Apple today released an update for iOS that fixes an unspecified Wi-Fi bug in the iPhone 5 and iPad Mini.
Customers reported that the update fixed some, but not all, of the Wi-Fi problems they have encountered.
According to the note that accompanied the update, iOS 6.0.2, "Fixes a bug that could impact Wi-Fi." Apple offered no other details on its website.
The update is for the iPhones 5 and iPad Mini only.
Users initially reported trouble grabbing an over-the-air (OTA) update, where changes are downloaded and installed without connecting the device to a personal computer and iTunes.
"It seems that [Apple's] update server is having trouble," said someone identified "HP550c" in a message on Apple's iPhone support forum shortly after iOS 6.0.2 went live. "A lot of people are getting 'Unable to Check for Update' when they go to Software Update -- including me. Nice."
Some Computerworld staffers saw the same message when they tried to update their iPhone 5 smartphones.
Within 20 minutes, however, HP550c and others reported that OTA updating was working.
Initial reaction to the update was mixed.
Some iPhone 5 owners reported problems grabbing the OTA update for iOS 6.0.2, but Apple's servers seemed to recover quickly and began serving the update.
"When the Wi-Fi signal is strong, iPhone 5 [now] connects very quickly and maintains the signal.... I noticed that Wi-Fi no longer hangs and idles like before," said someone identified as "zeroio" in a message posted today at 3:15 p.m. ET on a massive iPhone support thread.
"[But] the Wi-Fi strength is not nearly as good as any other iPhone I've owned," zeroio continued. "With 6.0.2, and a weak connection, the iPhone will quickly toggle and alternate between 4G and the Wi-Fi indicator. I've never seen it do this before."
Others echoed the uneven results of 6.0.2. "Speed tests are still showing slow speeds, but download[ing] a podcast is vastly improved," reported "Russ T".
iPhone 5 owners have noted Wi-Fi issues, including slower-than-expected download speeds and weak or intermittent connections, since the smartphone's launch Sept. 21. The thread where zeroio commented kicked off the same day. As of Tuesday, it ran 183 pages, included more than 2,700 messages and had been viewed more than 400,000 times, all huge numbers for an Apple support thread.
Wi-Fi connection issues are typical for Apple's products: Users regularly report experiencing them in both iOS and OS X, especially after a new version has been released. The previous iOS 6 update, dubbed 6.0.1 and released Nov. 1, also included at least one Wi-Fi fix.
Apple launched iOS 6 on Sept. 19.
iPhone 5 and iPad Mini owners can retrieve 6.0.2 over the air by tapping the "Settings" icon, then the "General" tab, and finally "Software Update."
Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, on Google+ or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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