Apple iOS 11.1 Release: Should You Upgrade?

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Nov
8


Apple
iOS 11.1 is here and not a moment too soon following the chaos of the iOS 11 launch and the subsequent problems caused by
three rushed point releases. Furthermore iOS 11.1 has had a relatively smooth beta testing period with promising results, so should you upgrade or is this just another update which will makes things worse? 

Here’s everything you need to know…


Gordon Kelly

Apple iOS 11.1

Who Is iOS 11.1 For?

Like all iOS 11 releases, iOS 11.1 is compatible with iPhone 5S or later, iPad mini 2 or later and the 6th generation iPod touch or later.

Compatible devices will receive an automatic notification to download and install the iOS 11.1 update, but if you haven’t had this it can be triggered manually by navigating to Settings General Software Update. Tip: many tried iOS 11.1 as part of Apple’s beta program (where iOS 11.2 is now testing – more later), so if you only want the final release of iOS 11.1 then you must unroll your device for it to show up.

The size of iOS updates varies depending on device, but surprisingly iOS 11.1 is little larger than the ‘minor point’ releases (approximately 300-350MB) given how much it packs in.

Note: Apple has now released roughly 3.5GB of iOS updates since iOS 11 was released on September 19th, so watch out if you have a metered broadband connection.

The Deal Breakers

First my usual warning: there is no jailbreak for this release so if you like to jailbreak your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch stay away. When will jailbreakers eventually catch up to this flurry of iOS updates? (this is the fifth in 5 weeks) I have no idea!

As for stability, based on the first 24 hours it is working better than previous releases (admittedly a low bar). So far there are isolated reports of keyboard issues, screen dimming, stutter and ongoing battery problems but it is important to note some are also reporting Apple has finally made the improvements the betas suggested (more in the next section).

As always it is important to stress there are hundreds of millions of iPhones, iPads and iPod Touch in use around the world. This means it is impossible to know the true scale of these problems after just 24 hours, so I will be updating this article if I notice significant escalation in any of them.

So What Do You Get?

Unlike previous releases iOS 11.1 is not just a bug fix (though it features a lot of them), it also introduces new features – in this case more than seventy emoji – and Apple’s official security page confirms it includes a long awaited patch for the serious KRACK WiFi vulnerability.

Here is a breakdown:

Emoji

  • Over 70 new emoji characters including new food types, animals, mythical creatures, clothing options, more expressive smiley faces, gender-neutral characters and more

Photos

  • Resolves an issue that could cause some photos to appear blurry
  • Addresses an issue that could cause Live Photo effects to playback slowly
  • Fixes an issue that could cause some photos to not display in the People album when restoring from an iCloud Backup
  • Fixes an issue that could impact performance when swiping between screenshots

Accessibility

  • Improves braille support for Grade 2 input
  • Improves VoiceOver access to multi-page PDFs
  • Improves VoiceOver rotor actions for announcing incoming notifications
  • Improves VoiceOver rotor actions menu when removing an app from the App Switcher
  • Fixes an issue for some users where alternative keys would not display when using VoiceOver with Touch Typing
  • Fixes an issue where VoiceOver rotor would always return to default action in Mail
  • Fixes an issue where VoiceOver rotor would not delete messages

Other improvements and fixes

  • Adds back support for accessing the app switcher by pressing on edge of display with 3D Touch
  • Fixes an issue that caused cleared Mail notifications to reappear on Lock screen
  • Fixes an issue in enterprise environments that prevented data from being moved between managed apps
  • Fixes an issue with some 3rd-party GPS accessories that caused inaccuracies in location data
  • Resolves an issue where settings for Heart Rate notifications were appearing in Apple Watch app (1st generation)
  • Fixes an issue where app icons were not appearing in notifications on Apple Watch

Aside from emojis, the headlines here are a fix for blurry photos in Photos (which was driving some users crazy), the return of app switching via 3D Touch (a much loved feature for those who use it) and the aforementioned KRACK fix.

Furthermore a number of iOS 11.1 upgraders are reporting they have seen significant improvements to their battery life. This is something that degraded massively for many who upgraded to iOS 11 and the impact was tangibly measured at scale by data analytics company Wandera.


Wandera

Apple iOS 11 was found to slash battery life almost 60% in a test of 50,000 devices upgraded from iOS 10.3.3

For those worst affected (circa 50-60% battery life reductions), iOS 11.1 is the first sign Apple has heard your pleas even if the fixes are not officially listed in the release notes. Why the omission? Because Apple hasn’t officially admitted the battery life problems exist in the first place.

Apple iOS 11.1 Verdict: Install If You Have Battery Life Problems (Otherwise Wait)

Right now the biggest advantage iOS 11.1 brings is potential relief to those badly hit by the battery problems of iOS 11. Reports show the fix isn’t working for everyone but with some previously saying their iPhones were only lasting a few hours on a full charge, they have nothing to lose.

As for everyone else, I would suggest you wait. The fix for the KRACK vulnerability is important but in reality it’s very hard for a hacker to exploit and there are already a number of upgrade problems reported so it’s pointless to risk upgrading your device so soon if it is already working well.

Ultimately it all depends on how much you love emojis…

The Road Ahead

Apple iOS 11.2 is already in testing and the first public beta has been made available in the Apple Beta Program. This should be the most substantial update to iOS 11 yet with the inclusion AirPlay 2 and peer-to-peer Apple Pay widely expected (the latter was pulled from iOS 11 at the last minute).

That said iOS 11.2 may not arrive for some time with 5-7 betas normal for a ‘major point’ release spread over 4-6 weeks. It is also likely Apple will release a minor point update (iOS 11.1.1) before it arrives, especially if some of the current bugs in iOS 11.1 are seen to spread.

___

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