‘Great Secret Features’ and ‘Nasty Surprises’ are my regular columns investigating the best features / biggest problems hidden behind the headlines.
Displaying the same tone deafness the company revealed when it throttled iPhone performancewithout warning or permission (something iOS 11.3 corrects), Apple has now stranded iPhone and iPad owners on this unstable build.
AppleInsider reports Apple has stopped signing iOS 11.2.6 “amid [a] deluge of iOS 11.3 bug reports” for an update that “appears to be riddled with problems.”
What this means is users can no longer downgrade from iOS 11.3 back to iOS 11.2.6. To date, this had been a viable route for those looking to escape the problems introduced by iOS 11.3 but it is now been cut-off.
As such affected iOS 11.3 upgraders now have no choice but to put up with problems that range from the annoying to the truly bizarre. Apple’s decision is also potentially a big problem for businesses as iOS 11.3 broke Apple’s MDM (Mobile Device Management) protocol which has left participating companies and institutions unable to remotely manage and update their employees’ iPhones and iPads.
And here is the tone-deaf part: this is what Apple does with ‘normal’ iOS updates.
Usually 1-2 weeks after the release of a new update, Apple stops signing (aka verifying) the previous update so users cannot go back - something that reduces iOS fragmentation. But given it is impossible for Apple not to have seen the ‘deluge of bug reports’ I find it remarkable that no change was made to this schedule to help out those caught in a tough spot.
All of which must surely force Apple into action.
Right now the company is beta testing iOS 11.4, but as a ‘major point release’ this takes time and it is unlikely to launch for 6-8 weeks. With the iOS 11.2.6 downgrade route now gone and many users and businesses hurt by iOS 11.3, Apple must surely be pushed into releasing a dedicated iOS 11.3.1 bug fix.
In fact, the charitable side of me likes to believe Apple only decided to stop signing iOS 11.2.6 after the decision was made to come to the aid of users with an iOS 11.3.1 release. Needless to say, this may be hopelessly optimistic.
Either way, however, the release of iOS 11.3.1 is now essential because Apple has needlessly boxed itself and its users into a corner…