Apple is working on a fix for unreliable iPhone battery indicator glitch

Rob Attrell

January 18, 2016 8:42am

No computer is totally free from all software bugs; even minor changes to code can cause small issues that annoy and confuse users. The iPhone has encountered many bugs like this, including several related to time zone and rapid battery drain. Patches and software updates usually resolve these problems quickly, but if you’re suffering through them, the wait between updates can feel excruciating.

This weekend, Apple released a support document for the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, detailing a bug where the battery percentage indicator stops updating without warning. This results in users thinking they have more power left in their batteries than they actually do.

The bug seems to stem from jumping time zones, whether from manual shifts to the clock, or changes caused by entering a different time zone. Restarting the phone should cause the indicator to begin updating again, and if your device’s time is set to automatically update based on location, you reportedly shouldn’t run into this problem.

Apple is working on a fix for the bug and the company’s next iOS 9 software release will reportedly solve this issue.

SourceApple
  • Max

    “No computer is totally free from any software bugs, even small changes to code can cause small issues that annoy and confuse users.”

    I don’t know anyone could go further low. No shame on these guys. I don’t know how this guy get in to such a pathetic stage in his career, so that he has to write for Apple and to pretend he is not.

    • thefoolishone

      I fear for the future. While this is a minor issue, the amount of bugs and issues in everything – including enterprise IT security infrastructure where I spend my 8-5 is atrocious. Kids growing up now have been conditioned to expect outages, bugs, security issues and hacks as being normal occurrences of daily life. It shouldn’t be. It comes down to you get what you pay for, and companies don’t want to pay for quality.

    • Crossed

      8-5 sucks. IT 9-5 is so much better 😛

    • TechGuru

      No software or hardware is perfect. Seems that you think it is or that it can be and that just isn’t the case. Computers and these phones have gotten considerably more complex the past 8-10 years and as such the software along with it.
      Obviously mitigating against this should be top priority but compared to Android, Apple tends to address issues much more quickly and satisfactorily. Some people just can’t be satisfied I guess and will always find something to biatch about.

    • Mike

      Wow, you’re really mean, aren’t you? He’s still kind of a person, and whether or not he likes the iPhone should be of no consequence to you! He is not employed by Apple, but he writes about what he knows (or has informed himself on) as any writer would. Don’t be a douche, and don’t read articles about phones if they are going to bring out such anger and douchbaggery. “No shame on these guys”, but certainly shame on you. I really don’t get the rivalry between iPhone and Android users… It’s a simple PERSONAL phone choice… Why do you care so much?

    • Max

      I will make my reply precise
      and clear, and I am not even touching
      any of your comments against me because you don’t deserve one even remotely. I
      have been a reader of this blog for a long time. I said what I felt with reasoning. In this particular case, there is something bad
      with apple or apple product so they will present it with some butter on it. And I have no issues with people writing
      for a tech company or other companies but just readers let know that I am directly or indirectly
      paid by that company, don’t
      pretend otherwise. If really want to find out what I said, just go through the
      archives.

    • Mike

      I really have no idea what you’re talking about. I honestly tried so hard to comprehend, but I just can’t. Now I feel a bit sorry for you.

    • MasterofTech

      WTF? What gives you the impression O’Rourke works for Apple or is being paid to write this stuff? lol Talk about delusional.

    • Marc Palumbo

      Atrell wrote the article, not O’Rourke

    • MasterofTech

      Does it really matter? O’Rourke commented in the thread and whether its Attrell or himself, the accusation these guys are on Apple’s payroll is ridiculous.

    • Marc Palumbo

      It does when someone accuses or involves one’s name. I do dislike how the writer’s on this website can be, but I will never say they’re on payroll. VoxMedia is a different beast and do receive “support” from companies like Apple, so they tend to favor them. I’ll just say this is what I think before anyone here decides to go on a rampage on my opinion.

    • So what you’re telling us is that PCs are perfect and devoid of bug and issues?

      They aren’t and neither are Apple products. I have never used a device in my life, from any manufacturer, that didn’t suffer from some kind of problem.

    • Max

      I was just mentioning the way it is presented, if it is anything bad with apple or apple products.

    • MasterofTech

      There is nothing wrong with the way it was presented. You simply have a hate -on but aren’t man enough to admit it. It’s completely clouded your judgment and anyone can see that.

    • Derek Mandy

      Right? lol

    • TechGuru

      What an ignorant post on your part. Typical conspiracy theorist nut job without a shred of experience using tech I’ll bet.
      FYI, this was an issue I noticed on my iPhone when I switched to U.S. region to access the News app. My battery wasn’t dead but showed it was so it’s a glitch and minor one at that.
      It’s a legit story for iPhone users you numbnuts so if it bothers you that much then piss off and comment on something else that doesn’t get your goat up.

    • Max

      Your comment speak for yourself, another paid troller(or may be an iSheep) nice try though.

    • MasterofTech

      LOL! Paid troll? I wonder. Paid by whom? Your comments speak to someone who has no clue whatsoever.
      There are plenty of other tech sites out there to read and get opinion on. No one is forcing you to read the stuff here if you think it’s so tainted.

    • Max

      Oh, you are working for this site and you don’t like anything against your interest. Got it, thanks.

    • MasterofTech

      Oh yes…of course! I’m working for the site. lol Whatever buddy.

    • HelloCDN

      Wow man, you’ve hit a new low with this comment… I hope no one ever criticizes you for your pathetic job – although doubt you even have one…

    • NotARogersEmployee

      I remember a time when MobileSyrup didn’t preface their articles with an Apple-apologist sentiment too.

  • Marc Palumbo

    Anything revolving around the battery has been a constant issue for Apple, but from over the years, it only seems to be getting better, but at such a slow pace.

    • Mr_Smoosh

      Maybe they should outsource to the software guys at Volkswagen. Those wizards can get any reading they want.

    • Marc Palumbo

      badum tsssssssss

  • J.S.Bach

    Apple’s market cap is down $218B since May… maybe they should up their game a little and spend some of the $200B they have stashed off-shore in tax havens to fix these things more quickly. You can only get away with annoying your customers for so long. For so many years Apple slagged MS for the same thing and now they’re even worse. It appears they’ve reached the bloated behemoth stage of their growth curve as emphasized by the fact that they have 800 engineers working on their camera… that’s just sad.

    • TechGuru

      People like you need to seriously get a life. All you do is bash this company at every turn and yet you really have no experience with the product, like most Fandroids.
      If the company has 800 engineers working on a camera that at least says something about their ability to keep a leading edge in the business because the iPhone camera is still recognized as among the best in the industry.
      Furthermore, I guess its’ never occurred to you that those 800 engineers are probably not directly employed by this company but rather contracted through other firms that specialize in this aspect of technology given that Apple is not a CAMERA MANUFACTURER you numbskull.

    • J.S.Bach

      Brilliant response…

    • MasterofTech

      You’re one of the biggest jackasses on these forums bar none.

    • J.S.Bach

      Even more brilliant… your overlord would be pleased

    • Frederick The Great

      You’re a good argument for getting rid of these forums on this site to be honest. I wouldn’t miss them or you for that matter.

    • MatroXX

      ^^LOL, looks who’s talking.
      You were the original ‘Bach’, and you still troll on every BB article.

    • J.S.Bach

      Old Freddy has at least three profiles he uses on here to comment… he’s sad and lonely little old man.

    • Frederick The Great

      I see your imagination is working overtime. It would be easy for you to think that because you have a brain the size of a pea.
      Here’s the thing though. I’m perfectly aware my comments aren’t well-liked by some but what’s hilarious is that you seem to think yours are. LOL! You’re not a well-liked person here either but are too stoopid to see it.

    • J.S.Bach

      You seem to be mistaking me for someone who gives a cräp what you think

    • Frederick The Great

      I don’t and never have given a goddamn what you think and few around here do either.

    • Elton Bello

      Stoopid with oo? Makes me look like an english teacher

    • Frederick The Great

      It was deliberately spelled that way stupid.

    • Elton Bello

      Ok stoopid lol

    • Marc Palumbo

      Like watching 2 kids fight at a playground

  • Derek Mandy

    but if this was an Android device… so much more flak would be given… and it would be “classic Android” mentalities. Apple isn’t as bullet proof as everyone thinks. One of the only benefit them seem to have these days is that their ecosystem is less fractured compared to Android or Windows for both mobile and non mobile OS.

  • Brad Fortin

    Apparently one of the causes of this is people who play games like Candy Crush and Farm Heroes try to cheat by changing the time on the device to make more time pass in the game.

    Reminds me of someone who was surprised that her phone was dying in only 3-4 hours, but when I looked at her battery usage 99% of it was Candy Crush, non-stop, for those 3-4 hours.

    • Marc Palumbo

      It’s still tough to think how times or time zones are directly related to batteries or battery feedback. Still, this is a type of bug that should not surface on the 9th iteration of the OS.

    • Frederick The Great

      I would say that since the passing of Steve Jobs the quality of software releases has suffered with this company. Stuff is being released that generally never would’ve seen the light of day under Jobs’ direction.
      Then again, the entire company has changed really. Hard to imagine Jobs pushing an iPad Pro with stylus or a Watch or minor advancements in iPhone. The ‘innovation’ here has suffered no doubt.

    • Marc Palumbo

      I highly doubt Tim Cook has a direct impact on the quality of the OS. I would say that it’s possible that Tim Cook has changed the culture which has possibly had an affect on QA. There’s just so much pressure on their engineers to release a new version of the OS every year that clumsy mistakes are easy to make. Trust me, yearly cycles of this size of software is EXTREMELY difficult. And at the same time as your fixing bugs, you’re also developing new features, so code merging doesn’t help.

    • Frederick The Great

      I would say that Jobs was a perfectionist and would’ve been far more circumspect about the kinds of software updates they rolled out. The pressure you refer to on their engineers can really only come from the top and Cook’s background isn’t in the finer details of OS engineering to begin with. I don’t see him as being nearly as micromanaging as his predecessor and THAT’s why you’re seeing these kinds of problems.

    • Marc Palumbo

      Apple employees hated working under Steve Jobs. He was a perfectionist, but he was also an a-hole and mostly everyone hated him. Everyone hates the slavery and what it stood for, but everyone loves to visit the Pyramids in Egypt. In no way am I trying to compare the two in terms of Apple being slave owners, but that harsh, micromanagement got stuff done. Except the employees hated it.

    • Mo Dabbas

      regarding the software, I don’t think steve has anything to do with it. I would say apple is trying to put more and more things and features in iOS that it makes more possible areas for errors. remember how limited iOS before iOS7? Maybe if steve was still running apple he would not allow features that may affect the experience to be included in the OS. But again, apple witnessed some major hardware and software issues even within steve era (antenna-gate is a good example)

    • Brad Fortin

      Wild guess, but I’m thinking the battery percentage is determined by how much power the battery is reporting, and how much that power is decreasing over a period of time. If that’s the basics of how it works, changing time zones could result in exaggerated or reduced (maybe even negative?) time, which could pass an error along to the battery percentage calculator, which could result in a lack of indicator updates.

      That the error is only happening now probably means someone was tweaking the code and might have erroneously taken out some of the error-checking code.

    • Marc Palumbo

      Hypothetically, let’s assume this is the problem. These would be the issues I would have with a company like Apple:

      1) The time is most probably being reported in milliseconds, but any information on the battery should be store in GMT and then constantly recalculated every time time zones changes. So effectively, changing time zones shouldn’t be a problem, even though the process is done manually.

      2) If battery information is stored in a single time zone at a specific time, then this is careless and stupid if you ask me.

      3) If the error is only happening now because someone erroneously removed good, working code, then their development department is pretty bad. Companies of this size in charge of software that big go through constant code review whenever changes are checked in. Moreover, I’m pretty sure they have automated regressions tests that checks these things.

      My conclusion to this would be that the OS is reporting an error possibly by some sort of communication with the hardware itself, or that the OS is not reading the hardware the way it’s supposed to. Probably sure it’s the latter. Given the level of stupidity of the bug, I’ll say that it was definitely oversight on the development team. Especially leaving that in a production environment. It seems trivial, I would think!

    • WiZZLa

      If that was true, which I doubt it is because that would be silly, it would be terrible coding.

  • gommer strike

    Yup confirmed that this bug is incredibly annoying.

    Sometimes it will report “use your iPhone for a few minutes” blah blah. Well there is no reason why it should suddenly lose tracking of battery stats *between charges*. Like give me a break.

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    • Elton Bello

      Commercial break lol

  • Rimtu Kahn

    Can’t believe I’d be defending apple one day. It is true that making bug-free software is improbable as well as impossible. The thing I don’t like about apple is really the perfectionist attitude from the company or user of their products, when any real techie knows they serve up the same crap as others, only in a nicer packaging compared to the rest. Thanks to the scientific stats on computing and software verification we know it cannot be otherwise.

    • Marc Palumbo

      Bugs have criticalities associated to them and then those bugs are rated by difficulty.if those bugs are caused by poor coding and laziness (associated with poor code review), then the development department is weak and incompetent. Most of the other issues Apple has faced is completely understandable. it’s issues like this that don’t make sense. it worked before and now it doesn’t. Regression testing -> Fail.

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