Thursday, March 29, 2018

iOS 11.3

Juli Clover:

iOS 11.3 is a major update that introduces a long list of new features, including several that Apple has been promising for months. The update introduces a new “Battery Health” feature that's designed to provide iOS users with more information about their batteries, and it is a function Apple promised to introduce following backlash over the power management features added to older iPhones.

I was disappointed to find that my iPhone battery’s Maximum Capacity is still 100% and that it supports “normal peak performance.” This means that the incredible slowness I’ve been seeing over the past month or so: 10 seconds to log in, 15 seconds to launch apps that used to just take a few seconds, stuttery animations, 5-second freezes doing seemingly basic tasks like adding actions in OmniFocus—are software problems with no obvious fix. It’s weird because sometimes my iPhone SE feels like it’s running full speed. But other times it feels like an iPhone 4S or older. This contrast made me suspect that the CPU was being throttled, except that the slowness did not seem to be correlated with battery level.

Steve Troughton-Smith:

Disappointed that iOS 11.3 doesn’t include iMessage in iCloud, according to reports from new iPad owners. Maybe major iOS releases should launch with ‘beta’ labels in September, like new features do? (High Sierra sure needed a warning label)

This was originally to ship with iOS 11.0, six months ago.

Michael Yacavone:

We should be happy when beta features don’t yet graduate to a release - it means they’re still working it out, and WE WANT LESS BUGS.

Also missing is AirPlay 2, which people expected in iOS 11.3 since it’s necessary for some features that were supposed to be part of the HomePod launch originally scheduled for December, however Apple only said that it would ship “later this year.”

Previously: Battery Health and Peak Performance Capacity, Do iPhones Get Slower Over Time?, Messages on iCloud in iOS 11.3 Beta, HomePod to Arrive February 9.

Update (2018-03-30): Keith Broni:

With the release of iOS 11.3 today, Apple is making some minor adjustments to four emojis: 🦁 Lion Face, 💀 Skull, 🐻 Bear Face and 🐲 Dragon Face.

David Barnard:

Better later than buggy. I’m thrilled Apple is working hard to get things right and not releasing a half baked feature to save face on the delay.

Ryan Jones:

The gloom is inability to build software. Yes, building software includes the ability to know +/- 1 year when it will be done.

Rene Ritchie:

Honestly, stuff like not updating iWork or Mac mini regularly and not pushing out services like Apple News internationally are a much bigger concern to me than stuff they are working on but just taking longer than expected.

Nick Heer:

But there is, I think, a reasonable argument to be made that over-promising and under-delivering is a worrying narrative to have taken hold.

Matt Comi:

I think only people in tech identify iMessage Sync as a feature; I think the lack of (reliable/predictable) sync is more practically identified as a bug, and iMessage Sync as a bug fix. My point: iMessage sync is Apple slowing down and producing better quality software.

Benjamin Mayo:

With 11.3, every device starts unthrottled. The first time you have an unexpected shutdown it will throttle.

(The actual throttling is more fine grained too when it does happen.)

Serenity Caldwell:

Apple shows the following messages in Battery Health, depending on your iPhone's capability to handle apps at peak performance[…]


iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X models use a more advanced hardware and software design that provides a more accurate estimation of both power needs and the battery's power capability to maximize overall system performance. This allows a different performance management system that more precisely allows iOS to anticipate and avoid an unexpected shutdown.

David Cabecinhas:

You joke but Apple changed the throttling decision algorithm. My 6s was throttled prior to iOS 11.3 and now is working at full speed again!

Update (2018-04-02): Bob Burrough:

I find it more likely that, as a result of the extreme backlash when iPhone throttling was discovered, much more scrutiny was applied to the throttling algorithm, and it was likely relaxed in 11.3.

Update (2018-04-03): Bradley Chambers:

Looks like iOS 11.3 bug is breaking some MDM stuff. This means I can’t administer standardized testing sessions tomorrow without manually configuring a bunch of iPad for guided access.

This is why Apple’s IT services stack is so important. I can get away with these because we are a smaller school. At a larger district, this is a show stopping problem. I have no doubt that if something like this happened with G Suite, it would be fixed today.

There is no way an iOS update is coming today to address this. Apple Radar # 39116010. This is why I don’t get super excited about Pencil support or a Classwork app. Apple just still hasn’t gotten the basics down.

This isn’t like “oh Apple Music doesn’t give as good recommendations at Spotify” complaint about Apple’s services. This is a major major bug on a release that had been beta tested for months.

See also: Apple’s Lane Tech Education Event.

Update (2018-04-04): Peter Steinberger:

Ah, the Internet discovers that iOS 11.3 broke a lot of websites.

Update (2018-04-05): Marco Arment:

If this is accurate, iOS 11.3 NOTIFIES users when old-battery speed throttling gets enabled.

This is, finally, correct and reasonable behavior.

Update (2018-04-13): Accidental Tech Podcast discusses the unfortunate wording of the notification.

11 Comments RSS · Twitter

Now that I installed iOS 11.3, I am actually more disappointed by how the whole battery situation has being managed by Apple.

Last December, while walking outside in the cold, my 6S turned off while still > 80% charged, and after that shutdown its performance have been constantly crippled (< 900 mhz), even after a clean install of iOS; third party tools reported my battery life ~ 82%, not great after one year (I had the battery replaced 11 months earlier for the same shutdown issues).
Yesterday I installed iOS 11.3 and it reported my battery life at 88%, saying there's no throttling. And indeed there is no throttling anymore: since the installation, I have a new phone, running at 1.800 mhz, with performance comparable to those I had before December.

This suggests me that my phone was kept throttled unnecessarily for 3 months, with no recourse. Of course, now the weather is warmer and it's much more difficult to check what happens when the battery is stressed in the cold, but the fact that a slow phone is a great incentive for replacement makes me a bit skeptical here...

Apparently the Battery Health function doesn't appear on older devices. It doesn't appear on my iPad AIr.

My iPhone 6 reports battery capacity at 100%. I'm fairly confident that's not correct at it was delivered on day one and used as my main phone for two years before becoming my beta/test device. My iPhone 7 I bought a few weeks after they came out reports its capacity at 91% which seems believable. The 6 feels very slow but it's hard to tell since I've been using the 7 for 18 months.

Michael Hannemann

Check again in a day or two - on first install my iPhone 6S was reported to be 100%, but now it’s rated 88%. This is my second battery, so, maybe?

[…] iOS 11.3, macOS 10.13.3, Disabling Xcode 9 Font Smoothing, An Xcode Plug-in for Unsmoothed […]

My iPhone 6 still has original battery and still reports 100% a few days later. I had been installing the various 11.3 betas on it and it doesn't see an update to the final release (although the build number of the last beta is same as official release other than an "a" at the end so I expect they're the same.

Nigel Warren

FWIW I’ve never had slowdowns like you describe with my iPhone SE. It’s consistently full speed. Not that this sheds light on your problem, but just to say that whatever the hardware or software issue is doesn’t affect all SEs. (Mine currently has a max battery capacity of 85%.)

[…] Update (2018-04-03): See also: this iOS 11.3 MDM bug. […]

My iPhone 6 (which had experienced a few “unexpected shutdowns”) was noticeably faster when I installed iOS 11.3. I let the battery run down to the point where it would unexpectedly shut down and now I have a message saying “Performance management has been applied to help prevent this from happening again” along with an option to disable. It also tells me my battery health is significantly degraded. I went ahead and made a Genius Bar appointment to get my battery replaced. For me, iOS 11.3 is a big thumbs up–the phone was so slow as to be unusable with 11.0 - 11.2.

[…] iOS 11.3, “Black Dot” Unicode Bug, Messages on iCloud in iOS 11.3 […]

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