerability.
The vulnerability, discovered by Tian Zhang, allowed for unauthorized control of HomeKit accessories including garage door openers and smart locks.
Apple quickly rolled out a server-side fix, but the company restored full functionality with the release of iOS 11.2.1. If you skipped iOS 11.2.1 and use HomeKit, you should download iOS 11.3.
If you skipped iOS 11.2, you'll get a few more patches with your iOS 11.3.1 update. Apple's iOS 11.2 update delivered 11 patches including one for Mail and one for Wi-Fi.
The iOS 11.2 and iOS 11.2.1 updates also patched up a widespread security issue called "Meltdown." Apple says its analysis suggests it "has the most potential to be exploited."
Meltdown affects all iOS 11 powered devices so we highly recommend downloading iOS 11.3.1 if you skipped iOS 11.2.
If you skipped iOS 11.1.2, iOS 11.1.1, and iOS 11.1, you'll get additional patches with your iOS 11.3.1 update.
The iOS 11.1 update delivered eight security patches including a fix for a serious Wi-Fi vulnerability called KRACK or Key Reinstallation Attack. KRACK is an exploit that targets the common WPA2 encryption protocol.
If you're just now making to move from iOS 10 (or whatever you're on) to iOS 11, your iOS 11.3.1 update will come with even more security features.
In iOS 11 you can't establish trust with a PC using fingerprints alone. You'll also need to put in a full passcode in order to gain that trust.
If you skipped older versions of iOS, your iOS 11.3.1 update will come with an even longer list of security patches.
Apple's iOS 10.3.3 update delivered 24 security patches addressing potential issues with Contacts, Messages, Notifications, and Safari. It also included a patch for a potentially dangerous Wi-Fi exploit called "Broadpwn."
If you skipped iOS 10.3.2 you'll get 23 additional patches with iOS 11.3.1. And if for some reason you missed iOS 10.3, you'll get 60 security patches with your iOS 11.3.1 update.
If you want to protect the data you store on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, you should make your move to iOS 11 and iOS 11.3.1 soon.
This is particularly important for those of you running older versions of iOS.