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iOS 8.1 on iPad 3: Impressions & Performance



The iOS 8.1 update delivers bug fixes for many iOS 8 problems and a much-needed performance boost to the iPad 3. It’s still early, but after using the iPad 3 for a few hours it feels snappier and delivers faster switching between apps and the home screen even with iPad performance enhancements turned off.

The iOS 8.1 release is smaller and more focused than the iOS 8 update that arrived last month. After using the iPad 3 on iOS 8.1 it finally feels like Apple delivered the update that the company should have simply waited for.

This is our early iOS 8.1 on iPad 3 review, which will help you decide if it is worth installing on the older iPad.

Apple delivers the iOS 8.1 update a month after the iOS 8 release to fix many common iOS 8 problems. There is nothing in the release notes specifically mentioning performance on the iPad 3 or the older iPad 2, but so far it definitely feels like Apple tightened things up.

Here is our early iOS 8.1 on iPad 3 review.

Here is our early iOS 8.1 on iPad 3 review.

iOS 8.1 Installation

The iOS 8.1 installation on the iPad 3 went smoothly, although some users ran into iOS 8.1 install problems including taking a long time to verify the update and forcing some users to plug-in to iTunes to restore.

After the iOS 8.1 update completed, about 35 minutes after I started the iPad 3 rebooted, ready for use with all the apps ready to go.

iOS 8.1 on iPhone 6 Plus Performance

The best part about the iOS 8.1 iPad 3 update is that the older iPad runs better than it did on iOS 8. This is not my primary iPad, but I use it regularly to see how fast switching apps, launching apps and other common tasks take. The iOS 8 update slowed the performance of the iPad 3 a bit, and it seems that the iOS 8.1 release brings it back up to speed.

iOS 8.1 Apps

Apps run just fine on the iPad 3, including Pinterest, Facebook, Safari and other frequently used apps like Mail. Streaming apps like Spotify and Netflix also work just fine on the latest iPad software.

Apple fixes a common iOS 8 complaint with iOS 8.1.

Apple fixes a common iOS 8 complaint with iOS 8.1.

iOS 8.1 Battery Life

It is still very early to make a definitive judgement on the iOS 8.1 battery life for the iPad 3. The iPad already delivers close to 10 hours of battery life so one afternoon of use won’t go anywhere close to draining the battery. The good news is that the iPad 3 battery life did not drop drastically after installing iOS 8.1.

iOS 8.1 WiFi & Bluetooth

This is a WiFi only iPad 3 so I can not check the performance of cellular connectivity but WiFi and Bluetooth seem to work well. I can connect to Bluetooth headphones without any troubles, which is not a surprise. WiFi connects and keeps the connection on my home network and I can also connect to the personal hotspot on the iPhone 6 Plus.

iOS 8.1 Bugs & Issues

In a nice change of pace Apple delivers a number of iOS 8 bug fixes in iOS 8.1 and so far there are not any show-stopping iOS 8.1 bugs on the iPad 3. That’s not to say we won’t discover any as we use the iPad 3 more and as other users install the update, but so far things are running smooth.

iOS 8.1 Speed

So far iOS 8.1 on the iPad 3 feels faster. I disable the iPad 3 performance enhancements and even with animations the iPad 3 switches apps faster and switches to the home screen faster than it did just a day ago. This does not push performance up to iPad Air levels, but it is better than it was for the past month.

IOS 8.1 performance on the iPad 3 is better.

IOS 8.1 performance on the iPad 3 is better.

Should You Install iOS 8.1?

It’s still a good idea to wait a day or two to see if any iOS 8.1 bugs appear on the iPad 3, but so far it looks like this is a solid update for the iPad 3.

If you are experiencing any iOS 8 problems on the iPad 3 or you simply need better performance there are no major reasons to avoid installing iOS 8.1 on the iPad 3.

After spending more time with the iPad 3 on iOS 8.1 I’ll share more on these same topics to help anyone on the edge decide if it is OK to install iOS 8.1 on this older iPad.



  1. TheTechChat (@TheTechChat)

    10/21/2014 at 7:45 am

    Not my experience at all. My iPad 3 started getting terribly laggy on iOS 7, got worse on iOS 8, and hasn’t recovered on iOS 8.1. it’s gone from my smoothest device to one of my worst.

  2. Paul

    10/21/2014 at 9:03 am

    Have you noticed any Continuity features being available with 8.1 on the iPad 3? Specifically, I’m most interested in SMS. Thanks!

    • Dean

      10/23/2014 at 5:32 am

      I’ve got an iPad 3 running 8.1, and the Continuity SMS feature works on it too.

  3. richard esposito

    10/21/2014 at 12:22 pm

    Still plagued with “memory leaks”, though not quite as bad as 8.0.2 on my iPad 3 64k AT&T version

  4. Morgan Baker

    10/21/2014 at 8:56 pm

    So far 8.1 has been a terrific upgrade for my iPhone 4s and the Ipad 2. Upgrade 8.0.1 and. 8.0,2 were disasters for the Ipad 2 in terms of slowdowns , wifi connectivity etc and reduced the Mail app to a half-frozen crawl. I am SO relieved that 8.1 has fixed these problems. I am sure that some other issues will emerge but at least the machine is functional again. The upgrade is slow on the older devices but have patience and it is well worth the wait.

  5. Noor cade sharif

    10/23/2014 at 1:17 am


  6. Cristhian

    10/23/2014 at 1:27 am

    Sounds good enough to take the plunge. I will upgrade my third generation iPad and post my thoughts on it.

    • Turbotape

      12/02/2014 at 11:38 am

      No you won’t (report back). Commenters never do that.

  7. Marc Hallert

    10/23/2014 at 9:11 am

    I am experiencing slowdowns on my Ipad 3 ( I erroneously referred to it as am Ipad 2 in my previous email ). when I installed the latest IOS last night. I am also having problems with some Applications, particularly Next Issue. Hopefully the problems will ease with continued usage; however, I am now more tempted to upgrade to the Ipad Air 2.

  8. daisy

    10/23/2014 at 9:00 pm

    in my ipad 3 it a little laggy while we swiping faster to search application in the main menu

  9. noremacniai

    10/25/2014 at 8:09 am

    I can’t believe Josh has made no mention of how 8.x has made Safari cripplingly slow!? Along with partial page loads and links that play dead until you scroll the page! Just Google and you’ll see! if you’ve iOS 7.1.2 on your iPad then for heaven’s sake don’t touch 8.1!

  10. Philippe

    11/02/2014 at 11:14 am

    Hello, I’m an ipad3 usernand recently upgraded to 8.1
    What i notice is some strange beheavior when using the safari browser.
    Next to the wifi signal – the processing signal constantly rotates.

  11. Petra

    11/13/2014 at 2:25 pm

    Still trying to get through the upgrade for iPad 3. Been verifying update for over an hour. No update has ever taken this long. Feeling regretful that I even bothered.

  12. Gabriel Bustamante

    12/03/2014 at 6:43 am

    Guys, seriously, my iPad 3 is a lot worse after moving to iOS8, even after the 8.1 update. Facebook and Chrome now crash all the time. ALL THE TIME.

    Interface animations and switching between apps ran smoothly on iOS7. Scrolling down the Facebook timeline used to be a sweet experience. Now Facebook feels like an old man with a bad, dry cough. Chrome has a lot of trouble scrolling pages with interface layers (like side menus and roll over ads), will crash frequently.

    Do not insult our intelligence. These are not bugs. This is called PLANNED OBSOLESCENCE.


  13. pokee

    05/16/2015 at 5:01 pm

    i dont understand u people why to update ur devices
    stay on 7.1.2 or 7.1.1……tilll these version are completely useless….
    in case ur in trouble or loop…or anything let ur device stuck ….u can use SemiRestore7 to return it freeesh…again

  14. narendra modi

    11/03/2015 at 1:53 am

    i have been using version 5.1.1 and didn’t upgrade my ipad 3 till now because of all the complaints about slow processing! Today i was about to upgrade, and reading this thread, i have decided not to once again. yeah! hail yo the fast scroll and battery life. mazel tov!

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