With the newly issued iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, Apple also issued iOS 10, now 10.2.1. The iPhone 7 users have been happy campers. However, some of the rest of us are getting a nasty surprise when the phone reaches 30% remaining power; suddenly, it takes an unscheduled nap. If you don’t own an iPhone 7 or 7 Plus, you may end up grappling with the iOS 10 battery stall proble, also called the ‘30% bug’.
How bad is it? The iPhone 5, iPhone 5S, iPhone SE, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6S, and iPhone 6S Plus models are affected by the 30% bug. Certain apps seem to trigger the effect more than others (Pokebug No-go) and not in insignificant numbers. The bug manifests somewhat differently depending on the behaviour of the user, meaning, in some cases it will drop at 30%, in some cases it won’t show a battery decrease and then a precipitous drop will suddenly occur.
Once an affected sleeping iPhone is connected to the charger, it will wake up and show 30%. It’s quite infuriating for those who don’t happen to have a charger nearby.
For a while, users were able to downgrade to iOS 10.1 or iOS 10.1.1 to circumvent the random sleep issues, but Apple stopped signing on these, so that was no longer an option.
Why? What was the tradeoff?
Let’s take a look at the scorecard:
Apple, in fact, cut off our ability to downgrade for us. A malware became available which not only had the capacity to record users’ conversations, but could also install malware programs, uninstall other (wanted) programs, add files, delete files, and collect information. All of these things could be done without the user’s knowledge. Basically, they had the ability to control your whole iPhone. Thirteen distinct vulnerabilities were firmly patched with iOS 10.2.1--basically a backhand to the hacker community.
Make no mistake, while we aren’t crazy about random siestas, if iOS 10.2.1 is the iPhone version of taking your shoes off at the airport, it’s okay with it. Given the sheer numbers of iPhone and iPad users, this kind of total-takeover vulnerability would have been horrific.
Unfortunately, the solution some Apple techs’ came up with prior to the time Apple admitted this was an issue was a battery replacement. Users who got a ‘bad battery’ assessment from Apple (the ones with the 30% bug, not the ones with truly bad batteries) may feel a little gypped, and are probably owed refunds.
The rest of us will just stand here barefoot until iOS 10.3 comes out, and hope some version of it takes care of our narcoleptic iPhones.