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iOS 8.4.1: Worth Upgrading?

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iOS 8.4.1 Update Screen

iOS 8 has proven to be Apple’s most difficult release yet. The new iOS 8.4.1 update fixes several Apple Music bugs, but seems to introduce other defects. It’s worth upgrading to iOS 8.4.1 if you use Apple Music or have concerns about security. If you have an older device, such as an iPad 2 or iPhone 4S, hold off on this update. GeekBench 3 reveals that it is significantly slower than iOS 8.4.

iOS 8.4.1 Fixes Apple Music Bugs

Several users are experiencing problems with the iOS 8 release, which have persisted for almost a year. This is highly unusual. iOS 7 got off to a rocky start, but was stable after a few months. iOS 8 has had an unprecedented number of patches, but typical Apple quality is still elusive.

If you use Apple Music, it may be worth upgrading to iOS 8.4.1. I can finally add music to playlists without downloading the songs first. Overall, Apple Music is more responsive and stable, even on older devices. I have experienced the occasional audio drop out after upgrading, even when the songs are downloaded on to my device. These are extremely rare, and have not detracted from the Apple Music experience.

There are other annoying bugs present in Apple Music after the iOS 8.4.1 upgrade. When I clear the Now Playing queue, it re-populates with songs I listened to days ago. I have to clear it a few times until it is empty. The history of music played on the Now Playing list is also incorrect. It shows music I listened to several weeks ago as tracks that were just played. Nonetheless, the Apple Music bug fixes in iOS 8.4.1 are a small step forward.

The iOS 8.4.1 upgrade only fixes Apple Music bugs and several security flaws. Users hoping for a patch for WiFried and other issues should probably wait for iOS 9, which should come out in September. Apple’s next major version of iOS promises to fix bugs and improve performance on older devices.

iOS 8.4.1 fixes the following Apple Music defects:

    • Resolves issues that could prevent turning on iCloud Music Library
    • Resolves an issue that hides added music because Apple Music was set to show offline music only
    • Provides a way to add songs to a new playlist if there aren’t any playlists to choose from
    • Resolves an issue that may show different artwork for an album on other devices
    • Resolves several issues for artists while posting to Connect
    • Fixes an issue where tapping Love doesn’t work as expected while listening to Beats 1

Installing iOS 8.4.1

iOS 8.4.1 is a very small release. The download is 40 to 57 MB, depending on your device and how often you have been upgrading iOS.

You can run the update by tapping Settings > General > Software Update. Tap Download and Install to start the process. You will need to accept new legal agreements to proceed. The entire process takes about 20 minutes on an iPhone 6.

iOS 8.4.1 Legal Agreements

It is best to backup your device before starting the update. Even a small update can cause problems. For more information on best update practices, please read “How to Upgrade iOS“.

Users Reporting Problems with iOS 8.4.1

I haven’t experienced any of the new problems reported with iOS 8.4.1, however, it hasn’t fixed any existing issues. My iPad 2 is still unbearably slow and 8.4.1 seems to have introduced even more latency. Safari will crash, especially after sharing a web page on social media. The crashes seem to be related to iOS 8 Extensions.

Surfing the web with Safari is unbearably slow and the pages bounce around as different elements load, which seems to take forever. After checking my Internet connection speed, it is clearly an issue with iOS 8. Researching the issue, users on the Apple Support Forum claim that doing a complete factory reset and re-installing iOS will not improve this issue. Don’t waste your time with this useless endeavor.

Not everyone has benefitted from upgrading to iOS 8.4.1. Users are reporting even more problems. Forbes published an article detailing numerous defects introduced in iOS 8.4.1. Users are reporting excessive battery drain, crashes with the Phone app, major WiFi problems, and slow performance on the newest iPads — the iPad Air and iPad Air 2.

Some users are noticing new Apple Music bugs surfacing in iOS 8.4.1. Most notably, they are unable to make music available offline. I haven’t experienced this problem at all. I use Apple Music every day, and it seems to have improved. Unfortunately, not everyone has the same experience as me. I have to admit, it is still buggy.

GeekBench 3 Reveals iOS 8.4.1 Significantly Slower

I ran GeekBench 3 before and after the iOS 8.4.1 update. Unfortunately, the new version of iOS offers decreased performance on an iPad 2.

iOS 8.4.1 Is Slower than 8.4

I notice it, and the numbers tell the truth — iOS 8.4.1 is slower than its predecessor. I am starting to believe the conspiracy theories that Apple hobbles devices and under-clocks processors before new products are released. Perhaps the numerous security fixes require changes to the core operating system. This is a big performance decrease for a 40MB operating system update. (continue…)

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UPDATE: iOS 9 is now available and offers improved performance, especially on older devices. Some users are experiencing problems and have had to restore their devices. You may want to wait for the next version of iOS — 9.0.1. For more information, please read “iOS 9: Worth Upgrading?“.

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