Why Apple’s iOS 13 and Catalina are so buggy

David Shayer for TidBITS:

iOS 13 and macOS 10.15 Catalina have been unusually buggy releases for Apple. The betas started out buggy at WWDC in June, which is not unexpected, but even after Apple removed some features from the final releases in September, more problems have forced the company to publish quick updates. Why? Based on my 18 years of experience working as an Apple software engineer, I have a few ideas.

• Overloaded Feature Lists Lead to Schedule Chicken
• Crash Reports Don’t Identify Non-Crashing Bugs
• Less-Important Bugs Are Triaged
• Regressions Get Fixed. Old Bugs Get Ignored.
• Automated Tests Are Used Sparingly
• Complexity Has Ballooned

In an unprecedented move, Apple announced iOS 13.1 before iOS 13.0 shipped, a rare admission of how serious the software quality problem is. Apple has immense resources, and the company’s engineers will tame this year’s problem.

In the short term, you can expect more bug fix updates on a more frequent schedule than in past years. Longer-term, I’m sure that the higher-ups at Apple are fully aware of the problem and are pondering how best to address it.

MacDailyNews Take: Hopefully, Apple can get a handle on it and, as the ecosystem simplifies by coming together (Mac Catalyst, SwiftUI) the complexity issue will be tamed!


    1. If you know ANYTHING about software development, it’s the new normal for everyone. There is no one seriously doing software development that is holding releases until they pass all tests.

  1. Might it be that the software team have become short-staffed? Are a significant portion of them now working on software which will run Mac OS on Apple’s own A-series chips.

    Not a theory. Genuinely just a question.

    1. There is no shortage of Apple employees in the SJW wing. Why doesn’t a real leader place resources where it matters?

      Software quality is no longer head and shoulders above Windoze. At some point people here are going to have to admit that Cook is screwing up this core reason Apple ever became the premium choice. Now in many areas Apple is just another flavor.

    1. To be fair, I follow that general policy for major software releases from every vendor, apps as well as OSes. I will admit, however, that the increased complexity in Apple’s OS strategy has led to an increase in bugs in its initial releases.

    2. If you make a living on macOS, you don’t upgrade unless you NEED to… even after 3 months 🙂 And you upgrade the smart way, buy a separate system, set it up, keep your current system available in case you run into some world breaking bugs.

  2. Features created just because they can whether there is a functional need, change for the sake of change in order to look “sophisticated” its been a trend for several years now. My single biggest complaint is iOS apps that open in the “middle” of the app as opposed to a “home” page, violating the number 1 rule of software in that the customer is left asking the question: Where do I go next. It is so simple:

    “you had one job!”

  3. I know absolutely nothing about software development. All I do is buy and use mess, since my 1986 Mac Plus. And, I’ve never spent my money on anything but Apple mess. Since 1986, I’ve been waiting for something better. There is none. Well, for me iOS 13 has been a bit of a mess. Strange acting. I’m on 13.1.2, or is it .3, or .…whew. I keep going to Software Update a few times a day hoping for another update…

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