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.
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.
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.
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.