Apple iOS 12.1 Release: Should You Upgrade?


With iOS 12

Apple
made some
fundamentally important changes and included some great secret features. But it was also half-baked with some ridiculous flaws which carried over to iOS 12.0.1 (which then added to them). Now we have iOS 12.1, the first major upgrade, and it brings new features as well as some problems.

Here’s everything you need to know…

Who Is It For?

iOS 12.1 runs on all iOS 11 compatible devices. This means the iPhone 5S or later, iPad mini 2 or later and 6th generation iPod touch or later, but it has some caveats (more below).

Compatible devices will be automatically prompted to upgrade. But if that doesn’t happen, you can trigger it by going to Settings > General > Software Update. Apple iOS 12.1.1 beta testers (more about this at the end), you must unroll your device for iOS 12.1 to appear.

As a feature-packed update, iOS 12.1 comes in at up to 500MB. I say “up to” because different devices get different updates, so it will be significantly smaller on older iPhones and iPads.

The Deal Breakers

Jailbreakers, yes all four of you, iOS 12.1 will break remove your jailbreaks. With jailbreaking software falling ever further behind, however, you might be waiting months for your jailbreaking software of choice to catch up. Be warned.

What about iOS 12.1 early issues? Certainly, there are some concerns.

The biggest comes from a security perspective where a Spanish hacker has shown off a critical flaw which allows lockscreen security to be bypassed. This needs to be fixed and I expect the release of iOS 12.1.1 will be accelerated to combat it.

Elsewhere, brilliant research blog PiunikaWeb has uncovered strange, menu graphics glitches and animation bugs. There are also WiFi connectivity issues (1,2,3) and emails are not sending for a number of users (for example 1,2,3,4,5). There are also plenty of battery life complaints (1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10 etc) but I would stay calm about this in case it’s simply reindexing.

So What Do You Get?

Apple’s official release notes describe iOS 12.1 as follows:

“iOS 12.1 introduces Group FaceTime, adds over 70 new emoji, and includes support for Dual SIM with eSIM for iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR. This update also includes bug fixes and improvements.”

You can read about these features in detail in my iOS 12.1 Features Guide. But there are a couple of warnings about these new features. Notably, Group FaceTime actually excludes millions of iPhones an iPads, and most major carriers have announced support for dual sim won’t happen until 2019.

Group FaceTime in iOS 12.1Apple

Also worth pointing out are:

Camera Depth Control – this allows iPhones to adjust the depth of field (aka level of blur) in the background of Portrait shots. The early results look great and it’s an important catch-up to Samsung’s Galaxy range and Google’s new Pixels.

New Emoji – over 70 new emoji arrive with iOS 12.1, including characters with different hair colors and even no hair at all. You’ll also find new sports, animals and updates for popular emojis.

Apple has bundled some important fixes in iOS 12.1 as well. Notable is a correction for BeautyGate, a selfie camera problem in the new iPhone XS (details), iPhone XS Max (details) and iPhone XR (details). Equally important is a fix for the iMessage bug which caused conversations to be grouped together when users shared the same ID (often with embarrassing results).

More negatively, iOS 12.1 controversially introduces potential performance throttling for last year’s iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X in order to protect their batteries.

Looking at security, Apple’s official security page lists no less than 24 patched vulnerabilities in iOS 12.1. These are spread across Contacts, FaceTime, Messages, Notes, Safari Reader, VoiceOver, WebKit and WiFi.

Apple iOS 12.1 Verdict: Upgrade But Be Careful

This warning comes due to the gaping security hole already discovered in iOS 12.1 and the pressure this will put on Apple to quickly release iOS 12.1.1. WiFi and email reliability are also questionable for some users.

That said, iOS 12.1 has enough new features that it is understandable users will want to upgrade now and the fixes to BeautyGate and iMessage are important for a lot of iPhone and iPad owners.

As always, I will keep this article updated so be sure to check back before you upgrade. As more devices update, new problems are always discovered.

The Road Ahead – Apple iOS 12.1.1

As I touched upon, Apple will be under pressure to release iOS 12.1.1 to address the security flaw in iOS 12.1 and the first beta for this minor point update is already available.

When this will arrive is unknown, but I would expect Apple to try and release it before December.

___

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More On Forbes

Millions Of iPhones And iPads Excluded From iOS 12.1 Upgrade

Apple iOS 12 Has 25 Great Secret Features

Phone XS Vs iPhone XR: What’s The Difference?

iPhone XS Vs iPhone XS Max: What’s The Difference?

iPhone XS Vs iPhone X: What’s The Difference?

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