Today Apple released iOS 8.1, the first major update to iOS 8 which launched in September alongside the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Prior to 8.1 we got a small bug fixing update in the form of iOS 8.0.1, which was quickly followed by iOS 8.0.2 due to a major bug that broke Touch ID and cellular connectivity on the newly released iPhones. Since then, Apple has been working on implementing some features that were not finished in time for the original launch, as well as making changes based on user feedback.

The first such change is the re-addition of the camera roll. The camera roll was part of iOS since its early releases, and with iOS 8 it was removed in favor of a recently added photos album. This solution was more accurately named than the camera roll which was really an album that held every photo on the device, but it was not as familiar to users and did not display every single photo. Users have been very vocal about their dislike of this change and with iOS 8.1 the camera roll returns with the same behaviour as previous versions.

The update also brings features that were shown early this year at WWDC but not included with the initial iOS 8 release. iCloud Photo Library is finally available for all users, albeit as a public beta. SMS Relay is finally enabled, which allows users with supported Macs and iPads to send and receive SMS messages using the phone number associated with their iPhone. 

The last major feature included with 8.1 is Apple Pay on the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Apple's new payment solution makes use of NFC and Touch ID for making and authorizing credit card purchases using their iPhone. While Apple Pay with the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus can be used to make purchases in stores, on the recently launched iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3 it is limited to online purchases due to the omission of NFC.

In addition to new features, iOS 8.1 includes fixes issues with connections to Bluetooth hands-free devices, poor WiFi performance with certain routers, and various other bug fixes, security fixes, and small changes. A list of security patches in the update can be found here on Apple's support website. The update is rolling out now to the iPad 2 and later, iPhone 4s and later, and the iPod Touch 5. The size of the OTA update will vary based on your device but on an iPhone 6 running iOS 8.0.2 it weighs in at 126MB.

 

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  • Devfarce - Monday, October 20, 2014 - link

    I updated but haven't been able to get SMS relay to work. Under Settings/Messages/Text Message Forwarding, I try to enable and it brings up an entry for the 4 digit code shown on my Mac, but I'm not getting the notification. I did get a credit card loaded into Apple Pay though. Reply
  • pickleops - Tuesday, October 21, 2014 - link

    http://www.macrumors.com/2014/10/21/test-message-f... Reply
  • damianrobertjones - Wednesday, October 22, 2014 - link

    Last night I noticed a small, incy wincy, bit of slow down on my iPad air. Will keep an eye on it Reply
  • flyguy29 - Sunday, December 14, 2014 - link

    My phone's iMessage/ text message is still faulty and the screen rotation is way less responsive. I think iOS 8.1 has not fixed some fundamental bugs. Reply

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