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iOS 13.1.3 update damaging some iPhone 11 handsets

Image via iFixIt
Image via iFixIt
Multiple users are reporting a failure of the Ultra WideBand U1 chip in their iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, or iPhone 11 Pro Max after updating to iOS 13.1.3. While restoring an affected iPhone's firmware has solved the problem for some, others have received replacement devices.

The release of iOS 13 has been plagued with bugs, and Apple has released four updates since the software’s launch last month to patch the problems. However, each update seems to introduce new issues. The latest version, iOS 13.1.3, is no stranger to this trend. Multiple users have reported that the Ultra Wideband U1 chip in their iPhone 11 series handset failed after updating their phone to iOS 13.1.3.

The Ultra Wideband U1 chip is a new piece of silicon in the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max that helps improve location tracking. Currently, the chip is only used for AirDrop file transfers between iPhones.

Several users have reported on various forums (including Reddit, MacRumors, and Apple’s own website) received an error message informing them that the U1 chip was no longer operating. The message, which states that the “iPhone cannot use ultra wideband until it has been updated,” appeared after updating the handset to iOS 13.1.3 or iOS 13.2. beta 3. The problem still seems isolated to a small group of users, but enough have complained that the problem is gaining notoriety around the web.

After the error message pops up, AirDrop file transfers are no longer available. Some users have found a fix by putting their iPhone into Device Firmware Upgrade (DFU) mode and restoring the iOS firmware. After restoring the iDevice from a backup, everything seems to work normally. However, some users experiencing the problem were given replacement devices from an Apple Store, suggesting possible hardware failure.

We have reached out to Apple concerning this issue and will update the article should we hear back.


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Sam Medley, 2019-10-21 (Update: 2019-10-21)