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2014 Mac Mini Teardown Highlights Increased Difficulty For User Upgradability

iFixIt has conducted its teardown of the brand new Mac mini, finding that the new device is more difficult to open than previous models. They've also discovered that the RAM is soldered onto the machine, which was first discovered late last week.

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The team found that gaining entry into the new desktop is more difficult than previous models. Instead of a twistable bottom cover, the new Mac mini requires a plastic opening tool to pop off the cover. Underneath that is a new solid door that blocks easy access to the RAM and fan. The door uses what iFixIt calls "the smallest Torx Security screw" they've ever seen, requiring their tool design team to prototype a new screwdriver to open the desktop.

Inside, the Mac mini now sports a new AirPort card that connects straight to a PCIe slot rather than via a cable. Unlike past Mac minis, the new version only contains one SATA port. Previously, Mac mini users could upgrade their desktops with an extra hard drive. However, iFixIt notes that there is an extra socket that could potentially be used for a SSD blade via a PCIe cable. Oddly, the new Mac mini's power supply is identical to both the 2012 and 2011 models.

Finally, iFixIt gave the new Mac mini a repairability score of 6 out of 10, which is a worse score than the 2012 Mac mini's 8 out of 10. Although disassembly is straight forward, the team noted that the presence of Torx security screws and soldered on RAM made it more difficult to repair than previous models.

Spotlight Suggestions Sends Minimum Amount of Data to Apple, Exact Location and IP Addresses Not Collected

Following the release of OS X Yosemite with new Spotlight Suggestions, some users noted that Apple's Spotlight privacy policy began offering a warning letting users know that search terms were being uploaded to Apple's servers, with some of the info being forwarded to Microsoft's Bing search engine.

The search terms were being shared with Apple in order to enable Spotlight's new capabilities, which include searching sources like the Mac App Store, Wikipedia, and the web.

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When you use Spotlight, your search queries, the Spotlight Suggestions you select, and related usage data will be sent to Apple. Search results found on your Mac will not be sent. If you have Location Services on your Mac turned on, when you make a search query to Spotlight the location of your Mac at that time will be sent to Apple. Searches for common words and phrases will be forwarded from Apple to Microsoft's Bing search engine.
While Apple noted directly within Yosemite's Spotlight preferences that the search terms were collected only to improve Spotlight Searches and directed users to turn off Spotlight Suggestions and Bing Web searches in System Preferences if they didn't want their data uploaded, the issue still received quite a bit of attention over the course of the weekend, with one developer even uploading a Python script to prevent Apple from collecting data.

Apple has now given a statement on Spotlight Suggestions to iMore, stating that the company is "absolutely committed" to protecting user privacy and that Spotlight Suggestions minimizes the information that's sent to Apple.
"We are absolutely committed to protecting our users' privacy and have built privacy right into our products," Apple told iMore. "For Spotlight Suggestions we minimize the amount of information sent to Apple. Apple doesn't retain IP addresses from users' devices. Spotlight blurs the location on the device so it never sends an exact location to Apple. Spotlight doesn't use a persistent identifier, so a user's search history can't be created by Apple or anyone else. Apple devices only use a temporary anonymous session ID for a 15-minute period before the ID is discarded.

"We also worked closely with Microsoft to protect our users' privacy. Apple forwards only commonly searched terms and only city-level location information to Bing. Microsoft does not store search queries or receive users' IP addresses.

"You can also easily opt out of Spotlight Suggestions, Bing or Location Services for Spotlight."
As Apple says in the statement that it gave to iMore, users that are concerned about their data being uploaded to Apple's servers can easily disable the new features by going to System Preferences --> Spotlight and unchecking both the boxes for "Spotlight Suggestions" and "Bing Web Searches."

Along with offering users its privacy policy directly in the System Preferences app under "About Spotlight Suggestions & Privacy," Apple has also updated its iOS 8 Privacy website to make it clear that limited user data is collected and that the data the company does acquire is obscured by an anonymous identifier.

Introduced with iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite, Spotlight Suggestions allow Apple's Spotlight feature to give users search suggestions from sources like Wikipedia, the iTunes Store, and Maps. For example, it's now possible to search for an app in the Mac App Store using Spotlight, or look for a specific term on Wikipedia without needing to access Safari or another web browser.

iOS 8.1 Brings iCloud Photo Library to All Users, With Images Accessible on iOS Devices, iCloud.com

iOS 8.1, released to the public earlier today, included Apple Pay support as its most notable feature, but it also brought several other updates to the mobile operating system, including iCloud Photo Library. With iOS 8.1, the iCloud Photo Library beta is now available to all iOS 8 users, as is a new iCloud Photos app that can be found within iCloud.com.

First introduced during WWDC, iCloud Photo Library stores all of the photos and videos that a user takes in iCloud, making them available on the iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Macs through iCloud.com. It will also work with the Photos app that Apple is creating for the Mac, which is expected in early 2015.

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iCloud Photo Library. You’re never without your camera. Now you’ll never be without your photos. Every photo and video you take now lives in iCloud — giving you the freedom to access your library from any device, anytime you want. So you can view a photo from last week or last year no matter where you are.
iCloud Photo Library is designed to keep all of a user's photos synced on all of their devices at all times. When an image is edited on an iOS device in the Photos app with Apple's built-in editing tools, those changes are immediately uploaded to iCloud and visible on other devices right away.

iCloud Photo Library is also designed to free up valuable storage space on iOS devices. Full high-resolution photos and videos are stored in the cloud, while smaller versions of the images are displayed on devices, taking up far less storage space. iCloud Photo Library uses the iCloud storage space of each user, with 20GB of storage space available for $0.99 per month. Apple's iCloud storage plans go up to 1TB, which is priced at $19.99 per month.

iCloud Photo Library can be enabled on iOS devices in the Settings app by going to iCloud > Photos and toggling on "iCloud Photo Library." The Settings app also lets users choose whether to optimize iPhone storage or download and keep original full-sized photos on their devices.

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Once iCloud Photo Library is enabled, images and videos stored on iOS devices will be automatically uploaded to the cloud. They can be viewed as usual within the Photos app for iOS, and on the web, they can be viewed through the new iCloud Photos app on iCloud.com.

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In the iCloud Photos app, users can perform several actions that are also available in the iOS version of the Photos app. Images can be favorited, which sends them to a special "Favorites" album, they can be downloaded in full resolution, or deleted, which removes the photos from iCloud Photo Library on all devices. From the main "Moments" view, it's also possible to click on the "Select Photos" option to delete or download multiple images at once.

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iCloud Photo Library does not appear to be working flawlessly at the current point in time, which is likely why it's still given "beta" status. In MacRumors own testing, deleting some photos from the iCloud Photos app did not delete the photos from the iPhone 6 Plus they were taken on. A later sync even returned the photos to iCloud.com.

While iCloud Photo Library was available to developers during the iOS 8 beta testing period, Apple opted to pull it from the iOS 8 golden master ahead of iOS 8's public release and demote it to beta status.

The reason behind iCloud Photo Library's removal from the release version of iOS 8 was unclear, but it is possible Apple delayed the release in light of the negative press iCloud received in early September due to the celebrity photo leak.

With Apple having taken significant steps to bolster the security of iCloud, adding two-step verification and sending security emails when changes are made to iCloud or a device is restored, the company appears ready to let the public have full access to the new photo storage feature.

Related roundups: iOS 8, iOS 8 Features

Apple CEO Tim Cook: iPhone 6 and 6 Plus Demand 'Far Outstripping' Supply

Apple CEO Tim Cook commented on the balance between supply and demand for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus during today's earnings call, stating that demand is far outstripping supply despite a satisfactory production ramp-up. Cook noted that available data makes it unclear as to when supply will catch up with demand, and that the company was "not close" to having a balance between supply and demand at the end of Q4 2014.

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Supplies for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus have remained tight since the launch of both devices last month, as new iPhone 6 orders still show a shipping estimate of 7-10 business days while the iPhone 6 Plus is still showing a shipping delay of 3-4 weeks. It is worth noting that the iPhone 6 has been mostly available at Apple's own stores and other retail locations, while the iPhone 6 Plus has a constrained supply in-store.

According to a report by The Wall Street Journal, Apple delayed plans to mass produce the larger 12.9-inch iPad in order to shift its resources towards the iPhone 6 Plus as it has remained unsatisfied with the production output from its suppliers for its larger iPhone. A report from earlier this month also stated that the company is shifting its production balance towards the iPhone 6 Plus which may gradually improve its supplies of the larger phone.

Related roundup: iPhone 6

Apple CEO Tim Cook: Apple's 'Creative Engine' Has Never Been Stronger

During today's fiscal fourth quarter earnings call, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that "obviously" the company is working on new products, but that he was going to keep things in the "cone of silence."
I'm not sure what to say. I'm not going to give any hints. We look at a lot of different things and we're fortunate to have a lot of creative people here that want to change the world and have a lot of great ideas.
Cook went on to say that Apple's "creative engine" had never been stronger and the company had never been more passionate, as evidenced with Apple's recent launches of Apple Pay and Apple Watch. Apple Pay, said Cook, is "classic Apple," with the company taking something old and outdated and focusing on making something "very elegant."

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Cook also extolled the virtues of Continuity, which allows Macs and iOS 8 devices to integrate in new and innovative ways. "Use your imagination and think about where Continuity goes," said Cook. He went on to say that it would be "incredibly important" going forward for customers.

Cook said that Apple's investors should look at what Apple's done and what it has delivered, along with the skills of the company. Apple is the "only company on the planet" that has the ability to integrate hardware and software at a "world class level" according to Cook, but the company always has "more ideas than resources" to deal with. He also said as a personal investor, he "feels great" about products that are coming up in 2015.

While Cook declined to mention what products Apple might be working on, rumors have suggested the company has several new devices in the works that could significantly boost future sales, including a 12-inch Retina MacBook Air and a 12.9-inch iPad, dubbed the "iPad Pro" by the media.

Apple Acquired 20 Companies Across 2014, 7 In Fiscal Fourth Quarter

During today's fourth quarter earnings call, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced that Apple purchased 20 companies over the course of 2014, including seven companies during the fiscal fourth quarter. Of the 20 companies purchased, some remain known, but many remain unknown.

Apple's biggest purchase of fiscal 2014 was Beats Electronics, which the company bought for $3 billion in May. With the acquisition, it gained Beats popular line of headphones, the Beats Music music service, and it took on Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre, aka Andre Young, as executives.

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Other recent known acquisitions in fiscal 2014 include iPad-publishing platform Prss, book recommendation platform BookLamp, radio streaming app Swell, social recommendation service Spotsetter, and low-power display company LuxVue.

Last quarter, Apple announced that it had acquired 30 companies thus far in fiscal 2014, which brings the total number of acquisitions since last October up to approximately 37. While some of those acquisitions were known, many of Apple's acquisitions were kept quiet, going under the radar.

The technology from Apple's acquisitions will undoubtedly make its way into future products and updates, and details on its acquisitions may become apparent over time.

Earlier this year, Apple CEO Tim Cook said Apple was "on the prowl" for additional companies to acquire and that Apple is always looking at acquisition space to avoid letting "money burn a hole in our pocket."

Apple Reports Q4 2014 Year-End Results: $8.5 Billion Profit on $42.1 Billion in Revenue [Call Concluded]

Apple LogoApple today announced financial results for the third calendar quarter and fourth fiscal quarter of 2014. For the quarter, Apple posted revenue of $42.1 billion and net quarterly profit of $8.5 billion, or $1.42 per diluted share, compared to revenue of $37.5 billion and net quarterly profit of $7.5 billion, or $1.01 per diluted share in the year-ago quarter.

Gross margin for the quarter was 38 percent compared to 37 percent in the year-ago quarter, with international sales accounting for 60 percent of revenue. Apple also declared an upcoming dividend payment of $0.47 per share, payable on November 13 to shareholders of record as of November 10. The company currently holds $155.2 billion in cash and marketable securities.

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For the full fiscal year, Apple generated $182.8 billion in sales, a new record for the firm, with $38.5 billion in net income. In fiscal 2013, Apple made $35 billion on $170.9 billion in sales. In 2014, Apple sold 18.9 million Macs and just shy of 14.4 million iPods, its lowest total for that category since 2004.

It sold a record 169.2 million iPhones on the year, up 150 million from 2012, and the company has now sold more than 590 million smartphones in total. It sold 68 million iPads in 2014 and the company has now sold 237.2 million tablets.
"Our fiscal 2014 was one for the record books, including the biggest iPhone launch ever with iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “With amazing innovations in our new iPhones, iPads and Macs, as well as iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite, we are heading into the holidays with Apple’s strongest product lineup ever. We are also incredibly excited about Apple Watch and other great products and services in the pipeline for 2015.”
Apple's guidance for the first quarter of fiscal 2015 includes expected revenue of $63.5-66.5 billion and gross margin between 37.5 and 38.5 percent.

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Apple will provide live streaming of its fiscal Q4 2014 financial results conference call at 2:00 PM Pacific, and MacRumors will update this story with coverage of the conference call highlights.

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Apple Pay With iPhone 6 Demoed in McDonald's Purchase

With Apple Pay enabled through an update to iOS 8.1 earlier today, users are now able to use Apple's payments service in a variety of retail locations. Apple's Apple Pay launch partner McDonald's is one location that's already accepting Apple Pay payments, as demoed in the video below.

Making an Apple Pay purchase is so simple that giving a food order becomes the most lengthy part of the ordering process. As seen in the video created by YouTube user John Ross, McDonald's payment systems are set up to accept contactless payments.

Ross, who is using an iPhone 6 with iOS 8.1 installed, makes his order and then his credit card (stored within Passbook) opens automatically as he nears the payment terminal. While holding a finger on the Touch ID fingerprint sensor, he holds his phone near the point-of-sale system to make the payment for the food. It takes a couple of tries as the cashier appears to forget to press a button, but once a payment is ready to be accepted, it took only seconds for Ross to make the payment.


After the payment was accepted by McDonald's, the Passbook screen displayed a check mark and there was a confirmation beep to let Ross know his payment had gone through. The transaction data was also displayed directly on the Passbook screen after payment was made.

During the transaction, at no point did the cashier see Ross's card or his name, and his card number (replaced with a unique Device Account Number in Passbook) was not stored by McDonald's, keeping the transaction completely private.

Apple Pay is limited to the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in retail locations as it requires the NFC chip built into those devices to function. The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus along with the iPad mini 3 and the iPad Air 2 will be able to make purchases in participating apps, however, and when it is released, the Apple Watch will be able to be used in retail stores to make Apple Pay payments.

Related roundup: Apple Pay

Apple to Continue Offering Public Beta Versions of OS X Software

With the release of Yosemite, Apple introduced a public beta test for the first time, allowing more than a million consumers to sign up for and participate in the Yosemite beta. In past years, beta testing new Mac software has been left up to developers and a select number of Apple Seed members.

It appears that Apple found Yosemite's public beta testing to be successful, as the company today sent out an email that suggests it will continue to offer public beta tests for OS X software in the future. In an email that thanks Yosemite testers, Apple says that members of the OS X Beta Program will continue to be offered beta versions of OS X software updates.

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Thanks for participating in the OS X Yosemite Beta Program. As you know, OS X Yosemite brings an elegant redesign, continuity features for using your Mac, iPhone, and iPad together, and major enhancements to the apps you use every day. And it's now available for free from the Mac App Store.

Please install the release version of OS X Yosemite. As a member of the OS X Beta Program, you will continue to be offered beta versions of OS X software updates on any Mac that you installed the beta on. However, if you prefer to stop receiving beta updates, please click here.
Over the course of the beta testing period, Apple seeded six separate public betas to beta testers. While public beta testers received fewer updates than developers early on, towards the end of the beta testing period, updates became more frequent and the final beta that was sent out mirrored the third golden master sent to developers.

It is unclear if Apple will seed minor OS X updates to the beta testing public, or if the next major public beta test will come in 2015 with the release of the next-generation OS X 10.11 Mac operating system.

List of Stores and Apps That Accept Apple Pay Payments

While Apple Pay will work in any store that accepts contactless payments, Apple has partnered up with several retailers for the launch of Apple Pay, to ensure the mobile payment service will work smoothly in those locations. In retail stores, only iPhone 6 and 6 Plus users can take advantage of Apple Pay, as payments require NFC.

Retail partners that will begin accepting Apple Pay payments today or in the immediate future include Aeropostale, Babies R Us, BJ's Wholesale Club, Bloomingdales, Champs, Chevron, DuaneReade, Foot Locker (including Lady Footlocker, Run by Footlocker, Kids Footlocker, and House of Hoops), FootAction, Macy's Nike, Office Depot, Petco (and Unleashed), Radioshack, Six:02, Sports Authority, Texaco, Toys R Us, Walgreens, and of course, Apple's own retail stores.

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Fast food locations now accepting Apple Pay include McDonald's, Subway, and Panera Bread, while grocery stores accepting the payments service include Wegmans and Whole Foods Market.

Apple Pay can also be used within apps on devices that support Touch ID, which includes the iPhone 6, the iPhone 6 Plus, and Apple's upcoming iPad mini 3 and iPad Air 2. Apple's iPhone 5s does not appear to be compatible according to the Apple Pay website, even though it has Touch ID. Over the weekend, Apple's iTunes chief Eddy Cue said that he expects most initial Apple Pay transactions to take place within apps.

Apple's app launch partners, which will begin accepting Apple Pay payments through app updates going out today, include AirBnB, Chairish, Disney Store, Fancy, Groupon, Hotel Tonight, Houzz, Instacart, Lyft, MLB.com, OpenTable, Panera Bread, Spring, Staples, Target, Tickets.com, and Uber. Apple's own Apple Store app now accepts Apple Pay payments as well.

Apple Pay updates for the above listed apps should be trickling out beginning today now that Apple Pay is live. Bank apps are also being updated with Apple Pay support, and Capital One and Navy Federal Credit Union have already launched apps with Apple Pay updates.

How to Set Up Apple Pay and Add Credit Cards

Now that iOS 8.1 has been released to the public, we're getting our first look at what Apple Pay looks like on the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus. Apple Pay isn't immediately obvious when iOS 8.1 is installed -- users will need to open up Settings or Passbook to see various Apple Pay features.

The initial setup for Apple Pay can be done through Passbook. Tapping the "+" icon in Passbook will allow users to add a card. If a card is already associated with an iTunes account, users can tap choose to use that card, or enter another one using the camera.

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The camera roll will capture a card number, expiration date, and user's name, requiring the security code on the card to verify the number with the bank.

The verification process takes just a few seconds for most cards that are currently working with Apple Pay, after which the card can immediately be used for purchases. Some cards require additional verification steps, such as phone calls and emails. All cards stored in Passbook will be stacked on top of each other in Passbook's traditional style, with tap pulling a specific card to the forefront of the app.

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Apple Pay's neatest features are buried in the Settings menu, located under the new "Passbook and Apple Pay" section. Each credit card listed added to Passbook is listed here, along with Transaction Defaults like billing address, shipping address, email, and phone number.

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Tapping on one of the cards provides specific information about the card, allowing users to see the last digits of the card number, the last digits of the Device Account Number that replaces the card number in transactions, and it also provides contact information for the bank behind the card, as well as an app download.

Each card also includes a list of recent transactions that have been made, and with some cards, transactions made in stores that don't support Apple Pay will be listed right alongside Apple Pay transactions. This settings area is also where a card can be removed from Apple Pay.

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After being set up, Apple Pay can be used within stores and within participating apps to make purchases with a single touch. When in a store, making a purchase is as simple as holding an iPhone 6 or 6 Plus near a contactless payment terminal with a finger on Touch ID, can be seen in the demo video below from The Verge.


According to Apple, Apple Pay will work with more than 200,000 stores that support contactless payments, and it has partnered with several retailers like Walgreens, Macy's, and Whole Foods to ensure support in those locations. Apple Pay also works for purchases made in participating apps like Uber, Starbucks, and Apple's own Apple Store app.

Apple Releases iOS 8.1 With Apple Pay Support, SMS Relay, Camera Roll, and More

Apple today released iOS 8.1, its first major update to iOS 8. First seeded to developers at the end of September, iOS 8.1 brings quite a few significant features to the operating system. The update activates Apple Pay, enables Yosemite users to access Continuity features like SMS relay and Instant Hotspot, offers all iOS 8 users access to iCloud Photo Library, fixes several bugs, and more.

iOS 8.1, build 12B410 for iPads and 12B411 for iPhones, is available immediately as an over-the-air download and after updating, it will allow iPhone 6 and 6 Plus owners to access Apple Pay, Apple's new payment service. With Apple Pay, the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus can be used to make payments in both retail stores that support NFC and participating apps. Apple has also released Apple TV software 7.0.1.

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Apple Pay support for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus (U.S. only)

Photos include new features, improvements, and fixes
-Adds iCloud Photo Library as a beta service
- Adds Camera Roll album in Photos app and My Photo Stream album when iCloud Photo Library is not enabled
- Provides alerts when running low on space before capturing Time Lapse videos

Messages includes new features, improvements and fixes
- Adds the ability for iPhone users to send and receive SMS and MMS text messages on from their iPad and Mac
- Resolves an issue where search would sometimes not display results
- Fixes a bug that caused read messages not to be marked as read
- Fixes issues with group messaging

Resolves issues with Wi-Fi performance that could occur when connected to some base stations
Fixes an issue that could prevent connections to Bluetooth hands-free devices
Fixes bugs that could cause screen rotation to stop working
Fixes an issue in Safari where videos would sometimes not play
Adds an option to select between 2G, 3G, or LTE networks for cellular data
Fixes an issue in Safari where videos would sometimes not play
Adds AirDrop support for Passbook passes
Adds an option to enable Dictation in Settings for Keyboards, Separate from Siri
Enables HealthKit apps to access data in the background

Accessibility improvements and fixes
- Fixes an issue that prevented Guided Access from working properly
- Fixes a bug where VoiceOver would not work with 3rd party keyboards
- Improves stability and audio quality when using MFi Hearing Aids with iPhone 6 and 6 Plus
- Fixes an issue with VoiceOver where tone dialing would get stuck on tone until dialing another number
- Improves reliability when using handwriting, Bluetooth keyboards, and Braille displays with VoiceOver

Fixes an issue that was preventing the use of OS X Caching Server for iOS updates
Also included in iOS 8.1 is support for SMS relay, a Continuity feature designed to allow Macs (running Yosemite) and iOS devices like iPads to receive SMS messages routed through a user's iPhone. Instant Hotspot is also enabled through the iOS 8.1 update, letting Mac users remotely activate the Personal Hotspot capabilities of an iPhone when two devices are near each other.

Along with those major features, iOS 8.1 reinstates the Camera Roll, which was removed with iOS 8, and it gives all iOS 8 users access to iCloud Photo Library, Apple's new cloud-based photo storage solution. The removal of the Camera Roll turned out to be a controversial decision, with Apple opting to re-add it after iOS users asked for the feature to be returned.

iOS 8 has not been Apple's smoothest software release, with users encountering quite a few bugs in the operating system. While multiple issues were fixed with iOS 8.0.2, released in late September, iOS 8.1 fixes several other bugs, including a problem that caused some iOS 8 users to have trouble pairing their phones with their Bluetooth devices. According to release notes, iOS 8.1 also fixes several other complaints users have had about iOS 8, including problems connecting to Wi-Fi and issues with screen rotation.

Related roundups: iOS 8, iOS 8 Features