Are things really as bad as they seem with iOS 5.0.1? The update, released Thursday on a surprisingly quick schedule, primarily addresses battery issues caused by iOS 5--a sore spot for many iPhone 4S owners.
But, for some users, iOS 5.0.1 didn’t fix their battery life problems, and it might have brought with it some new issues of its own. Users on Apple’s Support Forums have complained about additional problems with connecting to the Internet over Wi-Fi and glitches with their Address Book contacts since upgrading to iOS 5.0.1.
But those problems may not all be with 5.0.1 itself, and you might not have to wait for another software update from Apple to fix them.
The problem is that most of these reports have proved impossible for us to replicate. Although one staffer had difficulty installing the update, none of the iGadget users here in the PCWorld/Macworld offices have noticed any problems with their phones or tablets since installing 5.0.1. And, as far as we can tell, no other tech publication that we've seen has been able to concretely verify the reported glitches either.
Some Issues May be Coincidence
In a quote provided to Macworld, Apple spokesperson Trudy Muller said that Apple is still looking into “a few” issues affecting iOS battery life, so, at the very least, there’s almost certainly some substance to the remaining complaints about battery life. That said, some of the other issues being reported seem to be somewhat fishy.
According to Apple, the iOS 5.0.1 update squashes bugs that reduced battery life, fixes some issues related to Documents and Data syncing with Apple's iCloud service, adds new gestures for the original iPad, and improves how iOS 5 handles voice recognition for folks down under. iOS 5.0.1 also addressed a handful of security issues.
Noticeably absent from this list, though, are any changes to features like Wi-Fi and cellular connectivity, the microphone, or to the iOS contacts app -- all of which have been the topic of complaints posted to Apple’s Support Forums.
It’s possible that the under-the-hood tinkering required to correct battery life issues had a whole host of unintended consequences, but the issues are so wide-ranging and seemingly unrelated to what's addressed in Apple's release notes that there may be another explanation.
Could it Just be Corrupted Installs?
Given the degree to which reported problems seem to vary from user to user, one possible explanation is that the problems are the result of corrupted installations of iOS rather than a problem with the update itself. For instance, if the update process gets interrupted in any way, it could corrupt your data, or the operating system itself, which leads to all sorts of glitches.
If you’re experiencing a lot of bugs with iOS 5, or if you've had problems after updating to iOS 5 or 5.0.1, you may want to try restoring your iPhone to the factory defaults on your iGadget to start fresh with a new install of iOS.
To do this, is to plug your phone into your computer and open iTunes. From there, select your iDevice from the left pane, and press the “Restore” button in the subsequent screen. Be careful that you do not restore from a backup, since that backup will likely be a copy of the same corrupted iOS install.
Of course, restoring and reinstalling iOS means you'll have to re-sync all your apps, music, and data from scratch, and that process could take hours, so this isn’t a solution to try out lightly. However, if you are experiencing a lot of issues since the recent update to iOS 5 or 5.0.1, it may be worth a try--and it'll be significantly faster than waiting for Apple to release its next software update.