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  • stevecowles

Problems Following iPhone SE Upgrade to iOS 14.3

Problem

A few days ago I updated my iPhone SE (old type) to the latest version of iOS (14.3). Since then I have been plagued with a problem I have never experienced before, namely the phone locking up with a blank screen and requiring a hard reset. This is frequent (several times a day) rendering the phone pretty much useless. It could be a coincidence that this problem has started immediately following the iOS upgrade but that seems extremely unlikely.

The Phone

For the full history of the phone, I purchased it second-hand a couple of years ago, it is the 128MB model. In my ownership, it has had a replacement battery from an official Apple store about 15 months ago and has performed well ever since until the replacement. The current battery health is 91% which is still well within a usable tolerance.

Diagnosis

Here is the record of what I have done to try to resolve the problem;

  • Woke up to find that I needed to reset the phone

  • Checked online to see if this is a known issue, found nothing obvious

  • Checked for pending app updates, found none. Obviously, if this is an app issue, most developers will currently be closed for Christmas so I would not expect any updates for a while

  • Went to use the phone again a little later and found it needed resetting again, did so and then charged it (to 96%)

  • Left the phone for about an hour by which time the battery had gone down to 83% which seems very fast, is this a clue?

  • Had a look in the settings (under battery) to see what apps were using the power, by far the largest was the NHS Covid-19 Exposure App so I have removed this and turned off 'Exposure Notifications' in settings

  • After 20 minutes the phone required a further hard reset so it appears that the NHS App is not the cause. During this time I had not launched any apps although some will obviously run in the background

  • Took a screenshot of the phone in case I end up having to reinstall my apps, synchronised this with my MacBook

  • Charged to 100% and disconnected from the charger, I do have a patchy signal in the house so have left the phone is a place where the signal is good in order to minimise the power drain looking for a signal

  • After less than 10 minutes I happened to notice the phone resetting itself, battery still at 100%, this seems to suggest that battery level and drain is probably not the cause of the issue. During this time I have launched no apps and not have I use the phone in any other way. It looks like the issue is due to iOS itself or an app which launches in the background

  • Five minutes later I can see the phone resetting itself again, the battery is 98% but rapidly drops to 93%. The only other app which has recorded any battery usage is Medisafe so I have removed this too and was about to power the phone off and on when it died again

  • This time a hard reset seems to have no effect with the phone being totally dead, I have plugged it into the MacBook using what I believe to be a genuine cable, it will not reset and does not appear in 'Finder' but I will leave it for a while to see if it recovers.

  • After 30 minutes I can still not reset the phone so in order to eliminate the charging cable I have swapped it for another, not a genuine one but one I have tested to synchronise my iPad with the MacBook so known to be good.

  • After several hours on the wall charger, the phone still fails to reset or show any sign of life

Conclusion

I find myself in a position where there is basically nothing left that I can do. I very much doubt that the phone has gradually bricked itself in stages following the upgrade but it is worth noting that there are many battery issues associated with iOS 14.

My suspicion is that the upgrade has basically tipped a tired battery over the edge and it cannot recover.

I believe that my only option to save the phone is to book an appointment at the apple store or return it for repair. I would send it away by post for repair but with the combination of the time of year and the limited postal service due to the pandemic, I suspect that this might take a lot longer.

Things left to do

  • Reinstall NHS Covid-19 Exposure app

  • Reinstall Medisafe app



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