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iOS 9.1: A much-needed performance and stability update

Yesterday I ranted about how iOS 9 bugs were driving me crazy and how they were having an adverse effect on my productivity. Then, a few hours later Apple released iOS 9.1, and the difference that this has had on my iPhone is like night and day.

Yesterday I ranted about how iOS 9 bugs were driving me crazy and how they were having an adverse effect on my productivity. Then, a few hours later Apple released iOS 9.1, and the difference that this has had on my iPhone is like night and day.

As a rule, I wait a few days before passing judgment on a new release because it takes a few days to take a new OS round the block a few times to get a feel for how things are different. That said, the difference that loading iOS 9.1 onto my hardware has made means that I'm happy to make some preliminary comments.

First off, the iOS 9.1 update rolls out over 150 new emojis, one of which being the "middle-finger" (aka "flipping the bird") emoji, so of course I installed the update immediately because I can see this becoming my most-used feature in this new release.

But iOS 9.1 is more that just new emojis, it's also a pretty significant bug- and security-fix bundle, swatting 49 security vulnerabilities and a whole host of usability and performance issues. And the performance improvements are very noticeable. Here are some of the bugs that I previously reported that I'm finding that are now fixed:

  • Poor touchscreen responsiveness
  • Sluggish user interface
  • Sluggish orientation control when turning handset from portrait to landscape or vice versa
  • Crashing apps
  • Sluggish app launching
  • Sluggish keyboard
  • Search is slow to respond

It's too early to comment on battery life improvements - I always find that it takes a few recharge/discharge cycles for that to settle down - and as for the Wi-Fi issues, well, that still seems to be flaky, but fielding one problem beats fielding several.

To me iOS 9.1 feels like what iOS 9 should have been. After all, Apple had a public beta that should have shaken out the bigger bugs (in theory at any rate). But software betas have become more about generating hype and less about shaking the bugs out of stuff before release. Also, the timing of the release of iOS 9 was pretty fixed by other events - specifically the launch of the new iPhone - so inevitably it becomes a case of "ship it now and fix it later."

And knowing that is probably a good enough reason to let the dust settle before downloading updates onto devices, especially if you rely on those devices.

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