‘It feels like Apple doesn’t have a clue’ how to fix notifications bug, says one affected user | ZDNet

“I’ve reset my iPhone to factory settings more times than I can remember,” recounts Beth, a reader who has been affected by the notifications bug for months.

“Soon after my iPhone installed the new update last year [iOS 14], my iPhone stopped showing me when new messages come in. I look after my elderly parents, and between them, my kids, and work, I got a lot of popups every day,” Beth tells me.

“And then they stopped.”

Must read: Why is iOS 14 so bad?

Beth did what most of us would do faced with such a problem — fiddle with some settings, check the volume, and switch the phone off and one — before doing what she thought was the right thing, and got in touch with Apple support.

“Since I bought my iPhone from the local Apple shop a couple of years earlier, my first thought was to go there and talk to the staff. They’ve always been very helpful when I’ve had problems with my MacBook, and helped me pick a MacBook for my parents. The staff at the store were kind and helpful. But because of the pandemic, I used the chat support. 

“In the beginning, things seemed promising and it looked like it was easy to fix, and the agent helped me make a backup and walked me through how to reset my iPhone.”

Having both dealt with Apple support a lot, and talked to hundreds of other people who have, the Erase All Content and Settings reset, which wipes the iPhone clean, is a common first port of call for fixing odd behaviors. It’s a nuclear option that can result in lost data, and reloading everything back can take time, but it usually does the trick.

“I thought that would be the end of it. It wasn’t.”

Not when it comes to this bug.

Beth then takes me through weeks and months of problems. She tells me that notifications seemed to come back for a while after the resets (although she was sure she missed some), but after a few days her iPhone would fall silent again.

Not having a reliable iPhone is bad enough, but not having a reliable iPhone during a pandemic when electronic communication was all that many had to keep in touch, was far worse. 

“I’ve spent a lot of time talking to Apple, and they’ve had me reset my iPhone a lot,” Beth tells me. “I tell them that I’ve done that before, but that doesn’t seem to matter. I’ve lost a lot of time, and I know I’ve lost some photos, but the thing that I’ve really lost is being able to be there for my family. Work was getting annoyed with me, and my mom was starting to feel like I was ignoring her.

“It feels like Apple doesn’t have a clue how to fix my iPhone, and was sending me round and round in circles, hoping something would work or I’d give up and go away. I’ve even had tech support people take over my iPhone to do some tests and everything.

“The iPhone’s fine, apparently.’

“It was awful. I was trying my best to get it fixed, and I was letting people down. There were times, still are, when I think it was something I did wrong, or that I was just stupid. Then I found out that others were having the same problem.”

The conclusion to this story is one that quite a few people affected by this bug have chosen to do.

“In the end, I couldn’t live with a phone that was unreliable, so I bought a cheap one off the internet. It’s not an iPhone, and doesn’t have things like FaceTime, but it works. I had to teach my parents how to use Zoom and Messenger, but I’m sure I wasn’t the only one.”

This bug is an odd, yet persistent one for sure. It’s hard to tell how widespread it is, and it’s even unclear as to when it started (several readers have told me that they noticed a problem with notifications prior to iOS 14 landing), but having handled several iPhones affected by this bug, I can tell you that it’s real.

And I’m stumped as to what the problem is. One reader told me how they’ve been through three replacement iPhones, and the problem persists.

Others are switching to Android.

I asked Beth what she had done with her iPhone.

“It’s in a drawer. I’ve not switched it on for weeks. I don’t think I could bring myself to trust it again.”

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