iOS 9.1: Worth Upgrading?

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iOS 9.1: Worth Upgrading?

Apple’s newest iOS release still leaves a few rough edges. This article examines whether it’s worth upgrading to iOS 9.1.

It’s been a rough past year for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch users. iOS 8 was riddled with defects and never seemed to attain the level of quality Apple users are accustomed to. Apple promised to focus on stability, performance and battery life with iOS 9. Unfortunately, even with iOS 9.1, I am experiencing browser and Mail crashes, in addition to sluggish Spotlight performance. The App Switcher has greatly improved and no longer stalls.

iOS 9.1 still isn’t good enough to install on my iPhone 6. I am sticking with iOS 8.4.1 on my iPhone. It’s not perfect, but it is more stable than iOS 9.1. If you have already upgraded to iOS 9, iOS 9.1 is better than 9.0.2. It’s faster, more stable and offers better battery life.

Installing iOS 9.1

I always test iOS upgrades on my iPad 2 before installing them on my iPhone 6. If you have an older iOS device, I highly recommend following this practice. You can find out if it’s worth upgrading to a new iOS release by installing it on an older, non-essential device. You can also just wait for my reviews. I’m not a fanboy. I won’t cover up any flaws to protect the largest corporation on the planet. I think consumers need information more than Apple needs favorable iOS 9 upgrade statistics.

iOS 9.1 is a moderately sized update. At about 100 to 300 MB, the update takes about an hour, depending on your device and how often you have been upgrading. If your Internet connection is slow or Apple’s servers are busy, it could take longer. The update was only 111 MB for my iPad 2, as it has fewer features than newer iOS devices.

Backup any critical information, using iCloud or iTunes, before you install iOS 9.1. For more information on best practices for upgrading iOS, please read “How to Upgrade iOS”.

Tap on Settings > General > Software Update and then tap Download and Install to begin the process. You will be asked to accept the legal agreements before you begin.

Read and Accept Terms and Conditions to Install iOS 9.1 Upgrade

You can just let your device run the update unattended, if it has more than 50% battery life after the download. You can also run the update with your device plugged in to a charger.

I don’t recommend using the automatic overnight update process if you use your iOS device as an alarm. Users have reported problems with this when upgrading to iOS 9.1. Specifically, the iOS clock app will fail to sound an alarm.

After the update process has finished, users are greeted with a welcoming Hello screen.

iOS 9.1 Hello Screen

iOS 9.1 is a major update, so it requires some initial configuration. On my iPad, I was only required to sign in to iCloud.

Enter iCloud Password After Upgrading to iOS 9.1

GeekBench

Although iOS 9 offers improved performance over iOS 8, iOS 9.1 isn’t any faster than 9.0.2. The primary Geekbench scores for iOS 9.0.2 and 9.1 are identical. Integer and memory performance are slightly lower on iOS 9.1, but 9.1 offers slightly better floating point performance. The detailed scores in the breakdown vary by 1 point. They are insignificant differences. For all intents and purposes, iOS 9.1 and iOS 9.0.2 offer the same performance.

iOS 9.1 Has Same Geekbench 3 Score as iOS 9.0.2

iOS 9.1 Improvements

iOS 9.1 offers many bug fixes and improvements. The new update fixes a bug in Live Photos that captured raising and lowering the camera. It now sense when the camera is raised and lowered, excluding these events from Live Photo. iOS 9.1 also adds over 150 new emojis, including the infamous middle finger. The update improves stability for Apple Music, Photos, CarPlay, Spotlight Search and Safari. For more information on bug fixes and improvements, check out Apple’s release notes. You can also read these on your iOS device when upgrading to iOS 9.1. (continue…)

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iOS 9.1 Release Notes

UPDATE: Forbes reports iOS 9.1 is introducing problems with Touch ID. Several users are reporting that Touch ID is unreliable and sometimes does not work at all. Resetting the device or restoring it to factory settings does not solve the problem. Affected users can turn off Touch ID by tapping Settings > Touch ID & Passcode and then turn off the feature for all services. Apple is already working on the iOS 9.2 release.


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8 thoughts on “iOS 9.1: Worth Upgrading?

    • I’m still running iOS 8.4.1 on my iPhone 6. Beyond the Touch ID issue, it’s just too buggy. I installed it on my iPad to test it out. Both Safari and Chrome crash regularly. All iOS browsers must use WebKit, so it seems to be a problem in the API. I also find Spotlight to still be intolerably slow. I launch my apps with Spotlight, and I turned off intra-app searching for each app. I just want to find apps and launch them, not search within them. It is still too slow, even with all the bells and whistles turned off.

      I’m going to wait for 9.2 and test it out. I was hoping iOS 9 would be fast and stable, but so far this hasn’t proven to be true. It was just released in late September, so they will hopefully have a quality release by 9.2.

      iOS 9 is faster than iOS 8, according to GeekBench 3. It’s just that I need a working browser. I haven’t experienced the other issues.

  1. iOS 9.2 has certaintly smoothed things out on the iPad 2. You can ACTUALLY use Safari now with Javascript turned on with most websites. Unless a website requires it, I tend to leave JV off because of the iPad 2 limited ram. The 512MB of ram gets taken up by the Safari pretty quick and system performance drops as crashing begins until you do a reboot.

    Against my BETTER judgement, I went ahead and updated my iPad 3 from 8.4.1 to iOS 9.2 as I thought if performance is better on the iPad 2, it should be the same on the iPad 3 (A5 v A5X)……..WRONG !!!

    The iPad 3 runs literately like crap. Massive, lag and stutter throughout the UI and within the stock apps. Allowing time for the indexing to settle down, the device has smoothed out a bit but it’s nowhere as smooth as it was on iOS 8.4.1

    So now i’m eagerly awaiting the Pangu JB for iOS 9.1/9.2 so I can downgrade the iPad 3 back to iOS 8.4.1

    Apple seriously needs to hire proper software engineers because Jony Ive and his crew are way OVER their heads when it comes to software development for a major mobile OS. You can clearly see it in the lack of performance, unpolished areas of UI design and bugs in the OS. One glaring cosmetic bug present in iOS 9 is the clasp locking sound when you close the screen cover using an iPad case. It’s now an intermittent low locking sound instead of the usual close the screen with the cover locking sound. The problem only shows up when using an iPad case because pressing the power switch or locking the screen via “Assistive Touch” gives you the proper sound. No problems either with iOS 7 or iOS 8. Is it a big deal, NOPE, but it just affirms the uncharacteristic level of an unpolished mobile OS. I seriously doubt Steve Jobs or Scott Forstall would have allowed for this to happen or gone unfixed.

    And you wonder why iPad sales are down, when the current model device struggles running the current version of iOS as even the iPad Pro has some lag and stutters in the UI. That’s according to forum feedback i’ve read.

    • Wow. The iPad Pro stutters and lags? I used to look at the iPad Pro as a Formula 1 car. It has great performance, but you can only drive around in circles on the iOS race track. Now I am finding that, due to iOS defects, it lags. That doesn’t surprise me. iOS isn’t a very good operating system at all. That’s why I’m not buying another iPad. I will continue to buy iPhones and Macs. iOS is just good enough when I can’t use a Mac.

      I don’t need an “in between” device. Apple wants to sell us these different “views” of their ecosystem, from the Apple Watch to the Mac, and all points in between. A smartphone and Mac are good enough for me. I think a lot of people are easily bored with what they have and they need something new to fiddle with. That used to be me. Right now, I just want a few things that work well. I want to focus on my work. I know people who spend day after day, trying to jerry-rig their iPad into a work-friendly device. They spend hundreds of dollars on apps and countless hours to do things that can still be done better on a Mac. But the Mac is considered passé by some. Even working on this site has proven difficult to do on the iPad. I’m not doing heavy graphic design, but all of the image apps are weak. They don’t even measure up to a free OS X app like GIMP. People are fooled because they see illustration apps and the Apple Pencil. One can’t even name a file on an iPad. There are some kludges. There isn’t even a tab key on an iPad! I have an app that has a special keyboard with a tab key. It only cost $7.99! I can’t really use the administrative tool for my site’s CMS, because it is a complicated web app. Their iOS app can’t do as much as their web app. They assume publishers will use a proper computer.

      I was on Facebook on my iPad a few hours ago. I just tried to load a linked article within Facebook and I had to take three attempts to do it. It eventually crashed and closed unexpectedly. I wanted to throw the thing out the window, but I remember I paid $699 for it. For a bit more, I could have bought a MacBook Air! I could blame this on the Facebook app, but it happens with anything web related, because of that poor WebKit rendering engine. Apple forces all browsers to use it. It’s horrible. There are some cloud-based browsers that render pages on external servers (Photon). They’re kind of slow and clunky.

      I finally have some time to upgrade to iOS 9.2 and I will be testing it and writing a review.

      I think Apple’s poor software, which seems endemic to the entire valley, stems from two realities. They consistently pack too many features into releases. I was shocked that 9.2 has so many features added. Why not just get it working properly? Maybe because they are lead by a marketing guy. Stability isn’t as marketable as features. The other problem is that hiring talented people is difficult in the valley. There are better opportunities. Apple can’t offer pre-IPO options. A lot of the well-funded startups can pay competitive salaries and offer pre-IPO options. A lot of the top developers are also starting their own companies.

      • Yeah, the lag and stutters on the Pro are minor but that shouldn’t be the case with an A9X SOC running under the hood. Sloppy code by Ive’s team who are more interested in glitz and gimmicks.

        I also own a Mac and while I like OS X, the better overall package is Linux because it’s also free and it’s hardware independent. Both OS X and Linux have too many similarities and I love the fact, I don’t have to wait on Apple to admit a security flaw. In Linux most security issues are patched either by the Devs or the community within days if not hours. Linux Mint 17.3 is my go to Distro and supposedly Linux Mint 18 will see an overall to the kernel as well the rest of the OS and both Ubuntu and Linux Mint have been moving it’s users to it’s LTS releases which are in essence rolling releases with 5-7 years of support.

        Wrt phones, I couldn’t be happier with my Amazon Black Friday Nexus 6 for $199, unlocked.

        I’m amazed how Steve Jobs made Apple so appealing with it’s hardware/software integrated package. That’s been thrown away and now it’s all about pure profit and If the software slows down your iDevice, too bad buy another one.

        http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/news/2438783/tim-cook-blasts-chromebooks-as-cheap-test-machines

        Recently Tim Cook labelled the “Chromebook” as out of touch. Oh really, Timmy! I suppose your only go to product is still the iPhone and be careful because people are catching on like myself that you can get a quality unlocked phone for a 3/4 of the price. You can tell Apple is strictly living off of Steve Jobs past and they really have NO amazing must have products. The iPad Pro, Watch and iPad lines have been bunched together so as to hide the underperforming Pro, Watch and iPad sales.

        Apple has become what Android used to be and Android has become iOS ever since Google introduced “Project Butter” into their Jelly Bean OS.

        • I checked out Linux Mint and it looks pretty cool. The reason I like my Mac, iPhone and Apple TV is because they work together quite well. AirPlay is a feature I like, but I know that’s available on Linux. I have a few Linux machines, but I gave up on them. I spent too much time tinkering and not enough time using them. I ran into a lot of limitations. I couldn’t play Netflix or Hulu, but it seems like both of them work now. I may revisit Linux Mint. Is it better than Ubuntu? I have one Ubuntu system and another running CentOS.

          I have heard great things about the Nexus. It’s streamlined Android, set up with the Google ecosystem. One thing I dislike about iOS is that you can’t fully use the Google ecosystem. I have read articles claiming that iOS Maps usage has gone up. Of course it has. Whenever you tap on a location or anything that invokes a mapping app, it will bring up iOS Maps. They don’t have any way to set a default app. I really dislike the fact that WebKit has to be used by all browsers, except for cloud-based browsers. The cloud-based browsers tend to be slow if the developer doesn’t invest in their data center, as web pages are rendered on their servers. It seems ridiculous that a browser would need to do that, because iOS devices have powerful processors. It’s all because of Apple’s policy. That said, I really like the iPhone. Gaming and multimedia are quite amazing, and from what I have seen, are superior to other mobile platforms. Also, on the iPhone, one mostly sees mobile sites, which don’t tend to crash WebKit.

          At first, I was supportive of Tim Cook, as I felt he was more generous to the customer than Steve Jobs. After he took over, Apple TV got so many free content channels. Older devices were eligible for upgrades. He even gave everyone a free U2 album. But then I saw the other side of one of those things. Encouraging users to upgrade old iOS devices is like the mythical Siren guiding ships into the rocks. iOS updates are not like OS X. iOS updates slow down older devices and make them unusable after 3 years or less. That’s unacceptable. I will not buy a new iPad every 3 years. It’s not worth it for a device that can only do content consumption. If you don’t update an iOS device, it doesn’t get security updates. Then Apple posts all of the fixed vulnerabilities, giving hackers the knowledge to exploit older devices. With OS X, they continually push security updates for older versions of the operating system. I really hope OS X doesn’t follow the path of iOS.

          I also get bristled when Cook makes these statements. He belittled the Microsoft Surface tablet, only to copy it. The iPad Pro isn’t as good. The Surface runs a real operating system, not a watered down mobile OS. It’s mind boggling that people get giddy over running two apps at the same time. You can go to Costco and get a notebook computer for $300 that can do more than an iPad Pro and has a smaller form factor and better keyboard. It even has a touch screen. The iPad has motion sensors and optional Apple Pencil going for it. These are appealing features, but iOS is just too watered down and limited for anything beyond a smartphone. I think the folks at Apple got a little high on iOS and seem blind to its many limitations.

          The funny thing is that they are scratching their heads as to why people aren’t buying as many iPads. I know why. I bought one and hoped it would become more useful over time. Not only did that not happen, but it is hobbled now. I only use it when I need to quickly do some email or web browsing. The latter task has it crashing several times per browsing session. I really liked Apple because OS X is a high quality OS. iOS is nothing like that. Even on a newer, faster device, the OS proves to be unstable and quirky. Their stock apps are absolutely terrible, but they are defaults. Just the other day, I set a Calendar appointment on my Mac with an alert. It never alerted me on my iPad. I even checked Notification Center. I checked Calendar, and it was on there with the alert. They can’t deliver basic quality with iOS. I hope this disease doesn’t spread to OS X.

          How about that ugly iPhone extended battery case with the hump?

          I have to wonder if, among several factors, Apple’s sheer size makes it difficult for them to be nimble. I remember studying organizational theory in college, and Apple seems to be the epitome of the large, latent organization. They are releasing outdated products years after competitors have had the same features. The new Apple TV actually offers fewer features than competing models. No 4K video?!? 4K TVs are very inexpensive and people are buying them. I’m buying the new one because of ecosystem lock-in and I think the App Store will attract the best apps. I have a fairly sizable iTunes library, and I can only play the videos on Apple devices. That’s one of the ways they force “brand loyalty”. I don’t want to walk away from hundreds of dollars worth of movies and TV shows. The content is worth more than the Apple TV itself!

          • Re Linux: There really is little to no need to have to tinker with Linux. As long as you stay with the two most popular Distros (Ubuntu and Mint) everything is pretty much working right out of the box. The NO tinkering rule was a mission set forth by Mark Shuttleworth and Canonical. They understood that in order for Linux to be accepted it had to steer away from the “Tech Geek” crowd which was a label Linux earned. He ruffled many feathers when he introduced Ubuntu Unity. It’s aim was to make Linux warm, friendly and approachable that even Grandma and Grandpa could use. Mission accomplished !

            Ubuntu is the face of Linux followed by Linux Mint. Anyone who wants to tinker with Linux can use Distros that are lean and you have to add packages to build it to your liking. I prefer the Ubuntu and Mint approach as I have NO desire to mess with building an OS through trial and error when there are many alternatives.

            If I were to suggest which version of Linux to use it would be in this order: 1) Ubuntu 2) Linux Mint.

            Ubuntu generates 99% search questions, is the most consistent and stable version of Linux that meets the needs of anyone looking for a fully loaded operating system. I liken Ubuntu to OS X, to coin the phrase “it just works”. Linux Mint OTOH, is more multimedia based and is akin to Windows. It’s stability and consistency is a close 2nd to Ubuntu.

            Canonical and Linux Mint have been steering it’s users to their LTS ((Long Term Support) versions because they are the most stable. Gone are those days where they wanted you to update to a new version every 6-9 month intervals. Those versions are now considered “Beta” and are the test bed for what gets moved to the LTS version when it’s proven and stable.

            Re: iPad sales. Yeah i’ve noticed that a 2010 iPad vs the 2015 iPad basically looks and operates the same way, just slower. 😛

            Re: iOS security patches. That’s one i’ve struggled with as i’ve always viewed that as FUD (fear, uncertainty, doubt). And is used as a means to encourage the herd to move up into the latest version. I have used an iPad 3 for years running iOS 5.1.1 and have never had a security problem. Most of the security problems revolve around “Jail Break” exploits the company wants to eliminate. It’s bad business if your Devs are worried like Sony was with the Sony PSP that people are more apt to pirate software. It takes certain conditions to achieve and produce a Jail Break exploit. Again, that’s just my opinion, I could be wrong but iOS security threats have never made me update my OS or kept me from using it to log into my Bank, Amazon or my AMEX account. And to this day I have not encountered a security breach.

          • That’s great to hear. When I bought my Mac, I was on the fence. It was between Linux and a Mac. I chose the Mac because it is a POSIX operating system, but very user friendly. It can run just about any software. Back then, Linux was just not polished. I couldn’t use Netflix or Hulu. Even Ubuntu required a lot of fiddling. I was trying to get some Windows apps installed with WINE, but even installing WINE was a cascade of apt-get dependencies. Linux is definitely a key player in the data center. I think it can be a viable player in consumer-oriented computing. A lot of netbooks were using Linux a few years back. When the OS is free, the computer is quite a bit cheaper. I think that would appeal to a lot of people, but without marketing, it’s harder to get the word out. I think Dell and other key players, although they offer Linux systems, have been pushed to keep it on the down low.

            We can see how, at least with iOS, Apple is a bit too controlling, and it hasn’t resulted in great quality. If they opened it up more to third parties, the quality would improve. If I could replace the stock, default apps with third party apps, my iOS experience would improve. If they let browsers use different rendering engines, it would only be better. I really hope this doesn’t spread to the Mac. The Mac is still quite good, but it has more to do with its origins — NeXT, a small, focused company. Apple still hasn’t ruined the Mac, but apparently, they are planning to lock down the system folders. I hope they also don’t force Mac customers to use the App Store.

            I am using the Photon browser on my iPad 2. It has a “streaming” session, where web pages are rendered on a server. So my iPad just gets a graphical rendering of a web page. It isn’t parsing and rendering HTML or JavaScript. It’s the most stable web browsing I have experienced on my iPad. I just had it with Safari. Although Chrome is a bit better, they’re still forced to use WebKit.

            The biggest security problem are servers with credit card information. If possible, I never store my credit card on a company’s shopping cart web app. I’ve had my credit card number stolen twice in the past decade, and it’s always a few months after I bought something on a site that forces me to store the credit card number.

            I use VPN to enhance security. I think IPVanish offers an excellent, fast VPN service, for a remarkable price. I use the same account on my Mac, iPhone and iPad. That said, the limitations of iOS with VPN are notable. It doesn’t support OpenVPN, which is the fastest and best VPN standard. It’s par for the course. Apple has to do much more than ramp up their marketing to entice corporate users. The price is also something that will keep CIOs and CTOs away from Apple.

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