Apple recently released iOS 7.1.2. This update fixes defects and is stable, with one minor quirk. After testing this software update, I feel it is worth upgrading.
How Long Does it Take to Upgrade?
iOS 7.1.2 is a small patch. If you have been regularly updating your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch, the patch should be about 22 MB, depending on your device. The entire upgrade process took less than 10 minutes on my iPhone. For more information on best practices for upgrading your iOS device, please read “How to Upgrade iOS“.
iOS 7.1.2 Fixes Serious Security Issues
Prior to the iOS 7.1.2 upgrade, iPhone, iPad and iPod touch users faced serious security vulnerabilities. It was possible for a thief to disable Find My iPhone and Activation Lock. Fortunately, the media didn’t seem to notice this issue, which could have increased iPhone thefts. In fact, it seems that most articles about iOS 7.1.2 fail to mention that these issues even existed or were fixed. Disabling Find My iPhone and Activation Lock was not a simple task, even with the security flaws. Apple has not disclosed how these vulnerabilities can be exploited. The limited information provided seems to indicate that these security features could only be bypassed in a few edge cases.
Another minor vulnerability enabled access email attachments, but only with physical access to the device. This issue has been resolved, however, it was never a serious problem. iOS 7.1.2 fixes several other minor security issues, as well as providing new certificate policies. For more information, please read this knowledge base article on Apple’s support website.
iOS 7.1.2 Fixes iBeacon Issues
iBeacon is Apple’s indoor proximity technology. It uses the Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) profile to communicate with devices. The technology can present users with push notifications in a specific environment. For example, if you are in a store, it can push an advertisement for a product. These messages are pushed by small, low energy transmitters located throughout the site. iBeacons are also useful for museums, amusement parks, and other attractions. Theoretically, iBeacon could also serve as a competitor for NFC (Near Field Communication). Instead of tapping a device against a Point of Sale terminal, iBeacon works without direct contact. iOS 7.1.2 improves iBeacon connectivity and stability, making the technology more usable.
iOS 7.1.2 Fixes Data Transfer Issues With Accessories
The Apple ecosystem isn’t limited to Apple’s own products. Many accessory manufacturers create products that work with the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. It’s easier to design accessories when there are fewer models. Prior to iOS 7.1.2, some accessories, such as bar code scanners, experienced data transfer problems. Apple’s new update fixes these issues, bringing more stability to the platform and extended ecosystem.
Does iOS 7.1.2 Fix the iMessage Bug?
The notorious iMessage bug made headlines, and tech writers assumed that 7.1.2 would fix the issue. There is no mention of this defect being resolved with iOS 7.1.2. The bug prevents users who switch to Android from getting text messages. Apple fixed the issue for most users by modifying server-side code. If you are experiencing this problem, you can fix this issue without an iOS update. After all, if you switched to Android, you probably don’t have your iPhone anymore. It is possible that Apple fixed the issue quietly, however, I could find no evidence that 7.1.2 addresses this issue.
iOS 7.1.2 Photos Quirk
While not a bug, there is one minor issue I experienced with iOS 7.1.2. Upon launching the Photo’s app, there is a “Restoring…” message at the bottom of the screen. While this process is running, Photos is very slow and almost unresponsive at times. This isn’t a defect, but is possibly related to the email attachment security fix. Simply leave the Photos app running and the process should resolve itself. This may take some time if you have a lot of photos. It is best to do this when you aren’t using your phone, as it will slow down your device. Simply close the Photos app, and your device will operate at its normal speed.
iOS 7.1.2 Battery Life
After every iOS upgrade, there are usually complaints about battery life. On rare occasions, Apple has introduced regressive bugs affecting power management. It is more common that these issues arise from overheated batteries or the need for battery calibration.
When you upgrade your device, make sure it isn’t in the charger and hasn’t been used intensively prior to the upgrade. Heat damages lithium-ion batteries. Upgrades involve a lot of disk activity, and even with a solid state drive, this generates heat and uses battery power (which in turn, generates heat). Make sure to calibrate your battery after the update.
It’s been over a month since I upgraded, and the battery life is normal. I am getting over 4 hours with almost 8 days of standby time.
iOS 7.1.2: Worth Upgrading?
This new update to iOS fixes serious security issues. It is important to upgrade as soon as possible. Overall, the software update is stable and doesn’t affect battery life. The only minor annoyance is that the Photos app may be sluggish while it is restoring. It is unclear what is being restored, but it may be related to the email attachment security flaw that was fixed.