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iOS 8.1 now available

Don Parsons / October 21, 2014 at 11:57 AM / News

After the disaster that was iOS 8.0.1, Apple has taken time to release this large update known as iOS 8.1. Clocking in at 2.4 GB it includes some notable updates such as Apple Pay, iCloud Photo Library, Camera Roll, Instant Hotspot and others. 

Apple Pay

One of the biggest announcements of iOS 8.1 is the introduction of Apple Pay on iPhone 6 and 6Plus. Apple Pay is an attempt to make life more convenient and more secure for paying with your credit card. By uploading the information onto your phone (and in the future your Apple Watch paired with an iPhone 5 or 6), Apple will confirm it with your bank or lender. Then when you go to pay for something through your phone – approved apps, websites and even some brick and mortar stores are adding for it, you just put your finger on the Touch ID and if applicable hold it near the contactless reader. If the payment succeeds, you don’t even have to look down as a subtle vibration will let you know that it succeeded.

Security is also at the head of the additions. Because the iPhone is a computer it is able to encrypt the information and give your card a unique Device Account Number. Your cards information is stored in the secure element – a dedicated chip for security in the iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. When you use it to make a purchase the Device Account Number is transmitted along with a dynamic security code that is different for each transaction, meaning that your credit card is never out of your hands or even seen by other people.

Perhaps most surprisingly of all, Apple is not saving the details of your transactions. Despite knowing where you are constantly, your purchases are not saved or sent to Apple it appears even for advertising purposes. Your most recent ones will be in your passport but that will be it.

It appears that the iPhone 5 may be able to take advantage of this feature with app purchases as it also has the touch identification features. With an Apple Watch, it will presumably be able to make use of the whole range of features allowing for one iPhone 5 + one Apple Watch to equal an iPhone 6.

Also, Apple would like to say that if you live outside the USA or do not use a major credit card you cannot use this feature.

iCloud Photo Library

It’s in Beta still but it’s being added for all of you who are not scared away by Apple’s past cloud security issues. This will function similarly to the Photo App on iOS only now you’ll be able to access it through your browser at The Photo Library, which should be added also takes videos, will work differently than Photo Stream did. Instead of saving your last 1000 photos for up to 30 days, you can store as much as you want as long as you have space in your iCloud. iCloud storage starts with 5gb free and you can view upgraded space pricing options here. Do also consider other programs that may have better prices such as Dropbox Pro (9.99 for 1TB storage compared to 19.99 via Apple)

Camera Roll is back

While speaking about photos, Apple has been busy listening to everyone complaining about the loss of the Camera Roll. Despite its new use in iPhone 6’s to allow the phone to roll around after bending, something similar to the iOS 7.0 camera roll is making a return. The exact format of it is unknown but given the fact they are talking about the return of Camera Roll, one would imagine they want to keep it similar to what their users have been bemoaning the lack of. Additionally it has been said that apps that required it will be compatible with it now meaning those of you who stayed on iOS 7.0 for not wanting to lose that, will presumably be able to upgrade.

Instant Hotspot

Tethering can be a bit tedious and cordy can’t it? Just to get a little bit of internet from your phone you have to run cords between it and your computer. Well, no more as long as you have a Mac and a provider who allows you to tether. Now your iPhone can send out its own hotspot that your Mac can connect to with a touch of a button. While you are tethered you will even be able to track your phone’s battery life on your mac and its signal strength so that you can know all the raging at your cell phone carrier while on your computer. The Instant Hotspot will also automatically disconnect when you stop browsing so you should take care for misclicks.

Text Message Forwarding

One of their other big additions is Text Message Forwarding and this one is a doozy. Now you’ll be able to receive text messages on your Mac or iPad from your phone and respond to them there in iMessages. They are routed through your phone so you may want to be careful about how much space you have for sending and receiving text messages before enabling this feature. Additionally the Mac or iPad in question must be running the newest OS from Apple – Yosemite. Lastly, they must be on the same Wi-Fi network and have Bluetooth turned on for proximity.

Some Minor Features

– An Enable Dictation toggle under settings > general >keyboard
– Slightly larger App Icons when managing widgets in notifications
– iBooks Icon has been redesigned
– Alternative way to change privacy settings on a per-app basis through their pane in settings
– Bug fixes and performance enhancers to improve the Apple experience.


iOS 8.1 is available on iPhone 4s, 5/5c, 5s, 6/Plus, iPad 2, 3 and 4, iPad Air and iPAd Air 2, iPad Mini, and iPad mini 2, and lastly the iPod Touch (generation 5.)

Don Parsons

News Editor

I've been a gamer for years of various types starting with the Sega Genesis and Shining Force when I was young. If I'm not playing video games, I'm often roleplaying, reading, writing, or pondering things brought up by speculative fiction.