Saturday, December 2, 2017

Rushed iOS 11.2 Update to Fix Date Crasher


PSA from staff: if you have an iPhone, it will likely crash due to a date bug when date rolls over to 2 December, depending on time zone.

The temp fix is to manually set date/time to a date prior to 2 Dec. This will make some apps unusable due to date checks on server.

Juli Clover (tweet):

A date-related bug in iOS 11.1.2 appears to be causing iPhones and iPads to continually crash or respring when time-based local notifications are received after 12:15 a.m. on December 2, according to reports on Twitter and reddit.

Tom Warren:

Apple is taking the highly unusual step of releasing a significant iOS update today, just hours after an iOS 11 bug started crashing iPhones. A bug in iOS 11.1.2 started causing iPhones to crash if third-party apps use recurring notifications for things like reminders. Apple is releasing iOS 11.2 today, which addresses the issue and includes a number of new features. Apple usually releases iOS updates on a Tuesday, so this appears to have been issued early to fix the crash bug.

Yoshimasa Niwa:

And here is what Apple recommends to address this crash on iOS 11.1.

Simply it said, disable notification one by one and then update to iOS 11.2.

Evgeny Cherpak:

I just want to point out that this issue being fixed in iOS 11.2 beta makes me think that someone in the company KNEW this problem exists, fixed it, but failed to make this fix available ASAP for production to prevent this.

Steve Troughton-Smith:

I was once told it would have to be a real damn emergency to release an iOS version on a weekend, so, here we are… iOS 11.2!

Mark J. Douglas:

I have to say 11 has been categorically the worst release ever, it rendered my iPhone 7 almost unusable for a month. You do have to wonder what the hell is going on, is it just too big to QC effectively now?

Ryan Jones:

Just woke up. Thought I was still asleep/dreaming when I read about this iOS 11 date bug. WTF.

This better be a WAKE UP CALL for Apple software and Craig Federighi.

Security holes, infinite loop crashes, and keyboards that can’t type I or it.

Maynard Handley:

I see Apple’s problems as

- technical debt. The company has chosen to prioritize new features every year over the “boring” fixing of long-standing problems.

- insistence on a fixed annual schedule; new iPhones (and new iOS) every September.

Bob Burrough:

I think it’s fair to say they are literally shipping beta software as GM. No software development organization beta tests for 14.5 hours.

Bradley Chambers:

Apple’s had a rough week with needing to rush out software updates, but they also got them patched extremely quickly. Bugs happen (they need to do better), but, as an IT admin, I am thankful for the quick response.


I’m genuinely concerned about Apple’s recent spate of performance on software testing and security. This is really concerning to me.

Again and again, Microsoft employees and observers tell me how much the company was shook by 2000s-era bugs, and remolded by Bill Gates’ Trustworthy Computing memo. I’m not saying it’s the same, but I really wonder if there are lessons for Apple now.

Tom Bridge:

There’s no question that Apple has been pushing the envelope for a while. They’ve done some things incredibly well (iOS Security), and some things…

…well, some things not so well. 10.13.0 was unusable in many businesses because of security concerns AND Active Directory concerns.

If Apple wants people to trust the Mac and iOS with their businesses, they need to get back to “It Just Works” because right now, it emphatically does not.

John Gruber:

I ran the iOS 11.2 betas on my iPad and Apple Pay Cash worked great. On my iPhone, after updating to 11.2 today, it doesn’t appear. WTF?

Apparently, the release notes were already written to include Apple Pay Cash, which hasn’t launched yet, and they weren’t revised in time for the unexpected early release.

Timi Cantisano:

If you have updated to iOS 11.2, you might have noticed that Face ID isn’t working on properly on the first reboot. By diving into the settings and trying to reset Face ID, you’ll be greeted with the message above in the image, stating that “Face ID is Not Available”. The issue seems to affect people randomly, with our iPhone X being affected and only a handful of reports across the internet on various sites and Twitter.

Steve Troughton-Smith:

Sounds like iOS 11.2 bricking Face ID is a real problem. If you can make it to midnight without the SpringBoard notification crash loop on 11.1.2, might be worth holding off on 11.2 for a few days… (this is why OTAs don’t go out on a weekend)

Previously: Why Little Bugs Need to Get Fixed, High Sierra Bug Allows Root Access With Blank Password.

Update (2017-12-02): See also: Hacker News.

Rene Ritchie:

Why do date/time bugs keep happening?

Seriously. You’d figure Apple would have torn any all time-based code apart by now and stamped all of this out. Once is a bug. Twice is a bad bug. More than that, it’s a problem beyond the code.

Tom Warren (Hacker News):

Let’s recap the week of Apple software problems:

  • macOS High Sierra critical flaw with root admin access
  • macOS High Sierra update released, but breaks file sharing
  • iOS 11 crashing on some iPhones due to a date bug
  • macOS High Sierra fix not installing correctly on some systems
  • iOS 11.2 released early to fix iPhone crash bug

Josh Centers:

Something is clearly rotten in the state of Denmark, by which I mean Apple’s quality assurance department. Many long-time TidBITS readers have been complaining for years about Apple’s declining software quality. Major missteps like these give Apple a black eye and, when they affect tens or even hundreds of millions of users, cause a significant waste of the world’s time.

Diane Ross:

Looks like I’m in good company when I say, Apple needs to concentrate on fixes not yearly updates.

Update (2017-12-05): nullpixel:

Face ID only got bricked by the fucked up date some people had. Most encryption uses the date in it, so it’s bound to fail when the time is so far out.

6 Comments RSS · Twitter

The main problem with these issues is not that they exist. The problem is that Apple is doing its best to prevent us from going back to a previous OS version:

- preventing Mac App Store users from downloading older macOS versions if they never downloaded/purchased them when they were the current OS versions.
- preventing anyone from going back to a previous iOS version in the case the iOS update makes the iPhone or iPad unbearably slow.

There's also the issue of not releasing big security patches for not so old OS versions. Did 10.10 get the Wi-Fi security patch? Nope (maybe it doesn't need it but I doubt that).

Seconding the inability to roll back iOS versions as a problem. I have very deliberately held off on taking my iPad Air to 11, because I'm concerned about what might break. I'm really regretting not keeping a closer eye on the last couple of versions of 10, because my grandfather is on a middle version, but should get the security patches that showed up at the end of 10. But I can't risk UI changes or bugs because he's not a "resilient user", for lack of a better way to put it. I was okay with Apple's all or nothing approach when things didn't break, but now I'm wishing for XP era rollup patches, detailed release notes, and fine grained permissions. God help me, if Microsoft ever made a tablet as secure as iOS seems to be...

Presently, my plan is to wait for the end of the 11 patch cycle, and install it shortly before 12 is due to be announced. I'm unhappy that I need to so closely monitor user reports to determine if a patch is "safe" to install. Didn't we move beyond this years ago?


There's also the issue of not releasing big security patches for not so old OS versions. Did 10.10 get the Wi-Fi security patch? Nope (maybe it doesn't need it but I doubt that).

This was my exact point in the prior article here regarding OS updates on Android.

I don't care about OS updates, I care about security patches. As long as my Android devices are getting backported security patches, OS updates are a red herring talking point pushed by Apple and their users. Then again, the problem with Android, I'm not always getting my security updates either....grumble, grumble, grumble.

I really want a third OS option here, perhaps Chrome OS (actually gets updates) with Android apps enabled (should get updates, but too often doesn't, at least I get to keep the apps with Chrome OS) is a better bet for me, but what do I do for a mobile phone?

Maybe Firefox OS forked flipped phone?

WiFi tethering and basic "smartphone" functionality, doesn't seem too bad, excepting the terrible camera.

Adrian O'Connor

OTA updates stopped working on my iPhone SE (OTA updates cause it to get stuck on the 'connect to iTunes' screen) so I always get a few days extra time to let everyone else test out a new iOS before I get chance to install it.

Totally agree that Apple seem to be struggling at the moment with quality, and the needlessly rigid schedule appears to be the main culprit. Maybe they should just ditch major releases altogether and release new updates as and when they're ready.

However, I can empathise... as a developer, I'm always joking that the majority of bugs in my software have been caused by either dates or timezones. And I'm only half joking.

Apple Pay Cash is still not showing up on my SE. I don't know what, if anything, I should or can do to enable it.

Meanwhile, I got a call today from a family member who was worried their phone was hacked because the fullscreen Apple Pay ad — which appears without warning when you open Messages — makes it look like you're about to suddenly send $28 to some unknown party if you click the Continue button. I had them send me a screenshot and it fooled me at first too. It doesn't help that Apple seems to have forgotten that the SE exists and the ad's explanatory text is cut off on the smaller screen.

Earlier this week I had to show a family member how to invoke the task switcher on the iPad to quit Mail because 1) there was a multi-second delay in touch-processing, which 2) got interpreted as a drag operation on multiple messages, and then 3) the proxy image for those dragged messages was frozen on top of the entire UI, even after going back to the home screen or different apps.

And tvOS is no better: once or twice on any given week I have to use the Siri remote — which we all refuse to use because it's so frustrating — to force quit several apps which have stopped responding.

It's precisely these kinds of UX blunders that are making Apple platforms more frustrating to use... and as a result I'm seeing folks increasingly unable to use these devices confidently. It's a concerning trend and it's approaching the point where 'Why not just use Windows/Android?' will be justifiable for many people, purely from a UX/quality-of-life perspective.

To Nathan's point, a phone based on ChromeOS (or Windows 10 S) with the same reliable operation/maintenance/updates as Chromebooks would likely be an instant purchase, both for me and my family (whose tech I administer). Especially once WebAssembly starts blurring the line between web and native apps from a performance/battery-life standpoint, I can foresee a web-centric phone as an advantage for me instead of a drawback.

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