iOS 8.1 – What’s new

The iOS 8.1 download has launched.

Here’s an explainer of all iOS 8 features. Apple’s all-important iOS 8.1 update is available to download today with new features that fix iOS 8 and round out the flat iOS 7 design, even if you don’t upgrade to iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.

As we mentioned in our full iOS 8 review, instead of a dramatic redesign, this year’s mobile operating system update ties everything together with the overarching theme of “convergence.”
iOS 8.1 now features tighter Mac OS X Yosemite integration while further loosening the restrictions on Apple’s Touch ID fingerprint sensor for the same-day Apple Pay launch.

Documents in the Cloud was a poor substitute for iDisk. Each app had to store its cloud data in its own sandbox, which became a problem if you wanted to edit a file in different apps.

While some apps would let you use the Open In trick to hand the file off, you’d end up with multiple versions of the file scattered across your iOS device.The root of the problem was no Finder-level access to your Documents in the Cloud; while you could access the files in the ~\Library\Mobile Documents file, that path could lead to pain. With iOS 8 and Yosemite, apps can now write to a central repository called iCloud Disk.

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Any app that is able to read a file that is stored in a folder can read and edit it. The gotcha? The app needs to support the new Document Picker. On your Mac, there is an iCloud Drive folder in your sidebar allowing you to navigate it to your heart’s content.
No such app exists on iOS 8. We may see such an app with iOS 9. Change in this regard with iOS is best done slowly. Time will tell how Apple handles this in iOS 9. Heck, we still don’t have a Preview app for iOS, and iBooks doesn’t support opening files from iCloud Drive. If iBooks is to become the default PDF reader for iOS, it needs some sort of Document Picker.

Otherwise, I’m reduced to using GoodReader to hand off PDFs to iBooks if I need to. iOS 8.1′s performance, particularly on the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, has been stellar and we’ve come to the conclusion that iOS 8.1 is the update Apple should have released alongside the iPhone 6 back in September. It’s that good.

iOS 8.1 Problems

iOS updates, even big bug fixers like iOS 8.1, typically aren’t immune from bugs of their own. Lo and behold, iPhone and iPad users have been complaining about an assortment of iOS 8.1 issues over the past five days. Numerous iPhone and iPad users are complaining about installation issues that have prevented them from getting the iOS 8.1 update installed on their iPhone or iPad.

These issues are different than the server issues that we encountered in the minutes after the iOS 8.1 release earlier this week. iPhone and iPad users say that their installations have stopped abruptly during the process. Fortunately, there is a fix for these issues, one that we relayed shortly after its arrival. iPhone 5s users are reporting random reboots after iOS 8.1.

An iPhone 5 user told us that his iMessages stopped sending immediately after installing the iOS 8.1 update. We’re also hearing about Wi-Fi issues including Wi-Fi speeds seemingly being throttled on the iPhone 5s and iPhone 6 and erratic connection speeds. iOS 8.1 users also say that they aren’t able to move their mail into the trash, assorted Apple Pay problems, Bluetooth issues, AirDrop issues, problems with iOS 8.1′s hotspot feature, random stability issues in Safari, Bluetooth issues in the car, issues opening files in Mail, Spotlight suggestion problems, and a whole lot more.

These are just the tip of the iceberg. Apple’s discussion forums have been flooded with complaints about Apple’s new update. Fortunately, none of these issues appear to be widespread. That is to say that they don’t seem to be affecting millions of iOS 8.1 users. Many of them appear to be affecting a select few. Select few or not, there are iOS 8.1 problems though with an iOS 8.1.1 update still out of the picture, iPhone and iPad users dealing with problems need to rely on unofficial fixes.

Should You Install iOS 8.1 Right Now?

This is the question that we attempted to answer with our initial iOS 8.1 impressions. Key words being “right now” a week after the iOS 8.1 release. After spending some quality time with the iOS 8.1 update, we’ve come up with a list of reasons why and why not to install the iOS 8.1 update right now. Those of you on the fence about the iOS 8.1 update should check those out before committing to Apple’s latest and greatest.

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