Get iOS 8.1 now for Apple Pay, iCloud Photo Library and more

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Photo: Cult of Mac
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Apple just released iOS 8.1, bringing Apple Pay, iCloud Photo Library and other new features to the mobile operating system.

Available now via Software Update, iOS 8.1 will let you quickly set up Apple Pay on compatible devices. Upgraders running OS X Yosemite will also notice additional Continuity features that let iOS 8 work with the latest version of the Mac operating system.

Previewed at last week’s iPad event, 8.1 is a major update for iOS users. It’s required if you want to use Apple Pay on compatible devices (iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPad Air and iPad mini 3).

Apple Pay can be used at any of Apple’s hundreds of merchant partners in the United States and in supported iOS apps that process payments. The service requires the user to have an approved credit or debit card on file in the Passbook app.

Only the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, the first Apple phones with NFC chips, can make payments at physical stores. The iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 are limited to using Touch ID for online purchases.

Screenshot: Apple
Screenshot: Apple

Continuity, an umbrella term for features that let iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite work together, gains a couple of additions in 8.1. SMS relay has been turned on, meaning that messages received on an iPhone will be synced to all Mac and iOS devices on the same iCloud account. You can also start SMS-based conversation threads from any device.

Screenshot: Apple
Screenshot: Apple

Instant Hotspot is enabled in iOS 8.1, which allows you to connect to an iPhone’s cellular hotspot directly from the Wi-Fi menu of a Mac running Yosemite. Hotspots previously had to be turned on from the iPhone first.

iOS 8.1 also introduces the beta of iCloud Photo Library. As the successor to Photo Stream, iCloud Photo Library automatically stores every photo and video you take and makes everything available from any device and iCloud.com. It can be enabled under the iCloud section of Settings in iOS 8.1.

Screenshot: Apple
Screenshot: Apple

The original high-res versions of photos and videos are stored in the cloud and “lightweight” versions are left on the device by default to save storage. Apple only gives each user 5GB of free iCloud storage, so you’ll have to delete photos or upgrade to a paid storage plan once you run out of space. iCloud Photo Library will integrate with Apple’s forthcoming Photos app for OS X Yosemite and save edits across devices.

Other minor changes in iOS 8.1 include the return of the Camera Roll folder and a fix for a Bluetooth pairing bug with certain automobiles.

Direct download links

If you’re having trouble downloading iOS 8.1 over the air, here’s where you can download the update for your specific device directly from Apple’s servers:

• Apple TV 3 (AppleTV3,1) version 7.0.1 (Build 12B410a), Download

• Apple TV 3 (2013) (AppleTV3,2) version 7.0.1 (Build 12B410a), Download

• iPad 2 (Wi-Fi) (iPad2,1) version 8.1 (Build 12B410), Download

• iPad 2 (GSM) (iPad2,2) version 8.1 (Build 12B410), Download

• iPad 2 (CDMA) (iPad2,3) version 8.1 (Build 12B410), Download

• iPad 2 (Mid 2012) (iPad2,4) version 8.1 (Build 12B410), Download

• iPad mini (Wi-Fi) (iPad2,5) version 8.1 (Build 12B410), Download

• iPad mini (GSM) (iPad2,6) version 8.1 (Build 12B410), Download

• iPad mini (CDMA) (iPad2,7) version 8.1 (Build 12B410), Download

• iPad 3 (Wi-Fi) (iPad3,1) version 8.1 (Build 12B410), Download

• iPad 3 (GSM) (iPad3,2) version 8.1 (Build 12B410), Download

• iPad 3 (CDMA) (iPad3,3) version 8.1 (Build 12B410), Download

• iPad 4 (Wi-Fi) (iPad3,4) version 8.1 (Build 12B410), Download

• iPad 4 (GSM) (iPad3,5) version 8.1 (Build 12B410), Download

• iPad 4 (CDMA) (iPad3,6) version 8.1 (Build 12B410), Download

• iPad Air (Wi-Fi) (iPad4,1) version 8.1 (Build 12B410), Download

• iPad Air (GSM) (iPad4,2) version 8.1 (Build 12B410), Download

• iPad Air (CDMA) (iPad4,3) version 8.1 (Build 12B410), Download

• iPad mini Retina (Wi-Fi) (iPad4,4) version 8.1 (Build 12B410), Download

• iPad mini Retina (GSM) (iPad4,5) version 8.1 (Build 12B410), Download

• iPad mini Retina (CDMA) (iPad4,6) version 8.1 (Build 12B410), Download

• iPad4,7 (iPad4,7) version 8.1 (Build 12B410), Download

• iPad4,8 (iPad4,8) version 8.1 (Build 12B410), Download

• iPad4,9 (iPad4,9) version 8.1 (Build 12B410), Download

• iPad5,3 (iPad5,3) version 8.1 (Build 12B410), Download

• iPad5,4 (iPad5,4) version 8.1 (Build 12B410), Download

• iPhone 4s (iPhone4,1) version 8.1 (Build 12B411), Download

• iPhone 5 (GSM) (iPhone5,1) version 8.1 (Build 12B411), Download

• iPhone 5 (CDMA) (iPhone5,2) version 8.1 (Build 12B411), Download

• iPhone 5c (GSM) (iPhone5,3) version 8.1 (Build 12B411), Download

• iPhone 5c (CDMA) (iPhone5,4) version 8.1 (Build 12B411), Download

• iPhone 5s (GSM) (iPhone6,1) version 8.1 (Build 12B411), Download

• iPhone 5s (CDMA) (iPhone6,2) version 8.1 (Build 12B411), Download

• iPhone 6 Plus (iPhone7,1) version 8.1 (Build 12B411), Download

• iPhone 6 (iPhone7,2) version 8.1 (Build 12B411), Download

• iPod touch 5G (iPod5,1) version 8.1 (Build 12B411), Download