iPhone iOS 8.1 update bug surfaces: apps launching at random


Every software update from every vendor has its quirks and bugs – but this one from the new iOS 8.1 update for iPhone and iPad qualifies as one of the more surreal. When the phone is left with its screen turned on but not in use, apps on the home screen can launch at random. I can confirm this particular bug personally, oddly enough, because it’s happening to me. First it was my mapping app, then a few minutes later my camera app. Naturally, I initially assumed something was brushing up against the screen or that I had inadvertently told it to launch the apps through voice commands. But as I gradually removed variables and was still able to get the bug to repeat itself, I realized this was no joke: thanks to iOS 8.1, my iPhone appears to be haunted.

Most iOS software updates come with a smattering of odd bugs which only affect a small number of users, but those users tend to be rather loud in their complaints, creating the appearance that the glitch is affecting everyone involved. By the sound of it, for instance, the bluetooth bug in the iOS 8.0.2 update seemed to be impacting millions of users. But our investigations revealed that it was difficult to find anyone suffering from it by randomly sampling our readers or real-world users in general. It’s just that those who were hit by it were justifiably so upset that they turned into the town crier over it.

And now I’m that guy, the journalist who gets hit by an odd iOS 8.1 bug and can’t help but write about it. I’ve asked around among my colleagues and friends this evening, and have yet to find another user who has been affected by the same glitch. But if I’ve learned one thing covering iOS over the past seven years, it’s this: if my device suffers from a crash or other instability issues, there’s a good chance my install is merely corrupted. But if it’s something just plain weird like this, it’s more likely that it’s a bug affecting multiple users. So just one week before Halloween, I’m left waiting to learn who else’s iPhone appears to be “haunted” such that it keeps launching apps on its own, and how soon Apple will clear it up with the inevitable 8.1.1 update.