The dust has settled on most of Apple’s latest and greatest for 2019. There might be another MacBook Pro, or even an iPad Pro, perhaps an AirPod Pro, but the big drops have already dropped and the verdict is in.
iPhone 11 Pro is a hit; better photos and improved battery life. iOS 13’s adoption rate crossed 50-percent penetration in just a few weeks. Unfortunately, Apple released 43 new versions of iOS in that time period, and even macOS Catalina seems destined for excess criticisms after a messy rollout to the masses.
What’s going on?
Apple’s routine for new operating system versions has been going on for years. An introduction to new features at WWDC in late spring, shipping versions in late summer or early Autumn. The dates may change a few days each year, but the process has become time-honored. It’s what we expect and it’s what we get.
What’s the problem?
Bugs. Hiccups. Changes.
Apple’s engineers were working on iOS 13.1 before iOS 13 shipped. Within days we had new versions, then newer versions. A month later we’re already on iOS 13.1.3. macOS Catalina shipped later than iOS 13, iPadOS 13, tvOS, and watchOS, and even without as many updates since, the latest for Mac users brought its own pile of nastiness.
macOS Catalina will not run older 32-bit Mac apps. It’s 64-bit or nothing. Now, for what it’s worth, Apple notified app developers of the impending changes a few years ago, and macOS Mojave popped up notifications to users every time a 32-bit app opened.
On macOS Catalina, 32-bit apps are dead in the water and Will. Not. Open.
Fortunately, I’ve been running new operating systems since CP/M in the last century, and my time-honored method for upgrading what are called production machines— the Macs I use every day– works well.
I clone my Mac’s disk drives. At least one SSD drive on each Mac retains last year’s macOS– in this case, macOS Mojave– and keeps it available until I’m ready to switch the workflow to the new version.
This year I held back because of the 32-bit/64-bit issue. I have a handful of critical apps that run as 32-bit apps and do not have an approved 64-bit version.
iOS, of course, doesn’t have that problem, but every new iOS version works the same way. Some apps no longer work, or crash regularly (awaiting an update), while others have no problem at all. I’ve read plenty of Mac and macOS horror stories but a cloned Mac helps to reduce if not eliminate such issues. Unfortunately, with iOS, the only way to avoid the future hiccups is to avoid new versions of iOS.
As it stands now, a month and many iOS upgrades later, I still have some issues on my iPhone. The Settings update badge won’t go away. iPhone phone call badges stick around a few days after the calls are deleted from Recents. Nothing big. Little annoyances. Mostly typical for this time of year.
This year may have been the worst– collectively; all of iOS 13.x, iPadOS 13.x, macOS Catalina, tvOS, and watchOS– than any upgrade since MobileMe’s rollout back when Steve Jobs was alive.
Bug fixes are the norm for software, especially when new upgrades hit the streets. Maybe one day I will learn to leave well enough alone.