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Apple's iOS updates brick iPads

Silver badge

Apple could spend

Some of their billions on a software QC team. that would be a good start.

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Gimp

Re: Apple could spend

The start would be getting rid of Tim Cook.

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Gimp

Re: Apple could spend

Quality at Apple went to shit around the time Jobs died. He may have been a complete asshat (YMMV) and perhaps it was a coincidence but his shouting tantrums and obsession with design+UX seems to have kept people more focused than under the current regime.

I'm not saying Apple stuff was bug free under Jobs (it most certainly wasn't!) but iOS 8 took 7 revisions (8.0.0/8.0.1/8.0.2/8.1.0/8.1.1/8.1.2/8.1.3) until it was reasonably stable and iOS 9 (the "stability release") being not much better says a lot. My favourite iOS 9 bug is the random complete deletion of all my media files (music/podcasts/videos) from the iPhone which can only be restored with a sync from iTunes. This has only happened since iOS 9 and on two different handsets.

For related reasons the MBP is still on 10.8 Mountain Lion, although I'm probably going to have to suck it up soon and update to El Capitan.

As others have said - perhaps Cook and Co could spend some of those billions on some Software QC?

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Re: Apple could spend

I use to repair macs in the 90s and early 00s, the quality has consistently gone up hardware wide (on the whole), but with each iteration of IOS in particular QC issues keep creeping in and more frequently it's due to the reliance of being able to quickly rectify the problem over the internet, rather than ensuring it's not happening to begin with.

When an OS was distributed by post/courier they HAD to get it right, now it's increasingly left to consumers to do the final phases of testing.

Bottom line at Apple though is that under Jobs people were took scared to screw up, under Cook nobody seems to give a toss.

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Unhappy

Re: Apple could spend

@Halfmad

"Bottom line at Apple though is that under Jobs people were took scared to screw up, under Cook nobody seems to give a toss."

I think that describes it perfectly. A culture of fear and intimidation isn't a good way to run a company but it seemed to work for Apple under Jobs. The alternative, under Cook, doesn't seem to be working as well as the methods used by the previous incumbent.

To those down voting my previous comment (presumably because they think Apple's software is perfect?) two more bugs in iOS 9.3.1 I've just remembered:

1. My iPhone refused to connect to my car using Bluetooth. A reboot fixed this (the phone not the car!).

2. My iPhone couldn't get my position more accurate than +-1300m (i.e. over a kilometre) when another phone GPS device was within a few metres. A reboot fixed this.

Yes, I know, "Have you tried turning it off and on again"; but that isn't the kind of thing you expect from devices that are as reassuringly expensive as Apple's, especially as in both cases the up time was ~20 days.

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Re: Apple could spend

I've not experienced either of those (car connection, GPS) or the iTunes wipe thing.

But I've seen plenty of other little bugs. The most common on is starting an app only to see it exist after 100 ms. The usual fix is reboot, but sometime only a delete and reload will fix it.

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Re: Apple could spend

Add to that, on a latest gen iPod:

1. Being unable to see a particular BT device advertising after a 'forget' despite several other devices happily seeing and/or pairing with it. Not fixed by reboot or factory reset.

2. A staccato machine-gun A2DP audio problem, fixed by reboot but recurs occasionally.

3. No separate volume control for a BT connected device. Apparently not a bug, just annoying as hell.

4. Having to swipe down the entire 'screen' to see the status line at the top. Apparently also not a bug, just useless.

5. No back button so I can't get out of pop-ups etc. in apps without going to the task switch and dumping the app. Apparently not a bug, hard to believe.

Glad as hell I don't run one as my daily driver.

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JLV
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Trollface

get with the program, please!

>rectify the problem over the internet, rather than ensuring it's not happening to begin with

It seems Apple has been secretly drinking the Kool-Aid from El Reg's fail-fast, fail-often, DevOps articles.

And I used to think those 2 didn't get along.

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Terminator

Re: Apple could spend

"Quality at Apple went to shit around the time Jobs died."

No actually. Apple has had occasional problems on a variety of levels throughout their existence, before, during and after Steve Jobs returned to Apple as CEO. This is just more of the occasional same. I hate it when Apple pull these blunders. But then again, we're still in The Dark Age of Computing and I learned long, long ago to expect such things from the computer community in general. Right now, Android is the horror OS of the world thanks to FragmAndroid. But Apple has never been immune, nor any other computer hardware or software company. It's status quo fumbling and bumbling. I heartily recommend giving Apple a swift kick over this one as it does tend to wake them up and get them back on track, the same as any other company.

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I doubt this is a problem with 9.3.2 specifically

There seem to be scattered reports of problems with just about every update - there's no way they could have issues with each one. I think it is more likely a bug in the update process that causes it not to complete properly or something along those lines. People who have a problem are going to take to the forums and start a thread, and even if only 50 people have a problem and post about it, The Reg is going to write an article about it and make it seem like some huge problem affecting millions.

One thing I've always done because of my past as a sysadmin is to insure the update always starts from a clean state - I close all apps, shut down my phone, restart it, then update. Sure, it should work without doing that, and maybe that doesn't do anything. But I'll continue to do it anyway, call it superstition if you like, but I recall issues with patching OSes back in the day were far less if you did a clean reboot before you patch. So I always do that now, Linux, Windows, iOS doesn't matter. Can't hurt and I'm going to be rebooting anyway so what's the difference if I reboot twice?

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Anonymous Coward

it's not a general problem

I was on the external beta seeding. There were reports of various devices having problems during several of the five or six, I lost count, externally tested versions of 9.3.2. In virtually every case the problem was fixable, though not easily. Most people had to do a complete restore and to connect using USB to do it. It seemed to affect assorted devices including various iPhones and iPads, and was not restricted to iPads or to a specific model of iPad. At the start of the test period I had an iPad Air. It was not affected. At the end of the test period I had an iPad Air 2. It was not affected.

It's a known problem. It was supposed to have been fixed. Actually, it was supposed to have been fixed quite some time back. It does not, given the current state of Apple software, surprise me in the least that it was not, in fact, fixed. I personally never update any Apple device without a backup of the previous version, just in case I have to roll things back. And, yes, being on the external beta program means that there have been times when I've had to roll things back.

Posting AC for fairly obvious reasons.

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This post has been deleted by its author

Anonymous Coward

Re: Apple could spend

For related reasons the MBP is still on 10.8 Mountain Lion, although I'm probably going to have to suck it up soon and update to El Capitan.

For iOS I'm in my usual 48h wait time for any OS updates and it appears it was already worth it, but I'd recommend you also wait with OSX 10.11.4 as there are reports about random crashes that have as yet not been addressed and I now had a few as well (once every 3..4 days or so - it simply freezes).

I originally thought it to be the last vestige of Adobe on my machine, the *cough* *barf* Adobe Air needed by BBC iPlayer but it seems to be something else. I'm not sure why Apple is attempting that sort of Windows compatibility, but I would recommend you wait for a bit. It's disappointing - I would agree with people's concern about Apple QC right now.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I doubt this is a problem with 9.3.2 specifically

One thing I've always done because of my past as a sysadmin is to insure the update always starts from a clean state - I close all apps, shut down my phone, restart it, then update. Sure, it should work without doing that, and maybe that doesn't do anything. But I'll continue to do it anyway, call it superstition if you like, but I recall issues with patching OSes back in the day were far less if you did a clean reboot before you patch. So I always do that now, Linux, Windows, iOS doesn't matter. Can't hurt and I'm going to be rebooting anyway so what's the difference if I reboot twice?

I'm with you on that - those are damn good habits to cultivate and keep. That, right there, is the added value of using older people - we learned all of that through bitter experience..

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Anonymous Coward

Re: it's not a general problem

I personally never update any Apple device without a backup of the previous version, just in case I have to roll things back.

I have never updated any device or system on any platform any other way, be it Windows, Linux, OSX or iOS. However, I have no experience with vanilla Android updates so I'll have to look up how it's done on that platform. I don't use it at present, but I still want to know (I like to keep current on all platforms - I'm not OS-religious :) ).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Apple could spend

#fragmentation

Funny how viral fud comes back to bite them. Apple have been looking pretty foolish in many ways recently, even more foolish that the idiots that buy their overpriced and under featured designer trash.

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Unhappy

Re: Apple could spend

@werdsmith

The Car/Bluetooth connection problem has happened twice and GPS problem only once. Clearly some process got screwed up and could only recover with a reboot, and it's probably not something simple as I've not been able to recreate on demand, but it still looks a bit scruffy from a QC point of view. A 20 day up time isn't really a big ask.

The iPhone media deletion (which isn't the same as the more widely reported "Apple Music Match wipes your computer's iTunes library after scanning your songs" problem) has happened about 6 times now and again cannot be recreated on demand (it's happened under apparently different circumstances each time). Apple support have had a bunch of diagnostic files from me and have gone silent.

These are just the bigger show stoppers I've remembered. There are others that I just seem to instinctively work around...

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Thumb Up

Re: Apple could spend

@AC

"For iOS I'm in my usual 48h wait time for any OS updates and it appears it was already worth it"

I used to update pretty quickly but that all changed with iOS 8. Now, for n>7, I usually skip the n.x.0 version and wait for n.x.1 (n.x.2 for x=0) and then usually wait a few days after release. In case anyone gets upset I do the same wait on Win 7 updates.

"I'd recommend you also wait with OSX 10.11.4 as there are reports about random crashes that have as yet not been addressed and I now had a few as well (once every 3..4 days or so - it simply freezes)."

Thanks for the heads up on this. I had planned to wait until near the release of 10.12 in the hope it meant 10.11 was tending towards stability. Looks like I'll have to wait a bit longer and I note 10.11.5 is now being seeded to Beta testers.

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Silver badge

Re: Apple could spend

They don't need to though. Apple stuff 'just works', remember?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Apple could spend

"I'd recommend you also wait with OSX 10.11.4 as there are reports about random crashes that have as yet not been addressed and I now had a few as well (once every 3..4 days or so - it simply freezes)."

Thanks for the heads up on this. I had planned to wait until near the release of 10.12 in the hope it meant 10.11 was tending towards stability. Looks like I'll have to wait a bit longer and I note 10.11.5 is now being seeded to Beta testers.

Update on 10.11.5: so far, so good. None of those weird crashes so far so I guess they've fixed whatever it was.

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Silver badge

Strange, for a product that costs upwards of £400 for a basic model you'd expect it to handle a software update. And that the money you invest in the company by buying their products would result in quality software innovation and production that would further enhance the life of the user, not make it more difficult.

But that's none of my business.

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Gimp

What are you on about? I thought everyone knew that if you didn't buy your apple shiny in the last 7 days then it is no longer supported. The "bricking" is a feature, not a bug. It allows you to use old devices as an aesthetically pleasing antique paperweight. Or perhaps a tray/coaster for your single-farm-arabica soya-milk Lattes.

I mean what are you, poor?

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I wouldn't say I'm poor, just financially challenged.

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Anonymous Coward

>What are you on about? I thought everyone knew that if you didn't buy your apple shiny in the last 7 days then it is no longer supported.

Apple kit isn't designed to last the 6 years required by UK law - so it's actually good news. I'm only on my first free MacBook Pro, but I know others on their third. Bricked iPad by factory update is a free new (or reconditioned) later model.....

I guess Apple are praying TTIP kicks in before wider consumer awareness - though the last year has seen ever more prominent explanation of the 6 year warranty on the UK Apple Store - in an effort to mitigate the impending PPI style run on missold AppleCare.

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Anonymous Coward

Apple kit isn't designed to last the 6 years required by UK law

Where do you get 6 years from, could you post a link? AFAIK warranty was one year, which was made into two years by EU law ("what has Europe ever done for us, apart from etc. etc." - see Life of Brian by Monty Python)?

I personally don't keep kit for more than 2..4 years anyway.

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Anonymous Coward

Re Six Years

The minimum of two years is the result of an EU directive, which no country in the EU may ignore,

however individual countries can make the period longer. In England its six years as defined in the Sale of Goods act, and five in Scotland AKAIK.

I am sure a learned person will comment.

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Gold badge

Re: Re Six Years

In England its six years as defined in the Sale of Goods act

It's been replaced last year (Oct 2015) by the Consumer Rights Act (click on the link for quite a good guide to its implications), but as far as I know there has never been talk about an explicit 6 year term but a more vague "reasonable expected duration" for something to work (I think, don't have the time to look it up right now).

That is one of the things the new Consumer Rights Act addresses with a tiered rights model that now also includes digital content, delivery periods and even services - worth a read as price reduction penalties can reach up to 100%.

What is significant is that this Act also incorporates Unfair Contract Terms aspects such as hidden charges and imbalance of rights. This could get quite interesting for subscription based services that don't deliver...

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Anonymous Coward

>Where do you get 6 years from, could you post a link?

http://www.apple.com/uk/legal/statutory-warranty/

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Silver badge

Six years in the UK and two years in the EU directive refers to the "Claim period" not the warranty period.

I think the Which article linked to by Fred Flintstone provides clarification:

"Six months or more

After the first six months the burden is on you to prove that the product was faulty at the time of delivery.

...

You have six years to take a claim to the small claims court for faulty goods in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and five years in Scotland.

This doesn't mean that a product has to last six years - just that you have this length of time in which to make a claim if a retailer refuses to repair or replace a faulty product. "

Similarly, the two year EU figure refers to an absolute time limit for making a claim based on a contract. Because the UK has a 6 year limitation, adopting the EU directive would reduce your rights...

So basically you are left with the reseller's and/or manufacturer's warranty if your product fails after six months..

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Re: Re Six Years

What is also significant is that this Act also incorporates service contracts; so if you build/repair consumer's PC's for example your work will also be subject to the act.

The Consumer Goods Act will also have ramifications on the deployment of IoT into people's homes.

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Trollface

Apple doesn't have a bug bounty program?

Must be because their programs don't have bugs!

…Even with the icon, I feel I'm overdoing it here. Meh.

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Doesn't really matter

My iPad 2 has, after consecutive updates, become quite unusable. I just use it for the odd browsing or reviewing a document these days, but even that is like pouring molasses through a straw. The delays have become unsufferable.

The hardware is still fine, and the screen quality more than acceptable, but it only makes a fine paperweight these days.

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Unhappy

Re: Doesn't really matter

Yep, mine now sits tethered to an amp providing music streaming, at which it's just about usable. Anything much else, loading another app or even swiping the home screen, is painful.

I really don't know which of its background tasks are important enough to sabotage basic UI functions.

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Re: Doesn't really matter

I'm still running iOS 7.1 on my iPad 3.

It still does pretty much everything I need it to do, though a number of apps refuse to install. The main problem is not being able to update Safari.

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Silver badge

Re: Doesn't really matter

I have the same with an Android phone, a Windows laptop, a Samsung "smart" DVD/PVR and a Ubuntu desktop. Whatever it is IT kit just seems to slow and die over time.

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Re: Doesn't really matter

http://www.drdobbs.com/cpp/state-of-decay/184405140

An old Verity Stobbs article (I'm sure it's older than 2002 as well). It uses Windows as it's exemplar, but is appropriate to all OS's in my experience.

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Re: Doesn't really matter

I've had the same issue with my iPad 2 - Apple's answer was a £265 repair - which is more or less a new iPad. When I said how would you feel if you filled your 4 year old car with a new improved petrol and the engine failed and the dealer then told you to buy a new engine? I didn't get a reply oddly enough.

I'm not a happy bunny I have to say.

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Re: Doesn't really matter

Still running 6.1.3 on my iPad 2, and 7.1.1 on my iPhone 4S. The 4S struggles a bit, so no further updates for it or it will become unusable, and the iPad 2 runs like new, so no further updates for it or it will become unusable.

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Gold badge

Re: Doesn't really matter

Whatever it is IT kit just seems to slow and die over time.

Ah, so I'm not the only one to experience electronic kettle fur. It's weird, though, I can't quite work out if it's just my perception (getting used to the speed) or genuine..

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Anonymous Coward

iPad 1

My father still uses his iPad 1, mainly for Facebook browsing. He understands that it is obsolete and when it dies, it will not be replaced with another App£e device, but with something with more options for hardware (memory) updates.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: iPad 1

What are the more hardware (memory) update options your father seeks?

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It just (doesn't) work.

https://farm3.staticflickr.com/2066/5807458526_dc54025065_z.jpg

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Given that Apple own the entire hardware/software stack (therefore with a fairly finite number of combinations), I do find it rather strange that they keep running into these sorts of problems with upgrades. It's almost as if they don't do enough testing...

More often than not I hold off upgrading my iThingies for at least a week to let the more faithful (and less experienced/cynical) do an extra level of testing/bug-finding. Mind you even then Apple can be less than forthcoming about acknowledging problems let alone deciding to do anything about them.

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Anonymous Coward

What is odd is that this has been through multiple beta's with i would guess over a million devs playing with it for the last few months and yet still there is an immediate issue on public release. Not to mention all the internal dev, test and release processes that these updates must go through.

Despite all that, this has happened with just about every iOS update in the last year. Same process, months of testing and yet immediate issues on release.

Its confusing but something is certainly going wrong because it keeps happening.

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Be fair on Apple. Any modern OS is a complex beast and even with the most extensive, well run, beta test possible, there *will* be bugs found later that were not caught during the beta.

Look at Windows. Microsoft routinely send out Windows betas to tens of millions of users all over the world, yet every release of Windows since they've been running Windows Update has had bug fixes released within days of the full release of that version of Windows.

It's not that Apple, or Microsoft or any of the Linux maintainers are doing anything wrong as such, it's just the nature of a modern OS.

I've experienced betas from both the dev side (admittedly small, internal projects) and the consumer side (Windows, OSX, iOS and various other large and small scale projects), and there always problems found after release that are not found during the test. It is an unfortunate side effect of the complexity of most modern OSes and other systems.

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be fair ?

I agree on the complexity of the OS. But as previously mentioned : they control both hardware and software. I'd have to read up on the issues reported, but unless all of the bricks were jailbroken or otherwise manipulated I have a hard time believing that this was tested thoroughly. Which is odd after the fiasco of 9.3.0...

I'll sit this one out.

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Silver badge

Be fair on Apple. Any modern OS is a complex beast ...

Yes an OS may be complex, however the problems being encountered are in the updater/installer and possibly the bootloader not the running OS...

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Anonymous Coward

C'mon guys, cut Apple some slack.

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Anonymous Coward

Why? I don't even have an Apple device but due to my job I have had to deal with the last few rounds of lazily tested updates

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Anonymous Coward

C'mon guys, cut Apple some slack

As an AC, I wasn't allowed to select the 'apply liberal sarcasm to this post' icon.

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