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    Apple’s Bug Reporting System is Really Buggy. How Ironic!

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    Varun Bhatia
    Varun Bhatia Oct 1, 2019

    In just a couple of months, at WWDC, Apple will announce iOS 11 and macOS 10.13. These software updates will bring many new features to the iPhone and MacBook operating systems. However, along with the improvements, there are bound to be a few bugs that will dampen the upgrade experience. It’s pretty much a package deal.

    Just the way it goes!

    Have you ever wondered why big companies like Apple aren’t able to iron out all the flaws before releasing an operating system? It surely can’t be due to the shortage of resources. Then what makes these companies lose face and waste resources in fixing errors that always creep up after the release?

    The answer lies in the scale of the software. The monstrous amount of coding that goes into creating an operation system is beyond our comprehension. And then there’s a vast variety of devices on which the software gets installed on. No matter how much you plan, there is no way to predict the software’s behaviour on millions of devices.

    The Bridge Brigade

    Someone has to volunteer to test the half-baked versions of the software to discover flaws. The in-house teams, no matter how big, are never enough to recreate all the real-world applications. This is where developers step in. They take up the challenge of testing the beta versions of software and religiously report the improvement areas.

    In last few years, Apple has opened its beta programs for public testers as well. It helps them conduct test runs on a bigger scale. On their end, people are drawn in by the excitement of getting first dibs of the new software, so they are happy working through clunky software.

    A Rotten Apple

    It seems like Apple is doing all it can to produce a robust software, pass it through multiple layers of testing, and ship a near perfect product to the general public. The problems that slip through the cracks are subsequently fixed with minor updates. All this is fine, but Apple has messed up a big cog in the wheel.

    Apple has a dedicated bug reporting website – https://www.bugreport.apple.com. The sad irony is that this website itself is full of bugs that makes error reporting cumbersome, if not impossible.

    It’s embarrassing to see rookie design mistakes in Apple’s website. Data fields are too small for comfort, there’s no option of resizing the text boxes, forms reload randomly deleting all typed information, and so on. Developers have been long frustrated with these issues but Apple doesn’t seem to care.

    The database isn’t well managed either. There is no way to check whether the bug you found has already been reported. After you have spent time and effort typing a detailed report, Apple might dismiss it with a message that reads ‘Engineering team has determined that your bug report is a duplicate of another issue and will be closed’. Even worse is getting a dubious message saying ‘the feature works as expected’, which effectively means the ‘bug’ you found is actually a ‘feature’!

    That’s not all, sending a bug report to Apple is like diving into a black hole, wherein you have no idea what’s coming next. Apple rarely reverts with the status update of  the error fixing, so you are left wondering whether the Apple is working on a resolution or not. It’s frustrating to say the least.

    Shooting Its Own Foot

    Needless to say, Apple is shooting itself in the foot by continuing with such a terrible bug reporting platform. Not only are the software errors not getting rectified on time, the beta testers, who take the pains to report problems, are getting annoyed and disheartened.

    We understand that bugs are part and parcel of a software release, but the way Apple is treating the people who help find these errors is not acceptable. Apple’s bug fixing is fine, but its bug report is humiliating.

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