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App with local notification will crash iOS Springboard on Dec. 2 (twitter.com/niw)
167 points by sashk on Dec 2, 2017 | hide | past | favorite | 84 comments

I fortunately have not experienced this, despite living somewhere where it is already the 2nd (no doubt because I've disabled most notifications). But Apple seriously needs to fix its QA processes.

Microsoft was a security laughing stock in the early 2000s and they invested heavily into secure coding methodology, tools, and standards. Now it is Apple's day of reckoning.

Apple must demonstrate that they have learnt this lesson and commit to fixing the security and quality control processes they have.

I think Apple has a bigger problem. Microsoft has always been a software shop. Apple culture has shifted throughout the time, between software and hardware. I wonder if what we’re witnessing now isn’t the consequence of putting tim cook and ives at the top, without a « software guy ».

Craig Federighi is the software guy, succeeding Bertrand Serlet and Avie Tevanian as VP in charge of software. He's only been at Apple since 2009, though according to Wikipedia, he did work at NeXT in the 90s leading WebObjects.

He's very charismatic and charming in the keynotes, but maybe he deserves some scrutiny for Apple's recent sfotware problems? Though some of it has to be the yearly cycle of releases and the pressure for glitzy features every Summer and Fall.

It could just be a problem of rank. From what i remember from steve jobs decision, ive is in charge of both hardware and software, but i don't think he would be able to code a javascript hello world to save his life.

If Craig doesn't have the authority to prioritize hardening the kernel vs the latest gesture du jour, because Ive wants it badly, then no matter how good and charming you are, you're screwed.

I mean, it's not hard to see there's something happening with the priorities set inside the company : iphone X is apparently a great new piece of hardware, but iOS and mac OS are seriously lagging.

The last batch of real new features was iOS10 with extensions (which honestly didn't change anything in my personal experience), and before that iOS7 with the new UI look. No serious innovation really happened in Apple software since iOS. I'm talking "Richest company in the world" serious. Swift is the only piece of really innovative software coming out of Apple, and from what i understood, it's a very personal initiative of someone who's not even part of the company anymore. And judging at the pace at which the language is evolving, it seems badly under staffed (considering it's supposed to become the main tool for all new apple software).

The way i see it (but frankly i don't know), Scott Forstall was the guy with the vision and the history to lead ambitious new software project, and the other top-level guys dumped him (for relational reasons). And now we start seeing the aftermath of that decision.

Swift, metal, bitcode / LLVM IR, CloudKit, XPC on iOS, all other new frameworks, machine learning on device, differential privacy. Maybe you meant user-facing features, but all the aforementioned help build better software for users.

APFS too, with what seemed to be a smooth rollout.

The APFS switchover wrecked a lot of people's drives, and AFPS is slower than the filesystem it replaced. I wouldn't hold it up as an example of Apple software initiatives that are shipped fully-baked.

Do you have source for that? I can't find any reports of widespread problems.

The speed wasn't the part I was impressed with, it was the ability to do in place upgrade of a filesystem on millions of devices without any massive amounts of problems.

I find that to be a tour de force.

While I'd prefer new filesystems to be faster than older ones, I understand that improvements don't always come in the speed dimension: it can also come in the integrity/data loss one.

You can run your filesystem without write ordering, cache enabled, and no-op for SYNC/FLUSH, and it will be very fast, but you will risk data loss.

It seems reasonable to me to trade speed for integrity.

I suppose you could ultimately try and place some blame on him but I feel that it's more likely an issue with middle management. Is that his fault to an extent? Perhaps, but it's hard to tell without knowing a lot more than we ever will without being at Apple.

Inclined to agree. The first significant feeling I had their QA wasn’t as good as it should’ve been was Ive showed off the (unready) post-skeuomorphic UI.

I’m still not a fan of buttons being text with invisible edges, not even as a default I can override.

I landed in Australia this morning and as soon as my phone updated to Dec 2 on the new network my phone started locking up immediately. It would go to the loading screen (spinner in middle of screen) every 8-12 seconds then reset to lock screen after 4-5 more, making it nearly impossible to even access settings for more than a few seconds. I was able to disable local notifications for the apps that I know use them after 3 or 4 tries (required some quick navigation to get to the right screen before it locked up). I captured the logs on a number of occasions but and saw a few anomalies in the logs including this one:

iPhone kernel[0] <Notice>: 2404.102 memorystatus: killing_highwater_process pid 736 [SpringBoard] (highwater 16) - memorystatus_available_pages: 26834

Possibly SpringBoard consuming too much memory because of the bug?

Additional saw some of these, although not sure if they are a factor:

iPhone dasd(DuetActivitySchedulerDaemon)[107] <Notice>: com.apple.healthd.achievement-asset-manager:E60402:[ {name: NetworkQualityPolicy, policyWeight: 11.400, response: {Decision: Must Not Proceed, Score: 0.00, Rationale: [{[wifiQuality]: Required:100.00, Observed:50.00},{[networkPathAvailability]: Required:1.00, Observed:1.00},]}}

It’s a calendar bug. Local notifications are/can be scheduled 30 days in advance, so on Dec 2nd they can be scheduled on Jan 1st. I saw crash logs on Twitter mentioning “month 13”, so it looks like there’s an off by one bug in that calendar handling code

Stupid mistakes by big companies helped me fight the imposter syndrome.

That makes it all the more unusual, because I have not heard of Apple devices having problems on Dec 2 before now; unless they're rewriting everything frequently, which may also explain a few of the other severe bugs they've produced recently... yet another argument for not replacing things entirely just because they're "old" --- software needs time to mature and stabilise, and have its bugs fixed. Something as simple as a date addition should've been perfected by now.

I woke up to this gem today. For me, Headspace was the culprit. Deleting it allowed me to start the update process. Hopefully that fixes all cases.

The Golden Age of Apple has ended, and looking back, it was truly a Golden Age of personal computing in terms of quality and usability. I moved to a Windows laptop last week; it's o.k. Not terrible. But I'd say MS elevated themselves and Apple stepped back and they've met in the middle to offer us only mediocrity. /rant

Springboard. Springboard is the culprit. It is a core part of iOS and it is crashing.

Headspace uses local notifications (meditation reminders) which triggers the springboard bug.

I guess he meant the trigger is by Headspace.

Whoa. That's pretty bad. According to someone in Australia the Apple Stores there are getting swamped!


Apple can’t QA software anymore, so I’m sitting in my hotel at Disneyland trying to go to bed but actually upgrading two iPhones to iOS 11.2 beta so that we can use them in the parks tomorrow since the beta is the only confirmed way thus far to avoid it without losing something (access to apps that time check or notifications for apps). Fantastic.

That’s not the point the commenter is making.

I had a look in Software Update and apparently iOS 11.2 is now available (not as a Beta release). Since people were reporting the Beta didn't have the issue, maybe Apple just released it?

That was quick. Funny they don't mention fixing that specific date bug in the main release notes as far as I can see.

Rushing out a half-baked major release would certainly have other bad consequence.

Update: They’ve just released 11.2 :)

iOS 11.2 has seen 6 dev betas and the GM was set to arrive any day.

Sorry, I should have said 95% baked.

And apparently it’s breaking FaceID for a number of people

From reading the Twitter thread and these comments, I'm not quite sure I understand what actually is happening/will happen to people's phones. Any chance someone could explain what's up to someone with little to no iOS knowledge?

Well, what's happening to my phone is that every few seconds screen blanks out, running apps crash and the phone goes back to the lock screen. The battery is also draining fast and the phone is warm to the touch.

The battery drain screams of planned obsolescence. But there is always the possibility that it’s proprietary hardware just requires them to write code that just obliterates our battery.

No it doesn’t. This is a belief without any merit whatsoever. There is approximately zero chance that Apple are deliberately causing iPhone batteries to drain faster so that people will buy new iPhones.

Well, no. But comparing the overall resource demands of iOS 6 and iOS 10 (the first and last iOS available on iPhone 5), it's very clear that the latter is an absolutely pig. Burning through more CPU, RAM and IOPS = faster battery drain.

I doubt Apple is deliberately adding bloat to iOS, but every major version is definitely heavier than the previous one.

OK sure, but this has nothing to do with what "planned obsolescence" means.

I understand that the explanation is that the new hardware has different code running on it than the old hardware. I've been an iPhone owner since the first version. Empirically, every new iPhone's associated OS has had significant impact on my battery.

And I've experienced no such thing.

This argument doesn't make sense from a logical point of view. If all iPhones eventually crawl to a halt because Apple ruins them with software updates, why would that push people to go buy a new iPhone? Wouldn't they look elsewhere?

No. My iPhone 5S is crawling to a halt since iOS 11, and I've already ordered an iPhone SE. It sounds like Stockholm syndrome, but what else should I buy? There are Android phones that brag about receiving three years of security fixes as if that was a stellar achievement, but that's just as short as the lifetime of my iPhones.

No. They wouldn't. They are used to the iOS way of doing things. The phones do not crawl to a halt. The battery drains very fast. Whereas the phone made it through two days, they would now not make it through one day without some charging.

Relaunching is probably an expensive operation. Which would reasonably drain the battery if it happened a lot, just the same as, say, playing a CPU-intensive game would.

Not everything has to have a malicious explanation.

How many gigantic software disasters can Apple have in one week?

It’s been a bad week for apple.

Before the next spate of “what happened to quality at Apple” articles come out... I would love to know objectively if there are actually more problems or if it’s just bigger impact or an unfortunate run of problems (happens...).

Before this year, I had never seen an Ars Technica review of a major OS X release with a GIF like this: http://cdn.arstechnica.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Sep-23...

Which article is that from?

> Unfortunately, my experience with the new Metal-driven window server hasn’t been flawless. I’ve run into graphical glitching on both my MacBook Pro and iMac that have persisted into the GM build, and I’ve seen developers on Twitter posting about the same thing. Most of the glitches seem benign (blinking videos, webpages, or 3D graphics), but some seem serious (I can reliably make Finder windows flip out as in the GIF above, and older Nvidia systems have been running into kernel panics throughout the beta process and into the GM). Hopefully, these are issues that can be ironed out in the first couple High Sierra updates and are not ongoing discoveryd-type problems that Apple needs to walk back.


Hence that is why i never liked or trust Graphics Hardware acceleration when you dont have access to the source for Drivers. I really wish Apple would just ship their own GPU in Mac as well, but many people dislike the idea because Apple is unlikely to provide an GPU drivers for Windows, meaning dual booting is no longer an option.

To be fair, I have difficulty imagining how you could practically test for this kind of bug ahead of time. You can't test every feature in every app in the app store with the clock set to every possible date and time.

This is not a bug that should be caught by testing, but by simply looking at the code and thinking about it (and often getting others to do the same for your code.)

The current fashion of "write some code, write some tests, modify either until the tests pass" is not a way towards fewer bugs. All it leads to is the analogy of "throwing things on a wall and seeing what sticks". Tests should be for reducing the remaining uncertainty about the functioning of some code, and not a substitute for actually trying to get it right through careful reasoning.

Unit testing seems to frequently result in overconfidence.

This is something you test with unit tests. It should have been pretty easy to discover it. I know most of us don’t have that much cover by these tests, but also we don’t have hundreds of millions of daily users. They ahould invest into this.

It's not every app. It's a problem with the OS and notifications.

Shoot, I have an app on the App Store with a user count in the hundreds of thousands, and local notifications are one of the main features. Can't say I'm looking forward to responding to App Store reviews tomorrow (although I guess just for users that figure out it's the notifications causing the restarts?).

I understand why Apple software has bugs - it's practically impossible to write perfect software. However, it does seem like in the last year, the quality bar has dropped significantly. The number of iOS 11 bugs I've had to work around during development is crazy.

Reddit thread: https://www.reddit.com/r/iphone/comments/7gzntq/psa_iphone_r...

seems the solution is to set clock back, will set iPhone to do not disturb help this?

A comment there mentions the specific time that causes it:

I found that the crash problem occurs when the datetime is after 2017 Dec 02, 12:15am. The problem does not happen at 12:14am, but once the time goes past 12:15am, and I do a hard reset, the problem returns.

...the real question then, is what is special about 2017-12-02 00:15 ? It's not a leap day[1], there are no leap seconds, and nothing about the epoch timestamp stands out either. I'd love to read about the cause of this bug.

[1] Leap years have caused similar problems before: http://bit-player.org/2009/the-zune-bug

Expired certificate, maybe?

Seems unlikely, it seems to trigger at 12:15 local time.

The reddit thread updated to recommend against adjusting clock. It suggests to turn off local notification for app that uses repeating notification, such as daily reminder.

There’s an official guide now: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT208332

Wow, is that what's happening? I'm in New Zealand, couldn't figure out what was happening with battery drain + continuous crashing even after factory reset and restore. I guess I messed up with the restore.

Still feeling better about sticking with iOS 10 on my iPhone 6S. Enjoying the original battery life and some sanity at the cost of "cutting-edge" features. Apple is going to be treated like the old IBM and Microsoft from now on. Always wait until they figure their stuff out AFTER their public release.

And nothing from Apple yet, right? Apparently, engineers are hard at work releasing a fix, so there should be known workarounds. Or at least it’s known to them what is actually causing the issue. Instead, we have hordes of people resetting their iPhones, adjusting dates and times, fiddling with notification settings and generally stumbling in the dark.

What would hurt them more, I wonder: publicly admitting that there is an issue (on a massive scale) and listing workarounds, or keeping total radio silence and then publishing a “whoopsies, we screwed up” after the fix is ready. All the while all their support centers are drowning in calls.

This is crazy, I haven't gone up to iOS 11, not having the problem, is this a problem going forward? ie if you set your date to Dec 3 does it still happen?

Can't wait to see a write up on how this happened and why.

If you’re on 11.1.2 and not having the problem, then you don’t have an app with local notifications.

In my case it was the Pebble app, apparently. Turning off it’s notifications stopped the constant respringing, though has presumably left we with a much dumber watch.

On the plus side, Animoji has been rock solid.

I heard gesture on iphoneX were pretty cool too. That tells a lot where the management focus is on these days.

I bet this'll be a front-page story tomorrow simply because some significant portion of journalists will be affected.

Is there an official Apple page already for this? If not I wonder how many people will end up restoring their iOs devices.

"It reproduces only actual device runnning with iOS11.1.2 or iOS11.1.1."


I can confirm that an iPhone 4S 64GB from 6 years ago running iOS 6.1.3 still runs perfectly today, just like it always did.

It's also not too hard to repair by myself.

What apps still support iOS 6 to this date? Several websites are probably also broken on Safari on iOS 6... If so, what's the difference between running this version and just using a feature phone?

Not to mention the lack of security updates. Basically your only protection is that people lost interest in these phones.

Security for what purpose? My iTunes account isn't tied to a bank account or credit card. My contact list isn't that valuable. I don't have anything worth stealing.

My security was compromised when I jailbroke my phone in order to install lots of tweaks (I've had the swipe up gesture as a home button, like the new iPhone X, for years). In that time, I've not missed the lack of security, and I have benefitted from the local offline backups that aren't encrypted.

I don’t know if there is a standard page to refer people to that have this ‘I have nothing to hide so I don’t need security’ mindset but there should be one.

You are endangering your friends and family and potentially annoying the rest of the Internet.

I don't need the latest version. Offline maps and Wikipedia, contacts, calendars, music and notes that sync over USB are enough for me.

Facebook and LINE are ok, although LINE keeps threatening to discontinue support. Frankly though, it's their loss - when WhatsApp stopped working then I didn't notice, I just use Facebook instead. Skype and iMessage also exist, although I don't use them much. What am I missing on a newer phone?

What's so special about this date?


==> 1512170100

That's not it. (Not like the KMail crash on 2001-09-09. :-)

From this comment: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=15831385

Basically, you can do notifications up to 30 days ahead, 2nd December + 30 days = 1st January, something overflows and thinks month(January) = Month(December)+1 instead of correctly looping around.

In malaysia; can confirm the springboard crash ("caused" by the uber app)

Does anyone know why this is happening? I see a lot of testing of when this happens, but I don't see any reasons presented of why.

macOSX High Sierra and iOS11, both are the worst release in their respective OS, in the same year.

I could partly argue the misstep in hardware as Johnny and his team as well as other department were likely too focused on Apple Park, arguably the biggest Apple product release since the Mac and iPhone.

But I just cant relate how and what Software had to do with Apple Park. Sloppy Software release, iOS 11 GM leaked by rogue employee, Homepod firmware with new info and release. Root bug, Springboard crash. And last time i checked, the iCloud Drive and Whatsapp backup syncing issues is still there, wasting potentially multiple hundreds GB/month of bandwidth in the background.

When the video of an employee's daughter filming at Apple HQ, which her father allows it and spoke about he is working on Apple Pay, the first thought that came to my mind was "sloppy". It tells me something were wrong in Apple, because literally all previous, and current long time Apple employees freaked out when they saw it.

Something is missing since Steve Job's left. It is the fear, the worry whether you are doing your job good enough to please him. The yardstick of quality, in an environment where excellence is the norm and expected.

P.S - I know everyone loves Crag Federighi, but i do miss Scott Forstall.

What's wrong with High Sierra? When I upgraded to Sierra, my OS got a bit buggy. I was hoping High Sierra would fix some of this. But I haven't upgraded out of fear that it would make things worse. Sadly this may be the case.

In my experience, High Sierra is pretty much the same as Sierra. There isn't that much difference between the two, but I've run into three annoying and consistent bugs: pressing command+space doesn't always open Spotlight Search, meaning sometimes I have to press it twice; there is a memory leak in WindowServer that causes OS instability over time (my WindowServer currently says 27.94GB in Activity Monitor); and, using QuickTime in fullscreen sometimes causes weird fogging issues in the video, making it look washed out when anything besides the video is on screen (like the QT controls, mouse cursor). The only one that really causes me major problems is the WindowServer memory leak, because it sometimes randomly cause freezing in the entire OS, sometimes not unfreezing and requiring a restart.

No crash here, schedule the moon symbol on from now till 11:59pm you could be fine

No it’s not crashing for me, hmm it actually crashed once at midnight

I recently got a second-hand iPhone 6 running iOS 10, and this week I keep getting happier and happier that I didn't upgrade to 11.

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