Apple iOS 11.3 Release Hides A Nasty Surprise
‘Great Secret Features’ and ‘Nasty Surprises’ are my regular columns investigating the best features / biggest problems hidden behind the headlines.
In its new iOS 11.3 beta release, Apple has finally enabled the iPhone performance management it hopes will go some way to mitigating the numerous class action lawsuits and government investigations it faces worldwide for secretly throttling iPhones. The mission was simple: Apple would give control back to the user so they could decide whether to prioritise performance or stability as their iPhone’s battery ages.
But the famous control freak couldn’t let go.
Digging into the iOS 11.3 beta, ZDNet has found users don’t actually get much of a say at all. Instead, what actually happens when users navigate to the new battery section (Settings Battery) and choose performance over Apple’s default of stability, is they are only being given a temporary choice.
Should the iPhone crash in future, on restart it will flip back to stability mode – something you cannot stop and will see when you navigate back to the battery section.
All of which means Apple is missing the point. This was never about the right or wrong power mode to select. Apple got into hot water because it made negative performance changes to iPhones without customer knowledge or consent. Now iOS 11.3 is doing this all over again. If a user chooses to have their iPhone operate at peak performance at the risk of some added instability, that is meant to be their choice.
With iOS 11.3 still in beta, my hope is Apple will make changes to this default behaviour. It’s not difficult to solve. For example, a simple notification stating: “Your iPhone crashed: do you wish to remain in Performance Mode? – Yes/No” is all that’s required.
The problem for Apple is this sort of flexibility runs entirely counter to the culture of the company. For generations, Apple gained unshakable certainty in its knowledge of what was best for everyone because products and software lived up to Steve Jobs’ mantra: “It just works”.
But right now things don’t just work and that undermines authority and trust. ‘Apple knows best’ got Apple into this mess, allowing customers to decide what’s best for themselves in this instance is a painful step the company must take to start winning it back…
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