27 points of pain: Software and services Apple needs to fix

January 11, 2015, 6:32 PM UTC

Has your Mac been crashing more than usual lately? Have your iPhone apps started to misbehave?

You are not alone. Following up the alarm issued last week by Marco Arment — one Arment now regrets in part because he didn’t offer enough specifics — veteran Apple watcher Glenn Fleishman has filled in the blanks.

“The point of owning a Mac,” he writes, “is to not have to reboot it regularly.”

Drawing on his and his Twitter followers’ experiences, Fleishman assembled a list of 27 persistent problems in Apple’s recent software releases. What follows is a summary. Full details here: The Software and Services Apple Needs To Fix.

Mac OS X:

  • General reliability. Apps will spontaneously quit for no reason, sometimes in cascades.
  • Massive accumulation of paging files. Over time, virtual memory or other related “paging” files accumulate to the tune of 20 to 30 GB.
  • User interface slowdowns until reboot. A common problem. It may be related to swapping.
  • Network shares and printers disappear.
  • The attack of the 50-foot save sheet. Yosemite’s save sheet (or save dialog) grows by 22 pixels every time you invoke it until you lose your mind.
  • Incremental Bonjour network names. So you see “Glenn’s MacBook Air (2)”, “3”, and so on.
  • Screen Sharing either slows down, isn’t available, or becomes unreliable.
  • Messages. The failure to sync across platforms and devices remains terrible. The number of times Messages dies on me and tells me an internal error occurs is very large.
  • Spaces, the feature that lets you have multiple desktops, works horribly across both my regular systems.
  • Mail. I’ve had the app suddenly tell me all connections are broken and refuse to fix them. Quitting and launching sometimes helps; other times, a system reboot is required.
  • Wi-Fi remains inconsistent and unreliable.
  • iPhoto has been underpowered and wonky from the start.
  • Aperture was never brought to its full potential, and is now abandoned.
  • iTunes has been a dog’s lunch of unrelated features crammed into the same sack for years.
  • iWork ’12 was a giant step back from iWork ’09.
  • iBooks reliability issues abound, including a failure to sync annotations.
  • Spontaneous logout of all users. There’s no solution on Apple’s discussion forums.
  • Failure to support 4K at 60 Hz reliably.


iOS software:

  • Bad performance on older devices:Even relatively well-powered devices not at the far end of backward compatibility for iOS 8 suffer under the new releases.
  • AirDrop, even in iOS 8, remains scattershot and unreliable even when all system requirements are met.
  • Podcast app stalls on downloads and requires a system restart to begin downloads again.
  • App search routinely fails in Spotlight after a restart. It appears later, sometimes much later, for no apparent reason.
  • Bluetooth pairing is unreliable. Whether that’s an OS X or iOS feature problem, I’m not sure.
  • Third-party keyboards crash in Apple apps. It’s hard to know whom to blame.



  • Apple IDs can’t be merged. You would expect it would be possible to merge purchases and other data into a single master account. It is not.
  • Family Sharing isn’t ready for prime time. A recent Upgrade podcast suggested that Family Sharing was designed by people without families.
  • Apple can choose to unlock Apple ID accounts locked for security purposes and generally chooses not to.


Follow Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Twitter at @philiped. Read his Apple AAPL -0.95% coverage at fortune.com/ped or subscribe via his RSS feed.

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