Tim Cook’s sloppy, unfocused Apple rushes to fix a major Mac security bug

“Well, you don’t see that every day – Apple is rushing to fix a major security bug.,” Chris Baraniuk reports for BBC News. “It has been revealed that users of its new MacOS High Sierra operating system can access it without using a password. Just use ‘root’ as a username, leave the password field blank and hit ‘Enter’ a few times. It’s an embarrassing slip-up and not one users are used to from Apple, whose products are often cited as more reliable and secure than its rivals.”

“But the ‘root’ password bug is not as isolated a case as it might at first seem,” Baraniuk reports. “Last month, Apple had to release a patch for another password-related issue in High Sierra. Some users found that when they asked the software for a password hint it simply revealed the password in full instead.”

“There have also been issues with iOS,” Baraniuk reports. “Earlier this month, iPhone users were frustrated by an irritating bug that caused the letter ‘i’ to be inexplicably auto-corrected to a capital ‘a’ and a question mark. Again, Apple promptly fixed things. But these cases have left some questioning whether the firm has lowered its standards. ‘Apple’s quality of business execution is slipping,’ says Neil Mawston, at Strategy Analytics. He believes the company is becoming ‘more prone’ to business and product glitches.
As a result, Mr Mawston thinks Apple’s reputation for offering premium quality and reliability could be at risk.”

“Cyber-security expert Prof Alan Woodward, at the University of Surrey, agrees,” Baraniuk reports. “‘There’s definitely a growing perception that perhaps their quality control is not all it should be,’ he says. ‘I use Apple products… because of the level of encryption and the attention they pay to apps in their app store. You didn’t used to get these sorts of bugs.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take:

Dear Mr. Cook,

“It just works.” That’s getting tougher and tougher for us OS X and iOS users to say with straight faces lately.

Apple, while certainly still the best when it comes to desktop and mobile operating systems, needs to do better. Our expectations, some of us as users of Apple products since the early 1980s, are not being met when it comes to the quality and reliability of operating systems, software, and services. Used to be, you could pretty confidently install brand new operating systems from Apple. Recently, we’re more inclined to wait for a few point releases than not. It’s downright Microsoftian. Lately, for the past couple of years, your software seems rushed. Is “rush job” really the impression you want to give your customers?MacDailyNews, January 5, 2015

What to do about Apple’s shameful Mac security flaw in macOS High Sierra – November 29, 2017
Apple’s late, delayed, limited HomePod is looking more and more like something I don’t want – November 27, 2017
Why Apple’s HomePod is three years behind Amazon’s Echo – November 21, 2017
Under ‘operations genius’ Tim Cook, product delays and other problems are no longer unusual for Apple – November 20, 2017
Apple delays HomePod release to early 2018 – November 17, 2017
Apple CEO Tim Cook: The ‘operations genius’ who never has enough products to sell at launch – October 23, 2017
Apple reveals HomePod smart home music speaker – June 5, 2017
Apple’s desperate Mac Pro damage control message hints at a confused, divided company – April 6, 2017
Apple is misplaying the hand Steve Jobs left them – November 30, 2016
Apple delays AirPod rollout – October 26, 2016
Apple delays release of watchOS 2 due to bug – September 16, 2015
Apple delays HomeKit launch until autumn – May 14, 2015
Open letter to Tim Cook: Apple needs to do better – January 5, 2015
Apple delays production of 12.9-inch ‘iPad Pro’ in face of overwhelming iPhone 6/Plus demand – October 9, 2014
Tim Cook’s mea culpa: iMac launch should have been postponed – April 24, 2013


  1. Apple fanboys will excuse Tim Cooking citing the crippling pressure he was under to release High Sierra. Poor, Tim, it’s heartbreaking to know the pain and exhaustion he was under to release High Sierra. I suppose this only makes it worse, eh?

    1. In the real world I very much doubt that you will find any ‘Fanboy’ making such a pathetic excuse. Making up an excuse and then applying it to others as if its real really does smack of desperation. Surely even a troll can show a modicum of imagination on occasion. We used to be entertained by them here now we have to read Dan Brown for any entertainment in the lunacy section of fiction.

    2. My guess: somebody on the development team got tired of having to deal with passwords on the root account of multiple test machines, so he put in a temporary back door. He failed to remove it from the Gold Master because maybe he forgot, maybe he got transferred, or maybe he was hit by a bus.

      During development, this wasn’t a bug but a feature, so Quality Control wouldn’t have eliminated it, even if it found it. After it became a bug, there wasn’t much time to catch it.

      None of the QC testers stumbled on the particular situation of a Mac with multiple accounts enabled NOT including root, an attempt to log into root, and repeated efforts to enter a blank password.

      Very bad, but hardly a reflection of company-wide dementia.

      1. It probibly happened something like that. Mistakes happen in every company as they are run by people. Not good, but hardly the CEO’s fault. Credit to Apple that as soon as the security gap was identified it was very promptly fixed

    3. I’m an Apple Fanboy since 86… This shit is inexcusable. High Sierra was supposed to be similar to Snow Leopard in terms of optimization. It’s not.
      They need to skip a year of new OSes, optimize the fuck out of them, bug kill, and bring it back around to what we expect: Quality of experience.

      It just works – tell that to my spouse and family who are constantly having bizarre issues with Apple products. Apple needs to get back to the days where a simple restart would fix 99% of the problems one is experiencing.

      Shit, my iCloud Drive still doesn’t accurately report the used space and my 755GB photo library doesn’t even show as using space. Sure, that’s currently in my favor, but that kind of sloppiness makes me feel my data isn’t even close to safe (in terms integrity).

      Get. Your. Shit. Together. Apple.

      All your shit. Together. In a bag.

      Get it together.

      1. The whole releasing new updates every year only creates this pressure to upgrade, which cascades down to being pressured to upgrade all of our applications to follow, and unlike with MacOS, many of those upgrades aren’t free. Slow down the OS updates and let us continue to use the versions that we’re using for a little longer so we don’t have to break the bank on a yearly basis.

        1. People gripe if Apple does not release something new every year. Then they gripe if Apple does release annual updates and they aren’t perfect. The classic no-win situation.

          The next time that someone threatens to switch to Windows or Android because they have some new feature and “Apple is not innovating,” please remind them of this fact. Then encourage them to go enjoy their purgatory in Windows and Android land. Frankly, I don’t care anymore. I would rather be back to the niche Apple status of the mid-1990s than deal with all of the jerks who have joined the Apple ecosystem.

      2. Your tirade sounds like it’s at least 50 percent BS.

        I’ve been using Apple products both professionally and for personal uses just about as long as you claim to have been and have little or none of the issues you bellyache about.

        As to your spouse and family having “bizarre issues with Apple products” … more vague bullshit.

    1. If you’re only reply is “Yes, but Microsoft…” then you’ve lost touch. You’re pretty much validating acceptable levels of mistakes through comparison. Stupid mistakes shouldn’t happen like this, no matter WHAT Microsuck does. I don’t use Microsoft so I don’t care what mistakes their system has, I care what mistakes Tim Cook’s Apple has been allowing. It’s getting worse… not better.

      1. It’s that race to the bottom that you get when you’re not trying to be your best, you’re just trying to be better than the other guy. We’re seeing that too often in our society today in all areas, whether it’s business, politics, culture, etc.

  2. It’s a slippery slope and Cook’s apple is sliding down faster and faster with each passing year.

    Apple died with Jobs. Cook is just a wannabe. A failure at that.

    Jobs will make sure heads rolled so everybody was extremely careful and did the best they could. Cook? He ain’t no Jobs and the workers know it, so quality is job none.

  3. Apple fanboys can’t wait for MS or Samsung to screw the pooch and criticize them (rightly so), but if Apple goes balls up there is a never ending litany of excuses and name calling for pointing it out. Apple fanboy bias and prejudice is world renowned and despised. Your credibility is shot, fanboys, except in your tight little circle jerks.

  4. These sort of slip ups shouldn’t happen, but I’m not exactly going to go and start using a Windows PC and Android Phone. I think the yearly upgrade cycle for the OS is a slippery slope. I don’t think that’s a specifically Tim Cook thing – although he rightly is responsible.

  5. If I can’t say “it just works…” anymore then I’m ready for a new CEO.

    I’m almost having the feeling that this is sort of how Apple started to act like when Steve Jobs was fired from Apple the first time.

    Unfortunately, he’s not coming back a second time.

    Hope the board of directors has a new prospect lined up to handle Cooks stupid decisions.

  6. The bad part of this, according to comments I’ve read elsewhere, is that people still running the beta don’t have the issue. It was somehow introduced *after* the beta before the wide release. Really?!

  7. “Recently, we’re more inclined to wait for a few point releases than not”

    Really MDN? The moment an actual news site writes up about a new iOS public/beta release you instantly report that it is “Snappy”.

    It was honestly always clear to me that you hadn’t installed or tested it. You were just in a good Apple mood that day.

    How can anyone defend this trite?

    1. Decent sites (like the ones who reported the bug yesterday) have once again reported the fix in a timely fashion. MDN will spend the next 48 hour ranting about it, and then around the 72 hour mark they will tell us how to set a root password, and then they will realise there was a fix 24 hours after my Nan has installed the update – and then they will take there meds and tell us how “Snappy” it is (even though nothing related to performance will have been changed here).

      Snappy! MDN Snappy!

      Keeping reading Mac Daily “News” and keep drinking the Kool Aid kids 😉

  8. Tim Cook is all iOS all the time and the Mac is a red headed stepchild with a bedroom over the garage. Walk into any Apple store and it reflects his priorities- you can buy a DJI drone, but no Mac hubs are to be seen, for example.
    Over in iOS land, the Face Detection has been spoofed repeatedly by a security group in Vietnam and with a 3 d printer made mask. It seems Apple software is about as secure as an unzipped tent flap.

        1. Excellent take, DG. Absolutely correct you can buy Apple bling gadgets anywhere in retail and online. Apple stores should be redesigned to accomplish the rock, the spine, the foundation of Apple itself — the Mac …

  9. Oh dear Apple, what a cock-up! So much for your development team and trustworthiness. What a joke and Apple deserve all the wrath for this. No doubt the Apple die-hards will just see it as a blip. Again no QA to check for the obvious.

  10. They need to slow down a little in some areas (macOS) and speed up in other areas (I’m looking at you with a fierce ugly scowl horribly mismanaged Mac Pro! ARGH!!!!).

    Loading and updating El Capitan (and it’s fantastic boot.efi hack) on my 2007 Mac Pro last night I was struck just how many iterations have flown out from Apple in recent years. Pro’s like me just want a stable operating system around or a couple years. Yearly updates are an anathema for the most part for business and professional use.

    I hope High Sierra sticks around for a while but I don’t have a single Mac updated to it yet but then I only have a single Mac Book Pro that CAN be updated mainly because I couldn’t buy the Mac Pro I wanted TWO YEARS AGO.

    Choosy OS shoppers wait until the flak and trouble dies down before bothering, software allowing.

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