As you know, iOS 6.1 was released this week and while jailbreakers (the evad3rs team) are busy getting the untethered jailbreak ready by this weekend, people are debating on moving towards the new iOS update.

As has been noted before, it is a safe upgrade and it’s quite subtle in many ways. Like iOS 5.1, the updates are small but notably impressive. A lot of users who’ve updated to the new OS suggest that you should prefer updating the iOS through iTunes instead of the popular OTA. As far as I’ve seen, things just seem to work fine but it’s safer to take the iTunes route.

So what changes has Apple introduced with iOS 6.1? What are the new features that will have an impact in the way I use the iPhone/iPad? Let’s take a look:

iOS 6.1

iOS 6.1 Features That Matter

LTE Support
More carriers are now supported for LTE for these devices:

  • iPhone 5
  • iPad Mini
  • iPad 4th gen

The older models like iPad 3 LTE aren’t going to be supported because they were – in the words of iLounge – built for North American carriers predominantly. If you hold the new devices mentioned above and you roam outside N.America, you are going to find a lot of LTE coverage now. Should come in handy if you are fly abroad a lot.

Fandango + Siri
This is probably the most useful update to users within U.S. (Just a lot of caveats, eh?)

You can now book movie tickets via Siri. Siri connects to the Fandango app and for this you’ll need to have Fandango installed. Siri’s prowess has been constantly been tweaked to include more support and functionality and this one – which was on the cards for quite a long time – has come as a welcome addition. Fandango being one of the most-used movie booking app, this definitely makes things a lot more easier.

Reset Advertising Identifier, Changes to UDID
Apple has been constantly moving away from the usage of UDID amidst developers and advertisers and a new feature that you’ll find in the Ad Tracking section of Privacy settings is a handsome proof of this. You can now ‘reset’ your advertising identifier which resets all that has been tracked out of your mobile usage patterns. These patterns helps iAd serve usage-based, targeted ads and if you reset them, you’ll start afresh with a new tracking ID which advertisers will use. This enhances protection although it does limit relevancy in ads till your patterns get established again.

iTunes Match Individual Track Downloads
One important feature that gets added in iOS 6.1 concerns iTunes Match. The ability to download individual tracks without having to fetch an entire playlist is back. Every track gets an individual cloud icon and you can tap this to download the song to local storage.

This usually doesn’t matter if you’re in a good LTE zone and you’ve gotten used to this missing feature but it sure does come in handy when you’re out of good coverage and need to listen to a track on the cloud.

Subtle Changes to Music App UI
Graphically, iOS 6 has remained pretty much the same throughout and iOS 6.1 brings nothing spectacular (nor would Apple do something of that sort anymore till someone rethinks iOS again). However, the Music app now features a slightly metallic-toned playback controls. You’ll find these even on the lockscreen playback controls that come up when you double-press the home button.

Welcome Screen in Passbook, Easier Access to Passbook-enabled apps
Passbook, which opened point-blank like there were already many passes now gets a welcome screen if you haven’t configured it already. This is helpful and right now with a lot of Passbook apps coming up, the use of Passbook is going to see a quick increase.