Apple iOS 6.1 Bugs Continue With Exchange Problem

Green, Apple © Art Konovalov Shutterstock 2012

The admin headaches continue after Apple’s iOS 6.1 update, with it crippling Exchange 2010 servers

Apple has confirmed it is working on a fix to a bug introduced in iOS 6.1 that caused Microsoft Exchange 2010 servers to grind to a halt.

According to the Mac maker’s support Website, “Apple has identified a fix and will make it available in an upcoming software update.”

Admin Headache

Call it an unintended consequence of the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend that’s taking over the modern workplace.

Apple IconSoon after Apple issued its iOS 6.1 update for the iPhone and iPad in late January, Exchange Server administrators and Office 365 Exchange Online users noticed some bizarre behaviour. Users attempting to fetch emails or update their calendars on their newly-updated iPhones and iPads caused log files to swell and CPU and RAM usage on servers running Exchange to spike, severely degrading performance.

For now, Apple prescribes a reset, of sorts. The company is advising users to dig into their Mail, Contacts and Calendars settings, switch Calendars to “off,” wait 10 seconds, and then turn it back on.

In an online support document, Microsoft suggested that the fault lies squarely in Apple’s court. “Currently, we recommend that you open an Enterprise Support case with Apple, either through an Enterprise agreement or through a ‘Cross-Platform Integration and Command-Line Interface’ pay-per-incident case to report and diagnose the behaviour in iOS 6.1.,” advised Microsoft.

Nonetheless, Microsoft has devised a handful of workarounds.

Microsoft recommends having users remove the Exchange account from the affected device and having administrators run the Remove-ActiveSyncDevice cmdlet to square things away on the server-side. After 30 minutes, the user can re-add the Exchange account, but should be warned against processing Calendar items.

Another option is to throttle iOS 6.1 users, or if all else fails, use the nuclear option. “You can block iOS 6.1 users by using the Exchange Server 2010 Allow/Block/Quarantine feature,” said Microsoft. Until matters are resolved, enterprise users are being advised by experts to skip this iOS update.

Exchange servers aren’t the only systems to suffer under iOS 6.1.

Other Bugs

After the update was identified as the cause of cellular network degradation late last week, Vodafone advised its customers to hold off on upgrading.

Cnet reported that Vodafone issued the following advisory: “We’re aware of an issue caused by Apple iPhone 4s handsets that have been upgraded to iOS 6.1 which impacts performance on 3G. Some customers may occasionally experience difficulty in connecting to the network to make or receive calls or texts or to connect to the Internet. Apple is working on a solution to their software issue. These connection problems are intermittent.”

The Internet on 14 February was flooded with reports that another iOS 6.1 flaw is compromising the security of iPhones and iPads. AllThingsD reported that a glitch that allows a person to bypass the passcode on iOS devices has been discovered.

Again, Apple is on the case. A spokesperson told the site, “Apple takes user security very seriously. We are aware of this issue, and will deliver a fix in a future software update.”

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Originally published on eWeek.