Thursday, 09 April 2015 23:40

Apple releases major bug fixes in iOS 8.3 and Mac OS X 10.10.3 with Photos

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The latest operating system updates for Apple’s iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and Macs have arrived, promising improvements and bug fixes galore.

If you have an iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch or Mac, it’s time to update!

Of course, some iDevices are too old to be updated, while some users are happy staying with the OS they’re using, even if updates are possible as is the case with the iPhone 4S and up, the iPad 2 and up and the iPad mini and up.

The same goes for Macs, with some users not wishing for whatever reason to upgrade from whatever pre-Yosemite OS they’re on. Indeed, I was talking today to a fellow who had upgraded his 2011 15-inch MacBook Pro with 16GB of RAM to Yosemite and found it was running like a turtle wading through treacle.

I suggested to him that a complete, clean re-install was likely the best course of action - after first reading through the various Apple forums we checked up first to see if any of the suggestions there that had affected others could help him.

As always, a fresh backup is a safe policy, whether to Time Machine on your Mac (in addition to some other online cloud service if you really want to be safe), alongside backing up iDevices to Macs, PCs or to iCloud, letting you roll back in the event you do come across an issue, so it’s definitely worth doing - but you can always take your chances, even though that is not recommended.

Let’s start with Mac OS X 10.10.3 Yosemite - details on the iOS 8.3 fixes are below. 

According to the update notes and here at Apple itself, this OS update includes the following improvements:

  • Adds over 300 new Emoji characters
  • Adds Spotlight suggestions to Look Up
  • Prevents Safari from saving website favicon URLs used in Private Browsing
  • Improves stability and security in Safari
  • Improves Wi-Fi performance and connectivity in various usage scenarios
  • Improves compatibility with captive Wi-Fi network environments
  • Fixes an issue that might cause Bluetooth devices to disconnect
  • Improves screen sharing reliability

You also get the long awaited new ‘Photos’ program, which replaces iPhoto that was built into Mac OS X, and also replaces the paid Aperture photo editing software from Apple, which it now no longer sells.

You can read more about the new Photos app here at Apple’s site

Wi-Fi issues have been plaguing Yosemite for some time, and I have a Wi-Fi hotspot that likes to drop its connection with said hotspot from time to time, although my Wi-Fi connectivity has always worked fine everywhere else.

I haven’t tested 10.10.3 with the hotspot in question as yet but hopefully, Wi-Fi problems that people have experienced with Yosemite will now, finally, be gone - but we’ll find out over the next few days as people upgrade and share their experiences.

Then there’s iOS 8.3. There’s a very long list of improvements and bug fixes here, which is good to see, because it is widely known and experienced that iOS 8.x has been Apple’s buggiest iOS release yet.

Problems I’ve experienced with previous iOS 8.x versions include the buggiest Safari ever, regularly telling me web pages I’m reading have experienced a problem and need to reload, as well as Spotlight issues where results mysteriously stop showing up, and problems with third-party keyboards where you’ll go into Spotlight to search for something and the damn keyboard won’t show.

These problems only arose in iOS 8.x and I have experienced them all up to iOS 8.2, so over the next few days as I extensively use various iDevices, I will be on the lookout to see if they’re still there, or not. Hopefully these bugs, while relatively minor, are finally squished once and for all.

So, what are the changes, updates, bug fixes and improvements in iOS 8.3?

You can see the list at Apple’s site here, but let’s read on.

Apple says that we can now expect ‘improved performance’ for:

  • App launch
  • App responsiveness
  • Messages
  • Wi-Fi
  • Control Center
  • Safari tabs
  • 3rd-party keyboards
  • Keyboard shortcuts
  • Simplified Chinese keyboard

Apple has also listed the following Wi-Fi and Bluetooth fixes:

  • Fixes an issue where you could be continuously prompted for login credentials
  • Addresses an issue where some devices disconnect intermittently from Wi-Fi networks
  • Fixes an issue where hands-free phone calls could become disconnected
  • Fixes an issue where audio playback could stop working with some bluetooth speakers

When it comes to ‘orientation and rotation fixes’, Apple lists:

  • Addresses an issue that sometimes prevented rotating back to portrait after having rotated to landscape
  • Improves performance and stability issues that occurred when rotating the device between portrait and – landscape
  • Fixes an issue where device orientation appeared upside down after pulling the iPhone 6 Plus from your pocket
  • Resolves an issue that sometimes prevented apps from rotating to correct orientation after switching apps in multitasking

In its Messages app, Apple says its fixes are:

  • Addresses issues that caused group messages to sometimes split
  • Fixes an issue that sometimes removed the ability to forward or delete individual messages
  • Resolves an issue that sometimes prevented a preview from appearing when taking a photo in Messages
  • Adds the ability to report junk messages directly from the Messages app
  • Adds the ability to filter out iMessages that are not sent by your contacts

For those using Apple’s ‘Family Sharing’ feature, the fixes are as follows:

  • Fixes a bug where certain apps would not launch or update on family members’ devices
  • Fixes a bug that prevented family members from downloading certain free apps
  • Increased reliability for Ask to Buy notifications

For those lucky enough to be using CarPlay, here are the fixes:

  • Fixes an issue where Maps could come up as a black screen
  • Fixes an issue where the UI could be incorrectly rotated
  • Fixes an issue where the keyboard could appear on the CarPlay screen when it shouldn’t

For Apple’s Enterprise customers, the fixes are:

  • Improves reliability of installing and updating enterprise apps
  • Corrects the time zone of Calendar events created in IBM Notes
  • Fixes a problem that could cause web clip icons to become generic after restarting
  • Improves reliability of saving the password for a web proxy
  • Exchange out-of-office message can now be edited separately for external replies
  • Improves recovery of Exchange accounts from temporary connection problems
  • Improves compatibility of VPN and web proxy solutions
  • Allows use of physical keyboards to log into Safari web sheets, such as for joining a public Wi-Fi network
  • Fixes an issue that caused Exchange meetings with long notes to be truncated

For users of Apple’s Accessibility features:

  • Fixes an issue where using the back button in Safari causes VoiceOver gestures to not respond
  • Fixes an issue where VoiceOver focus becomes unreliable in draft Mail messages
  • Fixes an issue where Braille Screen Input cannot be used to type text in forms on webpages
  • Fixes an issue where toggling Quick Nav on a Braille Display announces that Quick Nav is off
  • Fixes an issue keeping app icons from being moveable on home screen when VoiceOver is enabled
  • Fixes an issue in Speak Screen where speech will not start again after pausing

Finally, Apple has a big list of other ‘improvements and bug fixes’ which are as follows:

  • Introduces a redesigned Emoji keyboard with over 300 new characters
  • iCloud Photo Library has been optimized to work with the new Photos app on OS X 10.10.3 and is now out of beta
  • Improves the pronunciation of street names during turn-by-turn navigation in Maps
  • Includes support for Baum VarioUltra 20 and VarioUltra 40 braille displays
  • Improves the display of Spotlight results when Reduce Transparency is turned on
  • Adds Italic and Underline format options for iPhone 6 Plus landscape keyboard
  • Adds the ability to remove shipping and billing addresses used with Apple Pay
  • Additional language and country support for Siri: English (India, New Zealand), Danish (Denmark), Dutch (Netherlands), Portuguese (Brazil), Russian (Russia), Swedish (Sweden), Thai (Thailand), Turkish (Turkey)
  • Additional dictation languages: Arabic (Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates) and Hebrew (Israel)
  • Improves stability for Phone, Mail, Bluetooth connectivity, Photos, Safari tabs, Settings, Weather and Genius Playlists in Music
  • Addresses an issue where Slide to Unlock could fail to work on certain devices
  • Addresses an issue that sometimes prevented swiping to answer a phone call on the Lock screen
  • Addresses an issue that prevented opening links in Safari PDFs
  • Fixes an issue where selecting Clear History and Website Data in Safari Settings did not clear all data
  • Fixes an issue that prevented autocorrecting “FYI”
  • Addresses an issue where contextual predictions did not appear in Quick Reply
  • Fixes an issue where Maps did not enter night mode from hybrid mode
  • Resolves an issue that prevented initiating FaceTime calls from a browser or 3rd-party app using FaceTime URLs
  • Fixes an issue that sometimes prevented photos from properly exporting to Digital Camera Image folders on Windows
  • Fixes an issue that sometimes prevented an iPad backup from completing with iTunes
  • Fixes an issue that could cause Podcast downloads to stall when switching from Wi-Fi to cellular networks
  • Fixes an issue where remaining time on timer would sometimes incorrectly display as 00:00 on Lock screen
  • Fixes an issue that sometimes prevented adjusting call volume

So, Apple looks to have really knuckled down on fixing things in iOS 8.3 and OS X 10.10.3.

We’ll see what people report over the next few days, but let us hope all of this restores Apple’s ‘it just works’ reputation back to its usually much shinier status.

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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