iOS 6: Thoughts on an overdue upgrade

Anna Scantlin
Contributing Editor from  Kansas City, MO
| February 6, 2013

After absolutely refusing to lose my jailbreak, which for a long time had only been available for iOS 5.1 and below, the time has finally come where I can jailbreak my iPhone 4S to iOS 6.1. The untethered jailbreak became available as of this past Monday from a dev team called “Evad3rs” (because you’re not a real developer unless you have a number that resembles a letter in your name and/or program) with a program called “Evasi0n”. Reports say that the program was used 1.7 million times just in its first day, and actually overflowed Cydia so much that it crashed for some users at one point during the day. I decided to go ahead and try out the new jailbreak for myself, and after one or two hiccups trying to restore using iTunes I was finally able to successfully get the new software and the jailbreak on my device.

Now, a lot of people are probably going to be turned away from this post simply because if I’m writing for a mobile news website, I should have probably had iOS 6.1 within the first few weeks of its release instead of several months after. While I’m normally quick to update my software as soon as it’s safe to say the bugs have all been worked out (I’ve had one too many experiences where being first in line for an update rollout has not played out well for me) I couldn’t find reason enough to update to iOS 6 without knowing I had a jailbreak available to me. I had just finished setting up my first jailbroken device exactly to how I liked it and I wasn’t about to give that up to go back to the ball and chain that I had finally broken free from.

Regardless, I now have iOS 6.1 installed on my iPhone complete with jailbreak. While I haven’t had much of a chance to set it back up similar to how I had it previously, I have had a moment to try and see if the vanilla version of iOS 6 was anything I had missed out on. I read all about the details of what iOS featured, and I have to say that most of it really isn’t different than what 5.1 felt like. I actually feel rather indifferent about the upgrade, but I’m especially glad I waited until Google Maps and other Google Applications had returned to the App Market

– especially Google Maps (did anybody else notice the icon shows you driving off an overpass onto an interstate?). . You’d think as somebody who relies so heavily on Google’s services I’d be more of an advocate for Android (and I am – but I really just enjoy certain aspects of all platforms) and the simplicity of iOS combined with the accessibility of Google Apps actually works very well together in my opinion.

Since it had been months since I’d read about the cosmetic changes of the software, I tried my hand at picking up the changes without re-reading anything. One of the first things I noticed, however minor it may be, was that the unlock screen now fades in when you wake it up, instead of just appearing. I actually appreciate little things like this; it makes the device feel a little more fluid, and it’s nice that they pay attention to detail. Another thing I enjoyed about the design was the new look of the app store and how the search and download process seems a lot faster. This might be because my phone was wiped clean and doesn’t have any of the clutter or thousands of e-mails my old one had slowing it down, but hey, whatever works. One design element I am not fond of is the new dialer; I have a black iPhone and the light gray dialer just looks a little gaudy. It’s not that big of a deal because I hardly use the dialer anymore anyway (kind of sad since it’s supposed to serve as a phone first) but it is what it is.

Overall, the phone seems to have a faster response time when switching applications and pages. Again, this may be solely because my phone is practically empty except for contacts and a few applications – I opted not to turn Siri on and I haven’t backed up via iCloud yet. The battery life seems to be a little better than what I was experiencing a few weeks ago when my battery wouldn’t even last a whole morning without having to plug it in again, but we’ll see how long that lasts after all my information and applications are back on my phone (I did finally clean out my e-mails – I only have about 20 in my inbox now).

Overall, my first impression of iOS 6 is neutral. While my phone was in dire need of a reset due to too much clutter, the actual interface of the software isn’t much different than any other version of iOS. Perhaps I would feel a little different about it if I had the newest iPhone model, but until I see some options for widgets in there I would imagine it would still feel exactly the same. That being said, it’s Apple we’re talking about here and too much change would be out of the ordinary for the tech giant, so expecting anything drastic would be a mistake on my part. Nevertheless, I’m excited to see if these “good” changes (better battery life, more fluid transitions) will hold true over time as more content weighs down the phone.


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