Apple has seeded the first beta of iOS 8.1.1. It includes important performance improvements and bugfixes which make iPhone 4S & iPad 2 – two of the oldest iOS devices supported by iOS 8 – noticeably faster in general use.
Should You Upgrade Your iPhone 4S & iPad 2 To iOS 8.1.1?
Absolutely! iOS’ dot-dot releases almost always significantly improve system performance, squash long-existing bugs, and increase general system stability. iOS 8.1.1 is the same. Apple’s release notes clearly states that this release of iOS includes bug fixes, increased stability, and general performance improvements specifically for the iPhone 4S & iPad 2.
Apple made the first beta of iOS 8.1.1 available to developer a few hours ago. We expect them to release it publicly in a few days’ time. Check Settings > General > Software Update to see if there’s an update available after 4-5 days!
As our dear readers already know, I am currently using the iPhone 4S. I am a happy, satisfied customer since it allows me to use my favorite apps – WhatsApp, Facebook, Mailbox, Reeder, Alien Blue, Snapchat, etc. – while offering reasonable battery life for such an old phone.
It’s Not Planned Obsolescence!
Apple follows this model every time they release a huge upgrade to iOS. The new iOS is released alongside the new iPhone, so the software development team works under pressure to deliver a reasonably stable product across a wide variety of older hardware. In doing so, the oldest iOS devices experience sluggishness with their outdated hardware for a few months. Then, the iOS software team – having completed features – focuses on improving performance and fixing bugs especially on old devices.
iOS 8 is likely the end of the road* for iPhone 4S & iPad 2, as Apple usually supports old hardware with iOS software updates for three years after launch. The iPhone 3GS stopped at iOS 6.1.6, the 4 at 7.1.2, and the 4S around 8.1.x (expected). As with the older iPhones, the performance on the very last version of iOS will be good enough to satisfy most people.
*Considering how Apple is still selling the original iPad mini which has the same internal hardware – dual-core A5 chip, 512MB of RAM – as the iPhone 4S, and iPad 2, there is still a chance that these three devices will support iOS 9! *fingers crossed*