iOS 6.1 rolls out with wider LTE support and enhanced privacy controls

29 Jan 2013

Yesterday evening, Apple began rolling out the first update to its latest operating system, which has so far reached almost 300m devices just five months since it was released. As well as performance improvements and further-reaching LTE support, the software update comes with extended privacy controls.

With iOS 6.1, Apple has added LTE capabilities to 36 more iPhone carriers and 23 more iPad carriers worldwide, widening the availability of fast wireless performance on these devices. Also added is the ability for US users to use Siri to buy cinema tickets through telephone and online booking service Fandango.

Subscribers to iTunes Match will also be able to download individual songs from iCloud once they upgrade to iOS 6.1.

Reset ad tracking

Apple has also added a new button to its privacy controls to reset the controversial Advertising Identifier. Among the 200 features added with the release of iOS 6 was this technology that sends information on user activity to advertisers for better ad targeting.

Privacy advocates were unhappy with how the Advertising Identifier was introduced, as well as the counter-intuitive way in which it could be switched off, while data protection experts wondered how this technology could be allowed under the EU e-Privacy Directive.

While the settings to control this still aren’t available under users’ privacy settings, they will now find an additional option when they navigate to ‘General’, then ‘About’, then ‘Advertising’ from the settings menu. The new button, labelled ‘Reset Advertising Identifier’, will reset tracking data and allow the user to appear as a new user. Essentially, this action is like deleting cookies from your browser.

300m devices

Announcing iOS 6.1, Apple’s senior vice-president of worldwide marketing Phil Schiller revealed some key figures on the mobile operating system. “With nearly 300m iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices on iOS 6 in just five months, it may be the most popular new version of an OS in history,” he said.

Apple also reminded users that there are now more than 800,000 apps available in its App Store, including more than 300,000 native iPad apps. More than 40bn of these apps have been downloaded to date, which has seen Apple paying out more than US$7bn to its developer community.

The free software update for iOS 6.1 is available now for iPhone 3GS or later, iPads from the third generation upward, the iPad mini, the iPad 2 and iPod touch from fourth generation, though all features may not be available on all products.

Apple TV’s software has also been updated to include support for Bluetooth keyboards, ‘Up Next’, which shows upcoming songs when playing music and allows users to choose what plays next, as well as an enhanced iTunes in the Cloud experience.

Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.