Ever since iOS 7 there has been a major issue in the system, yet nobody is really addressing the issue. Maybe it’s because it’s not a large enough issue, or maybe these so-called “tech reviewers” don’t perceive the issue. In either case, there hasn’t been much coverage on the issue and I’d like to give it some exposure.

Frame drops. Last year I wrote a post on a more specific frame rate issue. Specifically, I was referring to the consistent frame dropping when an iPhone 6s Plus is in landscape and 3D Touch is invoked. I remember reading comments and seeing tweets telling me that most consumers will never see this issue or that Apple will fix the issue, no worries.

Well, they did in iOS 9.3.3, three software revisions after iOS 9 was released and three revisions after the issue had been spotted. It seemed like such an obvious issue yet nobody was really reporting on the issue.

Now, in iOS 10, frame drops return and are worse than ever. What’s saddening is that the issue seems to be most prominent on the iPhone 7, Apple latest and greatest hardware. The iPhone 7 is dubbed “the fastest phone in the world,” yet it has frame drop issues.

Paraphrasing Chris Pirillo, “The hardware doesn’t matter if the software can’t keep up.” And it’s true, without software the iPhone 7 is an expensive brick. As an iPhone 7 Plus owner, and also having the iPhone 6s Plus on hand, I can personally say that I prefer the software experience on the iPhone 6s Plus more than on my iPhone 7.

For those who might not see it or think I’m crazy, there is one glaring issue with the iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus on iOS 10. Launch the Messages app, go to the main conversation view (where it lists all your contacts), swipe your finger and let the phone scroll through your messages list.

Lag, stutter, jitter, frame drops, whatever you want to call it, it’s there. Again, the iPhone 6s Plus performs better because doing the same action runs at a buttery 60 frames per second. And if you don’t have an iPhone 7 or 7 Plus, there’s an obvious one for all iOS devices running iOS 10 as well.

Invoke Siri, pull up for Control Center and scroll between the two cards and it’s there. On every single iOS device, though it’s more obvious on some than on others. Regardless, it’s there and it’s sickening to see.

Some people enable reduce motion because they genuinely feel nauseous while using their iOS device. I feel the same way but with frame drops. And this is where I feel Apple could resolve this issue, too. An accessibility toggle.

A theory behind the frame drops, at least on the iPhone 7, is that Apple is putting all system animations on the low-power cores to save battery life. If that really is true, I’d like a toggle somewhere in the Settings app that lets me force all animations to run on the high power cores in cost of losing some battery life.

But, I don’t believe that’s the case. While it may alleviate some issues for the iPhone 7 specifically, iOS has been plagued with frame dropping issues dating all the way back to iOS 7. It’s a systemic problem.

For now, the answer isn’t clear and I don’t think we’ll get a reason why. Sadly, the truth is most likely that Apple’s engineers don’t see the issue, and if they don’t see the issue it’s not a problem, and if it’s not a problem then it never gets fixed. And as the time goes on, it really does seem like this is the case.

What’s even worse is that Apple claimed in iOS 9 that the OS runs at a smooth 60 frames per second and now they’re being held accountable for it and are failing to deliver on that promise.

At this point I don’t think Apple will actually fix this issue. Numerous high-profile users have tried contacting Apple executives but it seems those emails are being ignored. The best we can do as a community is continue filing radars and try our best to get to somebody within Apple because it’s just plain sad at this point.

If you are able to see frame rate issues, or know anyone from within Apple that can get the issue to the right people, please don’t hesitate to share them this email. Also, here’s a link to a list of various frame drop issues and inconsistencies on iOS (courtesy of Chris Prillo).

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