Apple recently released iOS 8.1.3. The update fixes critical defects and is highly recommended.
iOS 8 got off to a rocky start. Just a few months after its initial release, we are already at version 8.1.3. iOS 7 didn’t get up to 7.1.3 so quickly, but it was a more stable release. The numerous features and notorious bugs have Apple apologizing and committing to higher quality and fewer features in iOS 9. After all, if Apple loses their reputation for quality, it will cause considerable damage to their brand.
As someone who uses iOS 8 every day, on both my iPhone and iPad, it’s not as bad as the blogosphere would suggest. If you have ever used Microsoft Windows, iOS 8 is rock solid in comparison. iOS 8’s quality is dubious only when compared with other Apple products. It is not as refined and stable as Mac OS X.
iOS 8.1.3 fixes some critical bugs and also introduces new features that will improve any iOS device. For example, iOS 8.1.3 adds the ability to install operating system updates using less SSD space. This is helpful for people who have devices with less capacity. Let’s take a closer look at iOS 8.1.3…
Installing iOS 8.1.3
iOS 8.1.3 is a sizable update, at about 250 MB. The size of the update will vary depending on your device and whether you have been updating regularly. Given the large size, the update will take some time. Plan on not using your device for 30-60 minutes while the update is running. You can use your device while the update is being downloaded and prepared.
The update can be run unattended, as there are no post-update configuration screens. For more information on best practices for upgrading iOS, please read “How to Upgrade iOS“. Also, since this is a rather large update, make sure to calibrate your iPhone or iPad battery after upgrading.
iOS 8.1.3 Makes it Easier to Update Your Device
Perhaps the most compelling reason to upgrade to iOS 8.1.3 immediately is that it helps users with lesser capacity devices. As Apple crams more features into iOS, the operating system grows larger. Users lacking SSD space on their device find it challenging to install over-the-air updates. Instead, they must use iTunes to update their device, or delete content and apps.
iOS 8.1.3 Fixes iPad Multitasking Gesture Defect
After restarting the iPad, some users were introduced to a rather annoying bug — multitasking gestures failed to work. The workaround was to tap on Settings > General and toggle the Multitasking Gestures switch. This happened rarely and was easy to fix, but Apple has remedied this defect in iOS 8.1.3. This is yet another compelling reason to upgrade to iOS 8.1.3 immediately.
iOS 8.1.3 Fixes Spotlight App Searching Bug
I launch virtually all of my apps using Spotlight. In fact, I have cleared all icons from the first home screen of my iPhone and iPad. I think they look ugly and it’s not a good way to launch apps. It reminds me of remote controls with too many buttons, like those bundled with cable boxes. I have to scan through all of these icons to find the app I want to launch. Instead, I prefer using Spotlight to launch apps. With a few minor modifications, it is a tremendously fast and useful app launcher.
Unfortunately, iOS 8 introduced a minor defect. Very rarely, Spotlight wouldn’t show apps that were being queried. I can attest that this bug surfaced very rarely. I use Spotlight to launch apps all the time, and have noticed this issue maybe two or three times. Nonetheless, this has been fixed in iOS 8.1.3. Spotlight is now rock solid, as it should be.
New Configuration Options for Standardized Testing
Despite the debacle with the LA Unified School District’s iPad program, Apple products remain highly popular in education. This has always been the case. In fact, the first computer I used in school was an Apple III back in the third grade.
One unfortunate consequence of technology is that some students can use it to cheat. The new configuration options for standardized testing are designed to curb academic dishonesty. For example, educators can now disable the predictive text keyboard, so that students’ spelling, diction and grammar will not be assisted. Spell checking and auto-correction can also be disabled.
iOS 8.1.3 Fixes Messages and FaceTime Password Entry Issue
Messages and FaceTime are some of the most important iOS apps. These apps are critical to communication. Unfortunately, for some users, the apps proved difficult to use. When prompted to enter their Apple ID password, they were unable to do so. This defect only affected a few users and has been fixed in iOS 8.1.3.
Security Fixes for iOS 8.1.3
As with every release, iOS 8.1.3 introduces several security updates that (surprisingly) go unnoticed. This is astonishing, given the blogosphere’s ability to turn any small Apple flaw into a new “gate”. Most of these vulnerabilities are difficult to exploit and require physical access to the device or access to the user’s WiFi network.
iOS 8.1.3 fixes several security flaws, many of which are actually quite serious. 8.1.3 has more security fixes than any other iOS 8 update. One of the issues fixed involves PDF (Adobe Acrobat) files. It was possible to execute malicious code simply by viewing a PDF file. It is surprising that this didn’t turn into PDF-gate.
Many of the other security fixes are minor and hard to exploit. I strongly recommend upgrading to iOS 8.1.3 as soon as possible to improve the security of your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. Visit Apple’s website for more information on the security updates in iOS 8.1.3.
iOS 8.1.3 Does Not Diminish Battery Life
Like most iOS updates, iOS 8.1.3 doesn’t introduce regressive bugs or new features affecting battery life. After using the update for a few weeks, I have found no significant change in battery life.
Some iOS updates introduce major changes that require iCloud or Spotlight “housekeeping”. Spotlight may need to re-index content on your device. iCloud could be synchronizing data. These tasks will slow your device and use battery power. This is the main reason why people complain about poor battery life after upgrading to a new version of iOS. You may want to wait before you go onto social media complaining about how an iOS update ruined your battery and that the sky is falling. Also, make sure to calibrate your device’s battery, if you notice diminished battery life.
Grayed Out WiFi After Upgrading?
After every iOS update, there are a few devices that no longer have WiFi connectivity. The WiFi settings appear to be grayed out and are disabled. This is typically due to the combination of physical damage to the WiFi module combined with heat from the update process. Downloading and installing the update, especially while plugged into the charging cable, can generate heat. If you were just using your iPhone for several hours and then plug it in and install the update, the risk of damaging the WiFi module increases.
This issue mainly affects a few of the older “glass sandwich” iPhones, as glass acts as an insulator. The bigger the update, the more common this problem is, but it still affects very few iOS devices. For more information on this issue, please read “Fix Grayed Out iPhone WiFi“. In some cases, you may be able to fix this issue with iOS settings.
iOS 8.1.3: Worth Upgrading?
Given the big fixes, enhancements and security patches, I strongly recommend upgrading to iOS 8.1.3 as soon as possible. I haven’t experienced any regressive bugs and find the update to further improve the stability and quality of iOS. Make sure to upgrade to iOS 8.1.3 soon, as it will no longer be available when iOS 8.2 is launched. Being a major release, 8.2 will likely introduce some new defects. You may want to skip that one and wait for 8.2.1, but it is too early to recommend this. As always, you can visit Appledystopia for comprehensive and detailed reviews of iOS updates.