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Common iOS 11 problems and advice on how to handle them

Brenda Stolyar
iOS 11 Problems

Apple’s latest mobile operating system, iOS 11, launched on September 19, and early adopters were quick to report several crucial bugs. The public and developer betas have been out since June, but it’s clear even the final version isn’t glitch-free.

We’ve searched a variety of forums for the biggest problems people are experiencing on their iPhone or iPad since the update. To help make the transition easier for you, here are the most common iOS 11 problems and potential solutions on how to deal with them.

Bug: QR code in camera app could bring you to malicious websites

With iOS 11, you can scan QR codes with your camera app and then tap on the banner notification for the code. But according to a report by Infosec, a bug within the operating system is allowing users to change the URL that it redirects to. Infosec demonstrated this by creating a QR code with an unsuspicious hostname which pulls up a notification to “Open ‘facebook.com’ in Safari.”

The URL embedded within the QR code is “https://xxx@facebook.com:443@infosec.rm-it.de/” but if you tap open the site, the code will instead direct you to “https://infosec.rm-it.de/”. This could be because the URL parser in the camera app can’t detect the hostname the same way Safari does — which means the hostname in the notification banner is different than what the browser opens up.

Infosec mentioned the bug was already reported to Apple’s security team back in December 2017. But as of March 26, 2018, the QR code issue has yet to be resolved.

Workaround: Until Apple releases a software update to fix the bug, we recommend holding off on using the feature within the camera app. For now, you could download a third-party QR code reader in the App Store instead.

Bug: Receiving specific characters crashes iMessage and other apps

First spotted by Italian site Mobile World, a new iOS bug was causing iMessage and other apps to crash by sending a specific character in Telugu — an Indian language. It will not only block access to the Messages app but also to apps like Facebook Messenger, Gmail, and Outlook for iOS. Regardless of which app the character is displayed in, it will close out each time you try to open it. If someone sends you the symbol and iOS shows it in a notification, then Springboard will be blocked entirely. The bug also affects Macs and Apple Watches.

Apple has released a fix for the issue in iOS 11.2.6. Plans to release a fix for the Apple Watch or the Mac have yet to be announced.

Solution: 

  • Apple has released iOS 11.2.6 to fix the issue. We recommend updating to the latest version of iOS, which should eliminate the problem altogether.

Problem: Text message and app notifications are disappearing from lock screen

There have been multiple complaints about notifications suddenly disappearing from the lock screen. On Apple’s forums, one user explained that even with her iMessage notifications enabled to show on the lock screen, in history, and as banners, her notifications still disappear from the lock screen after about 10 seconds. Even after swiping up to show recent notifications, they aren’t there.

The thread originally started back in October, but one user recently commented that he is experiencing the same issue. Even though Apple released iOS 11.2.2 on January 9, it seems this is an issue that wasn’t addressed.

Workaround: 

  • Currently, there’s no solution, but a feature that was introduced when iOS 11 first came out might help to alleviate the issue. If you go to Settings > Notifications > Messages and toggle on Show as Banners. Then, tap the Persistent option. This will keep the banner on the screen, so that when you receive a text or notification it won’t go away until you attend to it, swipe up, or complete another action. Of course, this only works if your phone is unlocked which might defeat the purpose — but at least the notifications don’t completely disappear. Hopefully Apple will address the issue in a future update.

Glitch: Touch ID not working

Some iPhone users — particularly those with an iPhone 6S — have been experiencing Touch ID issues. On Apple’s forum, users found the home button was no longer working for them after updating their software to 11.2.1.

Prior to trying out different solutions, you should make sure the Home button itself is clean and dry. You can do so by using a clean, lint-free cloth to wipe off any dirt or debris.

Potential solutions:

  • Go to Settings > Touch ID & Passcode and check to see that your iPhone Unlock or iTunes & App Store settings are toggled on. Then, check to make sure you’ve enrolled one or more fingerprints.
  • If you do have fingerprints enrolled, you can try to enroll a different finger than the existing ones in your phone.
  • You can also try and delete the already-existing Touch ID fingerprints and start over. Go to Settings > Touch ID & Passcode and enter your passcode. Then, choose an existing fingerprint and tap Delete Fingerprint. Continue the same steps until you’ve deleted all the fingerprints. Then, tap Add a Fingerprint and follow the steps to add new ones.

Issue: Contacts showing up as phone numbers

With iOS 11, some users have found that their contacts are not showing up correctly. On Apple’s forums, one user noticed all the contact names in the phone app showed up as phone numbers when someone called. Rather than displaying the correct contact, it would suggest names by listing it as “Maybe:” followed by a name. Another user experienced the same issue when receiving text messages instead.

Potential solutions: 

  • Sometimes, simply force quitting an app makes all the difference. Tap the home button twice for the multitasking app selector view, force quit your Message app, and restart your phone.
  • If force quitting the app doesn’t work, go to Settings > Messages > MMS Messaging and toggle it off and on again.
  • Another solution is to check the Short Names section, where you can change how the names of your contacts appear. Go to Settings > Contacts > Short Name and toggle Short Name off and on again.

Problem: Control Center buttons are freezing

According to AppleToolBox, some users have been reporting issues with the Control Center. After downloading iOS 11, people have found that the buttons are freezing and unresponsive.

Potential solution:

  • Go to Settings > Control Center > Customize Controls and remove the specific app that isn’t working from the Include section. You can do so by swiping to the left and tapping Remove. Then, restart your device. Once it’s powered back on, go back into Customize Controls and re-add the app you deleted to the Control Center. You can do so by tapping on the green plus sign to the left of the app under More Controls.

Bug: Sprint users unable to use Wi-Fi calling

With the update to iOS 11.2, some Sprint users reported that they are no longer able to use the Wi-Fi calling feature, according to MacRumors. This problem seems to only affect Sprint users who updated to iOS 11.2 and updated their carrier settings to 31.0.  We’ve reached out to Sprint and will update the story if it provides any further details.

Workaround: 

  • Right now, the only way to restore Wi-Fi calling is to downgrade to iOS 11.1.2. To downgrade, follow the instructions here, using the appropriate iOS 11.1.2 IPSW file.

Glitch: The letter ‘A’ and a symbol appears when some users type ‘i’

Some iOS 11.1 users have been noticing an issue where the letter “i” switched to an “A” followed by a symbol. Apple acknowledged the problem and offered a workaround while it hammered out a more permanent fix, which has now come in the form of a software update.

Potential solutions:

  • You can now download iOS 11.1.1 for your iPhone and iPad. This update is said to fix the autocorrect “i” bug that was driving many an iPhone user crazy. To find the update, navigate to your Settings app and go to General, then Software Updates.
  • If you are still experiencing this problem, Apple recommends creating a text replacement shortcut on the phone. Go to Settings > General > Keyboard >Text Replacement. Tap the key. In the phrase box, type an upper-case “I.” In the shortcut box, type a lowercase “i.”

Problem: Battery drain

With any iOS update also comes battery issues. Being able to handle iOS 11 isn’t a problem for the next-generation iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and X, which all include an A11 Bionic chip. But for those of you with an older processor, you might find your battery dying more quickly than it used to. On Apple’s forums, multiple users have been complaining that their batteries have been draining extremely fast since downloading iOS 11.

Apple also recently confirmed it does slow down older iPhones in order to better handle the power output that aging batteries can offer. In an effort to ease angry customers, it now offers owners of an iPhone 6 and later models a battery replacement for $29 — $50 less than what it would normally cost — through December 2018.

Potential solutions:

  • If you haven’t updated to iOS 11 yet, you might want to hold off until the issue gets fixed in the next update. But if you did download the latest operating system, you can still downgrade back to iOS 10.3.3.
  • Find which apps are taking up the most power by going to Settings > Battery power. This will tell you the exact percentage of battery life specific apps used over the last 24 hours and the last seven days. You can then either delete the apps that drain the most power or use them minimally. If you don’t want to delete them, remember to always properly quit apps after you’re fully done using them. If you know you’re going to go back within a short period of time, however, you’re better off leaving them open.
  • According to USA Today, you can check if you have a problem by noting your Usage and Standby time, both under the Battery Power section. If your Usage time has increased by more than a minute, within five minutes of locking and unlocking your phone, then your phone isn’t resting the way it should.
  • For more suggestions on saving battery life, you can check out our iPhone battery tips roundup.

Issue: Device overheating

Not only have users on Apple’s forum been complaining about their devices getting extremely hot, but some claim to have experienced serious swelling causing their iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus to burst open. Due to what appears to be the battery swelling from gases inside, the expansion places pressure on the display causing it to pop open. While having the device burst open does help to avoid a fire, you’ll still want to make sure your device doesn’t overheat.

Potential solutions: 

  • If overheating occurs when you’re using a specific app, then take a break from using it. We did notice the iPhone getting very warm when playing AR games, but it should shut down automatically if it ever gets too hot.
  • Turn off Location Services by going to Settings > Privacy > Location Service. Since Location Services uses GPS, Bluetooth, and cell tower locations to determine where you are, this could be too much activity for your phone on top of running demanding apps. You can also turn off the Bluetooth feature by going to Settings > Bluetooth, or swiping up to the Control Center and tapping on the Bluetooth icon.
  • You can also kill any apps running in the background by double-clicking the Home button. This will pull up a gallery of apps that you can swipe through and swipe up to force close.
  • If your iPhone starts to overheat while charging, unplug it and let it sit for a few minutes to cool down. Then, you can plug it back in.
  • Taking your phone case off your device could help too. This will keep the case from trapping the heat and won’t block the phone’s heat vents.

Problem: Apps won’t work in iOS 11

Apple originally warned users with iOS 10.3 that it will soon drop support for 32-bit apps. With iOS 11, the change is official and any 32-bit apps on your phone will refuse to launch. You’ll instead receive a pop-up notification letting you know the developer needs to release a 64-bit update for it to work.

Workaround:

  • You can check which of your apps are 32-bit by going to General > Settings > About > Applications. If you do have 32-bit apps then you’ll see an arrow next to the number of applications you have. You can tap on the section to see a list of which apps don’t have updates available.
  • If you get to the Applications tab and tapping on it doesn’t lead to another window, it means you don’t have any 32-bit apps installed.

Glitch: Apps freezing or quitting unexpectedly

A common problem users have been experiencing with iOS 11 is their apps freezing or quitting unexpectedly. The problem could stem from a variety of reasons ranging from the iOS version to the app itself. If you find yourself opening an app only to watch it shut down on you repeatedly, there are ways, other than simply deleting the app, to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Potential solutions:

  • Go to the App Store and tap on the Updates tab. If there’s an update available for the specific app that’s constantly crashing, then you can choose to update only that one or go through with all the updates available.
  • Delete the app and redownload it. By holding down on the app and tapping the X button, you can delete it from your phone completely. Then, head over to the App Store and download the same app again. Once it’s complete, you can try and open it again from the Home screen.
  • There’s also always the option to contact the developer of the app if the issue continues to happen. While under the app in the App Store, find the App Store Customer Reviews section and tap App Support.
  • If you haven’t downloaded iOS 11 yet, make sure you “Agree” to the Terms and Conditions within the App Store after downloading an app. There could be changes in the terms that keep apps from launching which then causes them to crash.

Problem: Touchscreen stops working

With iOS 11, users on the Apple Forum have been reporting their touchscreen is either lagging or becomes completely unresponsive. The issue has existed as far back as the beta with developers posting on the Apple Developer forum. If you find this happens to you, there’s always the common answer of making sure your screen is both clean and dry, and that you don’t need a new screen protector. But there are also other ways you might fix this issue within the operating system, rather than focusing on the screen itself.

Potential solutions:

  • Check the 3D Touch Sensitivity bar by going to Settings > General > Accessibility > 3D Touch. If it’s on the Medium or Firm setting, you’ll want to set it to Light instead.
  • The issue might also happen while using a specific app. In that case, exit out of the app and then force quit it by tapping on the Home Button twice. Once you restart the app, the touchscreen should start working again.
  • If the touchscreen is completely unresponsive then a simple reset will often deal with it. The method is different for different iPhone models, so check out our guide on how to reset your iPhone.

Problem: Can’t connect to App Store

Aside from problems downloading apps, some users have also been experiencing problems with getting into the App Store. During the beta testing, Reddit users had the same issue and took to the iOS 11 thread to try to solve it. They’ve been receiving error messages saying their device cannot currently connect to the App Store.

Potential solutions:

  • Sync the date and time on your device by going to General >Date & Time. Toggle off Set Automatically and instead scroll through to manually set the date and time. This will also change the date and time in the Today tab within the App Store. Then, go to the App Store and leave it open for 3 seconds, go back to Date & Time under settings and toggle on Set Automatically. Then kill the App Store through the app switcher and reopen it again.
  • After syncing the date and time, you can also restart your device. If you’re using an iPhone 6S or earlier model, press and hold the Sleep/Wake and Home buttons together until you see the Apple logo on screen. For the iPhone 7, and later, press and hold the Sleep/Wake and Volume down buttons.
  • You can also try to enable Mobile Data by going to Settings > Cellular > Enable Cellular Data. Once you scroll down to App Store, toggle it on.

Bug: Can’t send emails with Outlook.com or Exchange mail account

When the official version of iOS 11 first launched, users were receiving an error message when they tried to send an email. The problem occurred specifically with email accounts hosted by Microsoft, Office 365, or Outlook.com. When they would try to send an email, it would tell them “the message was rejected by the server.” If you’re on iOS 11, you could still be receiving this message when attempting to send an email.

Solution: 

  • Only a week after iOS 11 was released, Apple rolled out its beta version of iOS 11.1 which should now be available on your device to download. You can check on your iPhone by going to Settings > General > Software Update for an update option. Apple announced on its forum that the latest version has fixed the bug and you should no longer have problems sending out emails through any of those hosts.

Glitch: Brightness is turned up but your device is still dim

One user on an iOS 11 Reddit thread noticed their iPhone 7 looked dimmer than it did on iOS 10, even though the brightness is turned up. The new operating system might reset your settings from iOS 10, causing it to also reset the White Point percentage — which reduces the intensity of bright colors.

Solution:

  • Go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Display Accommodations. You’ll see Reduce White Point at the bottom of the section, which you can either lower the percentage of, to make it brighter, or toggle the feature off.

Problem: Trouble connecting to Wi-Fi

Users have expressed via the Apple Forum that they are losing Wi-Fi connection or are unable to connect to networks. Even though the Wi-Fi is working with other devices, people are having trouble finding a stable connection.

Potential solution: 

  • Before attempting to figure out the bug on your iPhone, make sure your router is on and within range. You should also make sure you can see your Wi-Fi network by going to Settings > Wi-Fi and check that you’re connected to the correct network. You can also try and restart both your iOS device, the router, cable, or DSL modem — by unplugging it and then plugging it back in.
  • If you still can’t connect go to Settings > General > Reset > Reset Network Settings. This will reset Wi-Fi networks and passwords, along with cellular, VPN, and APN settings.

If iOS 11 is still giving you trouble, you can always reset your iPhone to its factory settings by going to Settings > General > Reset and tap Erase All Content and Settings. Just make sure that you back up all your precious files first as this will wipe your iPhone completely. For more details and alternative methods, check out how to factory reset an iPhone.