Does your iPhone XS suffer from s-s-stuttering?

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iPhone XS Max
It's thought every handset has this problem.
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max owners are reporting animation stutters after leaving their handsets idle for around 10 seconds.

The problem, which is most obvious when opening or closing apps and scrolling pages, has reportedly been present for several months now. It persists in the latest iOS 12.2 betas, which suggests Apple hasn’t yet found a fix.

If you own an iPhone XS or XS Max, it seems there’s a good chance your handset has this problem. It’s a widespread issue, and according to some reports, it’s likely every one of Apple’s latest handsets suffers from it.

It’s so small, however, that you won’t notice it. You have to be aware of the issue and examine your iPhone’s animations closely to witness it, and even then you might not be able to tell the difference.

Nevertheless, some users really aren’t too happy about it.

iPhone XS has a stutter

“I and several other XS owners have noted a slight stutter in scrolling and the app-closing animation after a period of inactivity,” writes one user on Apple’s official Support forums, where you’ll find many threads about this problem.

One, over 40 pages long, is filled with iPhone XS owners who are experiencing exactly the same problem. There is even a Facebook page, titled “iPhone XS animation and scrolling stutter,” dedicated to this issue.

“I have noticed the exact same thing on my Xs,” writes another user. “Hopefully word gets out about this and it hets fixed. It’s driving me insane.”

Some say they have taken their handsets to the Apple Store and walked away with a replacement device. It seems that in all cases, however, those replacements come with the same stuttering flaw.

What exactly is the problem?

You should be able to witness the stuttering yourself by unlocking your iPhone, then leaving it to sit idle for at least 10 seconds. Then, open an app and watch closely to see the opening animation drop frames, causing the stutter effect.

You should also be able to see the problem if you open an app, leave it to sit, and then close it. Or if you open Safari, leave it to sit, then attempt to scroll a webpage.

“We have compared side-by-side with an iPhone X using a slow-mo video and the XS misses a frame of animation very consistently, whereas the year-old X renders correctly,” reports 9to5Mac, which first spotted the problem.

What causes the problem?

Sadly, it’s still unclear what causes these animations to drop frames.

Because the issue is exclusive to iPhone XS and XS Max, some speculate that it may have something to do with their new A12 chip, and how it transitions out of a low-power state. However, the iPhone XR doesn’t suffer the same flaw.

Apple is yet to comment on the issue, or even acknowledge it, and there is no fix in its most recent iOS 12.2 betas. For now, then, the only thing we can really do is try to ignore it.

Just ignore it

Ignoring the problem shouldn’t be too difficult for most people. Again, even if you’re aware of it, it can be very difficult to spot. It doesn’t affect day to day usage of your device in any way.

It’s understandable that some users, particularly those who are sensitive about this kind of thing, are frustrated that the issue is there — especially after spending so much on a flagship phone.

Here’s to hoping Apple will address it now that the flaw is making headlines.