There’s now proof that Apple rushed iOS 12.1.2 out primarily to make changes to iPhones in China. We also have confirmation of exactly what the modifications are.
These were designed to convince a Chinese court that iPhones don’t infringe on two Qualcomm patents. The hope is that court will then reverse an iPhone sales ban that went into effect in that country last week.
To: China From: Apple
All recent iPhone models got iOS 12.1.2 on Monday, no matter where they are. But those in China got a version of the update with additional changes to remove features that allegedly infringe on Qualcomm patents.
According to Apple’s official changelog in that country, the newest update:
- Introduces a new animation when force closing apps
- Updates share sheet for setting contact and wallpaper images
A video has been posted online that shows the new animation when an application is forced to close by the user:
In this modified version, the app’s window shrinks into the middle of the screen until it disappears. In the standard version of iOS, the window slides off the top. The Chinese court ruled that’s too close to a Qualcomm patent.
It’s not yet known whether the changes in iOS 12.1.2 will cause the Chinese court to reverse the iPhone sales ban. Apple hasn’t actually stopped selling its handsets in that country, which is clearly infuriating Qualcomm.
Only in China
To be clear, those two changes happened only to iPhone units in China. Non-Chinese versions of iOS 12.1.2 do not include them.
Instead, the only significant modifications in this version for the rest of the world fix some bugs in eSIM activation of all three 2018 iPhone models, and take care of a cellular problem that only affects users in Turkey.