Apple has introduced an ambitious new version of its mobile OS. The update includes a range of features, but also has so many bugs that we recommend avoiding it until further notice.
UPDATE: Apple has released iOS 8.0.2, which fixes the bug in Safari mentioned below that prevented this web browser from uploading images to website. We’re continuing testing of this new version to see whether we recommend installing it, but in the mean time we urge caution.
One of the more significant issues prevents Safari from uploading images to websites. An apparently-related bug stops many third-party applications from accessing photos stored on the device.
When typing in text boxes in Safari with an external keyboard, the keyboard shortcuts for selecting text are inoperable.
Many of those who have already installed iOS 8 have taken to the Internet to report problems with unstable Wi-Fi connections, as well as Safari running slowing.
A Fix Is Coming … Eventually
With numerous complains about iOS showing up everywhere around the Web, including in reviews the new iPhone 6, Apple moved quickly to introduce iOS 8.0.1. However, it clearly moved too hastily, because the patch was almost immediately withdrawn after some users reported that it introduced bugs of its own.
Apple promises that it’s working on iOS 8.0.2, which the company’s support page says will be available “as soon as it’s ready in the next few days.” It’s not clear which of the bugs in the current version of iOS 8 will be fixed.
In the mean time, everyone with an iPad, iPad mini, or iPhone should stick with iOS 7.1 until Apple irons the most severe wrinkles out of the new OS.
A Troubling Development
Apple built its reputation by offering hassle-free products that just work. Introducing a severely bug-laden version of iOS isn’t in line this tradition.
The company found itself in a bind: It needed to get the iPhone 6 on the market before the holiday shopping season, and this smartphone required iOS 8. The result of this was an updated OS that wasn’t ready.
Nevertheless, situations like this can only damage Apple’s reputation with its customers, who will surely resent being asking to use what seems to be a beta.
In the future, the company might consider introducing new features more gradually, rather than in one monolithic upgrade. This could give developers more time to test each one.
What Users Have to Look Forward To
iOS 8 includes a range of new features, including Continuity, Family Sharing, and iCloud Drive.
With Continuity, users can start writing emails on their iPhones and finish them on their tablets. It will also allow iPad users to receive SMS messages and calls directed to iPhones.
iOS 8 allows up to six individuals who all share a single credit card to access each other’s apps, books, music, video, etc., through Family Sharing.
Apple is also lowering some of the barriers between apps, allowing them to directly communicate and more freely interoperate. Part of this is iCloud Drive, which uploads all files stored on an iOS device to an online service, where they are easily accessible to a variety of applications.
Unsurprisingly, many of the standard applications that come bundled with Apple’s devices have been enhanced. Mail makes it much easier to flag messages or mark them as unread, while the Safari web browser can show sites open in the background as thumbnails.