Apple and the iPhone are always in the news, but lately it seems like it was for the completely wrong reasons. Over the last week or so, many stories have portrayed the iPhone as a security risk and Apple as covertly limiting charging speeds. None of this happens. Here’s the truth:
iOS 16 does not reduce charging speed
Apple introduced a new feature in iOS 16.1 called Clean Energy Charging, which aims to limit your iPhone’s environmental impact by “selectively charging when lower-carbon electricity is available.” The feature has been enabled by default on all iPhones running iOS 16 since October, but a few people only noticed it last week and made a lot of noise on Twitter. People went crazy calling the feature “arrogant and annoying” and complained loudly about Apple. “ESG [environmental, social, and governance] bull 💩”.
Two things are wrong with outrage. First, this feature should not affect your iPhone’s charging habit. I have left clean energy charging on and have never had a problem with my phone charging less than expected. When I charge it overnight, it charges in the morning, and when I need to quickly recharge during the day, it only takes a few minutes. And since clean energy charging doesn’t affect charging on the go, you’ll never be left in the lurch.
Secondly, it is very easy to turn it off. Just because you didn’t know about an optional feature doesn’t mean you can be upset about it, especially if it’s optional. Apple includes the Clean Energy Charging feature by default because it’s a feature that should benefit everyone and not upset anyone, but apparently it doesn’t.
Your iPhone is not at risk of sudden theft
In late February, the Wall Street Journal ran an article about a “new” trend: a thief meets someone in a bar, watches them long enough to see them enter their passcode on their iPhone, remember the code, steal the iPhone, change Apple ID. password and steals personal data and, in some cases, financial accounts.
This is, of course, a disturbing story, but not a new one. Most of the cases the magazine refers to are from 2022, and the thieves they write about have been active for years. But that hasn’t stopped countless other publications from throwing around the H-word and reporting the story with headlines like “iPhone passcode scam! Attackers can steal your money this way”, “This iPhone passcode scam could cost you thousands of dollars” and “IPhone users have issued an urgent warning as thieves use the ‘reset’ trick on smartphones and Apple becomes helpless when it happens.”
All this sounds very scary and serious, but it is still extremely rare. If anything, the story highlights how secure the iPhone actually is, as the crimes describe a sophisticated group of thieves, even if the crime itself is clearly low-tech. Apple should probably stop using your passcode as a security method for changing your Apple ID password, but other than that, the iPhone has plenty of strong security built in.
No shortage of Face ID
As if the fear and hatred of stolen iPhones wasn’t enough, a number of articles have used The Wall Street Journal report to expose alleged holes in Face ID, including WRDW (“Face ID may not be as secure as you think”), Local 3 News in Tennessee (“How Thieves Can Steal Your Money with iPhone Face ID”) and even the New York City Hate Crimes Prevention Authority, which advised iPhone users to turn off Face ID when leaving home “to protect their phone and data.”
Can someone steal your phone and “scan your face without your consent and when you’re not in the know,” as one story reported? Certainly. Is it possible? Not in the least. Can the thief then set up an alternate face ID so that he can return to the phone whenever he wants? Certainly. Is it possible? Not in the least.
There is nothing wrong with Face ID. This is the best biometric authenticator on a smartphone and no other phone can compare to it. Despite trying to replicate the camera and TrueDepth scanning for years, the best Android phones still use fingerprint sensors because Face ID is so advanced. So the next time you go out with an iPhone in your pocket, the last thing you have to worry about is Face ID.