In his first-impressions piece about the iPad Air, when listing the negative aspects of his iPad experience, my friend Fabrizio Rinaldi writes:
Crashes. Safari crashes A LOT. The Springboard crashes. And too many times (at least 6 or 7 just today) everything freezes and I have to restart the device. When I’m working, this is no fun at all. Just a few minutes ago the screen turned black and the white Apple logo appeared. Go to hell white Apple logo.
I’ve noticed this issue, frequent crashes, coming up increasingly often on the Web and in the social networks I frequent, and I wanted to compare it briefly with my experience since updating both my iPhone 4 and my iPad 3 to iOS 7.
I updated my iPad 3 to iOS 7 as soon as it was available, and the iPhone 4 a few days later. So, on both devices, I’ve been using iOS 7 for roughly three months now, going through each minor update released in the meantime. On the iPhone, I’ve only seen one crash where the screen would suddenly turn black and the device would self-reboot. It was unexpected and it scared me a little. If I remember correctly, it happened while I was navigating the multitasking interface, trying to switch from the app I was using to another that I’d used a while before but was still appearing in the multitasking interface.
On the iPad, in three months I’ve only seen crashes like those experienced by Fabrizio happen twice. Again, they were quite unexpected, and in each case I was doing something different. Once I was simply swiping across my screens of apps, in another case I was browsing the Web using Coast (by Opera, a cool browser I’ll talk about in another post).
One thing I’ve noticed in all these iOS 7 crashes is that the self-reboot process is really short compared with the cold boot when you take a powered-off iPhone or iPad and you turn it on, or when you force-reboot it by simultaneously pressing the Power and Home buttons. The screen goes black, the white Apple logo appears briefly and then you’re back in the Springboard, with no animations or transitions.
I don’t know for sure why these crashes have happened so rarely on my iPhone 4 and iPad 3 as opposed to the “6 or 7 just today” in Fabrizio’s case (just a few days ago one of my contacts on App.net was complaining that his iPhone 5s crashed at least five times in the same day). I did notice one thing, though: the vast majority of these complaints come from people with the latest iOS devices: iPad Air, iPad mini with Retina display, and iPhone 5s. The common denominator here is the A7 processor and the 64-bit architecture. Maybe these crashes have something to do with the A7 being particularly fussy when running apps still not 64-bit optimised. I definitely do not have the expertise of a technician here, I’m just making an educated guess. It would be interesting to know how iOS 7 has been treating other people with older devices.