iOS 8 logo (mockup 001)

As promised, Apple on Monday released iOS 8.1 for public consumption. Users who have an older version installed on their iPhone, iPod touch or iPad can now update to the latest software over-the-air, by choosing Software Update under Settings > General.

iOS 8.1 flips the switch on Apple Pay in the United States on the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, as well as the newly released iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3.

It also re-enables the missing Camera Roll album in Photos and beta iCloud Photo Library (in beta) while bringing additional Continuity features like Text Message Forwarding between iOS 8 devices and Yosemite Macs and more.

Check out our Downloads webpage to manually download iOS 8.1 firmwares.

Apple Pay, a headline new feature in iOS 8.1 supports mobile payments in apps, on websites and at select brick-and-mortar locations. On devices that don’t have NFC, like the iPhone 5s, iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3, Apple Pay only works when you buy stuff online and through apps.

To recap, here are the supported devices for Apple Pay:

  • iPhone 6 (in-app, online and in-store purchases)
  • iPhone 6 Plus (in-app, online and in-store purchases)
  • iPad Air 2 (in-app and online purchases only)
  • iPad mini 3 (in-app and online purchases only)

Although Apple’s marketing materials don’t make the distinction between in-app and online purchases, Safari is technically and app. Moreover, company executives did say during the WWDC keynote that Apple Pay will be supported by participating online stores through a browser.

Apple Pay is also coming to Apple Watch early next year, extending Apple Pay to over 200 million owners of iPhone 5, iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s worldwide, Apple said in a media release.

Apple Pay (device requirements 001)

Another cool new feature: Text Message Forwarding.

It lets you receive text messages in the Messages app alongside iMessages on Macs running Yosemite and iPads and iPod touches running iOS 8.1. Text messages are actually routed through a user’s iPhone, allowing you to both send and receive SMS directly from a Mac or iPad.

Text Message Forwarding requires that both your Mac and iOS device be on the same Wi-Fi network and have Bluetooth turned on for proximity.

iOS 8 (SMS Relay, iPhone and iPad 001)

iCloud Photo Library, a built-in service that puts your entire photo library in the cloud, is now available as a beta to everyone in iOS 8.1. Once enabled in Settings > iCloud > Photos, your device will automatically upload and store your photos and videos in iCloud and sync any changes between devices.

iOS 8 Beta 2 (iCloud Photos welcome page)

You can elect to “Optimize Storage” to keep device-optimized versions of photos on an iOS device or “Download and Keep Originals”, which stores full-resolution photos and videos on your device. Just to clear up any confusion, iCloud always keeps your snaps and videos in their original resolution.

iCloud-Photos-iOS-8.1-prompt

Your iCloud Photo Library is also available via a brand new Photos app in iCloud’s web interface, depicted above, using any Mac or Windows PC running the latest version of Safari, Chrome or Firefox. And in early-2015, a Mac edition of iOS’s stock Photos app will launch allowing for the complete end-to-end photo-syncing solution between desktop, mobile and the web.

iCloud Photo Library is great, but you’ll quickly run out of space as every iCloud account includes a meager five gigabytes of free storage. Apple’s iCloud storage upgrade pricing isn’t the most competitive: the firm is offering 20 gigabytes for 99 cents per month, 200 gigabytes in exchange for five bucks per month, 500GB for $9.99 per month and 1TB for $19.99 per month.

icloud drive price

Compare this to the $9.99 1TB Dropbox Pro plan (same as Google).

Microsoft is offering 1TB OneDrive bucket for seven bucks per month and they’re also throwing in Office 365 for that price. By the way, if you’re serious about iPhone photography you should consider Yahoo’s Flickr service, which includes one terabyte of free storage for your photos.

As mentioned before, iOS 8.1 also brings back the Camera Roll album which went missing in iOS 8. The Camera Roll album collates only the photos you’ve taken directly on the device or saved from Mail and other apps. The Camera Roll comeback makes the operating system compatible with applications that required it, such as WhatsApp.

iOS 8 Photos search

The problem stems, as many have complained, from the fact that iOS 8.0 has removed the system-wide Camera Roll album for no apparent reason. In addition to these features, iOS 8.1 contains bug fixes, performance enhancements and several improvements listed below.

enable dictation

iOS 8.1 includes other nice-to-haves

A new Enable Dictation toggle in Settings > General > Keyboards (seen above) is now available. Moreover, you’ll notice slightly larger app icons when managing your widgets in the Notification Center. The iBooks icon has been slightly redesigned and there’s now an alternative way to access privacy settings on a per-app basis, through their respective pane in the Settings app, as pictured below.

use cellular data

Note that certain iOS 8 features are only available in select markets.

The operating system is compatible with:

  • iPhone 4s
  • iPhone 5/5c
  • iPhone 5s
  • iPhone 6/Plus
  • iPad 2, 3 and 4
  • iPad Air and iPad Air 2
  • iPad mini and iPad mini 2
  • iPod touch (fifth-generation)

Are you planning on installing iOS 8.1?

And how do you like the aforementioned new features it enables?

Sound off in the comments below.

  • Preben Faarkrog Hansen

    Give apple 7-8 month, to make iOS 8 work, … and then we get iOS 9, and it all starts over again…

  • Roy

    “when i delete an imessage, the recipient does not move in the messages list in alignment with their latest message date and time as it used to in previous ios versions…It stays in the same place in the messages list of recipients even though the last message i sent them was days ago”

  • Osama Hamdy El-Sharnoby

    Still waiting for a jailbreak

  • Vince Reedy

    Did not see 8.1 available in your downloads page iDB

  • Dani Hayes

    As always, NEVER OTA UPDATE in case a jailbreak comes out. OTA updates cause problems when trying to jailbreak.

  • n0ahcruz3

    Any bugs?

  • Blip dude

    Took 30 min total (Download, Prepare, Install) for me using my iPad as a WiFi router. Nice to have Apple Pay but yet I have yet to see a place where this will work, I thought even Walgreens would be ready with this by launch. And so far Apple Pay via OpenTable is only supported in 3 cities (according to app description).

  • Chris

    I guess I will stay on iOS 8.0.2 until I finished super Mario bros 3 on my GBA emulator

  • droid3000

    i read pangu jailrbeak could be out before the end of october. anyone else heard that?

  • Jose Alejo

    I don’t know if it’s just me or the iPhone 4s with iOS 8.1 feels faster!

  • Mads Teland

    I mean Apple should not longer have iMessage requirement for SMS Text Message Forwarding because iMessage does really make you frustrating and get problems with it. But without it should be like Phone Calls that have no iMessage requirement. And one thing Apple should need to remove iMessage message login when you launch Message app on iPad when Mac and iPhone does not that 😉

  • G.Dash

    i gotta question if i don’t use photo stream and just use iCoud photo library how do i save a pic on my macbook to sync with my iPhone??

  • Yunsar

    I don’t understand, what is the difference between this new iCloud photo library, and the My Photo Stream from iOS 7?

  • John Medina Jr

    Hey does this update still effect the date&time change bug? For like emulators and stuff!

  • Rawand Ali

    what about crashing apps ! i have iphone 6 plus when i got the phone was ios 8.0.2 pre installed i had issue with some apps crashig one of them is Zen Garden and today i upgrade ios to 8.1 still crashing , i like to call this ios iCrash

  • Robert Mathews

    Should we update if we want to jailbreak in the future?

  • Crim Nino

    I guess still no direct link to 8.1 firmware for the iphone 6

  • Ottawa Gamerz

    nice u guys have a new beta is apple ever going to get things right???

  • InfinitePlusOne

    I’m crying out lout for apple pay in the UK. What kind of monstrosity is this? So far my 6plus has been useless. Nothing much improvement from old

  • Tommy

    Being a windows user and non-US citizen, I guess the update just brings back camera roll for me.

  • WildWolf

    Too bad their update still hasn’t fixed my Bluetooth issues

  • Zack Simpson

    “Moreover, company executives did say during the WWDC keynote that Apple Pay will be supported by participating online stores through a browser.”

    Apple Pay was definitely not introduced at WWDC.

  • Gary LE

    Let me get this straight!

    Icloud photo library stores all photos and videos youve TAKEN WITH AN IOS DEVICE TO THE CLOUD right? What if you saved a photo from an app or safari?

    Also, camera roll is where YOUR PHOTOS AND VIDEOS ARE STORED INTO YOUR IOS DEVICE when you take a photo/video AND when you save a photo from an app/safari?

    Also can I copy and paste my photos from my backup drive that was backed up from my macbook air into icloud photo library?

    Thanks peps

  • CryptoCoin420

    No 8.1 download link in the downloads page linked above??

  • andy

    I updated my Ipod touch 5th generation to IOS 8.1
    To be honest after installing it through (OTA) it runs pretty good, impress, it basically fixed most of the errors apple listed, no wifi dropping anymore, performance and all runs just like ios 7.1.2 now but most important for battery life (still same) but had be better installing from clean restore 😀
    What about all you’s, whats your experience after updating, please feed me back 🙂 thanks.

  • B Bek Gurung

    any idea for black screen and hangs after call is missed on iphone 4s is it solved in ios 8.1 i got problem with ios 8

  • Vanasian

    I have been trying to update my iPhone via iTunes since they released ios8.1 this morning but it never passes “contacting the iPhone software update server.” I am not sure what I can do next. 🙁

    • Antzboogie

      Just wait maybe it’s over loaded at the moment.

  • Vanasian

    Thanks for replying. I guess that’s what I can do now.

  • JS3

    can someone explain to me how the text message forward thing works. imessage has been working fine but sms isnt working for me…

  • Nathan

    Am I missing something? Messages between devices show up but you still have to delete on each device? I could do that before these updates so whats new? I was hoping that by expanding this feature apple would make this truly work together so if Im using my mac for iMessages and delete it will delete on phone. That is not happen, am I missing a setting change? If not this isn’t any different than the old ios7 way!!

  • Manuel Molina

    If only Movie Box worked on this.

  • Ian Leon

    Safari on iPad only lets you have open 45 tabs at once. I’m guessing you could open 45 more in private mode.

  • Liberti

    what about battery life in 8.1?

  • Kaptivator

    Battery drain on 5s when I updated to 8.1 on 10/21/14. Literally watching the bat percent drop. Went to sleep with 100% woke up to 20% and phone hot. Phone was not charging because I was at 100%. Any fixes for this? anyone else having the same issues?

  • Chelsea Oliver

    Anyone know why/how a whole text message conversation (from about May) has completely disappeared on my iPhone 5 after I updated to iOS8.1 (skipping iOS8)????

  • Leanne Crabb

    DO NOT DO THE 8.1 update unless you want to turn your device into a useless piece of junk and lose everything. I can no longer use my iPad mini since updating, it’s stuck on the iTunes logo and will need a complete reset. Has Apple ever heard of the words ‘quality control’ and ‘test before release’? This is a complete debacle. I think it may be time to return to Samsung who never had any such problems.

  • Cable guy

    When I FYI to forward a text or picture and I get the ” more” and select the Greene dot to the left , I do not get the forward arrow

  • Cable guy

    Let me try this again, when I try to forward a text or picture from my messages I do not get the forward arrow anymore in the right lower corner?

  • jeet King

    Hey, after updating to iOS 8 my carrier network was lost as I updated jailbreak device and can you tell the way out, how can I use my network again.

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