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iOS 8.1 Review: iPad mini 2



Last week, Apple released its first big update to iOS 8.0 in the form of iOS 8.1. iOS 8.1 represents the third update to iOS 8 since its arrival back in September and it’s an update that delivered new features in addition to bug fixes. After spending a week with Apple’s new software on the iPad mini 2, we deliver a full iOS 8.1 review and help you decide if an upgrade is worth it.

In September, just a few weeks after iOS 8.0 came out of the beta program, Apple released the first iOS 8.1 beta. Apple did not attach a public iOS 8.1 release date to the beta leaving consumers wondering about a release date. iPhone and iPad users put great importance on the iOS 8.1 release due to a number of iOS 8.0 issues and iOS 8.0.2 issues on board Apple’s iOS 8 update.

Earlier this month, Apple announced a public iOS 8.1 release date with a release set for October 20th. As promised, Apple released the iOS 8.1 update for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. The iOS 8.1 update is a sizable upgrade that comes packed with new features and fixes for those touting iOS 8 powered devices. It also appears to have some bugs of its own on board.


Over the past week, we’ve been poking and prodding Apple’s new update in an effort to bring iPhone and iPad users feedback in the aftermath of its release. After spending a ton of time with Apple’s iOS 8.1 update on the iPad mini 2, we want to share our feedback in an effort to help those of you that might still be straddling the fence between iOS 8.1 and something else. iOS 8 represents the first major update for the iPad mini 2, Apple’s 7.9-inch iPad that arrived at the tail end of 2013.

This iOS 8.1 review on iPad mini 2 will go over iOS 8 problems, fixes, and most important, overall performance. Our goal is to help you decide one way or the other. Remember, Apple never forces you to install its software updates so there’s no need to feel any pressure.

iOS 8.1 Review on iPad mini 2

Over the past week, I’ve spent a ton of time with iOS 8.1 on iPad mini 2. Before getting into this review, 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, games, or my home screen more than you do.

So consider this iOS 8.1 review a general guide as you try to decide whether iOS 8.1 is worth installing on your iPad mini 2.

iOS 8.1 Performance

When it comes to the performance of iOS updates, I like to focus on five different elements. They include performance of applications, battery life, connectivity including Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, assorted bugs and issues, and overall speed of the software. These are all important for all iPad users, not just users of the second-gen iPad mini.

iOS 8.1 Apps

App performance in iOS 8.1 on iPad mini 2 has been very solid, just as it was in iOS 8.0.2, iOS 8.0, and iOS 7. Apps that have given me trouble in the past, apps like Netflix and Facebook, have all be performing well over the last week. I haven’t encountered a single freeze or lockup inside any of the apps that I currently have on the iPad mini 2.


Keep in mind, I’ve kept my applications updated in the days after the release of iOS 8 and iOS 8.1 and there’s a good chance that updating your applications will solve of them issues you’re experiencing on the iPad mini 2. App developers have done a great job updating their apps with iOS 8 support and bug fixes for problems. If a bug fix isn’t already out, there’s a good chance that one is coming soon.

Note. If you don’t have automatic app updates turned on, you might want to think about doing that right now. I keep it turned on because I used to forget to install updates on a frequent basis. With it turned on, I no longer have to worry about keeping them updated. The operating system does it for me. I’ve never looked back.

iOS 8.1 Battery Life

iPad mini 2 battery life has remained consistent during my first year of ownership. Battery life in iOS 7 was consistently good and iOS 8 hasn’t been any different. Battery life is stable in iOS 8.1 and I’m still able to get a full day of use, or more, out of the iPad mini 2 when out and about. LTE drains the battery but I typically use a combination of Wi-Fi and cellular data.

I have yet to experience any abnormal battery drain and standby battery appears to be holding up after a week of use. I don’t anticipate any changes here but if something does happen, I’m prepared.

As I’ve noted many times before, iOS updates are not supposed to bring battery life problems to iPhones or iPads. Typically, bad battery life is caused by third-party apps or users themselves. We’ve outlined a number of strategies to get better battery life inside iOS 8 and the same advice applies to Apple’s latest iOS 8.1 update. Try some of these fixes out before performing a factory reset or taking it down to the local Apple Store.

iOS 8.1 Connectivity

While I’ve been dealing with some Wi-Fi issues on the iPhone 6, I haven’t noticed them on the iPhone 5, iPad Air or iPad mini 2. AT&T LTE data is still holding up fine after installing iOS 8.1, Wi-Fi is still fast and stable and Bluetooth is still very strong. I’ve been able to connect the iPad mini 2 to an assortment of Bluetooth speakers and Bluetooth in the car (Prius).


I’ve heard from some iPad users who’ve run into some serious troubles inside iOS 8.1. If you are dealing with connectivity issues inside iOS 8.1 or in any other iOS update, you’d be wise to check out our iOS 8.1 tips and fixes. They will provide some potential fixes for you to follow and they could help fix things ahead of Apple’s next iOS 8 upgrade.

iOS 8.1 Bugs & Issues

My iOS 8.1 experience on the iPad mini 2 is similar to the experience on the iPad Air. That is to say that I haven’t run into any serious issues with the software after a week of use. I haven’t seen any oddities and bugs, if they’re there, have yet to jump out at me. My experience here with iOS 8.1 hasn’t been surprising given that iOS has been most stable on the iPad.

As I’ve pointed out many times, a bug-free week with an iOS update doesn’t mean that I’m in the clear. There’s a good chance that bugs are still lurking inside the software and that I just haven’t seen them. So far though, things are about as stable as they were inside iOS 8.0.2, inside OS 8.0, and inside Apple’s aging iOS 7.1.2 update.


If you upgrade to iOS 8.1 and you do encounter issues, have a look at our bug fixes.

iOS 8.1 Speed

iOS 8.1 is fast on the iPad mini 2. Moving between folders and home screens is very fluid and smooth and I haven’t noticed any abnormal slow down in my week with the software. Again, my experience on the iPad mini 2 has been solid over the last year and I have yet to run into any speed issues. My hope is that iOS 8.1 holds up in the weeks ahead and at this point, given the experience I’ve had, I think that it will.

iOS 8.1 on iPad mini 2: Is It Worth It?

After a week with the iOS 8.1 update for iPad mini, it’s a piece of software that I can recommend to iPad mini 2 users. It doesn’t appear to have any major bugs, battery life is still very solid and the lifeblood of the iPad, its applications, are still working fine.

The only people that might want to wait are those that are still on iOS 7.1.2 experiencing zero issues. If you haven’t looked into the benefits of iOS 8 yet, hold off until you do. Everyone else should be good to go, provided you’ve prepared for the upgrade.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Louis Otto (@louisotto)

    10/30/2014 at 4:34 am

    Great review thanks!

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