Apple iOS 11.2 Release: Should You Upgrade?

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Dec
4


Apple
iOS 11.2
has landed. The seventh update to iOS 11 is one of the biggest yet containing the most new features since iOS 11. But it is also the most rushed yet with Apple breaking its usual release schedule to push this out late Friday night to combat a serious restart bug. Consequently it arrives unfinished so, with previous rushed iOS 11 releases suffering badly (1,2,3,4,5), should you upgrade? In a word: No.

Here’s everything you need to know…


Gordon Kelly

Apple iOS 11.2

Who Is iOS 11.2 For?

Like every iOS 11 release, iOS 11.2 is compatible with the iPhone 5S or later, iPad mini 2 or later and 6th generation iPod touch or later.

iOS 11.2 automatically notifies compatible devices to upgrade (expect nagging if you don’t), but if this hasn’t happened for you it can be triggered manually by going to Settings General Software Update. Tip: Apple iOS beta testers, you may have to unroll your device for the update to appear.

iOS updates vary in size, depending on device, but as a ‘major point’ update iOS 11.2 is larger than most at roughly 400MB. If you are updating directly from iOS 10, however, you’ll see a large iOS 11 upgrade and your device will be on iOS 11.2 when finished (yes, it’s odd but it’s a rollup upgrade).

The Deal Breakers

If your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch is jailbroken beware because iOS 11.2 will break it. Interestingly hackers have made progress in opening up iOS 11 (more so than iOS 10) so an iOS 11.2 jailbreak may come soon, but until it does steer clear.

Meanwhile looking closely at overall stability, the initial picture after 24 hours is perhaps as mixed as you might expect for such a clearly rushed update.

The most obvious consequence is Apple Pay Cash (pulled last minute from iOS 11), was finally added but doesn’t actually work yet as Apple has not made the switch server side. Furthermore users around the world are being told iOS 11.2 delivers Apple Pay Cash in the release notes when it’s a US-only feature for now. That’s causing a lot of confusion and frustration.

Elsewhere the biggest iOS 11 problem for many continues with battery life issues again widely reported on social media. In addition some iPhone X users are finding Face ID doesn’t work after upgrading to iOS 11.2 and while some found a restart fixed it, that isn’t working for everyone. App crashes do appear to have improved though, even if there’s a clear lack of polish. Again blame that unscheduled release.

Needless to say, should any of these problems escalate or significant new ones appear I will update this article.

So What Do You Get?

As mentioned above, Apple Pay Cash is the headline addition with iOS 11.2 and is the only feature specifically namechecked in the main update description: “iOS 11.2 introduces Apple Pay Cash to send, request, and receive money from friends and family with Apple Pay. This update also includes bug fixes and improvements.”

That said there are some other standouts which I’ve listed below:

  • Adds support for faster wireless charging on iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X with compatible third-party accessories
  • Introduces three new Live wallpapers for iPhone X
  • Improves video camera stabilization
  • Adds support in Podcasts to automatically advance to the next episode from the same show
  • Adds support in HealthKit for downhill snow sports distance as a data type
  • Fixes an issue that could cause Mail to appear to be checking for new messages even when a download is complete
  • Fixes an issue that could cause cleared Mail notifications from Exchange accounts to reappear
  • Improves stability in Calendar
  • Resolves an issue where Settings could open to a blank screen
  • Fixes an issue that could prevent swiping to Today View or Camera from the Lock Screen
  • Addresses an issue that could prevent Music controls from displaying on the Lock Screen
  • Fixes an issue that could cause app icons to be arranged incorrectly on the Home Screen
  • Addresses an issue that could prevent users from deleting recent photos when iCloud storage is exceeded
  • Addresses an issue where Find My iPhone sometimes wouldn’t display a map
  • Fixes an issue in Messages where the keyboard could overlap the most recent message
  • Fixes an issue in Calculator where typing numbers rapidly could lead to incorrect results
  • Addressed an issue where the keyboard could respond slowly
  • Adds support for real-time text (RTT) phone calls for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • Improves VoiceOver stability in Messages, Settings, App Store, and Music
  • Resolves an issue that prevented VoiceOver from announcing incoming Notifications

The one which should catch your eye most is faster Qi wireless charging support for the iPhone X, iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus and this boosts the maximum charge rate from 5W to 7.5W. Unfortunately that’s still a long way below the 15W peak wireless charge rates Qi supports and in reality it only charges mildly quicker than 5W (primarily in the last 30%) but it’s a start. Expect 15W support to come via a proprietary ‘Apple Power’ standard in early 2018.

Of course while it isn’t specifically name checked, iOS 11.2 fixes the entire reason for its rushed release too: the restart bug. It also doesn’t name (but patches) the ridiculous autocorrect typing bug.

Finally yet another sign of how much Apple rushed this release: at the time of publication Apple’s official security page simply lists security information as “details available soon”. Unlike the minor point releases, iOS 11.2 is expected to have security patches, but there’s no way to tell what they are. Again I’ll update you should they prove to be significant.

Apple iOS 11.2 Verdict: Unless You Have The Restart Bug, Hold Fire (Especially If You Own An iPhone X)

So here’s the deal: if your iPhone is a victim of the restart bug then iOS 11.2 is for you. Whatever other problems it introduces, they are not as bad as not being able to operate your smartphone. So cross your fingers and upgrade.

But for everyone else, I would advise you hold off. iOS 11.2 is so rushed I simply don’t trust it and it hasn’t made a good impression when a) the headline feature doesn’t actually work, b) security content is “coming soon”, and c) it’s breaking the biggest new technology in the iPhone X and a restart isn’t working for everyone. Heck, even its contents description is inaccurate – especially if you live outside the US.

I suspect (in time) Apple will admit iOS 11 was a generation with far too many rushed updates and iOS 11.2 is likely the nadir in what has been a terrible week for Apple software. But don’t expect that admission anytime soon so, until then, don’t be a guinea pig. “It just works” feels like a distant memory at the moment.

The Road Ahead

Usually I can tell you about the next version of iOS which Apple is beta testing, but not this time. Why? Because iOS 11.2 itself was meant to still be in beta testing so nothing else is in the pipe.

That said I feel very confident in making the following prediction: expect an iOS 11.2.1 bug fix in the very near future…

___

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