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January 23, 2014

Screen Crashes in iOS 7? There's an Update for That - Soon

Some iOS 7 users in recent days have been noticing an unusual bug cropping up on the hardware, a bug that occasionally causes the screen on the iOS 7 device of choice—mostly iPhones by some reports—to crash. But new reports suggest that this particular bug may not be plaguing users too much longer, as a new update to iOS 7 may ultimately fix the problem.

Reports suggest that the screen crash bug has been hitting at least several dozen users who responded to a thread on Apple's own support forum, talking about a bug that generally does its damage when the device's battery slips under 30 percent power. At that point, the screen slips into either a black or white screen described as a “screen of death” effect, and the device needs to be restarted. Reports further suggest that the bug in question was first spotted in September 2013, which was a matter of days after Apple released iOS 7 to begin with.

That's particularly unnerving given that several iOS 7 updates have since emerged—the current version is 7.0.4, at last report—but new word from a spokesperson at Apple says that a fix should be forthcoming. Said spokesperson noted: “We have a fix in an upcoming software update for a bug that can occasionally cause a home screen crash.” It's unclear as yet just when the next update will emerge, but there are reports suggesting that a public launch of iOS 7.1 is set for sometime around March.

It's not exactly a point in Apple's favor here that the bug in question goes back pretty much to the start of iOS 7—that's right around six months worth of unaddressed bug—but then it may not have been that extensive an issue. Still, a fix probably should have come out before now, and there's the possibility that a smaller release—a 7.0.5 version—could come out before the iOS 7.1 release, addressing the screen crash. But the idea that a screen crash in any number of users' systems would go untouched for six months is really a staggering proposition in its own way, made perhaps worse by the thought that four separate updates of the software emerged, with not a one fixing a problem as substantial as a screen crash.

That's an incredible blow to the user base, and I can't help but wonder if this might cost Apple a little brand loyalty when the next Apple hardware update emerges. Not a big one, in all likelihood, but it may be that some of Apple's market share migrates to, say, a Samsung product if Apple doesn't keep up with bug fixes. Still, Apple users' product loyalty is widely regarded, and this issue may not have gone so far as may be thought. Only time will tell just what kind of fallout, if any, the screen crash issue actually brought to bear.

Edited by Alisen Downey

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