Apple’s released the iOS 11.4.1 update for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch and the software comes with bug fixes for lingering iOS 11 problems and a new security feature.
With the iOS 12 release confirmed for the fall, iOS 11.4.1 should one of the last iOS 11 updates for the iPhone X, iPhone 6, iPhone 5s, and others. It’s not as big as the iOS 11.4 update, but it comes with fixes, patches, and under-the-hood improvements for your device.
In this guide to the iOS 11.4.1 update we’ll take you through the most important things you need to know as we push away from the release date.
Our walkthrough includes a quick look at iOS 11.4.1’s known changes, iOS 11.4.1 problems, iOS 11.4.1’s performance, and what’s next for iOS 11 users.
iOS 11.4.1 Review
iOS 11.4.1 is rather large for a point release. If you’re in possession of a device running iOS 11.4, you’re looking at a 200MB+ download.
If you’re connected to a high speed Wi-Fi network, the download should only take a few minutes to complete. We ran into some server issues when trying to pull the update, but those cleared up within a few minutes of the release. Once the download started, it took three minutes to complete.
As for the iOS 11.4.1 installation, it took about six minutes from start to finish on the iPhone X. If you’re using an older version of iOS on your device, you’ll encounter longer download and installation times because you’ll get the features, fixes, and patches from previous versions.
For more on the download and installation, take a look at our guide to the download and installation.
We’ve been using the iOS 11.4.1 update on the iPhone X, iPhone 6, and several other devices for a few weeks now and here are a few things we’ve learned about the latest version of iOS 11:
- iOS 11.4.1 battery life is normal on all of our devices.
- Wi-Fi is stable and fast.
- Bluetooth is working fine. We’ve successfully paired the devices with headphones and speakers.
- GPS and cellular data are both normal.
- Our core apps including Twitter, Slack, Asana, Gmail, Chrome, and Spotify are working fine at the moment.
- First party apps like Safari, Podcasts, and Calendar are stable.
- We haven’t seen any UI lag on the iPhone X, but we continue to see occasional lag on the iPhone 6 and iPhone 5s.
While many of you are should install the iOS 11.4.1 update right now, many others should hold out and wait for more long term feedback to emerge. Major bugs and performance issues often popup days, sometimes even weeks, after an update’s release.
If you need early iOS 11.4.1 feedback, take a look at our reasons to, and not to, install the iOS 11.4.1 update on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.
iOS 11.4.1 Update: What’s New
iOS 11.4.1 is a point release which means it’s much smaller than its predecessor, iOS 11.4. iOS 11.4 was a milestone upgrade and milestone upgrades always deliver a nice mix of new features, fixes, and patches.
iOS 11.4.1 is focused on fixing bugs and improving security though it does come with one new security feature.
Apple’s iOS 11.4.1 change log lists off two bug fixes:
- A fix for an issue that prevented some users from viewing their last known location of their AirPods in Find my iPhone.
- Improved reliability of syncing mail, contacts, and notes with Exchange accounts.
It also includes a bug fix Apple didn’t mention in the change log. Apple’s quietly fixed a bug that caused devices to crash when the the Taiwan emoji was used or when the word “Taiwan” was entered into a text field in apps like Messages, WhatsApp, and Facebook.
The iOS 11.4.1 update also brings security enhancements including a new USB Restricted Mode located in Settings > Face ID/Touch ID & Passcode.
Once your device has been locked for over an hour straight, iOS won’t allow USB accessories to connect to the device. This blocks software cracking tools like GrayKey.
That said, researchers at cybersecurity firm Elmsoft have discovered a loophole that resets the one-hour counter when a USB accessory is plugged into the iPhone’s Lightning port. Even Apple’s own $39 Lightning to USB 3 Camera Adapter works.
Here’s the situation according to ElcomSoft’s Oleg Afonin:
We performed several tests, and can now confirm that USB Restricted Mode is maintained through reboots, and persists software restores via Recovery mode. In other words, we have found no obvious way to break USB Restricted Mode once it is already engaged.
What we discovered is that iOS will reset the USB Restrictive Mode countdown timer even if one connects the iPhone to an untrusted USB accessory, one that has never been paired to the iPhone before (well, in fact the accessories do not require pairing at all). In other words, once the police officer seizes an iPhone, he or she would need to immediately connect that iPhone to a compatible USB accessory to prevent USB Restricted Mode lock after one hour. Importantly, this only helps if the iPhone has still not entered USB Restricted Mode.
It’s unclear how or when Apple will address this issue. For now, it means that law enforcement has a way to get around the tool.
Apple says iOS 11.4.1 contains 15 security patches in total which makes it an extremely important update for all devices capable of running iOS 11.
iOS 11.4.1 Problems
The iOS 11.4.1 update is causing a variety problems for some iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch users.
In addition to the issue we had pulling the update through Settings, we’re also hearing about problems with battery drain, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth connectivity, GPS, Face ID, UI lag, Touch ID, 3D Touch, and first and third-party apps. We expect the list of problems to grow as we push away from the release date.
If you’re noticing problems on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch you’ll want to take a look at our list of fixes for common iOS 11 problems. Our list includes fixes for many of these early problems.
If you’re dealing with iOS 11.4.1 issues you’re on your own until Apple rolls out the next version of iOS.
Apple’s stopped signing on iOS 11.4 which means you can no longer downgrade your device to the previous version if you aren’t happy with iOS 11.4.1’s performance. The company’s stopped signing off on older versions of iOS 11 as well.
We don’t know when, or even if, Apple will roll out a new version of iOS 11 so you’ll need to be proactive if you run into trouble after you upgrade.
iOS 11.4.1 Jailbreak
Jailbreak developers haven’t released a public tool for iOS 11.2, iOS 11.2.1, iOS 11.2.5, iOS 11.2.6, iOS 11.3, iOS 11.3.1, iOS 11.4, or iOS 11.4.1.
As of right now, the only way you can jailbreak a device running iOS 11 is if it’s running iOS 11.0-iOS 11.1.2. Unfortunately, there’s no way to downgrade to any of those updates.
Developers have managed to jailbreak Apple’s iOS 11.3 update, but there’s no telling when, or even if, they’ll release a tool to the public. For now, jailbreak users need to remain on earlier versions of iOS 11.
For more about the iOS 11 jailbreak, take a look at our roundup.
iOS 11.4.1 could be Apple’s final iOS 11 update.
iOS 12 will be released to all devices capable of powering the iOS 11 update. That includes the aging iPhone 5s and the company’s iPad mini 2.
We could see an iOS 11.4.2 update emerge in August, but don’t expect Apple to push an iOS 11.5 update to the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch this summer.
Install iOS 11.4.1 for Better Security
Apple's iOS 11.4.1 update comes with 15 patches for potential security issues. If you value your security, you should think about installing it today.
iOS 11.4.1 also comes with a USB Restricted Mode that disables the Lightning port on your iPhone or iPad if a device hasn't been unlocked or connected to a computer using a passcode within a certain amount of time.
The new setting is located in Settings > Face ID/Touch ID & Passcode. There you’ll see a new toggle for USB Accessories. It's toggled off by default.
This provides an added layer of protection and prevents the use of cracking tools like GrayKey.
If you skipped iOS 11.4, your iOS 11.4.1 update comes with 30+ patches aimed at improving your device's security. This makes it an essential download for most iPhone and iPad users.
If you missed any of Apple's previous iOS updates, your iOS 11.4.1 update comes with a lot more.
If you skipped iOS 11.3.1, your version of iOS 11.4.1 comes with iOS 11.3.1's four security patches.
If you skipped iOS 11.3, your iOS 11.4.1 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 11.4.1 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 currently 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 11.4.1.
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.
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 11.4.1 right now.
If you skipped iOS 11.2, you'll get a few more patches with your iOS 11.4.1 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 11.4.1 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 11.4.1 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 11.4.1 update will come with even more security-related 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 want to protect the data you store on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, you should make your move to the latest version of iOS. This is particularly important for those of you running older versions of iOS.