Apple iOS 10.2 Is Causing New Problems – Forbes

Sticking to your guns is often seen as a good thing, but sometimes it can do more harm than good. Especially when it means persisting with a mundane process in full knowledge that it will cause new problems…

In short: today stopped signing iOS 10.1 and iOS 10.1.1. What this means is Apple servers will not recognise either update as legitimate anymore so iPhone, iPad and iPod touch users can no longer downgrade to them from iOS 10.2, which Apple released last week. Apple typically stops signing old versions of iOS within a week or two of launching a new version.

And yet persisting with this seemingly simple housekeeping exercise makes no sense whatsoever given the problems iOS 10.2 is exacerbating with the so-called ‘30% battery bug’.

Apple iOS 10.2. Image credit: Gordon Kelly

Apple iOS 10.2. Image credit: Gordon Kelly

First reported by me last month, the 30% bug can affect every iOS 10 compatible iPhone with the exception of the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus and it causes the phone to die suddenly when the battery is around the 30% mark. To date Apple has acknowledged the problem initially with a small batch of iPhone 6S models (a batch size it then increased), but says it has found no evidence of this happening to any other model.

This stance has been maintained despite a 62 page long thread in Apple’s official Support Communities forum, frustrated tweets from iPhone 6S Plus owner Tony ‘Father of the iPod’ Fadell and a stern warning from the Chinese Government which argues the numerous reports it has received of the problem across multiple models mean Apple is failing to “meet basic consumer needs for normal wireless communication.”

The Big Signing Problem

So where does the issue arrive from Apple’s decision to stop signing iOS 10.1 and iOS 10.1.1, especially since many peg these updates are responsible for the 30% bug’s creation in the first place? It’s quite simple: it is because iOS 10.2 is consistently reported as making the problem even worse.

“Same here, iOS 10.2 actually made the problem worse,” says Apple Support Communities poster ricardo jb in response this growing theme on thread. “The battery percentage seems to get stuck at some level for a while, even with battery draining apps such as pokemon go running, then it drops different percentages at different moments, it’s really random.”

Since I first pointed this out I have also been contacted numerous times over email and social media by users empathising with this situation:

Complaints on Twitter mirror the same frustration expressed by users on Apple Support Communities. Image credit: Twitter

Complaints on Twitter mirror the same frustration expressed by users on Apple Support Communities. Image credit: Twitter

Furthermore iOS 10.2 is actually introducing the 30% bug to previously unaffected iPhones which is why some had found downgrading to iOS 10.1.1 or iOS 10.1 to be a good temporary fix. Forum poster IHIP699 spells out this situation and perfectly sums up the subsequent frustration at Apple’s decision to prematurely stop signing these releases:

iOS 10.1 and iOS 10.1.1 were seen as a safe haven for many troubled iOS 10.2 users - but not anymore. Image credit: Apple

iOS 10.1 and iOS 10.1.1 were seen as a safe haven for many troubled iOS 10.2 users – but not anymore. Image credit: Apple

Hope On The Horizon?

So with Apple’s bizarre decision to maroon users on iOS 10.2 should we all be picking up our lanterns and pitchforks and descending on Apple HQ? Not yet. Because there are two pieces of potentially good news.

Firstly, while holding out on admitting to the wider battery problem, Apple did introduce a battery diagnostics tool in iOS 10.2 which is declined to list in the release notes. Apple also declined to tell me how the tool works, what it collects or where the data is sent but it is at least an attempt by the company to try and investigate what is going on.

Further to this we have iOS 10.2.1 which Apple currently has in beta testing right now. Again Apple has declined to list any features of iOS 10.2.1 to beta testers, but some have noticed significant improvements to the 30% bug while trying it:

Some Apple Support Communities users have seen improvements with iOS 10.2.1. Image credit: Apple

Some Apple Support Communities users have seen improvements with iOS 10.2.1. Image credit: Apple

Yes, that’s not exactly a ringing endorsement, but it offers hope – especially with more iOS 10.2.1 betas likely to come before release. It is also worth pointing out that (as large, powerful and self confident as Apple is) the growing pressure from users coupled with the frustration of a vocal Chinese government surely must mean the company is moving quickly behind the scenes.

I know cynics will call this hokey optimism, but I think the combination of the diagnostics tool and early iOS 10.2.1 reports gives us enough reason to be hopeful. Even if Apple, in stubbornly sticking to process and cutting off the downgrade path from iOS 10.2, has affected users banging their heads against the wall right now…

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