Following the release of the public iOS 17 build in September, countless experience-breaking bugs made the experience unstable. Even after the latest iOS 17.1.1 update, some of these bugs persist. Since this approach isn’t working, Apple plans to delay adding major features until they achieve stability and reliability. According to a report from Mark Gurman, squashing bugs is the priority for the company’s software team. It’s worth noting that iOS 17 wasn’t a major feature drop in the first place.
iOS 17 has bugs like heating issues, battery drain, app crashes, notification issues, much worse network reception, disappearing notifications, and more. There are many more issues; fixing these bugs and improving software quality before adding anything new is an excellent move.
Despite this pause in adding new features, Apple will still deliver future iterations of iOS 17 on time. The Journal app will still come out on time. The Apple employees have requested not to be identified, but the team was apparently informed to focus on improving the performance and reliability of the software instead of new features. Quality Control improvement is the main focus at the moment.
A comment from a spokeswoman emphasizes that Apple’s software is famous for its clean interface. Ease of use, stability, and privacy are its key selling points. Apple needs to find a way to add more features without compromising heavily on the reliability aspect. We agree with this analysis.
This isn’t Apple’s first time prioritizing quality and stability over features. Craig Federighi did this in 2018 as well, preferring stability over adding new features. They were delayed for a year since he didn’t want an unstable iOS experience.
There are also many changes at Apple to ensure that testing gets better in-house. Since 2019, Apple started using feature flags. Testers can objectively analyze a feature’s overall impact on the system before adding it. They also don’t intentionally add buggy features. They quickly fix the code before doing so.
Unfortunately, these steps didn’t go well for iOS 16 and iOS 17. There are too many bugs during the internal testing period. As a result, the employees are halting the development of new features for one week. The problem is mainly because there are thousands of employees trying to work on the same code base. This will cause problems.
The first internal versions of iOS 18, iPadOS 18, and macOS 15 are already in testing. Apple calls it “Crystal” internally. macOS 15 is internally “Glow.” This feature halt also applies to watchOS 11 (internally Moonstone). It makes sense since there are several issues with battery drain and heating on watchOS 10. Even the release of iOS 17.4 has been delayed to give the version more stability. We expect it to launch in March 2024.
This pause also affects the development of visionOS for the Apple Vision Pro. Note that since this pause in development is only for a week, the Vision Pro release schedules will not change. It’s worth noting that a one-week halt in developing two features does not mean that iOS 18 will have no features. After this temporary pause, they will continue working on new features, so it doesn’t hold much validity if we expect the upcoming updates to have no features.