• apple,  ios 15,  iphone 13,  review

    iPhone 13 Pro Max Real-World Usage Impressions

    iPhone 13 Pro Max, Source: Apple, Inc.

    It has been a month since I got my iPhone 13 issues resolved and about a month and a half ago since the iPhone 13 family launched. As you might recall, I had a rough go of it for the first couple of weeks. A corrupted iCloud backup and a bad Face ID senor array can do that. Now that I have everything reconfigured and back to normal and I have had a chance to really live with my iPhone 13 Pro Max, I wanted to give you my opinions on this year’s largest flagship smartphone.

    The Hardware

    Year-over-year, iPhone 13 Pro Max looks and feels just like last year’s iPhone 12 Pro Max. That’s not a knock on the Apple industrial design. I love the iPhone 4/iPhone 5 style flat sides. In my opinion, I feel that I can get a better grip on iPhone 13 Pro Max than I could on my iPhone X-series and iPhone 11 Pro. I used to send those iPhones flying off the table trying to grab them. That has not been true with iPhone 13 Pro Max. I can get a firm grasp on it with the flat edges. Looking ahead, I’m relieved to hear that early iPhone rumors for the 2022 iPhone will keep the flat sides.

    This year’s iPhone 13 Pro Max includes a new 120Hz ProMotion adaptive refresh screen. This feature debuted with the 2017 10.5-inch iPad Pro and has taken until now to come to iPhone. When I got my iPad Pro, the ProMotion screen was really noticeable. Everything on that iPad Pro seemed buttery smooth. On iPhone 13 Pro Max, for me, the change is less noticeable. Maybe that’s because both my work and personal iPad Pro tablets, that I use all the time, already have ProMotion and my eyes are used to it.

    One area where the variable refresh rate of the display and the new A15 Bionic CPU shine is in its battery efficiency. The battery savings and my personal device runtime is incredible. As a light user of iPhone, I can get days out of a single charge. Your milage will obviously vary. For me, I have an iPad nearby when I’m home, that is my go-to device. If I want to do work, I turn to my iMac. But, when I’m on the go, my iPhone is front and center. While traveling, I listen to a lot of podcasts or music. Both of which are downloaded locally to my iPhone. I’m only streaming music from my iCloud Match or Apple Music subscriptions about 25% of the time. And activity that is done with the screen off. If I’m driving, my iPhone is connected to a Lightning adapter for CarPlay and will charge on my short commute to and from work. As a result of my limited use of iPhone with the screen on, I can easily get two days of use out of a single charge.

    Call me crazy, but when I got my first smartphone, a Palm Treo 600, Verizon charged a lot of money for a small amount of cellular data. Battery life wasn’t great back then, either. I learned to avoid suffering cellular data overage fees and have enough battery to make it through a day, needed to hoard battery and limit cellular data usage. It’s 2021. I need to learn to live a little. iPhone 13 Pro Max has tons of battery and ‘unlimited’ cellular plans are flat rate.

    All of this to say that I am really pleased with the new ProMotion display and all of the battery saving features of the A15. Rest assured that when it’s needed, the A15 CPU and ProMotion will deliver the goods.

    I should also mention that current 5G cellular modem and antennas on the Pro Max are good. I notice that I am getting more 5G service in more places that I go with better download speeds. I’m sure that this improvement is also to T-Mobile rolling out improvements to their network. (Yes, I get it. 5G got real and that Sprint is now a part of T-Mobile. Verizon and T-Mobile, you guys are the plumbing. Just serve up data quickly and reliably and I’ll be happy.)

    Source: Apple, Inc.

    According to the Apple iPhone specifications comparison page, the differences between this year’s Pro Max and last year’s Pro Max are almost identical in size and weight. The iPhone 13 Pro Max is 0.1 inch and 43 ounces thicker and heavier. In a Pepsi Challenge taste test of sorts, where my wife handed me both iPhones Pro Max with my eyes closed, I could not distinguish between the two iPhones. Until I felt for the camera bump, which is even more of a camera plateau than last year.

    Now that I’m living with iPhone 13 Pro Max as my everyday iPhone, I’m really not happy with the color options on the ‘Pro’ iPhones. My favorite color is blue, more specifically, a deep navy blue (aka Grassia Standard Blue). Last year’s Sierra Blue on the iPhone 12 Pro Max was close to that. Sierra Blue, is a much lighter blue than Sierra Blue. In my opinion, to my eyes in most of the lighting conditions that I find myself in at home or in the office, Sierra Blue looks more like battleship grey. I’m disappointed about that. Holding my iPhone 13 Pro Max up to the screen on my iMac with the Compare iPhone Models page, I feel that the on-screen Sierra Blue is more ‘blue’ than the phone I’m holding in my hand. If I wanted a grey iPhone, I would have opted for this year’s ‘black’ color, which is called Graphite. Graphite, in my opinion, is a better color in the hand than Sierra Blue is. Looking ahead, unless I am really blown away by the color choices for the 2022 iPhone line up, I think I will go with a Silver / Starlight / White color. I have a love/hate relationship with the 2021 Apple Leather Case selection this year too, but more on that later.

    The Camera System

    Access Photographic Styles by tapping the three-frame box just above the Shutter button in the iOS 15 Camera app.

    iPhone 13 Pro Max has larger camera lens that require a larger over all surface area on the back of the phone. Referring back to the comparison page, you can see that the aperture values have changed between last year’s iPhones. I’m not a camera buff, so I really didn’t know if a higher or lower number is better or not. I found Christopher Crawford’s aperture tutorial to be helpful here. Basically, a camera’s aperture helps control focus on the subject. Depth of field relates the distance away from the camera lens that the subject is and at what point the back ground and foreground are in focus relative to the subject. The more you know, the better pictures you can take. For me, I have moved to the iPhone as my primary camera for taking pictures. To my untrained eye, iPhone 13 Pro Max photos taken in good lighting look fantastic. In worse lighting, or low lighting, your experiences will vary depending on how skilled of a photographer you are.

    I prefer the extra color saturation in the Rich Contrast Photographic Style. At least until I change my mind.

    Using what I learned on Crowford’s site, the iPhone 13 Pro Max’s wide and ultra wide cameras have gotten slight improvements in aperture, decreasing to f/1.5 and f/1.8 from f/1.6 and f/2.4, respectively. The telephoto lens on iPhone 13 Pro Max, technically, has a higher aperture rating of f/2.8 over the f/2.2 rating on the iPhone 12 Pro Max. However, iPhone 13 Pro Max has a telephoto optical zoom rating of 3x where as iPhone 12 Pro Max has an optical zoom rating of 2.5. In some test photos taken on a sunny day at the local sea wall or pumpkin picking on an overcast day, I felt the photos looked good to my untrained eye.

    Source: Apple, Inc.

    One noticeable improvement in this year’s iPhone Pro Max is the inclusion of Photographic Styles. I have been an iPhone photo “purist” in that I don’t generally tweak photos aside from cropping and the use of the automatic enhancement tool. Photos taken of the kids at the farm while picking pumpkins, I felt, looked better in the Rich Contrast setting. In this mode, photos taking with iPhone have a Tone value of -50 and a Warmth value of 0. These values cannot be changed once the photo is taken. They are in effect “burned” into the photo, relative to the Standard Apple photographic style. In my opinion, the extra color saturation looks better and leans toward the higher saturation styles that are default on Android smartphones.

    iOS 15

    In my daily use of iOS 15, I don’t feel like there are many major improvements in how I use my iPhone. There are lots of quality-of-life improvements over iOS 14 that I do appreciate. I prefer iOS over Android for its fit and finish, but I say for the security features. While still in beta, I have found that the new iCloud Private Relay feature works well. As the name implies, information sent from Safari is relayed to two different secure servers. The first relay is data sent from Safari on your iPhone through your network provider and on to the secure servers run by Apple. In this first ‘hop’, Apple and your service provider and Apple know your IP address, which is a unique identifier, however, DNS traffic is encrypted so that neither Apple nor your service provider know which website was requested. The second ‘hop’, takes the encrypted DNS information, decrypts it, generates a random IP address, and then forwards the request on to the web server of the site you are trying to visit. This feature isn’t exactly like a VPN service, but it does help mask who is requesting what website information. If you squint, it sure feels to me, like iCloud Private Relay is setting the foundation for an eventual iCloud or Apple One VPN service. Which brings me to the thing that I don’t like about Private Relay. You have to pay to get this feature, even though it’s baked into iOS 15. Blame Tim Cook’s relentless push into services and the drive to extra even more ‘value’ (read: revenue) from Apple’s customers. On the positive side, any subscription to an iCloud plan, even the $0.99/mo plan grants you access to Private Relay in addition to extra iCloud storage space. $12/yr is well worth it in my opinion, but I’m not happy about it.

    I’m also glad to see that Apple walked back many if the UI changes that were first shown off at the 2021 WWDC conference and shipped an update to Safari that mostly looks and works like previous versions. I don’t use the new Tab Groups feature, but if that’s your thing, I’m good with it. It took me a while, longer than I want to admit, to figure out how Apple scrambled the Safari open tab synchronization feature. Rather than seeing a list of open tabs on other devices that have open Safari tabs, you now get a section on the Safari Start Page and a drop down pick list of open tabs. Previously, in iOS 14, this information was presented by a list sub-divided by a device section heading. I felt silly for not realizing how this page changed right away. Making their users feel bad about not knowing how to use their software is not a good look for a company like Apple.

    Some people like to dunk on the Mail application because it has not received any major new UI and functionality features in a long time. I’m fine with that. I use the stock Apple Mail application on my iPhone. I don’t need any email-as-a-task-manager, snooze for later, or Inbox Zero features. Other folks like that stuff and more power to them. I’ve clearly crossed into cantankerous old man territory. For me, email is a solved problem. One feature in iOS 15’s Mail app that I really do like is the new remote image load blocking. In attempt to extract as much information about you as possible for marketing and tracking purposes, the insidious concept of the tracking pixel was created.

    Mail in iOS 15 helps fight pixel tracking by asking if remote images in HTML-based email should be loaded. Tap Load Content to download the images.

    A tracking pixel is a special 1×1 pixel graphic that is loaded when a user opens an email or web page. They are designed to be imperceptible to users. Mail in iOS 15 now blocks the loading of remote images in email, essentially blocking the tracking pixel from loading. Users now get a small notice that all remote images in HTML-based email have been blocked and gives you the opportunity to load them if you choose. Nice.

    The Accessories

    I’m still happy that MagSafe is a thing, but aside from the Apple MagSafe Charger puck that I purchased last year, I don’t have any other MagSafe accessories aside from the Apple Leather Case. Since the MagSafe Charger will cause a ring to be imprinted on the leather, I take the case of before charging my iPhone.

    Speaking of MagSafe, I am considering trying a MagSafe Wallet now that it has that new Find My integration. In my opinion, the MagSafe Wallet ($59) is a bit on the expensive side, and I’m still not convinced that this is the product for me.

    And that brings me to the Apple Leather Case with MagSafe selection for iPhone 13 Pro Max. They are the same $59 dollars as the Apple Wallet. I prefer the Apple Leather Case for my iPhones over the Apple Silicone cases. The Silicone cases, in my opinion, collect too much line and have too much friction when being slipped into and out of dress pants pockets. So much so, that in my experience with the silicone cases over the years, I am more prone to dropping my iPhone while putting it away or taking it out of my pants pockets at work. But, Apple, what is going on with the color selection this year? I really don’t like any of the Apple Leather case colors at all. Taken with my dissatisfaction with the iPhone 13 Pro Max Sierra Blue color, I’m not liking the color situation this year. I have both the Apple Leather Case in Golden Brown and Midnight. I like the way that they feel with the metal buttons inset in the case. Given all that is going on in the world with 2020 and 2020: The Sequel, for my own mental health, I want more bright fun colors on an iPhone that has all the features. Seriously, Apple, I want all the features in fun colors. 24-inch iMac colors. Go!

    Wrap Up

    Overall, annoying color choices aside, I am happy with my iPhone 13 Pro Max purchase. Did I need to upgrade my iPhone 12 Pro Max? Absolutely not. My previous iPhone 12 Pro Max and iPhone 11 Pro are still perfectly fine iPhones in 2021 and will be for years to come.

    If you have an iPhone XS, iPhone XS Plus, iPhone XR, iPhone 8, or earlier iPhone, and you have an itch to upgrade, now is a great time to do it. iPhone 13, iPhone 13 Pro, and iPhone 13 Pro Max are great phones. Buy the best iPhone you can to meet your needs and then enjoy using it for years to come.

  • apple,  apple card,  apple cash,  ios 15,  iphone

    Using Apple Cash to Pay Apple Card Balances

    Source: Apple, Inc.

    When you make qualifying purchases with your Apple Card, either the digital card in Apple Wallet or the physical card from your physical wallet, you earn Apple Cash back on our purchases.

    I only use my Apple Card for Apple purchases and earn 3% cash back on all the Apple goods and services that I buy. The cash back goes to my Apple Cash card. I use it when I want to buy a new accessory, like my recent purchase of AirPods Pro.

    But, you can also use your Apple Cash to pay your Apple Card balance just like you would use your bank’s ATM card.

    To use Apple Cash to pay your Apple Card balance:

    Step 1: Open Apple Wallet on your iPhone and tap on your Apple Card.

    Step 2: Tap the Pay or Pay More button.

    Step 3: Choose an amount to pay and tap the Pay Now button.

    Step 4: On the Face ID authorization screen tap the > icon to the right of your default payment option.

    Step 5: Toggle on Apple Cash card.

    Toggle ‘On’ Apple Cash card payments Source: Apple, Inc.

    Step 6: Confirm your Apple Card card is now the selected payment option.

    Step 7: Use Face ID to complete your payment.

    For more detailed instructions, and to see the other payment options that are available to Apple Card holders, see Apple’s How to make Apple Card payments Kbase article.

  • apple,  ios 15,  iphone 13

    Unlucky 13

    I don’t consider myself superstitious. But for iPhone 13, I was certainly bit by unlucky 13 during this year’s iPhone upgrade. The last 18 days have been a rougher road than usual to get everything working on my new iPhone.

    Waiting a long time for Quick Start to finish migrating data, defective hardware, iOS 15 bugs, and corrupt iCloud data rained on my annual iPhone upgrade parade.

    This post will list out the issues that I ran across and what I did to get around them.

    iPhone Backups and Restores

    In most cases, using and iCloud backup is the quickest and easiest way to migrate from your current iPhone to your new iPhone. There are a few options for backing up data. The oldest backup method is to back up to the Finder on macOS or wtih iTunes on Windows. Over the last couple of years, Apple has really upped its data migration game with the Quick Start feature. Performing a restore from iCloud is the quickest way to get started on a new iPhone. This is especially true if you are upgrading on iPhone Launch Day and want to start playing as quickly as possible. In years past, I have used macOS and iCloud backup methods.

    This year, I didn’t want to wait for my apps and data to download from Apple’s servers. Nope. This year, I wanted everything moving from my iPhone 12 Pro Max to my new iPhone 13 Pro Max over a wire. No delays from congested Wi-Fi networks for me.

    Scott was helping my Dad and I with our new iPhones on launch day. Seeing that I brought my own cable with me, Scott asked if I was going to use an iCloud restore because it was going to be faster. Throwing caution to the wind, I gleefully started my Lightening data transfer. Scott wasn’t wrong. The iCloud restore was faster. My Dad was up and running with his iPhone 13 in about 30 minutes. I wasn’t able to start using my iPhone for at least another 90 minutes. What was left unsaid was what was being transferred. For the iCloud restore, only the data that needed to be restored from the back up was transferred. Everything else could be redownloaded from Apple’s servers. My cable transfer was moving everything from iPhone 12 to 13 and I’d have to wait for the copy to complete. In the end, both types of data transfers took the same amount of time, except my Dad was able to use his iPhone sooner. Your mileage will vary based on how much data needs to transfer or download.

    iOS 15 Bug Fix Updates

    As of this posting, there have been three iOS 15 updates for iPhones running this year’s version of iOS. For this post, I am focusing on iPhone 13 models. The updates are:

    • iOS 15.0 (19A341) initial iPhone 13 release
    • iOS 15.0 (19A346) silently released iPhone 13 weekend
    • iOS 15.0.1 (19A347) fixes Unlock with Apple Watch
    • iOS 15.0.2 (19A404) multiple annoyance fixes

    The most recent update, 15.0.2, released yesterday, has a number of fixes in it that are likely to address the lingering issues around the iPhone 13 launch, including a fix for failing Finder and iTunes data restores, lost photos saved from Messages, Find My and AirTag fixes, and a fix for dropped connections with CarPlay.

    All-in-all, iPhone 13 and iOS 15 have been a stable launch, however, there have been a few annoying bugs that left upgraders feeling like they got less features on a new iPhone than they had on their previous iPhone. I certainly felt that way this year. If you have one of the new iPhone 13 models, I suggest upgrading to iOS 15.0.2 when you can. And if iOS 15.0.2 doesn’t fix your bug, iOS 15.1 is currently on the third release of the Public Beta build, suggesting that it should be arriving sooner rather than later.

    Starting Over from Scratch

    The most annoying problem I faced this year with upgrading to my new iPhone was coming to the realization that there was something corrupted either in my iPhone 12 Pro Max, my iCloud backup, or something else in my iCloud account relating to backing up and restoring to a new iPhone.

    To their credit, Apple did try everything possible to help get my iCloud backup to successfully restore on my iPhone 13 Pro Max and ensure that all of the iPhone 13 features were working as advertised.

    My issue was that after running Quick Start and restoring my iPhone 12 Pro Max data to my iPhone 13, I was unable to use Face ID to make purchases in the iTunes Store and App Store apps on iPhone. Everything else relating to Face ID, as far as I could tell everything was working normally, excluding the Unlock with Apple Watch feature which had a fix on the way.

    Apple Support on Twitter, Apple Telephone Support, and even the team at my local Apple Store were stumped as to what was causing my issue. An in store hardware diagnostics test hinted that a defective Face ID sensor was to blame, despite Face ID working to unlock my iPhone and apps that I enabled Face ID for.

    By the time I was sitting at the Genius Bar working working with someone on my issue, I knew that I was looking at some sort of data corruption. I had already hard reset my iPhone 13 and set it up as new and confirmed that Face ID could be used for iTunes Store and App Store purchases. I just wasn’t ready to admit it to myself that I needed to start over. I had been carrying my data across to each new iPhone I purchased starting with my upgrade from iPhone 4S to iPhone 5S. A pretty good run if I do say so myself.

    The hardest part for me was reconfiguring iOS the way I had it, reinstalling my apps, and getting everything setup just so. When you start over from scratch, you have nothing on the iPhone.

    When you sign in to your iCloud account, you get your personal information manager data back. For me, that was my contacts and notes. As you start to log in to your other accounts, cloud services start to fill in the missing data. For example, signing back into my personal and family Google accounts, I was able to get my email and calendar data back. Because I am an Apple One and iTunes Match customer, I was able to get my text messages, photo library back, and personal music tracks back.

    The saving grace for me was that my data lives in multiple places with my iMac and cloud services being co-equal owners of my data. There is a popular saying in corporate records and information circles that “one is none.” If you only have one copy of a vital document – or your data – you have no avenue for recovery. Always have at least two, if not more, copies of your data.

    The last few days have been filled with reinstalling apps and then walking down the Settings options double-checking my settings on iPhone 12 and then configuring the same options on iPhone 13.

    There are still a few snags I hit with some apps. Minor things like having to login to newspaper and take-out apps. These aren’t big deal, but when I find something that isn’t working like it did on my iPhone 12, I am reminded of Unlucky 13.

    There are two areas that I haven’t been able to recover. The first is my Apple Watch Series 5 and 6 device backups. With Apple Watch still closely tied to iPhone, I haven’t been able to find a way to restore Watch backups saved to my iPhone 12. So my watch faces and complication settings were ‘lost’. I will reinstall and setup complications when inspiration hits, otherwise, it is just a boring Infograph Modular watch face for me on both Watches.

    The other area where I ‘lost’ data was my wallpapers in Springboard, the iPhone Home Screen launcher, and for the rooms in the Home app. I don’t recall where I got the pictures from. I was able to do a quick Internet search to find my Springboard wallpaper. To make sure that I have backups for next year, I created a new Photos album called iPhone Wallpapers and saved copies of my wallpapers into it.

    My path to iPhone 13 Pro Max has been more ‘challenging’ this year than in years past. The usual excitement and enthusiasm around getting a new iPhone was tempered by hardware and software problems. Still, as I get farther way from iPhone 13 launch day, I get to appreciate the new features of my iPhone more and more.

    Hopefully, next year’s iPhone party will be back to normal.

  • apple watch,  ios 15,  iphone 13

    Apple Releases iOS 15.0.1, Fixing Unlock With Apple Watch on iPhone 13

    Today Apple released iOS 15.0.1 the fix for iPhone 13 owners who lost the ability to use the Unlock with Apple Watch when upgrading from iPhone 12.

    This update includes bug fixes for your iPhone.
    * Unlock iPhone with Apple Watch may not work on iPhone 13 models
    * Settings app may incorrectly display an alert that storage is full
    * Audio meditations could unexpectedly start a workout on Apple Watch for some Fitness+ subscribers

    I was happy to see that Apple was able to get this update out within the first week of iPhone 13 availability. As an iPhone 13 Pro Max customer, I was frustrated that my brand new iPhone had one less important feature than the iPhone 12 Pro Max that it was replacing.

    Once I got home and I was able to install the update, I was happy to see that my iPhone once again was able to unlock while wearing a mask after checking in with my Apple Watch Series 5 and Series 6.

    To install iOS 15.0.1 on eligible iPhones, tap Settings > General > Software Update.

  • apple,  apple watch,  ios 15,  iphone 13

    Apple Confirms iPhone 13 Unlock with Apple Watch is Broken Out of the Box

    Apple has confirmed that the iPhone 13 models launched this past weekend have a bug that prevents them from using the Unlock with Apple Watch feature.

    After upgrading to iPhone 13 with iOS 15.0 (builds 19A341 or 19A346) customers are no longer able to use the feature to unlock their brand new iPhones while wearing a face mask and Apple Watch.

    I was trying to get Unlock with Apple Watch working on my new iPhone 13 Pro Max all weekend long. The feature had been working without issue on my iPhone 12 Pro Max with iOS 14.8, Apple Watch Series 5 and 6, and watchOS 7.6.2. Thinking it was something that I did wrong, I posted a short video of the problem on Twitter.

    My tweet to Apple Support. I meant iOS 14.8 in my original tweet that I corrected with a re-tweet. Some day Twitter might let us fix tweets.

    Earlier this morning, I realized that I was not alone with my masked face plight. ZDNet’s Adrian Kingsley-Hughes complained of the exact same issue.

    AppleInsider’s Mike Wuerthele noticed a new Apple support article confirming the Unlock with Apple Watch issue yesterday and that they will be releasing a fix ‘soon’.

    Apple has identified an issue where Unlock with Apple Watch may not work with iPhone 13 devices. You might see “Unable to Communicate with Apple Watch” if you try to unlock your iPhone while wearing a face mask, or you might not be able to set up Unlock with Apple Watch. This issue will be fixed in an upcoming software update.

    Working in the IT field, I get it, software written by humans will have bugs. The problem with Apple lately, is that they seem so focused on pushing out new products and major software releases on an annual schedule, testing can sometimes fall by the wayside. In the worst case, which is also becoming more frequent in my opinion, a bug is never fixed.

    For me, and possibly many of the people who were also upgrading to a new iPhone 13 last weekend, I found this a bit of a letdown and a lousy experience that my brand new out of the box iPhone was less capable than the iPhone it just replaced. During a weekend that I was excited for my new iPhone and family and friends wanted to see it, the impression that they were left with was that a $1,200 iPhone 13 Pro Max didn’t work as well as its successor. And that’s not a great customer experience during the iPhone 13 product launch.

  • ios 15,  iphone 13,  t-mobile

    Line No Longer Available After Switch to eSIM

    As part of the upgrade process to my new iPhone 13 Pro Max, I decided to switch from using a physical SIM card from my wireless carrier to a new fangled digital SIM, known as an eSIM.

    However, after switching from the nano-SIM in my iPhone 12 to an eSIM with my iPhone 13, I started receiving a Last Line No Longer Available warning, as the following screen capture shows.

    It turns out that this is a problem that has been around since iOS 12.1 when the eSIM feature was first introduced with the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR.

    To ‘fix’ the issue, all I needed to do was to go into the Phone app and clear the list of recent calls.

    1: Tap the green Phone.app icon.
    2: Tap the All tab at the top of the screen.
    3: Tap the blue Edit button in the upper right of the screen.
    4: Tap the blue Clear button in the upper left of the screen.
    5: Tap the red Clear All Recents button at the bottom of the screen.

    Now, test calling a number that previously gave the warning message and it should be gone.

  • apple,  ios 15,  iphone 13,  security

    Apple Releases iOS 15.0 Build 19A346

    On Friday, I received my iPhone 13 Pro Max which I am really enjoying. Yesterday, while out and about, I happened to check Software Update, and noticed that Apple released an iOS 15.0 update with build number 19A346.

    In the above screen captures, you can see iOS 15.0 as shipped on iPhone 13 Pro Max (left) and iOS 15.0 on the same iPhone 13 after updating (right). The release notes did not say much other than it was a security update.

    “This update provides important security updates and fixes an issue where widgets may revert to their default settings after restoring from a backup.”

    The link provided in the release notes to the Apple Security Updates page as of the time of this post, had not yet been updated with the details of iOS 15.0 19A346.

    However, a piece by Jim Salter writing for Ars Technica may shed some light as to what’s going on.

    “[A] security researcher who goes by illusionofchaos dropped public notice of three zero-day vulnerabilities in Apple’s iOS mobile operating system. The vulnerability disclosures are mixed in with the researcher’s frustration with Apple’s Security Bounty program, which illusionofchaos says chose to cover up an earlier-reported bug without giving them credit.”

    Apple has received criticism in the past for being slow to acknowledge bugs reported by security researchers. And, when vulnerabilities are confirmed, Apple can be equally slow to credit researchers and provide pay outs as part of the company’s Security Bounty program.

    According to Salter, the security researcher, who goes by the name of illusionofchaos has posted example code of how the exploits work, meaning that an nefarious programmer can use the code to whip up a new malware attack against iOS devices.

    My suggestion is that anyone who is running iOS 15.0 check Settings > Software Update for iOS 15.0 (19A346) and install it as soon as reasonably possible.

    Interestingly, the same update was not available for my 10.5-inch iPad Pro nor my iPhone XR running the iOS 15.1 Public Beta.