/>
X
Why you can trust ZDNet
ZDNet independently tests and researches products to bring you our best recommendations and advice. When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission. Our process

'ZDNet Recommends': What exactly does it mean?

ZDNet's recommendations are based on many hours of testing, research, and comparison shopping. We gather data from the best available sources, including vendor and retailer listings as well as other relevant and independent reviews sites. And we pore over customer reviews to find out what matters to real people who already own and use the products and services we’re assessing.

When you click through from our site to a retailer and buy a product or service, we may earn affiliate commissions. This helps support our work, but does not affect what we cover or how, and it does not affect the price you pay. Neither ZDNet nor the author are compensated for these independent reviews. Indeed, we follow strict guidelines that ensure our editorial content is never influenced by advertisers.

ZDNet's editorial team writes on behalf of you, our reader. Our goal is to deliver the most accurate information and the most knowledgeable advice possible in order to help you make smarter buying decisions on tech gear and a wide array of products and services. Our editors thoroughly review and fact-check every article to ensure that our content meets the highest standards. If we have made an error or published misleading information, we will correct or clarify the article. If you see inaccuracies in our content, please report the mistake via this form.

Close

iOS 15.4: Do we finally have a stable iOS release?

Nearly six months following the release of iOS 15, the updates continue. But where are we in terms of stability?
adrian-kingsley-hughes.jpg
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Contributor on

iOS releases have a lifecycle of a year before being superseded by the next release. We're getting close to the halfway mark for iOS 15, with the release of iOS 15.4 coming about a week before that point.

So, where are we in terms of stability and performance? Has Apple finally got all the major bugs nailed down, so it's plain sailing from here, or is that stable release still eluding iPhone users?

iOS 15.4 is an interesting release because not only is it a bug fix release, but it also adds a bunch of new features such as Face ID unlocking while wearing a mask (without the need for an Apple Watch). Apple has been rolling out new features mid iOS release cycle for a few years now, instead of waiting a year to release new features.

But how's that working out for Apple? Or, maybe more importantly, how's that working out for iPhone users?

Well…

Getting drip-fed new features is cool. It's nice that Apple is able to roll out features like Face ID unlock with a mask when it's ready as opposed to having to wait for a major release.

But…

In the testing that I've been carrying out, iOS 15.4 is a little buggy. While battery life seems good, I'm noticing both a lag when using the iOS interface and when unlocking while wearing a mask. I've also had a situation occur several times where the iPhone seems to unlock but then seems stuck on the lock screen.

I've also noticed a problem with AirPods and Siri announcements causing some apps (the Audible app s very prone to this) to crash. Not sure if this is an app issue or an iOS problem yet.

Annoying.

And this is an excellent word to describe how iOS has felt for the past few years.

Annoying.

It's felt like iOS has been in a continual state of flux for years now -- an endless stream of updates, new features, bug fixes, and new bugs.

A continual state of flux.

Islands of stability feel few and far between.

iOS 15.4 isn't a bad release. It's actually quite a good release as iOS 15 releases go. There have been some stinkers (I'm thinking about you, iOS 15.2).

But it's also far from fine.

And there's no sign of things getting better. It's a cycle of things getting a bit better, a bit worse, back and forth.

But because Apple combines new features, bug fixes, and security fixes into a single update, it's not possible for iPhone users to safely ignore releases.

Everyone goes along for the ride.

So, should you install iOS 15.4?

Yes.

If nothing else, you're getting three dozen security fixes, which is a lot. You also get new features (and new emojis -- and who doesn't want more emojis?).

Also, apart from the laggy user interface, this update is moving in the right direction -- in the direction of stability. I suspect we'll have a reasonably solid iOS 15 in a few weeks.

In time for iOS 16 to come along and make things annoying again.

Related

Here's what's coming in iOS 15.5
459245476.jpg

Here's what's coming in iOS 15.5

iOS
This app shows you how to make your iPhone more secure better than Apple does
img-0033x.jpg

This app shows you how to make your iPhone more secure better than Apple does

Security
Why you should install iOS 15.5 now
ios-15.png

Why you should install iOS 15.5 now

iOS