Apple iOS 17.0.3 has been released for iPhones, and it’s a quick update to put some critical security fixes out there. Just as importantly, some iPhone 15 users have been complaining that their phones have been overheating. This update, which arrived sooner than many had expected, is designed to address that problem. This is what it means and whether it’s good or not. Here’s all you need to know.
I’ll be updating this post over the next week to take into account any problems that arise, so please check back.
Who Is It For?
Apple iOS 17.0.3 is available for all iPhones compatible with iOS 17, that is, all handsets from the iPhone XS onwards. Updates are available automatically but you may find you snag it faster if you go to Settings, then General, then Software Update.
What It’s About
There are two sections to this update, and neither includes new features. First, there are fixes for two security flaws and second, Apple aims to sort that overheating issue on iPhones, which may apply to,but is not limited to, the new iPhone 15 series.
Apple Release Notes
Apple never gives much away, and the first part of the sentence is fairly standard. But it then goes on with a phrase it hasn’t used before, referring to the overheating. In full, Apple says:
“This update provides important bug fixes, security updates, and addresses an issue that may cause iPhone to run warmer than expected.”
Note that Apple does not specify iPhone 15 in this sentence and has separately said that the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max are better at heat dispersal thanks to the titanium/aluminum design.
Has It Fixed Overheating?
Soon after the release, there were reports of overheating continuing, though this was during the updating process, where higher temperatures are not uncommon while the phone goes through indexing procedures, for instance. It will take a day or two to know for sure if the fix has worked. As I said, please check back.
And How About Performance?
Apple has previously promised that fixing the heat issue will not come at the expense of performance and 9to5Mac has run benchmarks on the new software. These seem to show that the performance is not diminished by the new software, though again it’s too early right now to know for sure. Other users have commented that the iPhone 15 Pro Max “only feels hot while charging,” and that “phone is not heating as before,” and several have said that the battery life is better. Obviously, a hot phone reduces battery longevity, so the two are related. Similar tests done by Apple Insider have similarly shown no loss of performance after the update.
Apple iOS 17.0.3 Security
Here’s the reason that updating seems like the very best idea: there are two security flaws that are addressed here. First, one that concerns the Kernel, which as Kate O’Flaherty says, is “at the heart of the iOS operating system”. Apple says an outsider could “elevate their privileges” if they can get hold of the iPhone. This flaw is already being used in the real world. Apple says it’s been addressed with improved checks.
Second, there’s an issue with multiple browsers and beyond. Again, it’s something that is already under attack, by spyware vendors, for instance.
Apple iOS 17.0.3 Verdict: Update
This is my interim verdict, but there seem to be few complaints beyond suggestions that what was hot before is hot now. Others are saying the overheating issue is sorted. And multiple sources suggest there’s no loss of performance—which is key.
Very few are seeing more serious issues, so the need to protect against security encroachments outweighs these.
Check back for the final verdict in a week’s time, especially if you’re cautious and want to wait, though I’d strongly recommend updating now.
What’s Coming Next
The next update, bar another emergency issue, will likely be iOS 17.1, which is already in its second beta, and brings new control capabilities for StandBy and enables the brilliant Double Tap feature coming to Apple Watches with watchOS 10.1. You can test the beta versions by signing up at the Apple Beta Software Program, here.