Fresh iOS firmwares are raining this month.
First, Apple released 3 stable updates of iOS 8 firmware — iOS 8.0, 8.0.1, 8.0.2 — and now we have yet another iOS 8 update in the form of iOS 8.1.
Apple iOS 8.1 is a beta update (beta 1) released by Apple only for registered iOS developers. With the build number of 12B401, you would expect the new firmware to permanently fix several major problems and bring in some of those new, ultra-cool features, right?
iOS 8.1 Beta Update: What Does It Fix & What’s New?
Here are the important and noteworthy features in iOS 8.1 beta:
- A new option in the Keyboards menu allows you to turn ON or turn OFF Dictation. Disabling it removes the dictation (the mic icon) button from the keyboard.
- Camera Roll album — where all your captured photos and videos are stored — is now back in iOS 8.1 beta.
- Recently Added folder is removed and replaced with a new “All Photos” folder in the Photos app. Recently Deleted album still stays though.
- A new iBooks icon has been added
- The 2g/3g toggle switch remains unavailable, but a new feature under Cellular menu allows you to switch from 3G/4G to 2G network.
- Text Message Forwarding now works even on iPads — you can activate it on your iPhone and read all the incoming text messages to Apple devices like Mac, iPod Touch, or iPad. You can also send messages from these devices.
- Users can now change the permission and privacy settings for every third-party iOS apps.
- Icons in the Notification Center are adjusted to fit your Apple device. Previously, the icons were considered a little too small and iOS 8.1 seem to have fixed them.
- WiFi calling is available in the Settings -> Phone menu. You can toggle the switch to enable or disable this feature, but note that this service is limited to devices on T-Mobile network.
- Problems with syncing new music from iTunes has been fixed (this problem was visible only after restoring your device from an iCloud backup).
- iOS 8.1 also hints at the possibility of adding Apple Pay (the mobile payment system designed by Apple) on older iPads. How it works remains a mystery.
Few iOS 8.1 Problems:
- Spotlight bug that forces your iOS device to show blurry, black and white pixels is still not gone. Read our guide on how to fix it in just a few seconds.
- WiFi connection is still poor, disconnects randomly on iPhone & iPad.
- The iOS Home button problem hasn’t been fixed yet (although you can still follow this solution that unusually works temporarily)
Is iOS 8.1 safe to install? And do you need access to iOS Developer Center to download iOS 8.1 beta? The next section answers these questions.
Download iOS 8.1 Beta
iOS 8.1 is in beta, so you have to “get used” to the unstable nature of this firmware. However, early reports indicate that this beta firmware, unlike older ones, crashes less and works smoothly. We recommend you to try 8.1 beta only on your non-primary iPhones, iPads.
And no, you don’t need to register UDID or buy any developer account to install and use iOS 8.1 firmware. Just note that Apple iOS 8.1 beta can be downloaded and installed just like you’d download and install a stable iOS 8 firmware. For your convenience, we have posted IPSW files below.
However, please remember that you do not have to update to this firmware if you have no “testing” device with you and if you are not sure what you are doing.
The stable iOS 8.1 version will be released next month. So if you don’t want to get your hands dirty, just hang in there – it’s a matter of few more weeks.