Apple iOS 14.2.1 has been released and it contains important fixes for two serious iPhone problems which clouded the otherwise relatively bug-free iOS 14.2 update. So does iOS 14.2.1 fix more problems than it causes? There are worrying initial signs. Here’s everything you need to know.
Tip: bookmark this page because I will keep it up to date if/when new problems are found. I will deliver my final verdict in a week.
Who Is It For?
Apple iOS 14.2.1 is not available for all iOS 13-compatible devices. Apple has limited it to the new iPhone 12 range: iPhone 12 Mini, iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max. You should receive an update notification automatically but, if not, you can trigger the update manually by navigating to Settings > General > Software Update. Beta testers, if you are running iOS 14.3 when you read this (see ‘The Road Ahead’ section at the end), you must unenroll your iPhone before iOS 14.2.1 will show up.
iPad owners, Apple has moved you to iPadOS. This is not an iPadOS-focused guide, but I will touch upon pertinent issues in these guides.
The Deal Breakers
At the time of writing, jailbreakers should stay away from this new version of iOS. Unc0ver remains stuck on iOS 13.5 while checkra1n has an iOS 14 jailbreak (not iOS 14.2.1), but it is restricted to Apple devices running A9(X) chipsets and older.
Following the late issues with iOS 14.2, it looks like there are some concerning (if isolated) problems with iOS 14.2.1 out the gate. Most problematic is a number of users reporting the ongoing SMS messaging problems are not fixed and iOS 14.2.1 even seems to be introducing it for others who weren’t suffering from the problem beforehand. There are also additional SMS bugs showing up and one user has revealed iOS 14.2.1 caused a serious boot loop error on his new iPhone 12 Pro Max. Caution is advised until we find out just how prevalent these issues are.
So What Do You Get?
Apple lists the following iOS 14.2.1 upgrades:
- Some MMS messages may not be received
- Made for iPhone hearing devices could have sound quality issues when listening to audio from iPhone
- Lock Screen could become unresponsive on iPhone 12 mini
The good news is all three of these fixes seem to be successful, according to reports by affected users. That said, the MMS fix should not be confused with the wider SMS problems which appeared to have been ignored, and even made worse for some by this release. The long running issue with lag in Notes is also unresolved.
As for security, Apple’s official security page states there are no patches in iOS 14.2.1
Apple iOS 14.2.1 Verdict: Avoid For Now
At just 24 hours old, there are enough concerning signs in iOS 14.2.1 that I would advise users stay away for now. The ongoing SMS problems are a concern, it is important to determine whether the boot loop error is an isolated occurrence or not, and you are not missing out on any pressing security updates by waiting.
I will update this guide when I know more, including a final verdict in one week.
The Road Ahead
At the time of publication, Apple has released the second beta of iOS 14.3. The big news is this release brings Apple ProRaw functionality, which captures RAW images directly in the camera app – a boon for shutterbugs. The update also adds new Cardio fitness notifications for Apple Watch users and enables the firmware of HomeKit accessories to be updated via the Home app.
But what everyone wants most of all, is a priority fix for SMS messaging.
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