iOS 8: Why I won't upgrade my iPhone or iPad

Our own David Gewirtz tells us that he has decided not to upgrade to iOS 8 for any of his devices. He's got some compelling reasons. Read on to find out what they are.
Written by David Gewirtz, Senior Contributing Editor
iOS 8 Why I won't upgrade my iPhone or iPad

It has been almost exactly two years since I bought my last iOS device. That's not to say I haven't bought anything from Apple. Last year, I spent a boatload of bucks on a super-powered iMac, and I have Mac minis crawling out from pretty much every corner of Camp David.

It just doesn't seem worth it to me. I don't need the added features enough, and I'm not looking for an excuse to go out and buy more gear if iOS 8 breaks what's working nicely.

I'm also not telling you I don't use iOS devices. I use my iPhone 4S just about every night. It's my favorite go-to way to read Kindle books from bed. While I don't use the iPads quite as often, when I do, they're incredibly helpful. I have some special-purpose apps I use in the studio, and the iPad travels nicely with the Chromebook for those days when I might need two screens.

In fact, let me run down our inventory of current iOS devices. This doesn't count other Apple gear like the three Apple TVs we have, or the 10+ iPods of various vintages we've collected over the years.

We have an iPad 1, iPad 2, and iPad 3. I decided not to buy more iPads after the iPad 4th generation came out just six months after the iPad 3 with double the power. I had dropped more than $800 on that iPad 3 and just couldn't see the need for another full-size iPad, especially since the ones we had worked well enough.

I did buy a first-generation iPad mini, which is now my go-to iPad (although I do use it less than the Nexus 7s and Kindle Fires we have floating around). For some things, the iPad mini is just about the perfect device.

Beyond my iPhone 4S that I repurposed as a Kindle reader, we have an iPhone 4, an iPhone 3G, and a fourth-generation iPod touch.

All but the original iPad and the iPhone 3G run iOS 7, and they run it surprisingly well. Most of the kinks seem to have been worked out on iOS 7, and the machines running it are reliable and useful.

After a period of three years or so running iOS devices, most of the newer devices I've bought have been Android. Beyond the far better soft keyboard, Android's widgets and the other features of my Samsung Galaxy S4 provide far more flexibility than pre-iOS 8 devices.

Although the title of this article doesn't say this, I had planned on updating to iOS 8. I even wrote about it right after the WWDC keynote last June. iOS 8 supports extensions and finally lets you use swipe-style keyboards (which even show upper and lower-case letters!) rather than the disaster Apple has been providing for years.

The extensions would solve my most serious complaint about iOS (I can't stand using the keyboard), and even the extended notifications might do to replace some of the widgets I rely upon.

I am not afraid to move to a new OS or to upgrade. Granted, I don't have nearly as much free time as I did back in the day (well, I never had much free time, but now I have even less). You might think, then, that I'd just go ahead and do the deed, upgrade to iOS 8, and see how I like it.

You might think that. So did I. But no. In fact, we're looking at something of a perfect storm of "but no."

First, of course, three devices can't make the jump to iOS 8. The original iPad, the iPhone 3G, and the iPhone 4 aren't supported. That's fine. We use the 3G solely to play Pandora (and it does that quite well) and the other devices work well enough for occasional use.

Next up, the iOS device I use most is my iPhone. It gets nightly use. I read my books, catch up on Facebook, and read articles in Safari. So, when Ars Technica reported that the iPhone 4S was quite a bit slower on iOS 8 than iOS 7, I took notice.

Then, of course, there was the disaster that was the release of iOS 8 -- and iOS 8.01. First, there's the reported increase in crashes with iOS 8 vs. iOS 7. A crash rate that's 78 percent higher is measurable.

Add to that the disastrous update that was iOS 8.0.1. This release caused all sorts of problems and Apple had to rush out a release of iOS 8.0.2 to undo the damage of iOS 8.0.1 (although some users are still experiencing problems).

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Despite all of that, I had still planned to upgrade to iOS 8 and see how it worked for myself. But then Apple shut the door to reverting devices back to iOS 7.

Yes, sure, there's always a way, especially if you jailbreak the device, sprinkle sage over the thing, light candles, and spend a weekend loading and downloading. But in terms of normal usage and for those of us with a life, there's no reasonable way to revert back to iOS 7 if iOS 8 doesn't work well enough.

That was it. That made my decision. I don't have immediate plans to rush out and buy new iOS devices (of course, that could change at the next set of Apple announcements on October 16).

My current devices work just fine. Performing the iOS 8 update could take thousands of dollars of working hardware and make it no longer working hardware (or make it less pleasant to use).

It just doesn't seem worth it to me. I don't need the added features enough, and I'm not looking for an excuse to go out and buy more gear if iOS 8 breaks what's working nicely.

Apparently, I'm not alone. It looks like lots of iOS device owners have just simply decided to stay with iOS 7.

What about you? Have you upgraded or are living the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" lifestyle?

By the way, I'm doing more updates on Twitter and Facebook than ever before. Be sure to follow me on Twitter at @DavidGewirtz and on Facebook at Facebook.com/DavidGewirtz.

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