Apple iOS 13 has iPhone owners worried, but iOS 12 is on a roll. Both iOS 12.2 and iOS 12.3 have been rock solid updates after a string of high profile blunders. Now the sudden release of iOS 12.3.1 is here, so should you upgrade or has Apple returned to its bad habits? Here’s everything you need to know…
Who Is It For?
iOS 12.3.1 has been released for all iOS 12 compatible devices. This means iPhone 5S or later, iPad mini 2 or later and 6th generation iPod touch or later. Upgrades should be automatic, but you can trigger them manually: Settings > General > Software Update. iOS 12.4 beta testers (more about this at the end of this post), you must unroll your devices for iOS 12.3.1 to appear.
At circa 100MB iOS 12.3.1 isn’t large, but the exact size will vary depending on your iPhone or iPad model.
The Deal Breakers
iOS 12.3.1 breaks jailbroken devices. So jailbreakers, you need to hold fire for now. I anticipate a wait of several months based on the current rate of successful iOS jailbreaking.
Initial problems? 24 hours in the overall picture is looking rosy, but I do have one small caveat. There are isolated reports from iPhone owners that iOS 12.3.1 is cutting off their cellular data (1,2,3). iOS 12.3 had a similar issue for a tiny number of users, but given this fault caused chaos in iOS 12.1.2 I’d be patient and wait to see if it becomes more widespread as users rush to upgrade.
So What Do You Get?
Unlike iOS 12.3, which was feature packed, iOS 12.3.1 is a dedicated bug fix. Apple lists the following problems:
- Fixes an issue that could prevent making or receiving VoLTE calls
- Fixes issues in Messages that could cause messages from unknown senders to appear in your conversation list even though Filter Unknown Senders is enabled
- Fixes an issue that could prevent the Report Junk link from appearing in Messages threads from unknown senders
Interestingly, I have not seen any of these issues mentioned in forums or across social media. Apple’s official security page also states “This update has no published CVE entries”, which gives the impression these fixes are not security related, but it could literally mean: ‘Apple has not published them’ because it did not want to draw attention to the potential for exploits that existed within them.
Apple iOS 12.3.1 Verdict: Another Cautious Thumbs Up
Apple appears to have its third solid iOS upgrade in a row. Complaints are unusually low, with just the isolated cellular data problems giving me pause. iOS 12 has a chequered history with cellular data, so some caution is advised. My suggestion: wait a week. I’ll update this guide should there be any developments (negative or positive).
Note: my advice would always be to wait a week (why choose to be a guinea pig?) but I know many iPhone and iPad owners simply cannot wait.
The Road Ahead
Apple is currently beta testing iOS 12.4. It is so early in the testing process that no forward facing features have been added but, as a ‘major point’ release, they will be. I suspect its release will coincide with the launch of the Apple Card and bring a new companion app, but that will be just the start. Watch this space.