Apple Releases iOS 6.1

Many iPhone fans have been eagerly awaiting the release of iOS 6.1. Today, that wait ended. All across the world, iPhone users were greeted with a message like the one to the left in iTunes, or they received happy news when they checked for a software update on their devices.

According to the update screen before a user agrees to the standard terms and conditions, the updates in iOS 6.1 include “improvements and bug fixes,” such as “LTE support for more carriers.”

From information available on the Apple Support site, we can report that iOS 6.1 is meant for:

  • iPhone 3GS and later
  • iPad 2 and later
  • iPod touch 4th generation and later

iPhone users looking for more functionality are in luck, because they can now use Siri to purchase movie tickets via Fandango, provided that they are in the United States. Users who subscribe to iTunes Match can download “individual songs from iCloud.”

But wait! There’s more!

Users seeking to block opportunistic advertisers who seek to greedily peddle their products on innocent users’ iPhones can help stymie their efforts to customize those annoyances just a little bit by resetting the Advertising Identifier, which was implemented in iOS 6.0 so that advertisers could no longer pervert the UDID, which is permanently tied to a device.

To access the new button, which complements the already-existing “Limit Ad Tracking” button in the Advertising menu, simply navigate to Settings, General and then About.  Select the Advertising menu, and the button appears at the bottom, allowing users to make it more challenging for advertisers to intrude upon the iPhone experience.

Music fans will no doubt be pleased to see the new controls that appear on the lock screen in iOS 6.1. While playing a song with the lock screen activated, simply double-tap the Home button, and the new controls appear, as seen in the image to the right.

With the new musical controls, one can easily pause, fast-forward or rewind as they thrill to their musical selection.

Some other minor updates include:

New passport functionality in, appropriately enough, the Passbook app, and some minor adjustments to the Safari browser, none of which are readily apparent.

Although this update seems to be a particularly minor one, it’s always a wise idea to update to the most recent version of iOS as there are bound to be numerous security-related fixes that Apple may or may not mention publicly.

Even if a user has no use for the Fandango and iTunes Match functionality that is now a part of iOS, the security factor is reason enough to set aside the time necessary to download and implement the update.

All told, it took us about an hour to download and implement this update through iTunes on a high-quality broadband connection, though in all fairness, that likely had to do with the number of iPhone users updating their devices as the speed picked up considerably towards the end of the download.

After the software and firmware was updated on the iPhone, a reboot occurred. Then, an iOS 6 splash-screen appeared, whereafter we were prompted to enter an iCloud password. After that, we were asked to confirm our iMessage and FaceTime settings.

Not many changes seem to be immediately apparent, which is to be expected with a minor update such as this. However, there is a noticeable increase in speed.

With every update, there is bound to be a problem, and iOS 6.1 appears to be no different: after the update was implemented, push e-mail and the related notifications stopped working.

Another reboot was performed, and the problem persisted until the Mail app was entered and messages manually downloaded. Following that, push e-mail appeared to become operational again.

How long it takes to download this update will depend on a user’s method of download (Wi-Fi or over-the-air) and the quality of his or her connection, but even if it takes an hour, it’s an hour well spent.

With the release of iOS 6.1 comes a word of caution: hackers have threatened to release a jailbreak when the new release went public, and now that it has gone public, it’s only a matter of time before the jailbreak, too, is available.

Although there may be valid reasons to jailbreak one’s iPhone, we advise our readers to proceed with  caution, as jailbreaking voids the warranty and any AppleCare agreement that may be in place–as well it should–and jailbreaking is most certainly not supported by Apple.

Customers could wind up with a jailbroken phone, and then again, a customer could wind up with a very expensive brick.

Yes, iOS 6.1 is now out. Now, let the countdowns for the iPhone 5S, iPhone 6 and iOS 7 begin. What an exciting time to be an Apple fanatic!