Apple is overhauling how the company’s software is beta tested after another round of buggy initial releases.
Software chief Craig Federighi and lieutenants including Stacey Lysik announced the changes at a recent internal “kickoff” meeting with the company’s software developers. The new approach calls for Apple’s development teams to ensure that test versions, known as “daily builds,” of future software updates disable unfinished or buggy features by default. Testers will then have the option to selectively enable those features, via a new internal process and settings menu dubbed Flags, allowing them to isolate the impact of each individual addition on the system.
When the company’s iOS 13 was released alongside the iPhone 11 in September, iPhone owners and app developers were confronted with a litany of software glitches… The issues show how complex iPhones have become and how easily users can be disappointed by a company known for the smooth integration of hardware and software…
Prior to iOS 14’s development, some teams would add features every day that weren’t fully tested, while other teams would contribute changes weekly… The testing shift will apply to all of Apple’s operating systems, including iPadOS, watchOS, macOS and tvOS. The latest Mac computer operating system, macOS Catalina, has also manifested bugs… Apple executives hope that the overhauled testing approach will improve the quality of the company’s software over the long term. But this isn’t the first time that Apple engineers have heard this from management.
Last year, Apple delayed several iOS 12 features — including redesigns for CarPlay and the iPad home screen — specifically so it could focus on reliability and performance. At an all-hands meeting in January 2018, Federighi said the company had prioritized new features too much and should return to giving consumers the quality and stability that they wanted first.
MacDailyNews Take: What an excellent idea!
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?
Slow down! Getting it right is far more important than getting it out.
Frankly, we don’t need a new Mac or iPhone/iPad operating system every year and Apple Inc. doesn’t need it, either. Annual OS releases shouldn’t be mandated. What we all really need, customers and Apple Inc., are operating systems that are rock solid and do what they’re supposed to do when they’re supposed to do it. Why not just add new features/services to existing OSes with continued point releases that refine and extend the experiences and services you want to deliver? Why not just release new operating systems only when they are rock solid and ready?
In other words, take a step back, take a deep breath, and focus on making sure that what you have now just works. Because too much of it doesn’t… Getting it right is far more important than having two “new” free OSes to release each year. Seriously, nobody outside of Cupertino very much cares. We do, however, care very much that Apple’s software and services work as flawlessly as possible…
Bottom line: We long to again be able to confidently say of our Macs, iPhones, and iPads: “It just works.”
Here’s to 14! 13’s unlucky anyway.