PC News Archive

Apple: Remember When It Just Worked?

February 13, 2015 – by Per Christensson

Edited Yosemite Finder Icon After upgrading to OS X Yosemite version 10.10.2, My iMac no longer goes to sleep. It's the first time any Mac I have ever owned has failed to enter sleep mode. But I'm not surprised.

Over the past few years, Apple's software has become increasingly buggy and unstable. Apple's old motto of "It just works" no longer fits their products as each recent version of OS X and iOS has been buggier than the last. Ever since Snow Leopard (also known as the Windows XP of OS X because of its stability), Apple's software quality has been in a steady decline.

Many long-time Apple users may already know what I mean, but here are just a few bugs to prove my point:

OS X

  1. [Finder] Sleep mode doesn't activate so my computer is always on
  2. [Finder] The menu bars on my non-retina displays often display garbled graphics
  3. [Finder] Sometimes the only way to get two devices to communicate via AirDrop is to restart one or both devices
  4. [System] The Software Update daemon is often listed as "Not Responding" in Activity Monitor
  5. [System] Memory usage is often close to 100% (out of 32 GB) with only a few programs running
  6. [Mail] Mail appends an extra two line breaks to signatures (this dates back to at least OS X 10.2)
  7. [Mail] Sometimes the message window shows "No Message Selected" when you click on a message and the only way to fix it is to restart the program
  8. [Mail] The position of the Activity window reverts to my central monitor every time I restart the program
  9. [Mail] Incoming IMAP messages sometimes only appear after restarting Mail
  10. [Mail] Mail reset all my mailbox preferences the other day causing me to have to reorganize several different folders that included over 30,000 messages

iCloud

  1. Files uploaded to iCloud are typically not available on other devices for several minutes – sometimes for as long as an hour
  2. Changes made to live documents do not always show up on other devices
  3. In order to share a Pages document via iCloud, I almost always need to perform the Share function twice

AirPlay

  1. Music played over AirPlay randomly stops every hour or so
  2. Connecting to Apple TV only works about 75% of the time
  3. Buffering video from my MacBook Pro to the Apple TV causes the connection to drop
  4. The Bluetooth connection does not recognize any of my OS X or iOS devices

iOS

  1. I occasionally need to restart my iPhone to access an LTE data connection
  2. I occasionally need to restart my iPhone in order to hear the person on the other end of the call
  3. Several iPhone apps quit randomly, often more than once a day
  4. Sometimes my iPhone freezes while recording video
  5. Touching the home button sometimes moves the contents of the screen halfway down for about eight seconds, then reverts

It took me just over half an hour to create the above list of bugs. If I really sat down to think about all the issues I've had with Apple products over the past year, I'm sure I could come up with at least twice as many.

While I am frustrated with the modern era of Apple software, it is to Apple's credit that the problems are not worse. Apple has grown so rapidly over the past few years, it's pretty amazing that, for the most part, they have maintained a high standard of quality. Apple is now a much larger company than its old rival Microsoft and, by some measurements, several times larger than companies like Google and Facebook.

The good news is that Apple still makes some of the best software of any company. The bad news is that the quality of the software has been declining for some time now. I hope Apple will stop pushing for such rapid feature releases and simply focus on reliability in their next few updates. If the next versions of OS X and iOS offer zero new features and instead fix several bugs, I will be a happy man.

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