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iOS 8.1.3 on iPad Air: Impressions & Performance



Apple’s new iOS 8.1.3 update for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch finally arrived today to replace the iOS 8.1.2 update it pushed out at the end of last year. With that in mind, we want to take a first look at how the iOS 8.1.3 update is performing on iPad Air, the first-generation of Apple’s slim full-sized tablet. This is our early iPad Air iOS 8.1.3 review.

Several weeks ago, an iOS 8.1.3 update rumor emerged. In the weeks since that rumor, we saw iOS 8.1.3 activity pick up in our backend, a sign that the iOS 8.1.3 update was more than just a rumored update. In true Apple fashion, the company kept its customers in the dark while it tested the update. That is, until today when it finally delivered the update many iPhone and iPad users have been waiting for.


Ahead of the iOS 8.2 release, Apple’s pushed out a brand new iOS update dubbed iOS 8.1.3. iOS 8.1.3 is a fairly large iOS 8 update, much larger than iOS 8.1.2, and it delivers a number of bug fixes including a fix for iPad multitasking gestures. It’s a sizable update and one that many iPhone and iPad users are excited about.

The update is available to all iPhone and iPad users capable of running Apple’s iOS 8 operating system. It’s a free update and it’s one that many iPhone and iPad users are considering.

After some quick preparation, I installed Apple’s brand new iOS 8.1.3 update in an effort to provide iPhone and iPad users with some initial impressions of Apple’s new software. These impressions don’t serve as a final review but they will help those of you who are straddling the fence about whether to install the company’s latest iOS 8 upgrade.

Here are my early impressions of the iOS 8.1.3 update for the first-generation iPad Air.

iOS 8.1.3 Installation

The iOS 8.1.3 update for the iPad Air first-gen is a big update and checks in at over 200MB in size. It’s the biggest iOS 8 update since iOS 8.1. This is quite large for an incremental update and you’re going to want to set aside some time to download and install it on the iPad Air.

My installation process took around 20 minutes or so on a high-speed connection. Granted, I was trying to download the software in the moments after it went live, so there’s a good chance that your installation process will finish up much faster. My download time went all the way up to two hours before it settled down and finished in a reasonable amount of time.

I didn’t encounter any issues with the installation process and the update installed beautifully on the 9.7-inch slate. That said, put aside some time to ensure a smooth delivery. Just because everything went well for me doesn’t mean that everything is going to go well for you. You’ll want to be in the right frame of mind if you do stumble upon an issue or two.

iOS 8.1.3 on iPad Air Performance

Today, I’ve spent a ton of time with iOS 8.1.3 on iPad Air. Before getting into the early review and my impressions, I should note that mileage is going to vary from device to device, person to person. That is to say, I probably don’t have the same apps installed and there’s a chance that I use Google Chrome, Bluetooth, or my home screen more than you do. So, consider this a general guide as you try to decide whether iOS 8.1.3 is worth installing on your first-gen iPad Air.


My app experience on the iPad Air has been extremely stable with iOS 8 on board. I’ve seen an occasional crash or hiccup here or there, primarily with Netflix and Google Chrome, but nothing substantial.

iOS 8.1.3 keeps the ball rolling, at least thus far. In the past few hours, I’ve been using a ton of applications and all of them check out. Slack, Asana, Instagram, Twitter, Dark Sky, Google Chrome, Google Hangouts, Netflix, YouTube, and Spotify are all doing fine. Facebook, another app that I’ve had trouble with in the past, is also behaving after the move to iOS 8.1.3.

iPad Air Review -  2


App developers have done an outstanding job with iOS 8 and its bug fix updates and I expect this kind of performance to last at least up until the iOS 8.2 update and the Apple Watch arrive.

If you’re having trouble with apps on iOS 8.1.3 or iOS 8.1.2 and below, install the latest bug fix updates. These tend to help rather than hurt app performance. If the bug fixes don’t help, do yourself a favor reach out to your developer so that they know what to fix. You’d be surprised how receptive some are to this kind of feedback.

iOS 8.1.3 Battery Life

Battery life on the iPad Air has remained unchanged throughout iOS 8’s lifetime and that now applies to iOS 8.1.3. After spending several hours using the iOS 8.1.3 update on the iPad Air, I have yet to notice any significant battery drain. The device is still holding a very solid charge and I’m confident that it will continue to hold a solid charge as the days go on. There’s a ton of precedent, after all.

iOS updates like iOS 8.1.3 aren’t supposed to bring battery life problems to device’s like iPad Air. Typically, bad battery life is caused by third-party apps or by users themselves. I’ve outlined a number of strategies to get better battery life inside iOS 8.1.2 and the same advice applies to Apple’s latest iOS 8.1.3 update. Have a look at those if you install iOS 8.1.3 and you start noticing issues with your iPad Air’s battery life.

Wi-Fi & Bluetooth

I don’t own an LTE version of the iPad Air so I can’t speak to cellular data. What I can speak to though are Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, both of which are performing quite well after the jump to iOS 8.1.3.

I’ve tested several routers and the device hasn’t faltered. I’ve also connected the iPad Air to several Bluetooth devices including an assortment of Bluetooth speakers. It’s working fine.


If you’re having issues with these connections after getting the iOS 8.1.3 update on the first-gen iPad Air, my advice is to take a look at these potential fixes. iOS fixes aren’t guaranteed to work for everyone so while they might work for a friend or family member, they may not solve your problems. They’re still worth a shot though.

Bugs & Issues

I haven’t noticed any massive, game-changing bugs in the hours after the iOS 8.1.3 release though it’s impossible to rule them out right now. I simply haven’t spent enough time with the software. What I can say though is that major, hero level issues typically jump right off the page after an update’s release. I’m not out of the woods yet so we’ll see where it stands a few days from now.

Smaller bugs are a lot harder to spot and so far, I haven’t stumbled into any. I’ve been looking all over for potential issues and haven’t found a single one. My luck could certainly change down the road though iOS 8’s performance has been excellent since September and I’m hopeful that iOS 8.1.3 will be as stable as iOS 8.1.2 was.

If you’re struggling on iOS 8.1.2 or below, and you’re not sure about installing iOS 8.1.3 right now, have a look at our fixes for common iPad Air problems. They’ll probably help.


Speed has never been a problem on my iPad Air. Not with iOS 8.1 on board, not with iOs 8.1.2 on board and not with iOS 8.1.3 on board. Everything remains extremely fluid and the software continues to zip thanks to the hardware that Apple tucked away inside the iPad Air’s slim frame.

Should You Install iOS 8.1.3 Today?

Here’s my advice. If you’re not having any problems with iOS 8.1.3 or below, go ahead and wait a day or two for the smoke to settle. Gather as much feedback as you possibly can and then come to a decision. iOS 8.1.3 is doing fine on my iPad Air but you’ll want to check in with some other sources before making your final move.


If you’re having issues on any other version of iOS 8, iOS 8.1.3 is probably worth a shot. It comes with bug fixes and as I’ve pointed out, it seems to boast solid performance.

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