Apple takes blame for iOS 6.1-Exchange battery-draining bug, promises patch

But when? Apple's not saying

Apple yesterday confirmed that a bug in iOS 6.1 causes devices to aggressively ping Microsoft Exchange email servers, shortening iPhone and iPad battery life.

In a support document published Wednesday, Apple acknowledged the bug, promised a fix and offered a temporary work-around for users connecting to enterprise email.

"When you respond to an exception to a recurring calendar event with a Microsoft Exchange account on a device running iOS 6.1, the device may begin to generate excessive communication with Microsoft Exchange Server," Apple stated. "You may notice increased network activity or reduced battery life on the iOS device."

Apple shipped iOS 6.1 on Jan. 28.

On Tuesday, Microsoft posted its own support document outlining the same issue, although its work-arounds were aimed at Exchange administrators seeing their servers' memory and processor capacity consumed by iOS 6.1 devices.

In that document, Microsoft said, "Apple and Microsoft are investigating this issue," but laid the blame on Apple, urging customers to file a support ticket with its rival, not with its own help desk.

Apple said the problem cropped up when an iOS 6.1-powered device tried to connect with Microsoft Exchange 2010 Service Pack 1 (SP1) or later, or Microsoft Exchange Online, which is part of Office 365, Microsoft's cloud-based subscription service for businesses.

"Apple has identified a fix and will make it available in an upcoming software update," the company said. Typical for Apple, it did not specify a timetable for releasing the update.

Until then, Apple suggested iOS 6.1 users refrain from responding to any recurring event exceptions, and if they already have, turn off "Calendars" in the Exchange account, then turn it back on.

Excessive battery consumption has plagued some users since iOS 6.1 debuted. Although Apple has not confirmed that the Exchange issue was the sole source of the problem, it was one of the suspects identified by customers complaining on Apple's support forums.

Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, on Google+ or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed. His email address is gkeizer@computerworld.com.

See more by Gregg Keizer on Computerworld.com.

Read more about ios in Computerworld's iOS Topic Center.

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Gregg Keizer

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