Jamf, a company that manages consumer electronics, confirms that using its Jamf Pro software to update Apple devices to iOS 11.3 causes failed loop crashes, essentially preventing the devices from receiving any more commands.
The tool is used by a number of organizations to update and control batches of iOS devices. It was designed to be initially used at the University of Wisconsin but is now used around the world in academic institutions. The unfortunate scenario comes at a bad time for schools as the testing season begins. If they use their, say, iPads or iPhones to study and decide to update to iOS 11.3 without knowing about the failed loop fiasco, they're going to face a huge setback. Even worse, some schools may use these devices to administer the tests directly.
iOS 11.3 Update Bug
In its discussion forums, Jamf says that the problem roots from a bug within iOS 11.3 that results in the devices returning the wrong response to the upgrade command.
"This response will cause the device to remain in a failed loop, which prevents it from receiving further commands."
The company says it's now working on a fix that will enable the devices to accept the incorrect response and fix the bug via a pending patch from Apple. Jamf failed to give an exact release schedule for these fixes, but did say that it will be rolling it out to all on-premises and cloud users "in the coming days."
Mobile Device Management Protocol
A closer look by PiunikaWeb spots the root problem: iOS 11.3 seems to break Apple's Mobile Device Management protocol, which is used by organizations and companies to update and manage a large number of iOS devices. Meaning, companies around the world are at risk of bricking iPhones and iPads by updating them to iOS 11.3 via a management software, like what Jamf has learned the hard way.
As of press time, Apple has yet to comment on the bug. iOS 11.3 is supposed to be an update that fixes the company's "planned obsolescence" problem, in which the software automatically throttles performance as a way to conserve battery life. The practice was met with disdain and severe complaints from a lot of users, especially upon discovering that buying a new battery speeds an iPhone up significantly. As a recourse, Apple later offered discounted battery replacements.
Is your Apple device managed by an organization or a school? Have they updated it to iOS 11.3 yet? As always, if you have anything to share, feel free to sound them off in the comments section below!