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Apple has recently rolled out the iOS 17.0.3 update in order to resolve the overheating issue in the iPhone 15 series. Prior to its release, Apple assured that the update wouldn’t affect the iPhone’s performance, suggesting it wouldn’t decrease the capacity of the A17 Pro. However, some benchmark tests before and after the update show that there have been slight drops in the chip’s scores.

Apple released the new update this Wednesday, reiterating its earlier statement about a bug in the system. To recall, supply chain analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said that the A17 Pro was not to blame, but the “compromises made in the thermal system design to achieve a lighter weight, such as the reduced heat dissipation area and the use of a titanium frame.” Wall Street Journal, on the other hand, quoted sources who claimed that Apple redesigned the logic board in the iPhone 15, which now consumes the gap made by the now-removed SIM tray. 

“Adding a slot to the phone’s already-cramped interior creates additional challenges for heat dissipation,” the sources told the media outlet.

Apple, however, denied the allegations, saying the problem was limited to bugs, which were worsened by the problematic updates of third-party apps. It also noted that the aluminum frames actually allow better heat dissipation. Ultimately, it promised the update, iOS 17.0.3, which seems to have made improvements in the temperature of the affected iPhone 15 units.

Based on the tests conducted by ZDNet, there really are differences in the temperatures of the iPhone 15 units before and after the iOS 17.0.3 update. Using a thermal imaging camera that indicates the actual temperatures of the objects being measured, iPhone 15 units significantly saw temperature drops after the installation of iOS 17.0.3. ZDNet performed the test while the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max units were fast charging. Prior to the update, both reached more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit. This dropped to about 85-95 degrees Fahrenheit after the update.

While this is good news, it seems there is some tradeoff made to resolve the issue. Despite promising that the update wouldn’t affect the performance of the affected units, some benchmark results show otherwise.

To start, 9To5Mac mentioned the Geekbench benchmark scores revealed during the first few days of the iPhone 15 Pro announcement: 2,914 single-core scores and 7,199 multi-core scores. The outlet compared it to the Geekbench 5 results it collected after testing its own iPhone 15 Pro Max unit post-update. It said that it performed the test twice: one after the update and another test two hours after the installation of iOS 17.0.3.

First Test:

Single-core score: 2875

Multi-core score: 7006

Second Test:

Single-core score: 2941

Multi-core score: 7523

In its report, 9To5Mac suggests that “the update most likely didn’t affect the performance of the iPhone 15 Pro.” However, comparing these iPhone 15 Pro Max results (especially the second test results that show higher numbers) to the earlier iPhone 15 Pro benchmark result it mentioned wouldn’t make much sense since the tests were conducted on two different iPhone 15 units. It is important to point out that benchmark scores might vary significantly depending on the setup of the phones, especially if you are using two different units in the test.

Thankfully, Laptop Mag came with a more reliable set of tests using the same unit before and after the iOS 17.0.3 update. According to the website, it seems the iPhone maker did reduce the A17 Pro’s performance. The tests were conducted on one iPhone 15 Pro unit using Geekbench 6 before and after the update. According to the report, the iPhone 15 Pro received 2950 for single-core and 7384 for multi-core while running the iOS 17.0.2 version. Interstingly, after installing iOS 17.0.3, the scores dropped to 2613 for single-core and 7003 for multi-core.

“…this update (as well as updates to Instagram and other apps that seemingly overloaded the system) are important to do to get past the overheating issues,” Laptop Mag’s Jason England wrote. “But as you can see, that is a drop of 300 points in both single and multi-core results!”

Of course, we can’t rely on these numbers to specifically claim that Apple made some changes in the A17 Pro’s performance, but let us hope that Apple really kept its promise. Because in case it didn’t, it might mean that the overheating issue is not just about a bug in the system but something bigger and more permanent… like the A17 Pro chip that iPhone 15’s heat dissipation system couldn’t handle.


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