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iOS 8.1 new features, release date, download & update

Apple iOS 8

We look at the new features in iOS 8.1 plus how to download and update your iPhone and iPad

iOS 8 was great, but it’s old news now with iOS 8.1 already with us. Here we’ll show you how to download and update your iPhone or iPad with the new version of the operating system and what to look out for once it’s installed.

We were impressed by a number of the fancy new features announced for iOS 8, except for the fact that a number of them weren’t actually in iOS 8. Apple hasn’t kept us waiting long though, with the new iOS 8.1 update adding those that were missing initially. Just to remind you what’s new we’ve covered each below.

To be honest there’s not a lot that’s truly  new in iOS 8.1, but Apple has apparently made numerous bug fixes to the new operating system that should make it more stable and improve compatibility with apps.

iOS 8.1 Release Date, Download and Update

iOS 8.1 is available now, having been released yesterday on the 20th of October. You can download the update for your device by going to the Settings app, then to General and Software Update. If your of a more nervous disposition (or have a very flaky internet connection) you can connect your device to a PC, open up iTunes, click the iPhone/iPad button in the top-right corner, and hit Check for Update there. Your PC will then download the update and install it when it’s done.

If you’re really concerned about keeping your device in working order, then you can always use iTunes to backup your device first, either locally or to iCloud. The backup section is just below the update button, simply follow the instructions there.

Backup iPhone or iPad to iTunes for iOS 8 upgrade

SMS Relay

Probably the most exciting of the 8.1 features is SMS Relay, at least for those who own an iPad or Mac. It lets you receive and reply to text messages on devices other than your phone. So you can get back to people straight away, and not have to fish out your phone, unlock it, and tap a message using the onscreen keyboard. It’s a great timesaver for those who work on a Mac, and pretty handy when your sat on the couch with your iPad too.

Instant Hotspot

Another feature for those using more than one Apple device, but still a handy one. Instant Hotspot means you don’t have to juggle two devices at once to get a Wi-Fi only iPad or Macbook connected to the internet via your iPhone. Instead the iPad/Mac can initiate the setup of the iPhone’s Hotspot from their end, so your phone stays in your pocket and you get the device you want to use online connected without a fuss.

iCloud Photo Library (Beta)

It’s still in beta but now you can automatically store all the images you take to iCloud. These are then available from any of your devices, or via a browser. All the files uploaded count towards your iCloud storage limit, so you might want to upgrade your storage, but at 79p a month for 20GB that’s hardly expensive. For those who don’t want their photos in the cloud, the old Camera Roll makes a return for local storage and access.

Apple Pay

This would make the top of many people’s list of new iOS 8.1 features, but for us it’s dead last. The reason being that Apple Pay is not yet available outside of the US. Deals will have to be put in place with both banks and retailers before we’ll see Apple Pay in the UK, so don’t hold your breath. A Visa spokesperson said that a 2015 rollout was being talked about.

Apple Pay