Attila Vago

Writer of codes, blogs and things that live on the web. Loves craft beer!

Are You Affected By Apple iPhone XS #SleepGate?

iPhone XS SpaceGrey in its retail packaging.

As far as iPhones go, throughout the years we’ve seen a number of issues, particularly right after launching a new one, and while I quite enjoy blaming Tim Cook for everything between the Titanic sinking and the collapse of the Soviet Union, Apple “gates” have been around forever, so yes, there are things that even Steve did wrong, and we should all probably stop wishing him back to life. Stop it! He’d look like a zombie, and while most people consider zombies awesome on screens, trust me, no one wants to see that sh*t in real life!

I’ve had three iPhones so far. A 4S, a 6S and now an XS. You probably picked up on the patterns there. I don’t replace my phone often and I tend to go for the “S” iteration because for me this is the iteration that I see as beyond just an MVP. While the iPhone X is nice and can’t say I was not tempted to purchase it, waiting its second iteration out, was a good strategy. Having said that, it looks like this “S” model does come with its own “gate”, which I am calling #SleepGate.

Historical Context

Bought aforementioned phone on store launch date, by casually walking into the store a couple minutes after 9:00 a.m. I ain’t no sheep standing in line like a hobo eejit. I never did that, I’m too cool to do that, and I will forever unapologetically make fun of those who do. There is a fine line between being brand loyal and a feckin’ eejit, and that line looks something like this:

People queueing in Lodon for the new iPhone

And I know that being London means it’s Britain, and the Brits have turned queueing into a national sport, queueing just for the sake of doing it, but come on! It’s a bloody phone!

So bought phone, and that same day, in the evening I set the whole thing up from my previous iPhone 6S iCloud backup. All dandy, nothing smoking or crashing, smooth setup, zero issues.

As I would normally do, I hooked it up to the charger before sleep, went to bed, had a nice dream of Emma Stone and woke up the next day expecting no surprises for the rest of the weekend. Imagine then my surprise when I disconnected my phone from the charger and I was met with a popup telling me I need to put my passcode in after a restart to enable face id. Odd, but I tried to rationalise it down to maybe iCloud doing some syncing at night, and triggering a restart after it finished. However, that wasn’t the case…

Telltale Signs

I am a software engineer, therefore I tend to be curious about odd behaviours, so I decided to dig a bit deeper and not ignore completely the event. Fortunately iOS12 comes with a new battery stats feature (read all about it on cultofmac). Looking at the graph, which looks something like this

Illustration of normal battery level stats with NO gaps in iOS12

I noticed a gap, like a literal gap with no orange, red or green bars. Tapping on it, stats showed no information available for an entire hour. Now, that’s more than odd. That can only mean the phone was completely shut down for an hour. I decided to keep an eye on things and the next morning when I got the same popup of needing my passcode because of a restart, I checked the battery stats again. Same story. Not at the exact same time, but essentially for an hour my phone was completely off. Right. That ain’t right.

Digging Deeper

A graph could potentially be off and buggy in a newly released iOS, so I did not want to completely rely on it. Many don’t know this, but there is a view in iOS that lets you see the analytics of your phone’s software events, a log of sorts, exposing all sorts of valuable information to those who know what to look for. It’s fairly simple to find it, though one might argue it’s hidden under one of the unlikeliest settings: privacy. Sequence of steps:

settings > privacy > scroll all the way down > analytics > analytics data

You’ll be presented with a list of logs. What you are looking for is a log entry having either “panic_full” or “panic_base” in its name, and when you read panic, you probably should panic as there’s literally nothing under the Sun that’s good and starts with “panic”! Not even the Panic at the Disco band. For a rock band they seriously suck! Just listen to this. Sounds like every other pop song out there…

Anyhow, back to your panic logs, opening either of them will show you a lot of programming mumbo-jumbo, but you’re looking for a time-stamp telling you the exact time your phone crashed and was forced to restart. If you keep reading the log details you’ll also see something mentioning deep sleep failing.

Is it a Software Issue?

Unlikely, and here’s how I reached that conclusion. First of all, all the apps I had installed were exactly the same as they were on the 6S with iOS12. I had zero issues there, in fact, iOS12 sped up my old 6S to such an extent, it felt new.

Secondly, it always happened while I wasn’t actively using the phone, so it was unlikely that an app would trigger the crash.

Thirdly, I tried two separate iCloud restores and an iTunes clean install as well, as instructed by Apple Support. The issue still kept happening.

Finally, I am not alone with this issue. Other iPhone XS and XS Max users seem to have the same problem and users are voicing their concerns on Macrumors on various forum threads.

Solution

Apple Support advised me twice to take the phone into the nearest apple authorised service provider or Apple store and get it swapped out if the clean install doesn’t solve the problem. So, if your device is less than 14 days old, they’re more than willing to swap it out for a new one on the spot or within a few hours.

Usually if it was an Apple place that is usually within 14 days it can be returned, depending on the region. — M. Apple Senior Support Advisor

And that’s exactly what I did. In my case CompuB being the nearest AASP, I popped into their store, explained my experience with the new phone, and left it in for a quick check. Three hours later, I had a new phone in my pocket. The verdict from their tech team was pretty much identical to what Apple support told me.

Panic events like these simply shouldn’t happen on a device this new.

Obviously events like these can be a bit stressful for people, and when there’s little to no information out there yet about a potentially widespread issue, people can feel unsure of what to do or how to act. If you or your friends are experiencing the same random restarts and the symptoms are similar, please comment and share this article with others, so they would report the issue to Apple asap, and get a replacement phone on the spot, rather than go through the entire repair service process, just because they waited more than 14 days.

Attila Vago — writer of codes, blogs and things that live on the web. Programming polyglot, pragmatic doer, member of the “taking care of business” crowd, with a no nonsense attitude. An easily inspired inspirational individual with a strong predilection towards most things nerdy, good, carnivorous food, and Lego. Uses a Mac. Exercises at 6 a.m.

HackerNoon and Quora author.

More by Attila Vago

Topics of interest

More Related Stories