A petition has been filed on ipetitions which demands official support for iOS version downgrades. According to the petition, any device with “consumer updatable software” should be allowed to be downgraded to a previous supported software version. In case of iOS devices, the petition demands downgrades to support iOS and baseband versions.
The petition has just been filed today and carries goal to reach 100,000 signatures. At the time of writing this, the petition has been able to get more than 800 signatures. The petition has also been posted on Reddit in efforts to gather more support.
As per comments made by supporters of the petition, users should be able to “do as they please with their device.” So far the petition has received support from different countries including USA, Canada, Australia, Philippines, Pakistan, India and Israel among others.
The petition however, is not well defined and unclear in what exactly they’re petitioning for and why.
There are multiple reasons why users would want to downgrade their devices to previous version. Such reasons include slower performance on older devices, bugs in newer software versions, removal of a feature and other variety of reasons.
Software Updates and Degraded Performance
Apple’s is blamed for degrading performance on older devices with the release of every major iOS version.
Most recently, an iPhone user filed a lawsuit against Apple. Plaintiff Chaim Lerman, who along with more than 100 class members filed a class action lawsuit against Apple in a New York District Court last December, demanded $5 million in damages. According to Chaim, iOS 9 allegedly slowed down his iPhone 4s and left only two choices: either to continue using a slow phone that “disrupts everyday life” , or spend “hundreds of dollars” to buy a new phone.
The lawsuit slammed Apple for not allowing users to downgrade to a previous, better functioning iOS version.
Another lawsuit was filed by a couple from Florida back in October last year over “excessive amount of data usage” thanks to a new feature called Wi-Fi Assist introduced in iOS 9. Wi-Fi Assist feature switches to cellular connection if it finds the local Wi-Fi signal spotty or weak. The setting is turned on by default and according to the lawsuit, Apple failed to disclose to consumers that this may result in exceeding the data capacity allowed under their phone plans.
The petition and lawsuits against Apple stand correct in their own views. Users want to continue having a faster performance on their device. Users might not want new features in exchange of scarifying faster performance. A user should have an option to stay on their current software version as long as they want.
Security Updates and New Features vs Faster Performance
On the opposite side, companies like Apple use software updates to not only introduce new features, but also to fix bugs and security issues. An un-patched device could fall victim to hack attacks and data breaching, among other threats. By law, it is the manufacturer’s duty to fix security holes and keep a device safe. A company can not knowingly stay away from providing security patches.
With that being said, manufacturers have no option but to release a software update.
Minor software updates usually carry bug fixes and security patches. Major software updates are often aimed towards bringing new features and capabilities.
What’s the Way Out of This?
Looking at both sides, it seems necessary to find a way out of this. Consumers want fast, secure devices. Companies want to provide new features and bug fixes, while keeping their device secure. Manufactures usually get away saying software updates are crucial but don’t take responsibility of slow, buggy device performance after upgrading.
Shouldn’t companies like Apple make sure a device performance is not affected due to software updates? Not everyone can afford a new iPhone every year, anyway.
At the same time, a manufacturer can not keep supporting an old software version. They have no choice but to drop support for old softwares, in which case a consumer should not be demanding continued support.
Can there be a way to provide only security patches separately and not new features which may cause slow performance on older devices? Is it okay for a manufacturer to indirectly force users to buy a new device if they’re not okay (of course they’re not going to be okay) with slow performance?
What are your thoughts and suggestions? Are you okay with slow performance on your devices in exchange of new features? Have you experienced such issues? Feel free to share with us in comments.