The most common iOS 14 problems and how to fix them

Apple’s most recently released major operating system for iPhone — iOS 14 — has been a relatively smooth experience for most iPhone users. Not that there haven’t been a ton of new features, but the rollout was orderly, with minimal complaints about the usual issues that plague new releases. Since its release last September, people have been customizing their home screens and taking advantage of the new App Library, enjoying videos and FaceTime calls while using other apps, setting up new default apps, and much more.

The latest version, iOS 14.4.1 is broadly suggested as an update for everyone because of additional security patches spanning the last few updates. With its newest security patch, there are no new features or bug fixes, but some users report improved performance.

If you don’t receive an automatic update notification, go to Settings > General > Software Update to download and install it. Be aware that with iOS 14.4.1 you no longer downgrade your iPhone software, as Apple has stopped signing on iOS 14.4 or on older versions of iOS, which means you can’t move your phone back to any previous version. While iOS 14.4.1 may solve a few longstanding issues, overall, the update has been clean with relatively few specific complaints.

Get ready for iOS 14.5, Apple’s next milestone upgrade for iOS 14, currently in beta, and slated for public release very soon. It has already had several beta releases, and unlike iOS 14.4.1, it promises to be a huge feature-rich release which, among other things, is expected to let you unlock your iPhone via your Apple Watch, enable smart Siri support for music apps, and offer App Tracking Transparency, PS5 and Xbox controller support, and Waze-inspired crowdsourcing in Apple Maps.

Nothing is perfect, and a few issues have cropped up over time that you still may be grappling with. We have a look at them and lay out what you can do about them.

Problem: Touch ID and Face ID issues

The fingerprint sensor is reported not to be working properly on the iPhone 8. There are also reports from previous releases about the fingerprint sensor as nonfunctional or not responding.

Possible solutions

Problem: Apple Watch connection issues (14.4.1)

On an iPhone XR, some users report being unable to connect their device to Apple Watch to update its firmware. The problem is that you cannot pair the watch until it’s updated.

Possible solutions

  • None at this time. However, iOS 14.5 is right around the corner, and hopefully that will be the fix.

Problem: Can’t modify widgets

With iOS 14, one of the biggest draws was a new interface for the home screen that features resizable and stackable widgets. Some users were disappointed when they couldn’t modify some widgets at will or recently downloaded apps may not have widgets available at all.

Possible solution

  • Launch the app in question and use it a bit. After the app is established on your phone, a widget may show up on the list when you tap the + icon. It’s worth a try.

Problem: Text delays

When typing a message or email, the text is delayed and slow to register on the screen, which is distracting. This has been a longstanding issue.

Solution

  • Update to the most recent version of iOS — 14.4. The changelog for iOS 14.4 specifies delayed typing as one of the bug fixes.

Problem: Google Authenticator not working

One issue we’ve seen after updating to iOS 14.2 was that the Google Authenticator app stopped loading up as normal. You’d tap its icon, the app would begin to load for a split second, but then it would quickly revert to the Home screen. This is potentially a very serious bug, given the necessity of using two-factor authentication to log into personal accounts. However, there is one very quick fix we used to resolve the issue.

Solution

  • Go to Settings > General > iPhone Storage > Authenticator. Tap Offload App, which will remove the app from your iPhone while keeping all of its data — don’t worry, your 2FA codes won’t be lost. Next, tap Reinstall. Good as new!

Problem: Not receiving text message notifications

Some users updating to iOS 14 have found that they don’t receive sound notifications for text messages, and that the notification banner doesn’t appear at all when their iPhone is locked. Users posting to the Apple website have indicated that this may have been intentional on Apple’s part, although this seems unlikely. Either way, the problem is certainly frustrating. Here are some potential fixes.

Possible solutions

  • Upgrade to iOS 14.4, the latest update to iOS 14. Cumulative fixes from earlier updates include a solution for a bug affecting the delivery of MMS messages.
  • Always force quit the Messages app after using it. Swipe up from the bottom of the touchscreen (or double-tap the Home button) and then swipe up on the Messages app to force close it.

Problem: Installing the latest iOS 14 update

Many iPhone users had been champing at the bit to download the new operating system as soon as it was available but found they had to wait from hours to even a day or two for the initial release of iOS 14 to download and install to their phone. Like most major OS updates, iOS 14 is huge, though, by this time, demand may be slackening a bit.

Possible solutions

  • The update eventually reached almost every phone that’s compatible with the new update — it just took some time.
  • If you’re still waiting, you might want to clear out some space from your phone and offload apps, photos, and videos you no longer need to store on your handset.
  • Also, make sure your phone is fully charged or be prepared to plug it into a power source for the download. If you’re still having issues, try rebooting your phone just to clear out the cobwebs. This works for all iOS versions, including the new 14.4.1.

Problem: Battery drain

Battery drain is a perpetual issue after the installation of a new mobile OS. That’s because the new system has a lot to integrate and catch up on before the battery will start functioning normally again.  Not surprisingly, it is a complaint that’s still out there for iOS 14.

Possible solutions

  • Chill out for at least 48 hours after installing a brand new update, and keep the battery charged so that your phone adapts properly to the new OS. Not only is your phone integrating the new system and re-indexing your data, but your installed apps are also adapting to a new environment, and even updating their own systems to better operate with iOS 14. All of that takes time and power.
  • Before you update, check to see whether your critical apps are compatible with iOS 14 by checking their download page on the App Store or the latest version date. Non-optimized apps could cause a variety of problems. Check app battery usage via Settings > Battery and scroll down to check Battery Usage By App to see if any apps are particularly hard on your battery.
  • Double-check your battery health via Settings > Battery > Battery Health, which will tell you the level of charge your phone can hold. If you don’t like what you see, you can take steps to improve your battery life, including adjusting screen brightness or app background use. If a certain app consistently chews through your battery life, you may want to make further adjustments or remove it.
  • Restart your phone by turning it completely off. Wait a few minutes and then power it back up again.
  • Halt background refresh, the feature that shows you the latest activity in all your apps, as it may use too much power. Go to Settings > General > Background App Refresh and switch it off for apps that don’t need it.
  • If you are already using iOS 14 and you’re still experiencing battery drain, update the OS to the latest version, which is now 14.4.
  • If you’ve tried everything and your battery is still draining unacceptably fast, try a total phone reset via Settings > General > Reset > Reset all settings.

Problem: Default app reset

One reported glitch involves one of the new features, causing iOS 14 to reset the default browser and email client back to Safari and Mail after you power down and then restart. That means you have to reset the defaults to your preferred apps all over again.

Possible solution

  • Download the latest version of iOS 14, which is 14.4, to solve the default browser app bug on restart. It’s been reported that some apps can’t open URLs if Safari is not the default browser, so it’s worth keeping an eye on whether that ever happens to you.

Problem: Bluetooth performance

Bluetooth connections can often be problematic, so if you can’t connect to various of your Bluetooth devices after updating to iOS 14, try some of these moves.

Possible solutions

  • Forget the Bluetooth connection on your device by going to Settings > Bluetooth and selecting the connection using the info circle and tap Forget This Device. Then try to reconnect.
  • Reset your iPhone’s network settings via Settings > General > Reset > Reset Network Settings. This will cause your device to forget current Wi-Fi networks, so be ready with your passwords to log back in.
  • Reset your device’s settings back to their factory defaults via Settings > General > Reset > Reset All Settings.

Problem: Wi-Fi issues

Wi-Fi connection problems can be frustrating, and if you’re operating a home Wi-Fi network, here are a few things to try.

Possible solutions

  • Unplug the router for a few minutes and then plug it back in.
  • If you’re sure your router is not the problem, then forget the troublesome Wi-Fi network via Settings > Wi-Fi and tap the connection info circle. Then, tap Forget this Network.

This echoes the steps cited for Bluetooth in terms of having your Wi-Fi passwords ready to enter or, if that is unsuccessful, resetting your phone’s network settings.

Problem: Cellular connection issues

If you are not getting service on your cellular plan, here are a few things to try even before you pick up your phone. First, check to see if there have been service interruptions in your region. Check local notices, email, TV, radio, or social media, or contact your service provider on social media. Down Detector is a good way to gauge whether others in your area are having the same issues. If not, here’s what to do.

Possible solutions

  • Restart your iPhone to restart the connection.
  • Turn Airplane Mode on for 30 seconds, then turn it off. Airplane Mode provides complete radio silence.
  • Toggle cellular data off and on via Settings > Cellular and toggle off.  Leave it off for a short time and toggle it back on.

Problem: GPS Issues

There have been scattered reports that iOS 14 may cause GPS issues, and if that’s the case for you, the first thing to try is to completely shut down your phone and after a few minutes, power it back up again. Or try the following actions.

Possible solutions

  • Toggle Airplane Mode on and off.
  • Check your location permissions to make sure your app is set up to use GPS by going to Settings > Privacy > Location Services.
  • Tap on the affected app and make sure you’re using something other than Never.
  • Toggle Location Services off and on via Settings > Privacy > Location Services, wait a few seconds, and toggle it back on.
  • Reset your device’s network settings via Settings > General > Reset > Reset Network Settings.

Editors' Recommendations