Apple’s pushed its iOS 14.4 update to the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus and the milestone upgrade could have a big impact on your their performance.
The company’s decision to push iOS 14 to the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus came as a bit of a surprise given their age. The two phones were released all the way back in 2015.
Apple’s decision means iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus users have another full year of software support to look forward to and that might convince some owners to skip the iPhone 12 series, or an upgrade to another iPhone model, and hold onto their aging phone for another year or more.
The iPhone 6s’ iOS 14 update is a big one. The new operating system comes with a long list of changes including new features, under-the-hood improvements, and security patches.
Many users have already made the jump to iOS 14 which means we’re getting a lot of feedback about the software’s performance. So far, a lot of it is good, but we’ve also heard about various bugs and performance issues.
Apple’s addressed a lot of these issues with iOS 14 software updates and the latest, iOS 14.4, brings new features and important bug fixes to the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus.
If you decide to install iOS 14.4 on your iPhone, note that it requires a pretty large download if your device is currently running iOS 14.3.
If you’re running an older version of iOS on your iPhone 6s or iPhone 6s Plus, your iOS 14.4 upgrade could be even larger because the features and fixes from iOS updates you skipped are baked in.
With that in mind, we want to take you through the most important things to know, right now, about the iPhone 6s’ iOS 14.4 update.
- iPhone 6s iOS 14.4 Review
- You Should Prepare for iOS 14.4
- iPhone 6s iOS 14.4 Problems
- How to Fix iPhone 6s iOS 14.4 Problems
- How to Downgrade iPhone 6s Software
- iPhone 6s iOS 14.4 Changes
- Next Software Update for iPhone 6s
- iPhone 6s iOS 14.4 Jailbreak
Our walkthrough will take you through the software’s initial problems, the downgrade status, the iOS 14 jailbreak, and the iPhone 6 iOS 14.4 update’s performance.
We’ll start with the software’s performance. We’ve been testing iOS 14.4 on the iPhone 6s update for several days and here’s what we’ve learned thus far.
iPhone 6s iOS 14.4 Impressions & Performance
iOS 14.4 is currently running well. Animations and transitions are snappy and apps open up quickly. While the user interface would often lag on iOS 13, that hasn’t been the case on iOS 14.
We haven’t noticed any lag in problem areas like Control Center or Notification Center. That said, we have seen the occasional hangup when using the keyboard in Messages.
Battery life is currently stable. We haven’t seen any abnormal battery drain and that’s a really good sign as we push further away from the release.
Our core applications, which include Slack, Asana, Spotify, Chrome, and Gmail, are all stable. Developers are still rolling out iOS 14 support updates so if you’re having issues with one of your apps, make sure you’re running the latest version.
As of right now, iOS 14.4 is running pretty smoothly on our device. We haven’t run into any game-changing performance issues and we’ll let you know if that changes in the days ahead.
Right now we’re recommending iOS 14.4 to most iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus users. The security patches alone make the upgrade worth it.
If you’re feeling leery, have a look at our reasons to, and not to, install iOS 14.4 right now.
You Should Prepare for iOS 14.4
If you plan to install iOS 14.4 in the near future, make sure you prepare yourself, and the device, for the move.
While some of you might see a performance boost after moving up from your current version of iOS, others will run into trouble. This is why it’s important to prepare.
If you don’t know where to start, we’ve released a pre-installation guide that will take you step-by-step through the process we typically use before we install new iOS software on our iPhones. If you’re new to the iPhone and iOS, or you just want to play it safe, it could help.
At the very least you’ll want to make sure all of your data is backed up before installing new firmware on your phone.
iPhone 6s iOS 14.4 Problems
We haven’t run into any major issues during our time on iOS 14.4, but some iPhone 6s users have.
The current list of iOS 14 problems includes abnormal battery drain, UI lag, issues with first and third-party apps, Touch ID issues, touchscreen problems, Exchange issues, Wi-Fi issues, Bluetooth problems, and more.
If you’re nervous about the current state of iOS 14 problems, you might want to hang back and wait for Apple’s next batch of bug fixes.
How to Fix iPhone 6s iOS 14.4 Problems
If you run into an issue on your current version of iOS 14, be it iOS 14.4 or an older version, you might be able to fix the problem(s) on your own.
If you don’t know where to look, our list of fixes for the most common iOS 14 problems is a great place to start.
If you start noticing horrendous battery life after the move to iOS 14, our tips should help you improve battery life going forward.
And if you’re experiencing bad performance (lag, slow download speeds, etc), take a look at our guide to fixing bad iOS 14 performance.
iOS 14.3 Downgrade Closed
If you move your iPhone 6s or iPhone 6s Plus to iOS 14.4, and you run into bugs or performance issues, you can no longer downgrade your phone’s software.
Apple has stopped signing on iOS 14.3 which means you can’t drop your iPhone 6s’ software back to the previous version of iOS 14 in an attempt to improve its performance.
You can’t drop back to iOS 14.2, iOS 14.1, iOS 14.0.1, iOS 14.0 or iOS 13 either. So once you move your iPhone to iOS 14.4, there’s no going back. Keep that in mind if you’re having a good experience on older iOS software.
If you’re unfamiliar with the downgrade process, take a look at our guide.
iPhone 6s iOS 14.4 Update: What’s New
iOS 14.4 is a milestone upgrade which means it has a mix of features, fixes, and patches on board. Here’s the full change log for the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus:
- Smaller QR codes can be recognized by Camera.
- Option to classify Bluetooth device type in Settings for correct identification of headphones for audio notifications.
- Fixes an issue where the Fitness widget may not display updated Activity data.
- Fixes an issue where typing may be delayed and word suggestions may not appear in the keyboard.
- Fixes an issue where the keyboard may not come up in the correct language in Messages.
- Fixes an issue where Audio stories from the News app in CarPlay may not resume after being paused for spoken directions or Siri.
- Fixes an issue where enabling Switch Control in Accessibility may prevent phone calls from being answered from the Lock Screen.
iOS 14.4 also carries very important security updates and you can read about those right here.
If you skipped iOS 14.3, you’ll get its changes with iOS 14.4. iOS 14.3 also had a blend of new features and enhancements. Here’s Apple’s official change log:
- A new fitness experience powered by Apple Watch with studio-style workouts available on your iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV (Apple Watch Series 3 and later)
- New Fitness app on iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV to browse Fitness+ workouts, trainers, and personalized recommendations
- Video workouts added each week in ten popular workout types: High Intensity Interval Training, Indoor Cycling, Yoga, Core, Strength, Dance, Rowing, Treadmill Walking, Treadmill Running, and Mindful Cooldown
- Playlists curated by Fitness+ trainers to complement your workout
- Fitness+ subscription available in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, United Kingdom, and United States
- Support for AirPods Max, new over-ear headphones
- High fidelity audio for rich sound
- Adaptive EQ adapts sound in real time to the personal fit of ear cushions
- Active Noise Cancellation to block out environmental noise
- Transparency mode to hear the environment around you
- Spatial audio with dynamic head tracking for a theater-like listening experience
- Apple ProRAW photos can be edited in the Photos app
- Option to record video at 25 fps
- Mirror the front facing camera for still photos on iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone SE, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X
- New privacy information section on App Store pages that includes a developer-reported summary of the app’s privacy practices
- An all-new Apple TV+ tab makes it easy to discover and watch Apple Original shows and movies
- Enhanced search so you can browse by category such as genre, and see recent searches and suggestions as you type
- Top search results shown with the most relevant matches across movies, TV shows, cast, channels, and sports
- Support for launching App Clips by scanning Apple-designed App Clip Codes via Camera or from Control Center
- Ability to indicate pregnancy, lactation, or contraceptive use in Cycle Tracking in the Health app in order to better manage period and fertile window predictions
- Air quality data is now available in Weather, Maps, and Siri for locations in China mainland
- Air quality health recommendations are provided in Weather and Siri for the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, India, and Mexico at certain air quality levels
- Air quality data in Weather, Maps, and Siri reflects updated national scales for Germany and Mexico
- Ecosia search engine option in Safari
- Addresses an issue where some MMS messages may not be received
- Addresses an issue where Contact groups failed to display members when composing a message
- Addresses an issue where some videos would not appear correctly when shared from the Photos app
- Addresses an issue where app folders may fail to open
- Addresses an issue where Spotlight search results, and opening apps from Spotlight may not work
- Addresses an issue where Bluetooth could be unavailable in Settings
- Addresses an issue where MagSafe Duo Charger could wirelessly charge your iPhone at less than the maximum power
- Addresses an issue where wireless accessories and peripherals using the WAC protocol could fail to complete setup
- Addresses an issue where the keyboard would dismiss when adding a list in Reminders while using VoiceOver
iOS 14.3 also included security updates and you can read about those on Apple’s security page.
If you skipped iOS 14.2, you’ll get its features and fixes with your upgrade to iOS 14.4. Here’s what iOS 14.2 brought to the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus:
- Over 100 new emoji, including animals, food, faces, household objects, musical instruments, gender-inclusive emoji, and more.
- Eight new wallpapers in both light and dark mode versions.
- Optimized battery charging for AirPods to slow the rate of battery aging by reducing the time your AirPods spends fully charged.
- Headphone audio level notifications to alert you when audio level could impact your hearing.
- New AirPlay controls to stream entertainment throughout your home.
- Intercom support with HomePod and HomePod mini using iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, AirPods, and CarPlay.
- Ability to connect HomePod to Apple TV 4K for stereo, surround sound, and Dolby Atmos audio.
- Option to provide statistics about Exposure Notifications, without identifying you, to participating Public Health Authorities.
- Addressed an issue where apps could be out of order on the Home Screen dock.
- Addressed an issue where the Camera viewfinder may appear black when launched.
- Addressed an issues where the keyboard on the Lock Screen could miss touches when trying to enter the passcode.
- Addressed an issue where Reminders could default to times in the past.
- Addressed an issue where the Photos widget may not display content.
- Addressed an issues where the Weather widget could display the high temperature in Celsius when set to Fahrenheit.
- Addressed an issue where the next-hour precipitation chart description in Weather could incorrectly indicate when precipitation stops.
- Addressed an issue where Voice Memos recordings are interrupted by incoming calls.
- Addressed an issue where the screen could be black during Netflix video playback.
- Addressed an issue where Apple Cash could fail to send or receive money when asked via Siri.
- Addressed an issue where the Apple Watch app may unexpectedly close when opened.
- Addressed an issue where workout GPS routes or Health data are prevented from syncing between Apple Watch and iPhone for some users.
- Addressed an issue where audio is incorrectly labeled as “Not Playing” in the CarPlay Dashboard.
- Addressed an issue where devices could be prevented from charging wirelessly.
- Addressed an issue where Exposure Notifications is disabled when restoring iPhone from iCloud Backup or transferring data to a new iPhone using iPhone Migration.
iOS 14.2 also included 24 security updates and you can read more about those on Apple’s security page.
If you skipped iOS 14.1, you get its bug fixes with your upgrade. If you’re interested, you can read more them in our roundup.
If you’re moving up from iOS 14.0 you’ll get iOS 14.0.1’s bug fixes with your upgrade. Here’s what iOS 14.0.1 fixed:
- Fixed an issue that could cause default browser and mail settings to reset after restarting your iPhone
- Fixed an issue that could prevent your iPhone from connecting to Wi-Fi networks
- Resolved an issue that could prevent sending email with some mail providers
- Addressed an issue that could prevent images from appearing in the News widget
As for the operating system itself, the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus get a pretty stacked version of iOS 14. While the devices do miss out on a few features, the key features are all there.
Some of the highlights include Widgets on the home screen, improvements to Messages and Maps, the new Translate app, and a laundry list of changes to Siri.
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 dug into the new operating system yet.
If you’re moving up from an older version of iOS 13 you’ll, again, 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 you’re running old software.
Next iOS 14 Update for iPhone 6s & iPhone 6s Plus
Apple’s got a new version of iOS 14 update in the works.
The company’s confirmed iOS 14.5, a milestone upgrade, and the software is currently in beta testing ahead of a public release later this year. The iOS 14.5 release date will land sometime in early spring.
iOS 14.5 will carry new features, bug fixes, and other enhancements. Unless Apple makes sweeping changes during testing, it looks like it will be a substantial upgrade for the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus.
For more on iOS 14.5 and the beta, please check out our guide.
As for the distant future, there’s a very good chance iOS 14 is the last major upgrade for the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus.
According to The Verifier, a site with a mixed track record, Apple will drop support for the two aging models when it releases iOS 15 later this year.
A second report, from French site iPhoneSoft, suggests the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus will both miss iOS 15. The iPhone SE from 2016 is also expected to stay put on iOS 14.
Nothing is confirmed, and won’t be until Apple hosts WWDC 2021 this summer, but it’s something to keep an eye on as we push into 2021.
iPhone 6s iOS 14 Jailbreak
You’ll want tot avoid iOS 14.4 if you’re jailbroken or want to jailbreak your iPhone 6s or iPhone 6s Plus.
Apple plugged up the exploits used by these jailbreaks so there’s no telling how long it will be until we see tools for iOS 14.4 and future versions of iOS 14.
Install iOS 14.4 for Better Security
If security is important to you, think about installing iOS 14.4 right now.
iOS 14.4 has important security patches on board and you can read about them right here. These patches will help protect your iPhone from harm.
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 14.4 update includes iOS 14.2's 24 security patches. You can learn more about the patches on Apple's security website.
If you're still running iOS 13, iOS 14.4 include 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.
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