Apple blames iOS 17 bug for overheating iPhone 15 woes

Fixes about to flow, perhaps along with an iSearch engine

Updated Apple has warned that a bug in the iOS 17 software powering its latest iPhone 15 Pro model is causing smartphones to overheat.

Some folks who purchased the new device complained about their devices becoming uncomfortably hot during normal use. The iGiant has now said that’s not unexpected, especially when setting up the iPhone 15 Pro for the first time, and that a software bug it’s now trying to fix made matters worse.

"We have identified a few conditions which can cause iPhone to run warmer than expected," the Mac titan told the media. "The device may feel warmer during the first few days after setting up or restoring the device because of increased background activity.

"We have also found a bug in iOS 17 that is impacting some users and will be addressed in a software update."

The Cupertino operation also blamed people's apps, claiming: "Another issue involves some recent updates to third-party apps that are causing them to overload the system. We're working with these app developers on fixes that are in the process of rolling out."

Some tech experts, however, have speculated on other reasons on why the iPhone 15 Pro becomes excessively warm. Top Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo reckoned Apple had botched the design of its thermal system by using a titanium frame that is lighter but reduces the ability to dissipate heat effectively.

"It's expected that Apple will address this through software updates, but improvements may be limited unless Apple lowers processor performance. If Apple does not properly address this issue, it could negatively impact shipments over the product life cycle of the iPhone 15 Pro series," he wrote.

Others, like Patrick Moorhead, CEO of analyst firm Moor Insights & Strategy, however, opined the issue may be due to TSMC having done a less-than-perfect job on the smartphone's 3nm processor chip. "I stick with my thesis that the '3nm' TSMC [system-on-a-chip] didn't come in at spec. How many years have these 'issue-causing' apps been on iOS?...Maybe the new and giant [neural processor unit]?," he said on X.

Last week, Apple updated software on its older iPhone 12 devices, and was cleared by regulators after the French National Frequency Agency warned that its smartphones were emitting more radiation than regulations allow.

Search ambitions

In other Apple-related news, the company has reportedly built its own search engine named Pegasus, according to Bloomberg. The project is being led by John Giannandrea, who was the senior veep of engineering at Google, where he led efforts in search and machine learning. He was hired by Apple in 2018, where he currently works as the senior vice president of machine learning and AI strategy.

The move could spell trouble for Google, as if Apple made its own search service the default on iDevices it would mean the Big G faced more competition in web search and could lose netizens using iPhones. Google currently pays Apple fees for directing web traffic to its search engine, scoring Cupertino over $8 billion a year. If Apple does roll out its own search product, however, it may end up making more money in the long run from digital advertising than it gets from Google.

The Register has asked Apple and Moor Insights & Strategy for further comment. ®

Updated to add

Apple has released iOS 17.0.3 and iPadOS 17.0.3 to hopefully correct the overheating issue. Folks are encouraged to install it – if not to squash the warming bug, then because it addresses an exploited-in-the-wild security hole (CVE-2023-42824) in the kernel. The bug can be abused by rogue apps or injected code to gain control over the whole device.

"A local attacker may be able to elevate their privileges," the iGiant said. "Apple is aware of a report that this issue may have been actively exploited against versions of iOS before iOS 16.6."

The update also squashes CVE-2023-5217, a remote-code-execution buffer-overflow issue in libvpx.

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