ChargeGate: What’s going on with wired charging on iPhone XS?

Lew from Unbox Therapy posted a slightly shocking video a couple of days ago in which he examines what appears to be a random charging issue on the new iPhone XS models (both max and… well “non-max”). He’s appropriately dubbed it ChargeGate.

The issue was brought to the worlds attention by an Apple Forum Thread, in which user xMASTIFFSx observed that when his iPhone XS is in sleep mode (blank screen), it refuses to charge from a wired connection to a charger. However, if he wakes the phone up, then sometimes it starts to charge – at other times it does not.

Soon after the thread started, over hundred other iPhone XS users have responded that they had a similar problem. That’s never good when technology does that. We coders are used to boolean states. Random Booleans are not something we’re good at.

So Lew took out his 8 iPhones XS versions and put them all to the test. Watch the above video to see his staggering findings: MOST of the new iPhone models seem to behave in this strange way, refusing to charge when in sleep mode. But even when woken up, not all models start charging immediately. Some freeze, some start charging 10 minutes later, some never charge at all.

We can only assume at this time that Apple thoroughly tested the wireless charging option (which appears to work fine, whether the iPhone is asleep or awake), but it perhaps already hatching plans of removing that godforsaken final port on the “best iPhone ever” in the next iteration. Let’s be honest: why should they fix something if they could just REMOVE it instead? That plan worked so well with removing both the headphone jack and the home button.

This problem may or may not be related to Apple’s latest “software innovation” in iOS 12, in which a phone must be unlocked to start charging when connected to a Mac. Why they’ve implemented this ridiculous check is anyone’s guess. Security? Stupidity? We’ll never find out.

How’s your new iPhone XS doing? Does it start charging when you plug that lighting connector in?

ChargeGate is only the latest “small issue” with iPhones released in the past. Let’s take a trip down memory lane and not forget the other “small issues” we’ve had over the years:

AntennaGate (2010)

The iPhone 4 was released with a flaw that lead to a complete loss of 3G reception when users shortened two parts of the outer casing, something that would quite naturally occur when you make a phone call. Steve Job’s famous quote from an email was “you’re holding it wrong”.

Apple’s solution (after first vehemently denying that there was even an issue, to eventually acknowledging it) was to give users a free (mega ugly) rubber bumper case for a limited time. After a set date, Apple would sell the unmodified version of the iPhone 4 with all its flaws.

ButtonGate (2012)

The iPhone 5 had an issue with its main power button. It would randomly stop working. After thousands of users had this issue, Apple started giving affected devices a free replacement.

BendGate and Touch Disease (2014)

When the larger iPhone 6 and 6 Plus models were released, the casing was made of aluminium that could bend in users’ pockets. It was also prone to rip out peoples’ hairs when they made a phone call.

Apple denied that this was even a “thang”, going so far as to ban the German tech magazine Computer Bild from getting future test products from Apple. They made sure to use tougher aluminium (series 7000) for its production.

As a byproduct of the lack rigidity in the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, the internal connection for the home button could pop out and thereby lose functionality. Apple’s response a few years later? Remove the home button. Nice move!

BatteryGate (2016)

With the introduction of iOS 10, Apple noticed random shutdowns in phones with batteries that couldn’t deliver peak voltages anymore, due to the fact that they had said batteries been getting older. The solution to this problem was a software patch that would prevent processors with such batteries to reach their highest clock speeds, essentially making those phones slower.

Of course Apple didn’t tell anyone about this, and users had to find out the hard way. At first it appeared to be a marketing ploy to introduce a degraded user experience after some time, so that users were tricked into buying the latest (and still fastest) model. Apple denied this, stating that the idea was for those phones to be usable without crashing years after they were introduced.

The trouble was that Apple did something without telling users about. To check if your device is affected by Apple’s Slow-Down Mod, check out an app called CPU Dasher X. It’ll tell you what your maximum clock speed is, and if your phone is allowed to ever use it.

To ease the pain on consumers, Apple’s battery replacement program went down from $99 to $29, rivalling the price of replacement battery kits from iFixit.com (with professional installation on top).

Remember any other gates?

If so, let me know in the comments 🙂

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