Every time Apple upgrades iOS, the operating system for iPhones and iPads, there are reports in the tech press that users are having problems. Often those reports are simply bogus, based on sloppy reporting by reporters who see a handful of complaints on a user board and blow them out of proportion.
But in the case of iOS 6.1, the reports are true. The update can cause connectivity problems for users of iPhone 4S. The good news, though, is that Apple recognized the issued quickly and on Monday released a download that should make the problem go away. All you need to do is plug your iPhone 4S into iTunes and you’ll this notice:
However, it appeared that the update made it difficult for some customers to connect with the Internet or even make phone calls while using a carrier’s 3G network. Last week, Vodafone, the giant European carrier, sent a message to its customers, saying: “We’re aware of an issue caused by Apple iPhone 4S handsets that have been upgraded to iOS 6.1, which impacts performance on 3G. Some customers may occasionally experience difficulty in connecting to the network to make or receive calls or texts or to connect to the internet. These connection problems are intermittent.”
As near as I can tell, users in the U.S. were not affected, though they may have experienced problems when roaming in Europe. When I called AT&T, I got a no comment and was told to contact Apple. A spokeswoman for Verizon Wireless, which is owned in part by Vodafone, said that customers in the United States were not affected.
In any case, this issue is apparently solved. However, there are still reports that the upgrade is somehow causing the iPhone 4S to run out of power more quickly than in the past. The update doesn’t address that issue, and I’m not convinced that the problem has anything to do with which version of the operating system is running on the smartphone.
Before updating the software on your iPhone, upgrade to the latest version of iTunes. I didn’t do that and had to restore my entire phone. I’m not saying that will happen to everyone, but why not take the extra few minutes and avoid the annoyance I suffered. And be sure to backup your phone to your PC frequently.
San Francisco journalist Bill Snyder writes frequently about business and technology. His work appears regularly in CIO.com and the publications of Stanford's Graduate School of Business and the Haas School of Business at the University of California at Berkeley. He welcomes your comments and suggestions.