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Apple working on fix for iOS 6.1 bug that's choking Exchange servers

John Cox | Feb. 15, 2013
Apple users still reporting battery life and Wi-Fi problems after 6.1 update.

Others seem to have sidestepped this problem at least by not having large numbers of 6.1 devices or by using email and calendaring alternatives to Exchange.

"We only have one iOS user on 6.1 who is using Active Sync and they have not reported any issues nor are we seeing any on our server," says Nelson Saenz, vice president of IT for Active Interest Media, in El Segundo, Calif. They have just over 120 iPhones and about 30 iPads. "We are standardized on Good Technology for [managing] all our other mobile devices and have not seen any of the unusual activity that is being reported."

Abilene Christian University distributes iPhones to incoming students, nearly 4,400 of them, and to all faculty and staff. There are thousands of iOS devices using the campus-wide Wi-Fi network. So far, ACU isn't seeing any issues, says Arthur Brant, ACU's director of networking services. They've sidestepped potential Exchange issue because the campus email system is based on Google's Gmail service. "Most of our iOS devices leverage the native mail client with their ACU gmail account," Brant says.

A thread at Apple's community forums on the battery life issue is still busy this week as users advise each other. There's also evidence that in some cases the battery drain may be caused by whatever is the calendar-Exchange glitch that triggers the endless transaction activity on Exchange Server.

One enterprise user, billkesh, on Tuesday posted to this thread the memo from his company's IT group about the 6.1 problems.

The IT recommendations for users actually don't solve the calendar-Exchange problems. It's a work-around to avoid the problem, but it comes with a price: "Do not create, accept, decline or modify calendar items on your iOS based devices. Use your device only for viewing your calendar. If you have not already upgraded, do not apply the 6.1 update to your iOS device."

The memo also noted that "Microsoft has identified that the recently released Apple iOS update version 6.1 could degrade performance and availability of email services. Technical details of these findings are published at http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2814847"

That Microsoft support page officially confirms the problem: "Apple and Microsoft are investigating this issue. We will post more information in this article when the information becomes available. Currently, we recommend that you open an Enterprise Support case with Apple, either through an Enterprise agreement or through a "Cross-Platform Integration and Command-Line Interface" case to report and diagnose the behavior in iOS 6.1."

Once the transaction "loop" is triggered, according to billkeller, "you should delete your Exchange account and recreate it in order to stop the looping. This is mentioned in the Microsoft link, but should be emphasized."

 

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