April 30, 2014 at 6:18 p.m. PST
The iOS 7.1.1 update offers a few minor improvements and bug fixes for the recent 7.1 update. The 7.1.1 patch is worth upgrading and doesn’t seem to introduce any major regressive defects. If you have an iPhone 5S and use Touch ID, upgrading to iOS 7.1.1 is strongly recommended, as it will improve fingerprint recognition. Some claim that iOS 7.1.1 offers improved battery life, however, Apple has not acknowledged this enhancement.
How Long Does it Take to Upgrade?
iOS 7.1.1 is a very small patch. If you have already upgraded to iOS 7.1, the 7.1.1 update is only about 15 MB. The entire upgrade process will take less than 10 minutes. For more information on best practices for upgrading your iOS device, please read “How to Upgrade iOS“.
iOS 7.1.1 Fixes Touch ID Fingerprint Fade
Touch ID fingerprint recognition has been improved in iOS 7.1.1. Prior to this release, some users had problems with the fingerprint “fade” issue. This flaw in Touch ID would reduce fingerprint scanning accuracy over time. Researching this issue, users are no longer complaining of Touch ID problems after the upgrade. If you have an iPhone 5S and use Touch ID, you should upgrade to iOS 7.1.1 as soon as possible.
7.1.1 Fixes Keyboard Problems
In addition to Touch ID fixes, keyboard responsiveness has been improved. When I first upgraded to iOS 7, I did find the keyboard to be a bit sluggish, however, this was due to the post-upgrade optimization process. Users experiencing diminished keyboard performance will benefit from the iOS 7.1.1 upgrade.
If you use a Bluetooth keyboard and VoiceOver on your iOS device, iOS 7.1.1 fixes some minor issues with this configuration. Prior to iOS 7.1.1, VoiceOver could misrepresent key clicks with a Bluetooth keyboard. There was also an issue with VoiceOver inaccurately reporting the state of caps lock. These issues have been fixed with the iOS 7.1.1 update.
iOS 7.1.1 Security Fixes
As with every iOS release, 7.1.1 comes with quite a few security fixes. Most of these are minor and are virtually impossible to exploit, however, Apple will fix any minor security flaws that are known.
iOS 7.1.1 fixes a security issue where an attacker in a privileged network position could potentially strip security credentials from a cookie. It’s interesting to note, this flaw is as serious as the SSL vulnerability that made headlines, but the media didn’t pick up on it. One never knows which flaws will be blown out of proportion and which will be ignored. Social media seems to have greatly increased the Internet’s ability to distort reality.
The 7.1.1 release also remedies another SSL bug that can only be exploited by an attacker in a privileged network position. This flaw allows a hacker to capture data or change operations in SSL-protected sessions. Both of these flaws should remind users to use their wireless provider’s network instead of public WiFi networks. If you are concerned about data usage costs, at least use your wireless data provider when you are accessing sensitive information, such as online banking. You can turn off WiFi by tapping Settings > WiFi. Once WiFi is off, your device will use your cellular provider’s data plan. If you have a WiFi only iPad or iPod touch, exercise care when using your device on a public WiFi network.
The new iOS release also fixes some minor issues with WebKit, which is the open source code base used by most web browsers. For more information on security issues fixed in iOS 7.1.1, check out this page on Apple’s support site.
iOS 7.1.1 Battery Life Improvements
After every iOS update, some users complain that their battery life is shortened. I have never experienced this, however, I regularly calibrate my iPhone and iPad’s batteries. I also make sure to do the upgrade after charging the device and letting it rest for at least an hour. This ensures that the battery is cool. Upgrading iOS is an intensive process and if you do it after playing Infinity Blade for several hours, the heat will damage the lithium-ion battery. This is not a flaw in Apple products, but a limitation of lithium-ion batteries. Other smart phones and tablets run at much higher temperatures, which exacerbates damage to the battery.
iOS 7.1.1 actually offers some improvements to battery life. Apple did not mention these improvements, however, all tech companies release software updates with undisclosed fixes. According to AppleInsider, battery life has been improved in iOS 7.1.1.
iOS 7.1.1 Worth Upgrading?
Overall, I have found iOS 7.1.1 to be stable and recommend upgrading. If you have an iPhone 5S and use Touch ID, it is highly recommended. It’s impressive that Apple released 7.1 with so many changes and so few bugs. The 7.1.1 patch is quite small and fixes a few minor issues. I have to admit, Apple’s software release quality has improved greatly over the past two years. I started this site out of frustration with the buggy iOS 5 and corresponding Apple TV releases. Apple had some major changes in their organization, which seemed to have improved quality.
If you have been holding off on upgrading to iOS 7, iOS 7.1.1 is about as good as it gets. There may be a few more updates, however, iOS 8 is on the horizon. There will not be an iOS 7.2 release. If you are a conservative user, you should upgrade to iOS 7 before iOS 8 is released. Once iOS 8 is out there, you will not be able to install iOS 7 without jailbreaking your device, which is something most cautious iOS users wouldn’t want to do. iOS 8 is expected to release in mid September of 2014.