Apple software sees disastrous, embarrassing week with iOS springboard crash, macOS root u...

Posted:
in General Discussion edited December 2017
Apple, a company that prides itself on customer experience, just had one of its worst customer-facing weeks in history, with a major security flaw on macOS High Sierra and a bug in iOS that rendered some iPhones essentially unusable. It has been an embarrassing turn of events for a technology company that frequently boasts about industry-leading customer satisfaction levels.


No satisfaction

On Apple's quarterly earnings conference calls, Chief Executive Tim Cook usually touts customer satisfaction surveys -- referring to it in shorthand as "customer sat." And with good reason: The iPhone, iPad and Mac boast satisfaction levels as high as the 99th percentile.

That kind of positive experience comes from a seasoned marriage of both hardware and software. With well-crafted devices that feel good in the hand and also respond and operate exactly as users expect, using Apple products often elicits a feeling of joy.

But with Christmas fast approaching, Apple's week after Thanksgiving was anything but joyous.

Dangerous macOS flaw followed by frustrating iOS bug

The company's two biggest and most important platforms -- iOS and macOS -- experienced serious issues that required last-minute, rush-job patches.

What's worse, these flaws were not minor inconveniences -- the macOS security hole could leave a system completely compromised, while the iOS bug made iPhones crash repeatedly, rendering them essentially unusable.

It all started on Tuesday, when a major vulnerability in High Sierra gained publicity. The issue actually existed for weeks -- and maybe months -- before it garnered its justified widespread attention this week.




The Mac flaw provided root system administrator access in High Sierra without the need for a password. That's about as critical of a flaw as you can imagine on a widespread platform like macOS.

Apple responded a day later, issuing a quick fix to patch the hole. The company was also compelled to apologize, humbly stating: "Our customers deserve better."

The rushed patch broke file sharing -- a minor inconvenience considering the severity of the flaw that the patch fixed, but still noteworthy from a user experience perspective.
It's likely that Apple's support teams are going to be working overtime this weekend.
Once it seemed like the macOS issue might be behind it, the clock turned to Dec. 2, and a particularly troublesome bug in iOS 11.1.2 was discovered.

Users affected by the issue found that their iPhone would repeatedly crash, sometimes as frequently as every few seconds. Whether on the home screen or within an app, the device would crash to a black screen with a spinning wheel before returning to the lock screen.

The fix is not exactly simple. It requires going into Settings and disabling notifications on an app-by-app basis -- a process that can be particularly frustrating if your iPhone is continuously crashing.




Apple responded, as it did with the macOS bug, by pushing out a quick fix for iOS. When installing iOS 11.2, users are told that the update "introduces Apple Pay Cash," but that's incorrect, as the feature isn't even live yet, given the fact that the iOS update was pushed out the door early.

Imagine users who may not be technically savvy and have no idea why their iPhone kept crashing Saturday morning. It's likely that Apple's support teams are going to be working overtime this weekend.

Apple's software problems have persisted throughout the fall of 2017

These incidents follow the strange A[?] autocorrect bug, which seemingly multiplied like a virus. The issue quietly spread to user's dictionaries and replacing the letter "I," making it a royal pain for anyone who writes in English and refers to themselves on the internet.

While a minor bug in the grand scheme of things, the A[?] incident was a public relations nightmare, with text messages and tweets appearing everywhere, highlighting the existence of the software flaw and its wide reach.




There was also the public Wi-Fi bug with Apple Watch Series 3, which prevented cellular connectivity for some users in some situations. For anyone spending $400+ on a new Apple Watch in September, only to find on day one that their cellular connectivity simply didn't work in some areas, it was yet another annoying problem.

Apple also couldn't even ship the latest Apple Watch with support for Apple Music streaming, despite the fact that the capability was the centerpiece of the company's television ads for its wearable device. Support for Apple Music streaming came more than a month after the Apple Watch Series 3 launched, in the form of a software update on Halloween.




And then there was the fact that iMessages for macOS were broken for many users after the High Sierra update.

iOS 11, as well, shipped without major capabilities Apple unveiled back in June at its Worldwide Developers Conference, including Apple Pay Cash and AirPlay 2.

The HomePod speaker was also unceremoniously delayed until 2018, missing its promised December launch. It's unknown whether the delay was because of software or hardware issues (or both).

Except for the unreleased HomePod, all of these problems have since been fixed, but the continuous issues from a company not known for having such issues do leave a bad taste. And although none (prior to this week) were truly show stopping bugs, collectively they paint the picture of a company that struggled with software development and release in the fall of 2017.

Apple users deserve better

The problems are even more frustrating for Apple fans because, by all accounts, the company should be enjoying something of a victory lap at the moment. After facing crushing demand and production constraints for the iPhone X, shipping times for the flagship handset are now under a week.

Along with the launches of the iPhone 8 lineup, Apple Watch Series 3 with cellular, Apple TV 4K, and with AirPods seemingly in everyone's ears on the street, the company's hardware development is undoubtedly on a roll.

Good hardware only tells half of the story, though. Without best-in-class software to accompany it, Apple offers an experience that isn't joyous at all -- it's downright frustrating.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 119
    Hyperbolic piece. I wouldn’t call the [?] bug a “PR disaster” — I’d call any of the recent sexual harassment incidents PR disasters for NBC and others, but I’d call the texting bug a minor annoyance that came and went with little fanfare. 

    Likewise, our week after Thanksgiving was indeed “joyous” and without issue on any of our devices... What are we doing wrong??

    Guessed the byline by the headline. I’m guessing disaster pieces are designed to provide pereceived balanced coverage to DED pieces maybe?
    edited December 2017 LukeCageTripleTroublemagman1979docno42dws-2lkruppchasmmacplusplusradarthekatpscooter63
  • Reply 2 of 119
    eriamjheriamjh Posts: 1,061member
    I've been sitting on iOS10 on my 7+ and have no regerts. 

    My main 2011 laptop is still on Sierra, suffering from the bad GPU problem.  Only my rarely used iMac has High sierra on it. 

    And my watch?  Still watchOS 3.1.1.  Never updating it.  Apple fucked me too hard when they broke it with watchOS3.0.0.  It's working fine now.  Never updating it again.  

    Patience.  

    Apple has has been disappointing me through new software releases.  I like my products to work for me, not against me.  Sloppy, Steve.  Very Sloppy.  
    harry wildstevenoz
  • Reply 3 of 119
    Well it's been a good run Apple. No tech company is perfect. These are critical times we're living in. But as a huge Apple fanboy I'll say that I'm still impressed by the immediacy at which Apple handles these things.
    edited December 2017 StrangeDaysracerhomiegilly33magman1979freerangerandominternetpersontmaywatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 119
    TheUnusual6TheUnusual6 Posts: 7unconfirmed, member
    Tim cook’s gonna fire all those lazy assholes responsible for this..
  • Reply 5 of 119
    nhughesnhughes Posts: 743editor
    Hyperbolic piece, our week after Thanksgiving was joyous and without issue on any of our devices? What are we doing wrong??

    Guessed the byline by the headline. 
    "Major problems did not affect me, therefore they are not major problems."

    I said Apple, the company, had a week that was not joyous. By any measure it was a public relations disaster. I am genuinely glad to hear your week was joyous, though.
    edited December 2017 harry wildwaverboygatorguydws-2krawallaylkrevenantbeowulfschmidt1STnTENDERBITSwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 119
    At least they pushed out updates and fixes almost instantly! 
    But still sad to see that this happens more often despite the big increase in R&D...
    racerhomiemagman1979watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 119
    I usually do not update my iOS after purchase my iPads and iPhones.  Learn the hard way to keep it that way and extend the life of my device from 3 years to infinity!  Yes, some apps ask for update iOS, but I just delete those who do and go through the web browser when I need to use them.
    edited December 2017
  • Reply 8 of 119
    Disgruntled employee syndrome. DES
    asdasdwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 119
    BluntBlunt Posts: 202member
    Murphys law. At least fandroids and msfreaks had their fun. Apple still rules but no more date related bugs please it's embarrising.
    SpamSandwichwillcropointwatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 119
    nhughes said:
    Hyperbolic piece, our week after Thanksgiving was joyous and without issue on any of our devices? What are we doing wrong??

    Guessed the byline by the headline. 
    "Major problems did not affect me, therefore they are not major problems."

    I said Apple, the company, had a week that was not joyous. By any measure it was a public relations disaster. I am genuinely glad to hear your week was joyous, though.
    By the same exact token -- just because some people experienced problems doesn't mean many or most. I've been with family all thru and after Thanksgiving, all Apple devices, and none of us were in a living nightmare because none of us experienced any problems. Sure bugs exist, but the way the techie echo chamber makes it out you'd think everyone's devices were failing everywhere. They aren't. 
    kruegdudeasdasdphilboogiemagman1979chasmmacplusplusminicoffeejony0pscooter63freerange
  • Reply 11 of 119
    tonybenic said:
    At least they pushed out updates and fixes almost instantly! 
    But still sad to see that this happens more often despite the big increase in R&D...
    R&D isn't doing feature implementation or release testing.
    willcropointwatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 119
    nhughesnhughes Posts: 743editor
    nhughes said:
    Hyperbolic piece, our week after Thanksgiving was joyous and without issue on any of our devices? What are we doing wrong??

    Guessed the byline by the headline. 
    "Major problems did not affect me, therefore they are not major problems."

    I said Apple, the company, had a week that was not joyous. By any measure it was a public relations disaster. I am genuinely glad to hear your week was joyous, though.
    By the same exact token -- just because some people experienced problems doesn't mean many or most. I've been with family all thru and after Thanksgiving, all Apple devices, and none of us were in a living nightmare because none of us experienced any problems. Sure bugs exist, but the way the techie echo chamber makes it out you'd think everyone's devices were failing everywhere. They aren't. 
    If you found out that your front door lock didn't work properly, even though no actually one took advantage of it and broke into your home, would you give the lock company a pass for their mistake? The root bug in macOS is an embarrassment for Apple, and they deserve to be taken to task for it.

    My iPhone X was not affected by the iOS 11.1.2 bug, but my wife's was. Took multiple attempts to install the 11.2 update because the springboard kept repeatedly crashing. On any week, that would be a bad bug. On this week, it's the capstone for an unfortunate series of self-inflicted wounds.
    wooliebb-15revenant
  • Reply 13 of 119
    I personally had no issues.
    I believe 10.11.6 is the new Snow Leopard .
    My uncles Air updated automatically.11.2 fixed the issues too.
    Apple has worked quite hard.Lets hope they work even harder now.
  • Reply 14 of 119
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,547member
    Apple needs to get its act together but it's not a dire situation. How were these bugs not detected during QC or the beta testing?
    This is why I usually wait to upgrade my devices. 
    philboogiebb-15
  • Reply 15 of 119
    nhughes said:
    nhughes said:
    Hyperbolic piece, our week after Thanksgiving was joyous and without issue on any of our devices? What are we doing wrong??

    Guessed the byline by the headline. 
    "Major problems did not affect me, therefore they are not major problems."

    I said Apple, the company, had a week that was not joyous. By any measure it was a public relations disaster. I am genuinely glad to hear your week was joyous, though.
    By the same exact token -- just because some people experienced problems doesn't mean many or most. I've been with family all thru and after Thanksgiving, all Apple devices, and none of us were in a living nightmare because none of us experienced any problems. Sure bugs exist, but the way the techie echo chamber makes it out you'd think everyone's devices were failing everywhere. They aren't. 
    If you found out that your front door lock didn't work properly, even though no actually one took advantage of it and broke into your home, would you give the lock company a pass for their mistake? The root bug in macOS is an embarrassment for Apple, and they deserve to be taken to task for it.

    My iPhone X was not affected by the iOS 11.1.2 bug, but my wife's was. Took multiple attempts to install the 11.2 update because the springboard kept repeatedly crashing. On any week, that would be a bad bug. On this week, it's the capstone for an unfortunate series of self-inflicted wounds.
    I'm not denying there are bugs here. But the impact has been minimal due to the speedy response. I don't know anyone who had intruders from this zero-day exploit.

    In my mind, a true PR disaster -- having your product burn down cars and catch fire on planes, prompting every single domestic flight to cite it by name, triggering multiple recalls. That's a disaster, with real-world impact. This wasn't that. That's why I say it's hyperbolic to equate these relatively low-impact bugs to true disasters.
    edited December 2017 philboogiemagman1979macplusplusfreerangefeider111equality72521randominternetpersonbb-15hypoluxatmay
  • Reply 16 of 119
    I believe iOS 12 will be the "Snow Leopard" of the iOS updates. They will refine UI and UX while hammering out bugs and issues. Nevertheless, iOS 11 works great on my iPhone X.
    magman1979feider111
  • Reply 17 of 119
    kpomkpom Posts: 602member
    I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a management shakeup after this. Perhaps a new C-suite level position over quality control. 
    feider111jongrall
  • Reply 18 of 119
    nhughesnhughes Posts: 743editor
    nhughes said:
    nhughes said:
    Hyperbolic piece, our week after Thanksgiving was joyous and without issue on any of our devices? What are we doing wrong??

    Guessed the byline by the headline. 
    "Major problems did not affect me, therefore they are not major problems."

    I said Apple, the company, had a week that was not joyous. By any measure it was a public relations disaster. I am genuinely glad to hear your week was joyous, though.
    By the same exact token -- just because some people experienced problems doesn't mean many or most. I've been with family all thru and after Thanksgiving, all Apple devices, and none of us were in a living nightmare because none of us experienced any problems. Sure bugs exist, but the way the techie echo chamber makes it out you'd think everyone's devices were failing everywhere. They aren't. 
    If you found out that your front door lock didn't work properly, even though no actually one took advantage of it and broke into your home, would you give the lock company a pass for their mistake? The root bug in macOS is an embarrassment for Apple, and they deserve to be taken to task for it.

    My iPhone X was not affected by the iOS 11.1.2 bug, but my wife's was. Took multiple attempts to install the 11.2 update because the springboard kept repeatedly crashing. On any week, that would be a bad bug. On this week, it's the capstone for an unfortunate series of self-inflicted wounds.
    I'm not denying there are bugs here. But the impact has been minimal due to the speedy response. I don't know anyone who had intruders from this zero-day exploit.

    In my mind, a true PR disaster -- having your product burn down cars and catch fire on planes, prompting every single domestic flight to cite it by name, triggering multiple recalls. That's a disaster, with real-world impact. This wasn't that. That's why I say it's hyperbolic to equate these relatively low-impact bugs to true disasters.
    Comparing Apple's PR disasters to Samsung's is pointless. I expect Apple to be better than Samsung. Should we give Apple points for living up to the lowest possible standard?

    And your conspiracy theory about balancing out other editorials is laughable. Let it go.
    waverboygatorguyMartin57revenant1STnTENDERBITS
  • Reply 19 of 119
    tzeshantzeshan Posts: 1,693member
    I have alerted on AI multiple times that Apple quality is degrading under Cook.  He is trying to play as a nice person and paying too much attention on political issues. It seems the problem is getting worse. 
    mobirdtyler82
  • Reply 20 of 119
    tzeshantzeshan Posts: 1,693member
    nhughes said:
    nhughes said:
    Hyperbolic piece, our week after Thanksgiving was joyous and without issue on any of our devices? What are we doing wrong??

    Guessed the byline by the headline. 
    "Major problems did not affect me, therefore they are not major problems."

    I said Apple, the company, had a week that was not joyous. By any measure it was a public relations disaster. I am genuinely glad to hear your week was joyous, though.
    By the same exact token -- just because some people experienced problems doesn't mean many or most. I've been with family all thru and after Thanksgiving, all Apple devices, and none of us were in a living nightmare because none of us experienced any problems. Sure bugs exist, but the way the techie echo chamber makes it out you'd think everyone's devices were failing everywhere. They aren't. 
    If you found out that your front door lock didn't work properly, even though no actually one took advantage of it and broke into your home, would you give the lock company a pass for their mistake? The root bug in macOS is an embarrassment for Apple, and they deserve to be taken to task for it.

    My iPhone X was not affected by the iOS 11.1.2 bug, but my wife's was. Took multiple attempts to install the 11.2 update because the springboard kept repeatedly crashing. On any week, that would be a bad bug. On this week, it's the capstone for an unfortunate series of self-inflicted wounds.
    I'm not denying there are bugs here. But the impact has been minimal due to the speedy response. I don't know anyone who had intruders from this zero-day exploit.

    In my mind, a true PR disaster -- having your product burn down cars and catch fire on planes, prompting every single domestic flight to cite it by name, triggering multiple recalls. That's a disaster, with real-world impact. This wasn't that. That's why I say it's hyperbolic to equate these relatively low-impact bugs to true disasters.
    But but it does affect goodwill toward Apple. Apple earn most profits on smartphone sales because people trust the high quality of Apple products. 
    feider111
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