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Apple new iOS 10.2.1 is the biggest problem

iOS 10.2.1
Apple new iOS 10.2.1 is the biggest problem
A big part of what makes Apple great is its refusal to compromise, and a big part of what makes Apple infuriating is its refusal to compromise. For iPhone users, it is the latter which has struck again.

This week Apple has decided to do what it normally does shortly after an iOS release: it has stopped signing the previous version. This means any user running the new iOS 10.2.1 upgrade cannot go back to iOS 10.2 because the checks (sign off) devices require before installing an update will be told by Apple servers it is invalid.

This should be fine. It is a technique Apple uses to push iPhone, iPad, and iPod touches users to the latest version of iOS and keeps them there. Except for this time, Apple needed to compromise and make an exception – and it didn’t.

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Why? Because of iOS 10.2.1, while it has an important security fix, also causes new problems. Three of the most significant are that it is breaking Touch ID for a number of iPhone owners, introducing screen brightness bugs and creating Bluetooth connection problems, particularly when connecting to car kits.

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The Touch ID and Bluetooth problems, in particular, create their own security and safety problems and both were shown to be helped (or in the case of the Touch ID bug, fixed completely) by downgrading to iOS 10.2.

Except as you see, users no longer have that escape route. In fact even iPhone users who have yet to upgrade (usually the majority after only a week) will now find themselves in an uncomfortable position: leave your device unprotected against a major bug by staying on iOS 10.2 or upgrade knowing you risk breaking your Touch ID sensor and/or creating Bluetooth problems with no way of going back. Suddenly it’s lose-lose.

And this is why Apple needs to learn now and again that it’s okay to compromise. It would be okay not to stop signing iOS 10.2 immediately so users could responsibly upgrade to iOS 10.2.1, fix the security patch, see if the did or did not suffer problems and have the escape route of downgrading back to iOS 10.2 if they did.

Instead, Apple continued with business, as usual, leaving users on their own and any affected users hoping there will be a fix for their woes in iOS 10.3. Confidence here will be low given the company’s lack of fixes (or even acknowledgment of) the infamous 30% Battery bug introduced by iOS 10.1.1 back in November.

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The counter-argument remains that in no longer signing iOS 10.2 Apple is merely doing what is best for the majority. But the counter to that is simple: far too many bugs have found their way into iOS in recent years and if Apple can’t address that it needs to change how it handles updates.


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