13 Apr

Apple iOS 8.3 Unleashed: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Apple iOS 8.3 update for iPhone and iPadAs an avid user of Macintosh and Apple branded products, it pains me to say that, once again, the new Apple iOS 8.3 update has some distinct flaws. It’s become an embarrassingly repetitive pattern that iPhone users have no choice but to deal with, but once again, the latest update has come with the good, the bad, and the inevitable ugly.

Let’s start with some of the better qualities of Apple iOS 8.3, because all told, it’s still a great product that many will find worth updating to. The company has released a multitude of fixes, as well as some new features for their users.

Apple iOS 8.3 Fixes

iOS 8.3 focuses primarily on stabilizing the product and fixing a multitude of known bugs from previous updates. Forbes.com gives a complete rundown of the Apple iOS 8.3 fixes here, so we’ll just go over the most appreciated ones below.

WiFi / Bluetooth – Apple has finally addressed an issue that causes many users to lose connection with their WiFi and Bluetooth services, wherein WiFi is often disconnected and Bluetooth audio speakers disengaged. The bug also contributed to dropped Hands-Free Calls. Frequent requests for login credentials should no longer be a factor… for most (see Apple iOS 8.3 Bugs below).

Orientation Errors – No more will users suffer orientation and rotation errors and hang-ups, some of which caused annoyingly long delays in the screen rotating to the right direction, and others that froze the screen in the wrong position when alternating between apps during multi-tasking.

CarPlay – This was a huge on for me, because I use CarPlay for GPS maps all the time. The keyboard no longer appears on the screen at random, and the app no longer occasionally loads as a black screen.

Enterprise – A throng of fixes were applied to enterprise apps and usage. Most notably for mobile pokies players like myself, compatibility with VPN and web proxy services has been greatly improved.

Accessibility – For those of us who love to speak to our phones to make them work for us, Apple iOS 8.3 updates VoiceOver to prevent instability in mail messages, freezing after a pause, and other relative bugs.

Apple iOS 8.3 New Features

There aren’t too many new features in the Apple iOS 8.3 update, but what we do get is worth mentioning.

Messaging / iMessaging – We all hate constant iMessages from people outside or contacts network, and those can now be automatically filtered out. Junk emails can also be reported directly within the app.

Ethnic Emoji – Those cute little Emoji icons have been drastically updated to include diversified skin tones for all races and sexual orientations. There’s even a clandestine Vulcan salute emoji (also in multiple skin tones) to honor the dearly departed Leonard Nemoy. The bad news is that, for now at least, only those running Apple iOS 8.3 or Mac OS X 10.10.3 can see them.

Safari Keyboard – Tired of typing a period when trying to hit the spacebar? Apple has extended the space bar and reduced the size of the Go button to resolve the common typo.

Faster Free Apps – Users can now download some apps much faster by enabling an option to bypass entering a password to get free applications.

Siri Languages – A host of new languages have been added for Siri. She now speaks Danish, Dutch, English, Portuguese, Russian, Swedish, Thai and Turkish. Dictation is also available in Arabic and Hebrew.

Apple iOS 8.3 Bugs

Now what you’ve all been waiting for; the consequences of updating to Apple iOS 8.3. Fortunately, there are only two major bugs, and not everyone is experiencing them, but for those who do, it can be beyond frustrating.

Residual WiFried – Although this is listed as a fix above, repetitive disconnections from WiFi (affectionately termed WiFried by many iPhone and iPad users) still persist for some. If you are among the majority who no longer suffer this maddening problem, count yourself lucky, because some members of the Apple Community Forum actually reported the WiFried bug has gotten worse since updating to iOS 8.3.

Touch ID Bug – The “big break” for Apple iOS 8.3 (and I don’t mean that in a good way) is a new bug in Touch ID authentication. When making purchases in the App Store, the Touch ID no longer works to validate purchases. The issue is not restricted to a particular device, and has been reported on all iPhones and iPads with Touch ID sensor technology (iPhone 5S+, iPad Air 2+).

Simply being unable to use Touch ID is exasperating, but the bigger issue is whether it could cause a security issue in the system. There has been no evidence to support any breaches in security associated with the Touch ID errors, but being a service based entirely on security, users are well within their right to be concerned.