Apple releases iOS 8.3 with Wi-Fi, other fixes in tow

The same day Apple updated its operating system for laptops and desktops, iOS gets refreshed as well. Will this fix the Wi-Fi issues many have reported?

It's software update day for Apple device owners. Following the release of OS X Yosemite 10.10.3 and Apple's new Photos app for laptops and desktops, the company made iOS 8.3 available for iPhones, iPads and iPod touch devices.

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The mobile software was made available for public beta last month, marking a change in how Apple release software. Typically, the company reserves access to iOS beta versions for its developer community and in-house testers. This time around, the software update is filled with fixes based on the lengthy change log, which includes performance fixes for application launching and responsiveness, Messages, Wi-Fi, Control Center, Safari tabs, and both native as well as third-party keyboards.

The Wi-Fi fixes may be of the most interest as Apple's support forums show numerous iPhone owners reporting signal degradation on wireless networks. One particular forum, started back in September, is now up to 133 pages of issues with just over 795,000 views. The iOS 8.3 change log specifically calls out a fix for where "some devices disconnect intermittently from Wi-Fi networks," so hopefully, this problem is addressed. I haven't experienced it on my iPhone 6 or my iPad Air, so I won't know from my testing.

Apple's new mobile software includes some new features as well. Like the OS X 10.10.3 update, iOS 8.3 includes redesigned emojis as well as the ability to report junk messages in the native Message app; you can also filter out incoming communications from people who aren't in your Contacts list.

The overall list of features and functions is quite large -- there's plenty more in iOS 8.3 as this appears to be a major maintenance update -- but for some the download is relatively small. On my iPhone 6, for example, it clocks in at 285MB. That might seem pretty hefty but I'm seeing reports of 1.4GB downloads, mainly from those who participated in the public beta.

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