Why doesn’t iPhone’s auto-update feature install new versions of iOS when they are released?


Learn something new every day: Have you ever noticed that you often read about Apple releasing a new iOS version before your phone has installed it, even though you have auto-update enabled? Recently, somebody wondered why that was and asked Craig Federighi himself to explain. It turns out it’s not by accident or software error.

Apple’s Software Engineering Senior Vice President Craig Federighi told a Redditor via email that Apple intentionally delays auto-update on new iOS releases so that it can gather feedback from early adopters first. The Apple boss said that the delay between initial rollout and enabling auto-update could range between one and four weeks.

Although Federighi (or whomever answers his emails) did not elaborate any further, it stands to reason this approach allows developers to tweak things before those who auto-update receive the patch. It’s like having an additional informal beta with early adopters being the testing pool. It might also help keep Apple’s update servers from getting overwhelmed on release day.

The bottom line is that Apple has control over when auto-updaters get the new version. It may decide to push a patch right away if it includes a critical security fix, or for general feature releases, it can and will wait up to a month before pushing it out to the entire user base.

Image credit: Dmitriy Nyashkin

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