More Japanese readers are posting their Apple Pay Suica experiences with iOS 11.2.5. A consensus is coming into focus. Apple Pay Suica performance has improved and the Suica notification bug is fixed. Unfortunately Apple Pay Suica error flicker, and the occasional full error is a remaining problem for many on iPhone X and is not fixed from iOS 11.2.2. Readers also report the issue is not fixed in iOS 11.3 beta 1.
I captured a video of error flicker. Listen carefully and you can hear the unique error flicker double beep: first the error, then the all clear. The interesting and unique aspect of error flicker is that the transit gates do not close and the louder full error gong sound is absent.
My own experience matches what other readers are reporting. On average 1 in 3 gate transits display error flicker. I have not experienced the issue on non-JR East gates but others are seeing it. That’s good in a way because we can eliminate JR East transit gates as the problem and lob the bug ball back to Apple Park.
Japanese Apple Pay Suica users and iPhone X users are tweeting and blogging about the Apple Pay Suica performance improvements in the iOS 11.2.5 update. So far the reports are good. But how good is good and can it be even better?
iOS 11.0.x ~ 11.2.x Apple Pay Suica performance on iPhone X was a big step backwards from iOS 10.3.x on iPhone 7. There were three kinds of errors:
Transit errors: the gate flashes an error and closes forcing you to wait a moment to let it clear and try again. The second try always works. Approximately 1 in 10 gate transits resulted in error.
Transit error flicker: when you touch iPhone to the transit gate, the gate flashes an error but immediately clears. Normal Suica transaction time is under 200 milliseconds. With error flicker transaction time is about 400 milliseconds but the momentary error flash is irritating. Approximately 1 in 5 gate transits resulted in error flicker.
During the iOS 11.2.5 beta test period and a weekend with the official release golden master, transit gate errors are a thing of the past. Store reader improvements are tricky because J-Mups and UT1-Neo are always finicky but performance seems about on par with iPhone 7/iOS 10.3.x
Performance is greatly improved on iPhone X but there is still room for improvement.
Some very observant users still notice some transit gate error flicker.
What about error flicker? This one is also tricky, and subjective. 1 in 20 6 feels about right. An interesting aside is that error flickers in iOS 11.2.5 only happen on JR East gates, not on other rail line or subway gates.
If iPhone 7 on iOS 10.3.x is the gold standard Apple Pay Suica benchmark, a 10, then iOS 11.2.5 on iPhone X rates an 7. Apple needs to improve Apple Pay Suica Express Transit performance. An 11 rating for Apple Pay Suica on all devices running iOS 11 would be a great and welcome achievement.
UPDATE Because of the annoying iPhone X Suica problem, I’m downgrading my original 9 rating to 0 for iPhone X, iPhone X Suica performance is a failure. The 9 rating remains in place for iPhone 8/8 Plus.
Apple Pay Suica performance tweaks in iOS 11.2.5 are holding steady in the beta 3 release. JR East also released a special Mobile Suica system maintenance downtime notice today. Major maintenance will be done January 30 from midnight to 4 am. There is also special iPhone only Mobile Suica maintenance scheduled for the early morning hours on January 18.
Maybe it’s nothing but the timing feels like a perfect fit for the official iOS 11.2.5 release: January 18 Japan/January 17 USA
The first full day of Apple Pay Suica with iOS 11.2.5 beta 1 and restored Suica notifications on iPhone X has been good. Actually it is the best Suica performance on iOS 11 so far, on par with iOS 10.3.x in terms of speed and stability: no gate error flicker, solid store transactions even with those pesky Ueshima Coffee shop readers. JR East can kiss that Apple Pay Suica notice goodbye.
The best part is that iPhone X Suica performance finally achieves iPhone 7 on iOS 10.3.x levels: it just works. I really hope iOS 11.2.5 beta Suica performance improvements make it into the final release intact.
The latest iOS 11.2.1 update did not fix the Suica notification bug for me. I installed iOS 11.2.5 developer beta 1 and am happy to report that Suica notifications are working again in that beta. 11.2.5 will be mostly performance tweaks, Apple Pay Suica performance seems to be getting attention in this round.
As a rule I do not install beta software on my iPhone but the 11.2 Suica notification bug was irritating, iPhone X Suica performance ragged enough and the iOS 11.2.5 update number jump low enough to give it a go.
I do not suggest that others do the same. Let me deal with the messy Apple Pay Suica testing and keep you up to date on beta progress in this blog.