The Case Against Radar: 10 Years Later

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So this morning I woke up and saw this tweet. I then saw some replies to it. And it prompted me to want to blog about one of the worst aspects of this issue of "Apple's empathy with external devs": bug reporting.

Tweet by Seth Sandler (@SethSandler). Would the iOS developer experience be better if Apple employees were allowed to create & distribute their own apps? The best products come from user empathy; I imagine it's hard for Apple to create great developer tools when employees can't create and distribute their own apps.

I'd sat down at the computer, opened a new document and was ready to start typing when I thought, "have I written about this before?" And lo and behold, I have! I read through the post and realised that I'd summed up my thoughts pretty well. Then I saw the date… 1st of March 2012. Over 10 YEARS AGO, and the majority of the post is still relevant.

Some things have changed. They have replaced the godawful website they had before, first with a better website, and now with the native Feedback Assistant app which does things I asked for such as letting us save drafts and automatically attaching system profiles.

However, most things have not. Bug reporting is still a black hole, and you still get the occasional ridiculous request for information contained in the original report. You get a few more notifications but not much.

You still also see people working at Apple imploring you to file bugs, telling you that they really do read them and it really does help. The problem is, we don't see that on the outside. And we don't see any steps towards improving that. At this point Apple engineers asking you to file a radar is akin to The Boy Who Cried Wolf.

Which leads me to one other thing that has changed in the 10 years since my original post. I started that post by saying "I'm not suggesting you should not file bugs with Apple, you should". Now though, I would say that in 95% of cases I would suggest you don't bother filing bugs. Unless something is really annoying you or is a complete show stopper, it's not worth it.

Bug reports take time to file. Time at work you could spend doing productive work. Time at home you could spend actually working on a hobby or spending time with friends and family. Apple is a multi-trillion dollar company with profits that rival the GDP of many countries*. They have the resources to fix this, they just choose not to.

At this point my view is pretty simple: Your time is FAR more valuable than Apple's indifference. If they change then maybe I will, but I'm not holding my breath. I guess we'll see in another 10 years…

*Though if all their customer support went through their bug reporting system they'd have probably gone bankrupt decades ago