iOS 9 annoyances, headaches and bugs

Unless you've been living in a cave on Mars with your fingers firmly embedded in your ears then you'll know that Apple has released iOS 9 and iPhone and iPad owners are burning up the wires and airwaves downloading it to their devices. But I'm here to tell you that iOS 9 is not all fun and games.

Unless you've been living in a cave on Mars with your fingers firmly embedded in your ears then you'll know that Apple has released iOS 9 and iPhone and iPad owners are burning up the wires and airwaves downloading it to their devices. But I'm here to tell you that iOS 9 is not all fun and games.

If you're expecting me to give you a sales pitch and tell you how awesome iOS 9 is then this is not the article you are looking for. Yes, iOS 9 brings some new features to the table, but it also brings a raft of annoyances, headaches and bugs, and if you rely on your device then these bugs may put a dent in your productivity.

In no particular order, here are just some of the bugs and issues that I've encountered with iOS 9 on some of the later-generation iPhones and iPads.

Performance hit

My devices felt snappy when running the later iOS 8 builds, but iOS 9 has made the platform feel sluggish. It's only a tiny difference - maybe milliseconds - but it gets in the way of smooth operations, especially for actions that are burned into muscle memory and don't rely on much conscious thought.

Crashes and freezes

Again, I've traded stability in iOS 8 for instability in iOS 9. This issue is mostly confined to third-party apps - but not wholly - and so is probably something that will be sorted out with app updates, but nonetheless it's an unwelcome speed bump.

Apps flash a black screen prior to loading

The title pretty much says it all. Fire up an app and sometimes you're presented with a black screen for a second or so before the app goes on to load. When combined with the crashes and freezes this results in that momentary feeling of "has this crashed or not?" which is annoying.

Cut/copy/paste pop-ups are erratic

Again, sometimes this works just fine, but other times it's a challenge to select a bit of text and get the cut/copy/paste pop-ups to appear. There have been several occasions where I've just not been able to get them to appear at all.

Keyboard hide and seek

Oh, and the keyboard also seems to be erratic, popping up and down with a mind of its own. It's particularly bad when trying to fill out web forms, and it can make you accidentally tap on a link and move away from the form, losing whatever you typed.

Jittery orientation control

I've come across some weird behavior with regards to the way iOS 9 handles device orientation. One of the weirdest is when apps show in one orientation, but switching to the Home screen triggers a shift to the other orientation. This means I've been wildly waggling my iPhone from one orientation to the other for the past few days.

Beware of upgrading Notes

iOS 9 gives you an option to upgrade your Notes to the new smarter Notes that allow annotations and such, which is very cool. But if you make use of Notes on your Mac too, and that Mac is not running OS X 10.11 El Capitan, then upgrading them on iOS will make them unavailable until you upgrade your Mac. iOS 9 does tell you this, but if you don't understand the significance of the warning, you just upgraded yourself into a world of hurt and you're going to be hating life.

The bottom line

Any time you carry out a major operating system upgrade, the price you pay for the new features is having to endure the bugs and headaches for week and months over a series of minor builds until the operating system becomes acceptably stable again. This is true of every operating system, and not unique to iOS. But that doesn't make it any less annoying for those who have to endure the hassles.

You have two options available to you:

  • Wait for iOS to mature over a few releases before upgrading. This is a nice idea, but it leaves you open to any and all security vulnerabilities that have been fixed.
  • Put up with it.

That's it.

Some of you are undoubtedly thinking that my iOS 9 experience would be better if I stopped being cheap, ditched my iPhone 6 Plus and handed Apple hundreds of dollars for an iPhone 6s Plus. Given my past experience this is not the case, and actually makes things worse because I'm compounding the software issues by putting new hardware - which undoubtedly comes with its own set of quirks - into the mix.

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