Apple’s pushed an iOS 14.8.1 update to the iPhone SE and the firmware has the potential to help, or hurt, your device’s performance.
Apple continues to refine iOS 14 as we push deeper into 2021 and the latest upgrade is a small point release that brings important security upgrades to the iPhone SE and other iPhone models.
Many iPhone SE users have moved to Apple’s new firmware. While a lot of the feedback has been good, we’re also hearing about various issues ranging from minor bugs to serious performance problems.
If you decide to go ahead with the installation, note that iOS 14.8.1 requires a fairly small download if your device is currently running iOS 14.8.
If you’re running an older version of iOS on your iPhone SE, the download could be even bigger. That’s because the features and fixes from iOS updates you skipped are baked into the upgrade.
With all of that in mind, we want to take you through the most important things to know, right now, about the iPhone SE iOS 14.8.1 update.
- iPhone SE iOS 14.8.1 Review
- You Should Prepare for iOS 14.8.1
- iPhone SE iOS 14.8.1 Problems and Fixes
- How to Downgrade iPhone SE Software
- iPhone SE iOS 14.8.1 Changes
- Next iOS 14 Update for iPhone SE
- iPhone SE iOS 14.8.1 Jailbreak
This walkthrough will guide you through some of the problems plaguing the software, the iOS 14 downgrade status, the iOS 14 jailbreak, and the iOS 14.8.1 update’s performance.
iPhone SE iOS 14.8.1 Review
We’ve been using iOS 14.8.1 on the iPhone SE for several days and the software is running well.
iOS 14.8.1 feels as fast as iOS 14.8 did. While it’s snappy most of the time, there have been times when the operating system feels a bit clunky.
We’ve noticed occasional lag when using the keyboard. That being said, we haven’t seen any lag when using Control Center or Notification Center, both of which have given us problems in the past. Apps, both first and third-party, open up quickly.
Battery life is stable right now. We haven’t encountered any abnormal battery drain. We haven’t run into problems with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or GPS either.
As for our core apps, which include Slack, Asana, Spotify, Chrome, and Gmail, they’re all working fine. If you’re running into issues with one or more of your applications, you’ll want to download the latest version. Developers are still rolling out support updates and they should help.
Besides the occasional lag, we haven’t run into any game-breaking issues. And given what’s on board, we recommend iOS 14.8.1 to most iPhone SE users.
If you’re feeling leery about the move to iOS 14.8.1, have a look at our reasons to, and not to, install the software right now.
You Should Prepare for iOS 14.8.1
If you’re gearing up to install iOS 14.8.1 on your device, make sure you prepare yourself, and your phone, for the move. This will help you avoid serious issues.
If you don’t know how to properly prepare for iOS updates, or you just need a refresher course, we’ve released a pre-installation guide that will take you step-by-step through the process we use before we install new iOS software.
If you don’t have a time of time to devote to the pre-installation process, be sure to backup all of the data you store on your iPhone.
Data issues are fairly rare, but it’s better to be safe than sorry, especially when moving from one operating system to another.
iPhone SE iOS 14.8.1 Problems & Fixes
We’ve heard about a variety of iOS 14-related problems including abnormal battery drain, Touch ID problems, issues with first and third-party apps, touchscreen problems, Exchange issues, and more.
We expect the list to grow as more iPhone SE users around the world decide to transition from their current version of iOS to iOS 14.8.1.
If you’re nervous about potentially wrecking your iPhone SE’s performance, you might want to hang back and wait for Apple’s next batch of bug fixes.
If you happen to run into an issue while running iOS 14.8.1, you might be able to fix the problem(s) on your own. If you don’t know where to start, our list of fixes for the most common iOS 14 problems is a good place to do so.
If your iPhone SE’s battery is draining faster than normal, we’ve got a list of tips that should help you improve the device’s battery life going forward.
If you’re dealing with bad performance (lag, slow download speeds, etc), take a look at our guide to fixing bad iOS 14 performance.
iOS 14.8 Downgrade Closed
If you run into frustrating problems on iOS 14.8.1, note that you can’t downgrade your iPhone SE’s software to the previous version of iOS 14.
Apple has stopped signing on iOS 14.8 which means you can’t drop your phone’s software back in an attempt to improve its performance.
You can’t downgrade back to iOS 14.7.1, iOS 14.7, iOS 14.6, iOS 14.5.1, iOS 14.5, iOS 14.4.2, iOS 14.4.1, iOS 14.4, iOS 14.3, iOS 14.2, iOS 14.1, iOS 14.0.1, iOS 14.0 or iOS 13 either.
So if you’re having a good experience on iOS 14.8 or below, you should approach iOS 14.8.1 with caution. Once you make the jump up, there’s no going back.
If you’re unfamiliar with the downgrade process, take a look at our guide.
iPhone SE iOS 14.8.1 Update: What’s New
The iOS 14.8.1 update brings 12 security patches to the iPhone SE. It doesn’t have any known bug fixes or features on board. If you want to learn more about these patches, head on over to Apple’s security site.
If you skipped the iOS 14.8 update, you’ll get its security patches with your upgrade. You can learn more about them over on Apple’s website.
If you missed iOS 14.7.1, you’ll get its changes with iOS 14.8.1. iOS 14.7.1 brought a fix for an issue where iPhone models with Touch ID couldn’t unlock a paired Apple Watch using the Unlock with iPhone feature. It also delivered a new security patch and you can read all about it over on Apple’s security site.
If you skipped Apple’s iOS 14.7 update, iOS 14.8.1 brings its new features, bug fixes, and patches to the iPhone SE.
Highlights from iOS 14.7 included upgrades to the Weather app, Apple Card experience, and the Podcasts app. If you want to learn more about these changes, head on over to our walkthrough.
If you skipped iOS 14.6, you’ll get its changes with your upgrade. iOS 14.6 had new features on board including support for Apple Card Family, upgrades to the Podcasts app, and enhancements for AirTag users.
iOS 14.6 also included bug fixes and 30+ security patches to help protect your iPhone SE from harm. If you’re interested in the details, check out our guide.
If you skipped iOS 14.5.1, you get its changes with iOS 14.8.1. iOS 14.5.1 had a bug fix for an issue with App Tracking Transparency where some users who previously disabled Allow Apps to Request to Track in Settings may not receive prompts from apps after re-enabling it.
It also delivered two important security patches for WebKit issues. You can read more about those over on Apple’s security site if you’re interested.
If you skipped iOS 14.5, you get its changes with your iOS 14.8.1 update. iOS 14.5 was a huge upgrade and it brought a long list of changes to the iPhone SE. If you’re interested in all of the particulars, have a look at our list of the best iOS 14.5 features.
If you skipped iOS 14.4.2, you also get its security patch with your upgrade. If you’re curious, you can read more about the change right here.
If your iPhone SE is currently running iOS 14.4, you’ll also get iOS 14.4.1’s security patch with your upgrade. You can read about that patch right here.
If you skipped iOS 14.8, iOS 14.7.1, iOS 14.7, iOS 14.6, iOS 14.5.1, iOS 14.5, iOS 14.4.2, iOS 14.4.1 and iOS 14.4, you’ll get iOS 14.4’s features and fixes with your upgrade. You can read about all of those changes in our walkthrough.
If you skipped iOS 14.8, iOS 14.7.1, iOS 14.7, iOS 14.6, iOS 14.5.1, iOS 14.5, iOS 14.4.2, iOS 14.4.1, iOS 14.4 and iOS 14.3, you’ll get iOS 14.3’s changes with iOS 14.8.1. iOS 14.3 also had a mix of new features and enhancements. Learn more in our guide to the software.
If you skipped iOS 14.8, iOS 14.7.1, iOS 14.7, iOS 14.6, iOS 14.5.1, iOS 14.5, iOS 14.4.2, iOS 14.4.1, iOS 14.4, iOS 14.3, and iOS 14.2, you’ll get iOS 14.2’s features and fixes with your upgrade. For more on iOS 14.2, see our guide.
If you skipped iOS 14.8, iOS 14.7.1, iOS 14.7, iOS 14.6, iOS 14.5.1, iOS 14.5, iOS 14.4.2, iOS 14.4.1, iOS 14.4, iOS 14.3, iOS 14.2, and iOS 14.1, you get iOS 14.1’s bug fixes with your upgrade. If you’re interested in those, you can read more them in our roundup.
If you for some reason you’re moving up from the first version of iOS 14 (iOS 14.0), you get iOS 14.0.1’s fixes with your upgrade. Here’s what iOS 14.0.1 fixed:
- Fixes an issue that could cause default browser and mail settings to reset after restarting your iPhone
- Fixes an issue that could prevent your iPhone from connecting to Wi-Fi networks
- Resolves an issue that could prevent sending email with some mail providers
- Addresses an issue that could prevent images from appearing in the News widget
If you’re moving up from iOS 13, you get iOS 14.0’s features when you download iOS 14.8.1.
Highlights from iOS 14 include the new Translate app, improvements to Siri, upgrades to Messages, Widgets on the home screen, and a number of changes to the Maps app.
We’ve put together a guide that will take you through some of iOS 14’s best features and it’s worth a look if you haven’t spent time digging into the new software.
If you’re moving your device up from an older version of iOS 13 you’ll get the features and fixes from the updates you skipped. We also have a guide that goes over the latest iOS 13 features and you should check it out if your device is on older software.
Next iOS 14 Update for iPhone SE
Apple’s pushed iOS 15 to the iPhone SE which means you can move your phone to the new operating system right now.
That said, if you want to stay on iOS 14, you can. Apple will continue to push new iOS 14 updates though they most likely will be focused on security.
In other words, if you don’t upgrade to iOS 15, you’ll miss out on new iOS features. For more on the benefits of iOS 15, check out our guide.
As of right now we don’t know when the next version of iOS 14 will roll out, but we most likely will see a new version arrive alongside a new version of iOS 15. Keep an eye out as we push through the month.
iPhone SE iOS 14.8.1 Jailbreak
You’ll want to avoid iOS 14.8.1 if you’re jailbroken or want to jailbreak your iPhone SE.
The developers behind the Checkra1n and unC0ver jailbreaking tools have released versions that are compatible with newer versions of iOS 14. They don’t appear to work with iOS 14.8.1. At least not yet.
We’ll let you know when we learn more.
Install iOS 14.8.1 for Better Security
If security is important to you, think about installing iOS 14.8.1 right away.
The iOS 14.8.1 update brings 12 new security patches to the iPhone. You can read about all of them over on Apple's site.
If you want to better protect your iPhone and its data, you'll want to install the iOS 14.8.1 update in the near future.
If you missed iOS 14.8, you'll get its security patches with your upgrade. You can learn more about them right here.
If you missed iOS 14.7.1, you'll get its patch with your upgrade. If you want to learn more about iOS 14.7.1's security update, check out its support page.
If you missed iOS 14.7, you'll get its 31 security patches with your upgrade. You can learn more about those on Apple's website.
If you skipped iOS 14.6, you'll get the update's 38 security patches with your iOS 14.8.1 update. If you're curious about the particulars, you can read about them right here.
If you skipped iOS 14.5.1, you get the update's two security patches on board. You can read about them over on Apple's website. Both are related to WebKit.
If you missed iOS 14.5 you'll get its patches with your upgrade. You can read more about those changes over on Apple's website.
iOS 14.5 also brought Apple's new App Tracking Transparency which lets you control which apps are allowed to track your activity across other companies' apps and websites for ads or sharing with data brokers.
If you skipped iOS 14.4.2, you get its security patch with iOS 14.8.1. You can learn more about that patch over on Apple's website as well.
If you missed iOS 14.4.1, you get its patch with your upgrade to iOS 14.8.1. You can read about that patch right here.
If you skipped iOS 14.4, you get the update's patches with your upgrade. You can learn more about iOS 14.4's security patches right here.
If you skipped iOS 14.3 you'll get its nine security updates with your upgrade. You can read more about them on its security site.
iOS 14.3 also included a new privacy information section on App Store pages that includes a developer-reported summary of the app’s privacy practices.
If you skipped iOS 14.2, your iOS 14.8.1 update includes 24 additional security patches. You can learn more about the patches on Apple's security website.
If you're still running iOS 13, iOS 14.8.1 includes iOS 14.0's security updates.
iOS 14.0 brought 11 new security patches to the iPhone. If you're interested in the exact nature of these improvements, you can read about them over on Apple's website.
In addition to those patches, iOS 14 comes with some security and privacy upgrades including improvements to Home/HomeKit and Safari.
For instance in Safari, you can now tap the Privacy Report button to better understand how websites handle your privacy.
With iOS 14 on board you can now get information on the App Store that will help you understand the privacy practices of apps before you download them.
There is also a new recording indicator that will appear at the top of your screen whenever an app is using your microphone or camera. You can see if an app has used them recently in Control Center.
Researchers also discovered that Apple brought a new "BlastDoor" sandbox security system to iOS 14. The system is meant to prevent attacks from occurring via the Messages app.
You can read more about "BlastDoor" right here.