UPDATE - January 26, 2022
iOS 15.3 has been released! Please update to this version of iOS as our testing has shown much better auto-open performance and Apple developer support has indicated there are "some fixes" in this update to the background location bugs that have been plaguing iOS since 15.0 was released. Please also make sure you are running the latest version of the Tailwind app.
I'm sure it hasn't been fun working as a developer at Apple lately if you're on any of the location or bluetooth teams responsible for iOS. There are some pretty significant bugs that cropped up in iOS 15. Frankly it hasn't been fun at Tailwind either. Some people are quick to point the finger at the small company. Customers are upset and they want answers as to why their auto-open / close features are not working properly. If you don't want to read the rest of this article, the short answer is "We have to wait for Apple to fix some bugs introduced in iOS 15". Period. If you want to know more, please read on. If you don't believe these are Apple / iOS bugs, check out the Apple developer thread here.
Since mobile phones need to be very careful when it comes to battery management, the operating system will suspend any app that isn't absolutely necessary at any given moment. Often this means that when an app is not displayed on the screen, it will stop running shortly after you swipe away from it. Of course there are exceptions such as apps that need to keep your playlist alive even when you put down your phone. But those apps are placed in a special category and they specifically have that exact permission to keep playing audio. Other apps, such as, oh I don't know, one that opens your garage door? Well, those will get suspended within seconds of putting the phone down.
When things are working properly, an app on an iPhone can tell iOS "Hey, wake me up if any of these things happen". These events can be things like entering within a certain geofenced area, or certain types of wireless devices are detected nearby, or a certain type of notification comes in. All these things happen in the background when are you are not actively using any particular app, and even when your phone is sitting locked in your pocket or on a table.
Some of these wakeup calls in iOS 15 are broken. They aren't reliable. Sometimes they work. Sometimes they don't. Sometimes you can restart the phone and they start working - or maybe not. Some people are experiencing consistent failures while others experience none. Tesla has hardware in their cars that is supposed to trigger one of these wakeup calls so that an iPhone can function as a key to the car. The user walks up to the car. iOS detects the hardware, wakes up the Tesla app, which then unlocks the door. All of this happens without the user even having to think about it. Except that now it doesn't do this reliably anymore. The Tesla forums have multiple threads of Tesla owners wondering why their doors don't unlock anymore since they updated to iOS 15. You can read about the Tesla problems here and here. You can also see developer threads discussing the issues here and here. Here is a thread on the Arlo forums where their tech support stated there is no choice but to wait for Apple to fix the bugs. You can do a Google search on "IOS 15 geofencing not working" and find lots more.
It's a similar situation with Tailwind. When you walk up to your car, iOS normally detects the vehicle sensor, wakes up the Tailwind app, and that enables the location tracking and auto-open / close to occur. If that wakeup call fails we have backup wakeup calls as well - and those are also failing.
Apple is actively working to resolve these issues and apparently they have some of them fixed, but we don't know yet which version of iOS those fixes will be included in.
We will continue to do our best to keep our customers updated on this issue and we really do hope the teams at Apple get these bugs ironed out soon. It can't be any fun for them working late hours and weekends, and I know our tech support inquiries have sky-rocketed over this.
Please hang in there. I really do believe they will have most of this stuff sorted out soon. You can bet that we will be testing every iOS beta update they make available.
Marc, The last time I asked the Verizon rep what a new phone could do that that I really needed to do and my old one could not, His answer was nothing. But now the answer may be automatically open my garage door. To put it all in context you have to know my first “smart” phone was a Blackberry before IPhones existed and it was just announced that they will no longer be made.
I understand, I figured there was a reason you both had 6-7 year old phones, the speed alone is worth the upgrade and yes an auto opening garage door is a super plus!!! I missed mine and it turned out it was mostly in my vehicle list in the app, it was not picking up my sensor, but it seems yours is. Good luck, maybe get an 11 or 12 if you can get a deal!
Updated the wife’s phone to IOS 15.2 last night. She went out this morning and when she returned the door did not open again. I sent a bug report.
Please restart her phone. I checked the bug report. The Tailwind app instructs iOS to notify it when you penetrate a circular area with a 2km radius around your house. That's 1.24 miles. The Tailwind app does not continuously track location because it is not necessary. But it does need to be awakened by iOS when you get near home.
In the case of your wife's bug report, iOS sent this notification that she was 2km away (1.24 miles) to our app when she was just 61 feet from the garage door - so just a bit late!!!
The exact same thing was happening on my iPhone immediately after I updated to iOS 15.2. I restarted the phone and it hasn't happened since. I don't know if a phone restart will fix it for her but it did seem to fix it for me.
One more thing Brian. Also launch the Tailwind app one time after the phone restart just to make sure everything is initialized.
I have deleted and downloaded/installed the app. Shut down and restarted the phone. Opened the app to make it was initialized, but the door does not open. I sent a bug report a few minutes ago.
Brian are you sure your sensor is on updated and selected correctly under your vehicle in the app? That is as my issue. The name of the sensor changed so the app never knew I had it. Just had to ask.
Yes I is the one that comes up under the vehicle diagnostics. I only have two and if it was connected to the other sensor I assume that door wou open when I came home. But thanks for the input.
I reviewed the bug reports from your wife's phone. The iOS15 bugs are running rampant on it. They are completely destroying our app's ability to function. I have not yet seen anything like that in any bug report since the app update was released.
When you launch the Diagnostic Tool or the Sensor Diagnostic Tool, it is different than when you're just going through your day with your phone in your pocket. When you are not actively using those tools in our app, our app relies on built-in features in iOS to detect the vehicle sensor and notify our app. That's not happening on your wife's phone. iOS is also supposed to notify our app when you leave home or when you are approaching home and penetrate a 2km radius (1.24 miles). That's also not happening on your wife's phone.
These are EXACTLY just SOME of the iOS bugs we, and many, many other companies have been reporting to Apple.
I don't know what to tell you. Hopefully somehow it magically fixes itself. Only Apple can know why this happens, and only Apple can fix it. They told us their patch code was not bulletproof and did not handle all cases. In our testing it worked every time on phones as old as iPhone 7, but we did notice that after updating the phone operating system in some cases we had to do additional phone restarts to get things working properly.
There is an additional app you can install on her phone to see if it works or not. Once you install it and grant "always" location permission, it pops up a notification each time you are arriving home. My guess is that app would also not work on her phone.
If you go on the app store, search "GeoTargetNote". This is a basic, simple app for testing background location tracking.
leaving for some errands soon will try the other app
Confirmed. Neither app worked. This was with the other vehicle/door so eliminates any concerns with the vehicle sensor. Will just have to try a couple more phone restarts and hope for good news with the next IOS update.
Thanks for your time and effort Scott.
Apple just released 15.2.1... I will update and try tomorrow.
Thank you Marc. I wouldn't worry about it too much. Apple engineering just contacted me a few hours ago to let me know they have just released iOS 15.3 beta 2 for developer testing. We are downloading and installing it now. Apple tells me there should be fixes in that version and that we should test our app WITHOUT their patch code - so great. We just released an app update WITH their patch code and now we are going to test 15.3 beta 2 WITHOUT it.
With any luck 15.3 beta 2 performs well and we can yank their patch code from our app when they release it. Testing will start tomorrow. We need to pull their patch code from the app tonight and get busy.
Scott I just pulled up and it did not open, sent a bug report, what are you seeing?
I have our lead iOS developer checking it Marc. I had a look and I can see that the phone did not provide any location updates between the distances of 10348 feet and 360 feet away from home. I don't know why that would happen and I don't know what impact such a large gap in location data would do to our algorithms. Why your phone would successfully deliver location updates to our app, then suddenly stop delivering them, and then suddenly start again when you were 360 feet from home is something I can't answer.
Anyways, he is checking it now and I'll let you know what he says.
I have a question I guess related to that... I do not know what distance, but lets say a couple blocks away my WiFi from my house probably gets picked up by my phone and switches off the 5G signal to wifi, maybe intermittent.... . Would that affect it at all? Would the 5G signal vs LTE do anything(I am assuming no on this one). Last, I did do that Apple update last night, I wonder if that has anything to do with it.
I'm not really sure but it shouldn't have a significant effect on your phone's ability to determine and report it's location while driving for what amounts to almost 2 miles (1.89 miles). It's interesting that your phone reported that you were 2km away (6,561 feet) away from home, and then just 2 seconds later reported that you were 360 feet away from home - so clearly the location data was wrong unless you happen to drive 2,114 MPH :)
The feedback from our lead developer is that there were apparently 2 iOS failures, both of them consistent with the iOS15 bugs.
1) Our app requested to be alerted when you traveled a certain distance when you were 10,348 feet away from home. That alert never came.
2) Our app requested to be alerted when you entered inside a geofence of 2km from your home. That alert finally came but you were slightly more than 360 feet away from home when it came.
Both of these are consistent with the iOS15 bugs we have been talking about, and what Apple has acknowledged exists. Apple's patch code does not work in all cases (according to Apple), and I guess these were 2 of them combined together. Neither of them worked properly. iOS woke up our app but it was so late our app didn't have time to react and get enough location data to open the door.
When iOS is working properly I can tell you that it will wake up an app within a few seconds of entering a geofence. It is very good at geofence entry - usually. But to have a geofence at 6,561 feet and wake up our app at 360 feet is ridiculously late.
Thanks for the details Scott, what a mess, sure hope 15.3 fixes this all! And, Yes, I do drie 2,000mph, HAHA!
Your neighbours must get tired of all the sonic booms. Yes I am Canadian and we spell "neighbor" differently up here :)
I've started testing iOS 15.3 beta and so far so good. I also saw a post from another developer in the Smart Things forums stating it appeared to be working as the Smart Things location services were also having the same issues (obviously).
It's still WAY too early to tell for sure though. Testing has just begun as 15.3 beta 2 just came out.
Thanks for the update!! I have tried to tell some YouTube testers of this bug, but have not seen them much on the ones I watch.
Well fingers crossed 15.3 goes a long way to solving most of this mess. I need to sign off for a bit now. Getting back in the car and driving up and down the street for a while. I've put probably 100,000 miles on my car driving up and down the road testing. Thank Goodness I live out in the country or I would have the cops called on me constantly wondering what the heck I'm doing.
I had to build a special test system that just triggers lights instead of garage doors because I was breaking springs and wearing out my actual garage doors / openers :)
An update for you. My new. iPhone 13 is working well with Tailwind. After several restarts including one that reset all settings on my wife’s phone chasing down an intermittent notification problem, it has also started working with Tailwind.
Thanks for all your help. We are again enjoying one of the great features of Tailwind.
Nice, you went with a 13! My auto open has been working as well. Just one time it didnt last week, but since then it is and it is so nice not having to reach or think about opening the garage door! Best gadget ever Scott!! Thanks!
Thanks for the feedback Brian and Marc. Just an additional data point for you - iOS 15.3 beta 2 is still being tested but so far has not failed even once in our internal testing. Apple told us there were "fixes" in this version but they did not say "everything is now fixed" pertaining to the specific bugs that affect the auto-open feature.
I am encouraged by our test results but more by Apple's comments because we've tested before and had perfect results - and then found out some customers would have horrible experiences with auto-open and almost all the bug reports showed bugs in iOS.
Knock on wood - once iOS 15.3 releases I'm hopeful things begin to return to normal.
Hi Scott, so I am seeing 15.3 was released today, updating my phone now, but to confirm any new fixes Apple did will not really be on your app until you remove their old code and send out an update to your app, correct? Hope this is over for you after this!
No. We built our app to detect the iOS version. If iOS 15.3 is installed it disables the patch code and should work properly. The patch code is only executed if the iOS version is 15.0 -> 15.2.x. So no updates are required of the Tailwind app.
I have been running iOS 15.3 beta versions since they became available to developers and have not experienced a single auto-open / close failure, and the other app on my phone that I use to test background location services has also returned to normal.
Of course I have no way of knowing WHAT Apple fixed exactly, and for sure they would never tell me. But they did tell me that there were "some fixes" in 15.3 and our testing confirms that is true. Whether or not they fixed EVERYTHING and those fixes are 100% only time will tell.
But it is definitely working at least in our testing - every single time.
Scott I just sent a bug report, mine did not auto open just now, worked fine yesterday. Can you tell me what you are seeing? Thank you.
I had a look and here is what happened.
Tailwind puts a geofence at a 2km radius around your house (about 1.24 miles). iOS is generally extremely good at notifying an app when a geofence is entered. It normally does it within just a few seconds. For some reason (known only to Apple) your phone waited until you were just 325 feet away from home before it notified the Tailwind app that you had entered into that 2 km (1.24 mile) geofence. Because of this, our app did not have enough time to react and gather enough GPS data to properly assess that you were actually arriving home (and not just a GPS glitch), so it did not open the door.
This could still be some left over bugs from the whole iOS 15 thing I don't know. I can only tell you what the data says.
What should happen is iOS detects that you enter the 2 km geofence and wakes up the Tailwind app. Then the Tailwind app tracks location at high accuracy as you "come in for a landing". This is one of the ways we save battery power. We rely on iOS built-in features to just let us know when you're getting close to home and then we fire up the GPS and take it from there.
Thanks Scott, it did work this morning, so I will just deal with it if needed once in awhile... thanks!
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