back to article Ever wonder why those Apple iPhone updates take so damn long?

It's a recurring pain experienced by all iPhone owners: the huge and very slow software updates that require you to plug your phone in and forget about it for 30 minutes. Many have also wondered why the phone feels the need to shut down, start up again, shut down again and start up again before finally letting you get at it. …

  1. Your alien overlord - fear me

    But they are 'special' guinea pigs. So it's fine to be treated that way :-)

    1. Notas Badoff Silver badge
      WTF?

      What they heard...

      The company cares so much about your ongoing experience with iPhone that it had to thoroughly test the new file system so that it would be trouble-free for all our customers.

      (That the method chosen would be a bowel-loosening suggestion at any other company doesn't matter, their bowels are quite reinforced, shored up with Apple's bulging egos.)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      And they got 10% back of the 30% previously lost. How generous of apple...

    3. SuccessCase

      Except of course they weren't using users as guinea pigs. The Register with its the usual proclivity to place cynicism above information has presented half the story (or barely that).

      The interesting and differentiating thing about a filing system isn't, as most assume, the physical files on the disk, but rather the metadata. So changing filing system means constructing a new file system metadata database, consistency checking it, then flipping a bit to say "now use this metadata / file indexing system." You can run all those checks including using the new filing system with a distinct process, without actually flipping the bit for the OS running on your device as a whole. It needs to be done during a system upgrade or startup process at a point where file system use by the OS using the old filing system can be prevented. So actually doing that check in a large scale release before doing it for real flipping the bit for the whole OS is eminently sensible. Of course The Register go on about wide ranging issues as though there was some specially bad upgrade experience for iOS 10.x as a whole when there was little out of the ordinary (and I get the impression they are a bit put out by that). So they are pointing to the usual low level of complaints you get at any point an OS is updated (which of course come from all over the world) as though that is proof customers were treated as guinea pigs.

      But put in a more reasonable context, Apple switched out a whole f**king filing system with hardly an issue or complaint (indeed almost all users were entirely unaware) the real story is have you ever known such a large scale change go so smoothly? Go back to the 90s and early noughties and it certainly wouldn't have done. So in this nest of sneary cynicism I say "Well done Apple."

      1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

        @SuccessCase

        Apple issues regular updates = snidey Reg article about number of iPhone updates

        Apple tests updates thoroughly = snidey Reg article about time taken to update

        Apple doesn't explain testing methodology = snidey Reg article about playing fast & loose with data

        Apple tells customers stuff = snidey Reg article about fanbois whooping cos Apple shared something

        Apple doesn't tell customers stuff = snidey Reg article about Secretive Apple(TM)

        Apple makes filesystem magic happen = snidey Reg article about why don't we know what's going on

        Apple does business as usual but no magic = snidey Reg article about Apple lacking innovation

        Basically if you like your Apple juice sour, Reg is the place to order it.

        1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
          Devil

          Re: @SuccessCase

          Well, you're partly right. In that El Reg writes snidey article is basically their business model. But you're being a little special snowflake, in that they don't just do it to poor ickle Apple... In fact, can anyone think of a company they appear to actually like?*

          Also they do have a point. It's all very well for these rich companies to just assume that everyone has unlimited internet, but lots of people don't. And a couple of GB could be a significant part of someone's data allowance for the month. So if Apple sorted their updates out to not have massive unneccesary extras in it, those people might be happier about it. Additionally would they be replacing any older kit that it bricked? Sure Apple are sometimes quite generous with their service, but only in Apple's usual capricious manner. As sometimes they outright break consumer laws in the coutries they operate in and reduce your consumer rights. They certainly did in the UK when I had to get 3 out of our batch of 6 iPhone 5s fixed for crap power sockets. Finally why can't they fix their fucking updates so they only download the files they need? Surely each iOS update needn't be over a GB?

          --------

          * Actually they're usually pretty nice about SpaceX. But then again, they're not doing product reviews of their stuff. Although I'm sure they'd be even nicer, and positively promise to kiss arse if SpaceX promised them a review model.

          You can just imagine the review now. The rocket blew up, killing our reviewer. But on the plus side, nobody liked him anyway, and it made an awfully pretty explosion. Please can we have another one? 9/10 - Editor's Choice.

          1. Commswonk Silver badge

            Re: @SuccessCase

            @ I ain't Spartacus: It's all very well for these rich companies to just assume that everyone has unlimited internet, but lots of people don't. And a couple of GB could be a significant part of someone's data allowance for the month.

            It also seems to assume that ISPs and MNOs have "unlimited internet" and don't object to Apple risking clogging up their networks with test and revertive downloads to all and sundry.

          2. JustinFranks

            Re: @SuccessCase

            iOS updates will only download with a Wi-Fi connection. When using cellular data, the option to download the update is greyed out.

            1. Amos

              Re: @SuccessCase

              "the option to download the update is greyed out."

              .. which in software actually means that you cannot turn it off if they want to download it anyway.

              Having the option available to flick, but defaulting to _disabled_ is what one should expect to see.

          3. Ian Joyner

            Re: @SuccessCase

            >>In fact, can anyone think of a company they appear to actually like?<<

            With all the problems Scamscum have had, very rarely do Reg post a critical article, let alone an article at all. Reg always loving refers to Scamscum as "Sammy", but usually to Apple in derisive terms.

          4. Greek Geek

            Re: @SuccessCase

            snidey is fine, but the the register lost me years ago because of it's over-the-top anti-hard on for all things Apple. I don't see the same slant against android or other operating systems. Where's the hate for WinFS? Wasn't it part of Longhorn? Wasn't that back in 2002?

            I guess you are of the opinion that Apple's switching of it's huge installed base of iOS users overnight is a minor footnote in computing history. You probably pretend Android OS deployment isn't all fragmented. I'm still waiting for my Samsung S7 to update to the latest version.

            Let's read what Steven Sinofsky (ex-president of Windows division) has to say -

            "I’ve lived through all the Apple migrations and all the DOS/Windows migrations and not only is this among the most feature-rich releases, it is actually running right now on my Mac (and iPhone) after an in-place upgrade. I seriously sat there watching the install process thinking “this is going to take like a day to finish and it will probably fail and roll back in the middle or something”. After about 30 minutes the whole thing was complete. The amount of amazing engineering that went into both the creation and deployment of APFS is mind-blowing. And that it was done on phones, watches, and PCs is nothing short of spectacular and except for maybe the transition from FAT to FAT32, I can’t recall anything even close to this. There are a ton of features under the covers that will surface in use of Apple devices, but mostly it will just make everything better seamlessly."

            https://medium.learningbyshipping.com/wwdc-2017-some-thoughts-3ff3230cdd58

        2. David Nash Silver badge

          Re: @SuccessCase

          @Lord Elpuss

          "Tests thoroughly" = roll out to all users?

          I don't hear much support for Microsoft when they do that kind of thing.

        3. Law

          Re: @SuccessCase

          "Basically if you like your Apple juice sour, Reg is the place to order it."

          Good to know I'm in the right place! :)

      2. nijam Silver badge

        > The interesting and differentiating thing about a filing system isn't, as most assume, the physical files on the disk, but rather the metadata. So changing filing system means constructing a new file system metadata database, consistency checking it, then flipping a bit to say "now use this metadata / file indexing system."

        Maybe you know what Apple has done in this instance, but in general what you say about file systems is simply not true. Obviously, you can't convert EXT3 to NTFS (or vice versa) without wiping and rewriting pretty much the whole disk, for example. OTOH if it is was straightforward a task as you say, it didn't need a multi-GB update, or half an hour of thrashing about, to do it.

      3. Blitterbug
        Facepalm

        I say "Well done Apple."

        Wow. Well, that's two minutes I won't get back. And your limited understanding of file system formatting is - well - interesting. Not to mention your apparent disregard for peoples' data put at risk by this masterful piece of hubris on Apple's part.

        1. Ian Joyner

          Re: I say "Well done Apple."

          "apparent disregard for peoples' data put at risk by this masterful piece of hubris on Apple's part."

          No, you don't understand testing. This was to protect people's data. It is quite the reverse of what you make out. Apple's testing here is minimising the risk. That's what testing does.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: I say "Well done Apple."

            No, you don't understand testing. This was to protect people's data. It is quite the reverse of what you make out. Apple's testing here is minimising the risk. That's what testing does.

            I hope that's sarcasm.

            The way to do testing is to do it with your own equipment and data first, before risking any customer data.

            1. Ian Joyner

              Re: I say "Well done Apple."

              >>No, you don't understand testing. This was to protect people's data. It is quite the reverse of what you make out. Apple's testing here is minimising the risk. That's what testing does.

              I hope that's sarcasm.

              The way to do testing is to do it with your own equipment and data first, before risking any customer data.<<

              No it's not sarcasm at all. What makes you think Apple would not have tested the hell out of this first before trying their live test. The fact they did this live test shows how deep and careful their testing has been at all levels. Yes, there are beta testers for APFS. Testing the update live would have been the last step in a very long testing process.

              That is brilliant. So to all you Anonymous Cowards out there (and I never know which particular individual I am replying to, so can't see the thought processes in your logic - I should say faulty logic), stop being blinded by your own negativity towards Apple.

              Had they not done this test, you would probably be criticising them for not doing it - except you would have known nothing about it.

        2. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

          Re: I say "Well done Apple."

          "And your limited understanding of file system formatting"

          Formatting?

    4. leexgx

      phone turning off at 30% is a iphone intended feature

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Trust me" = Fuck No.

    I didn't agree to be Microsoft's beta tester & I'm not going to accept being one for Apple either. Since Android makers can't be arsed to fix the security issues in a timely manner, that leaves using a dumb phone instead. Damn the corporations thinking that they can use their *customers* as quality assurance. Arseholes!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "Trust me" = Fuck No.

      I have regrettably needed to downvote you because you have written bad things about Apple. The swearing was pretty cool though.

    2. Pirate Dave
      Pirate

      Re: "Trust me" = Fuck No.

      "that leaves using a dumb phone instead."

      I still use a dumb phone. It makes calls, sends txt msgs, and can take shitty pics. Which is exactly what I need it to do. I had a Moto X for a while in 2014 and it drove me nuts - why couldn't I get it to do what I wanted it to do and look how I wanted things to look? It's basically a miniaturized computer that also makes phone calls, and should have been cooler than any computer I'd ever had, but it was the most immutable computer I'd ever seen. I just didn't get along well with the whole "everything is locked down because users are idiots" mindset, and jailbreaking looked like a huge pain in the ass. So back to my Samsung Envy I went.

      The only thing the Moto had that I really missed was maps/GPS, so I went and bought a $100 Garmin GPS, and life's been good so far.

  3. tin 2

    no no no no no no no, Apple

    "consistency checking it, reporting back to us whether the upgrade was 100 per cent clean and then rolling it back"

    You need to be 100% sure it will be clean BEFORE testing it on my shit, Mr Apple. And if you were 100% you would have no need to test it on me would you?

    This is NOT the Apple way.

    1. aidanstevens

      Re: no no no no no no no, Apple

      Au contraire. It clearly is the Apple way.

    2. DougS Silver badge

      Re: no no no no no no no, Apple

      I think you're unclear on what they did. They upgraded, checked and rolled back. The check was to see if the migration succeeded, but the upgrade didn't mess with the existing filesystem it at all - it created new metadata, and left the existing metadata and file data in place.

      There was no risk with what they did, other than it taking a lot time and running down your battery if you upgraded while on battery (and presumably had a bad battery, since it won't upgrade on battery if you have <50% battery remaining)

      1. joed Silver badge

        Re: no no no no no no no, Apple

        "There was no risk with what they did" - are you sure? What's the point of testing if the outcome is certain? Now, the remaining questions are if all upgrades involved the test, why it was rolled back despite being successful (to wear Flash memory?) and what was the risk of failure (of the whole process including rollback or the rollback alone) and who would be liable for data loss. That said none of my upgrades took this long, possibly because none of this testing could be performed due to the limited free storage or maybe because I'd disabled the telemetry upload (and hopefully Apple as opposed to MS respects user's setting).

        1. DougS Silver badge

          Re: no no no no no no no, Apple

          The point of testing was to do the consistency test, to see if there are any filesystems 'in the wild' that have factors the conversion software failed to account for. There are probably a few phones in the wild that have clocked 5+ years of consecutive use. The Apple employees get new ones every year, so they can't count on seeing everything that the other billion iPhones have.

          As for why it was rolled back if successful, they might not have been ready to enable the filesystem permanently. I would guess the conversion WAS permanent for some Apple employees, so they could test the new filesystem before they rolled it out everywhere.

          The 10.1.1 update thing was pure speculation on the part of El Reg. It isn't rare to see a release have problems, like 10.1 did with losing health data for some people. That doesn't equate to "oh noes, evil Apple experimented on us and it went wrong, that's why 10.1.1 was released!" Not sure why everyone is claiming this upgrade testing is an issue. When have a billion filesystems ever been upgraded without any issues before? That's a pretty impressive achievement, so I wouldn't be so quick to question the methods Apple used. They worked.

          1. sabroni Silver badge
            Happy

            When have a billion filesystems ever been upgraded without permission before?

            FTFY

            1. Lee D Silver badge

              Re: When have a billion filesystems ever been upgraded without permission before?

              Hey, no problem. I want to "test" Ext5. Can I just use your phone as a test device before I roll it out and not tell you?

              Tinkering with filesystem code is the easiest way to cause data corruption. It's not like upgrading to a new style of GUI widget, it's literally implanting offsets and pointers into a permanent data store, that contain the locations of your files in storage. Get that wrong - even one bit wrong in an extreme circumstance, and you can trash the root or even end up with a slowly-corrupting filesystem.

              Even with all the checksum checks and error correction in the world (hint: What are you going to do if the checksum comes back as "wrong"? Invalidate data. What if that checksum wasn't ACTUALLY wrong, but you forgot to include new-fancy-attribute-X in the data you were checksumming. You just lost a sector. Error "correction" does what it says - fixes things that it believes are errors.).

              Using people as filesystem guinea pigs is the worst thing you can do in terms of data integrity. Even if just for testing. One wrong pointer and you can wipe out even the "backup" or other partitions - because they are literally just numbers in a box and if you have two "partitions" you've just assigned a convention of using numbers between A and B as one partition and between B and C as another, and then recorded A, B and C somehow. Get that wrong - even one bit out, or fail to check the write properly or any number of events and you trash the "new" trial partition and the "safe" backup of the user's data in one hit.

              1. Ian Joyner

                Re: When have a billion filesystems ever been upgraded without permission before?

                >>Using people as filesystem guinea pigs is the worst thing you can do in terms of data integrity<<

                At some stage they need to update to the new file system. The worst thing they can do is just install it and then find a whole lot of the user base has something strange that stops it working. That is the worst thing they can do is not test it.

                This is probably the best thing they can do and must be the biggest test in the history of the industry.

                Instead of the Register's spin and criticism here, Apple should be commended for doing such an extensive test.

              2. Greek Geek

                Re: When have a billion filesystems ever been upgraded without permission before?

                Man you're all a bunch of bitching cry babies. Unless you work for Apple, you can't tell me they didn't test this out hundreds of thousands of times in a lab. You also don't know if they tested it on users with a full iCloud backup of their phone.

                All you know is to attack a firm that updates hundreds of millions of phones en masse, annually, and yet Android is more fractured than Evil Knievel but get's a pass.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: When have a billion filesystems ever been upgraded without permission before?

              I felt a great disturbance, as if a billion filesystems were upgraded, and were suddenly silenced. I fear something terrible has happened.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: When have a billion filesystems ever been upgraded without permission before?

                ... these are not the 'droids you are looking for.

          2. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
            Childcatcher

            Re: no no no no no no no, Apple

            The Apple employees get new ones every year, so they can't count on seeing everything that the other billion iPhones have.

            So Apple doesn't keep old hardware on hand for testing? They don't have an automated test process that would allow multiple test scenarios to play out? They don't have any sort of virtualized test environment?

            Two issues stand out to me: lack of transparency concerning what they do and lack of informed consent from their customers to do it. There are a lot of good things to be said concerning Apple's products, but their practices leave a bit to be desired.

            1. DougS Silver badge

              Re: no no no no no no no, Apple

              Again, the 10.1 and 10.2 'upgrades' didn't touch any data or metadata in your filesystem. It is as if I upgraded your NTFS filesystem to ext4 by using free space to create inodes that pointed to the existing data blocks from your NTFS filesystem. Your NTFS filesystem would be intact, but I could do some various tests to see how well the ext4 upgrade went. Once I'm done I wouldn't have anything to do - the blocks containing those ext4 inodes would still be listed as free space in your NTFS filesystem. There's no "rollback" required for this because it doesn't do anything that needs to be reversed.

              Now obviously when 10.3 came around it was the equivalent of starting to use the ext4 filesystem, and dumping the NTFS metadata (making it free space) But by this point they had fully tested the migration so they knew it worked, and the filesystem itself had been used on Macs for a while so they knew it worked. Hence the complete lack of disaster from the 10.3 upgrade/migration.

              As for keeping old hardware on hand, there's a difference from having an iPhone 5 laying around you can experiment on, which they obviously have, and having an iPhone 5 that has been in daily use since launch. As anyone who has every deployed anything knows, end users are really good at having scenarios that developer/administrator testing doesn't find. Maybe the upgrade testing was unnecessary, as no problems were found. But better to find it out during such testing, which is has no possible ill effect because the actual filesystem isn't being altered, than to find out there's a corner case or two they didn't account for or know to test for.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: no no no no no no no, Apple

                "Again, the 10.1 and 10.2 'upgrades' didn't touch any data or metadata in your filesystem"

                Sorry but that didn't, should be shouldn't. The upgrade test would have needed to directly access the storage, bypassing the current file system, if it didn't bypass the file system, direct access would have needed to be implemented in the current file system, therefore testing this also. If that didn't take into account of these possible differences you mentioned for the reason of the metadata test then it could have caused corruption while writing directly to this possibly free space.

                If they just wrote directly to the flash then they would have needed to directly update the allocation table, if there was a problem in this code, data corruption could occur.

                If they just wrote meta data to a file on the current file system, checked that content, thus using the current file system, then no corruption should occur. But then they wouldnt have been testing the actual upgrade process or testing those fringe file systems you gave as to the reason for the test.

              2. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

                Re: no no no no no no no, Apple @DougS

                I don't know whether you're not thinking this through, don't really understand the differences between different filesystem types, or are just naieve.

                It is not easy to, say, do an in place conversion from EXT3 to NTFS. Everything from the tracking of free space, block and fragment allocation and metadata are different between the file systems, meaning that to convert the filesystem it will require every file to be read and re-written. This will effectively destroy the original filesystem while creating the new, meaning that a roll-back is as intensive and risky as the conversion.

                Now if the changes between the filesystem types are evolutionary rather than revolutionary, it may be possible to do an in-place upgrade. So, it is possible to upgrade from EXT2 to EXT3, because most of the filesystem structures are the same or very similar. The same is true of EXT3 to EXT4. But these are a family of fileystems, designed for backward compatibility.

                If APFS (I'm soooo glad they did not call it AFS, which has been used at least once already) keeps the files in place, and just creates new metadata in free space, as you possibly suggest, it would almost certainly be possible to do this without touching the original data or metadata. But does something like this actually count as a 'new' file system, rather than a new version of the old filesystem?

                I would also be interested in how much wear the flash memory will suffer from repeated writing during these test upgrades.

            2. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

              Re: no no no no no no no, Apple

              "So Apple doesn't keep old hardware on hand for testing? They don't have an automated test process that would allow multiple test scenarios to play out? They don't have any sort of virtualized test environment?"

              Only an idiot (MS?) would rely on that and then do a full roll-out.

              Even MS, with OS as a service, have hopefully now learned that they must roll out gradually. Would you rather have 1% or your user base needing tailored help, or 100%?

              There is a reason I always delay any updates as long as it takes to get feedback from those who can't wait.

          3. Tikimon Silver badge
            FAIL

            Re: no no no no no no no, Apple

            "I wouldn't be so quick to question the methods Apple used. They worked."

            THIS TIME. Lucky once does not validate a stupid decision. Ever hear of Russian Roulette? Five out of six times that goes without a problem as well.

            - If they felt the need to test it, then there was a chance it would bomb.

            - They did not notify or ask the userbase about this.

            Apple thinks it still owns the devices you carry and has full rights to manage them anyway they want. That's bullshit. FAIL.

          4. adam 40

            explains why they bricked my Iphone 4

            A while back an upgrade bricked my Iphone 4, and there's no way to roll it back (and I hadn't saved the required blobs first)

            Nice one Apple. Fuckers.

            1. groggy

              Re: explains why they bricked my Iphone 4

              If by "bricked" you mean made-totally-inoperable, that's what happened to my iPhone when I left it plugged in the other night.

              1. groggy

                Re: explains why they bricked my Iphone 4

                I've resurrected my iPhone! Took off the plastic protection cover so I could *seriously* press the buttons to reboot, and the screen came back to life. Yeah! (Sorry for the "bricked" misstatement.)

        2. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: no no no no no no no, Apple

          Now, the remaining questions are if all upgrades involved the test, why it was rolled back despite being successful (to wear Flash memory?)

          I suspect:

          - 10.1 only supported HFS+, but contained the filesystem migration utility and test program.

          - 10.2 also only supported HFS+, but contained the final filesystem migration utility (and test program?).

          - 10.3 only supported the new APFS, as part of the update it invoked the preinstalled migration utility.

          and what was the risk of failure (of the whole process including rollback or the rollback alone)

          Properly thought through, ie. allow for failure and thus rollback at any point in the process, the risk is low.

          and who would be liable for data loss.

          You do have sync and backup to iCloud enabled?

        3. Equals42

          Re: no no no no no no no, Apple

          "There was no risk with what they did" - are you sure?

          --Yes, based on the description of what they did.

          What's the point of testing if the outcome is certain?

          --The outcome of the test was not certain. The outcome to the end user (no change to the in-use filesystem metadata) was certain since they would not apply the changes.

          why it was rolled back despite being successful

          -- Because again you misunderstand what was being tested. They didn't want the active filesystem to change in that update. They were checking the updater itself.

          (to wear Flash memory?)

          -- get real. The flash in those devices aren't going to wear out.

          and what was the risk of failure (of the whole process including rollback or the rollback alone)

          --if they never actually changed the active filesystem and only practiced building a new filesystem metadata there is little risk as long as they checked for enough space, didn't overwrite real data, or made sure the changes were separate from real active data.

          and who would be liable for data loss.

          --you should have backed up before the upgrade anyway. You backed up the iPhone first, right?

        4. P. Lee Silver badge

          Re: no no no no no no no, Apple

          >who would be liable for data loss.

          Well you would, obviously.

          Wait, you didn't back up your data before doing an OS upgrade? No silver el-reg badge for you!

          During an OS upgrade, when you might conceivably get a file system upgrade anyway would be the perfect time to do some testing. Would you prefer it to be rolled out without a roll-back plan?

          If I were rolling something out, I'd want to do some real-world unit testing too.

          I rather despise most of Apple's business practices but this isn't one of them.

          1. Ian Joyner

            Re: no no no no no no no, Apple

            "I rather despise most of Apple's business practices but this isn't one of them."

            What do you despise and why?

      2. Myvekk

        Re: no no no no no no no, Apple

        @DougS - "There was no risk with what they did, ..."

        "And it likely explains why Apple had to put out a 10.1.1 update just a week after the massive 10.1 update, *because people were continuing to report serious problems*."

      3. Tachikoma

        Re: no no no no no no no, Apple

        No risk? this update bricked my girlfriends iPhone quite spectacularly, took forever to get the thing to boot again after re-flashing through iTunes.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: no no no no no no no, Apple

          this update bricked my girlfriends iPhone...

          I'm told Apple has now adjusted the fs migration code to cater for a phone full of duck-face selfies. Her phone should be ok from now on.

        2. P. Lee Silver badge
          Paris Hilton

          Re: no no no no no no no, Apple

          >No risk? this update bricked my girlfriends iPhone quite spectacularly, took forever to get the thing to boot again after re-flashing through iTunes.

          So... not bricked, but requiring a restore from backup. It was an OS update...It was done with permission and suggesting that it was the fs test which borked it seems like a bit of a leap of logic.

          Does anyone here work in IT?

      4. Cuddles Silver badge

        Re: no no no no no no no, Apple

        "There was no risk with what they did"

        If there was no risk, then it didn't need testing. Being pretty confident you can make a change and then roll it back with no problems does not justify doing your testing on a live system - the whole point of testing is to change that "pretty confident" into "absolutely certain", at which point your testing is done and you can roll things out properly.

        And of course running down batteries wasn't the only affect on users even where things went fine. Many people still have download limits on internet connections, on land lines as well as mobile. Forcing your customers to download a GB or two for no good reason can cause real inconvenience - a family with a few iDevices could easily find themselves using up half their monthly allowance, as well as being unable to make or receive calls and such for an hour or so. For most it will be just a mild inconvenience that they shouldn't have been forced to suffer, for some it could be a lot more than that, and in neither case is there any excuse for Apple to have caused it for no reason and with no warning.

    3. Greek Geek

      Re: no no no no no no no, Apple

      I'm sure Apple sent out a pre-alpha version of the upgrade to users. /s

  4. Chairman of the Bored Silver badge

    I wonder

    ...the little quiet voices in my head (shuddup!!) Keep asking me how much of my personal data and metadata got slurped up in the validation report, to whom it was sold, and for how much. Shhh.... ahh! The meds are kicking in.

    1. DougS Silver badge

      Re: I wonder

      Sorry, this is Apple we're talking about not Google. They actually respect user's privacy.

      1. sabroni Silver badge

        Re: They actually respect user's privacy.

        No, they don't. They've made canny business decisions wrt how they monetise your data and how they present the use of that data. Respect is not part of the calculation.

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: They actually respect user's privacy.

          Appearing to respect user data - most easily achieved by going some way to actually respecting it - is an important way for Apple to distinguish itself from Android handsets, and thus retain their large margins. Saying that Apple slurp and sell user data in the same way as Google just doesn't make any sense.

        2. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

          Re: They actually respect user's privacy.

          @Sabroni "They've made canny business decisions wrt how they monetise your data and how they present the use of that data. Respect is not part of the calculation."

          Monetising and presenting your data isn't part of the Apple business model; respect for your data is. It's one of the major differentators between Apple and Android.

          This isn't being naïve, it's following the money. The minute Apple don't respect your data, the minute their ability to charge a premium wrt Android disappears and they join the race to the bottom in the mobile market.

          1. imaginarynumber

            Re: They actually respect user's privacy.

            Oh, so they introduced the iAD platform just because they wanted to make sure that their customers received a better class of targeted adverts?

            In an effort to monetize their customers, Apple bragged to advertisers that they knew more about their customers than anyone else, knowing what apps they have, how and when they used them and allowed them to be targeted by age, gender, income and even the music that they listen to.

            Google's business model is dependant on spying on customers. Google provide free services and make their customers the product. Apple charge their customers a premium, and then make them the product.

            Sure, Apple have given up on iAd but they are now focusing on app store advertising.

      2. TonyJ Silver badge

        Re: I wonder

        "...Sorry, this is Apple we're talking about not Google. They actually respect user's privacy..."

        Hahahahahaha!

        Hahahahahahahahahaha!!

        Seriously...get off the koolaid. You think it's ok to test on every device out there without express permission?

        You think it went well, despite the article and other posters explicitly stating that they had issues and Apple themselves rushed out an additional update?

        You casually forget all the times it's been reported in the past about Apple's tracking movements, having telemetry subsystems that despite being outside of their own security models and working at such low levels as to be all but invisible are just harmless diagnostics?

        Your blind faith in the cult of Apple is astounding.

        1. DougS Silver badge

          @TonyJ

          What "testing" on users did they actually do? They didn't alter the existing filesystem, they just added metadata to free space to verify the conversion process worked. That doesn't require changing a single bit of your existing filesystem, so there's no risk from it. The worst thing about it was that it made the updates larger and take longer to apply.

          The fact "some people had issues" does not mean those issues had anything whatsoever to do with the filesystem. There are people who have issues on every update, either the phantom claims of "my battery life is worse" that happen with every single update or real claims of something they got wrong - sometimes needing a .1 update to be rushed out to address. There's zero evidence of anyone having problems with 10.1 or 10.2 due to filesystems, and if they did it wouldn't make any sense because there was no reason for any changes to your HFS+ filesystem to be made. It was left untouched, and only free space was altered for the upgrade testing.

          As far as the location data that was being stored on the phone at one time, when they were made aware they fixed it. You see some conspiracy where they were tracking people and uploading that info (despite no proof it ever left the phone) because you have an obvious bias against Apple. I choose to take them at their word that they weren't uploading it, but even if they were they removed it when it was made known so at worst you can say they stop when caught. With Google you KNOW they're tracking you and you KNOW they will never stop. I guess you prefer to hate the one that MIGHT be surreptitiously tracking you and lying about it more than the one you KNOW is tracking you to an ever-increasing degree and profiting off it? Your choice.

          1. TonyJ Silver badge

            Re: @TonyJ

            How do you know exactly what they did or did not change? Please give authoritative sources;

            They didn't "fix" the location they explained what they use it for;

            Go check the past stories about the other "diagnostics" functions I am referring to.

            Meh. You clearly know more than the rest of us. I bow to your supercilious superior knowledge of all things Apple.

            Personally I think they're all as bad as one another. I just don't get butt f*ck*d by my chosen provider minus sufficient lubricant whilst claiming it feels sooo so goo because they tell me it is.

            In the kingdom of the blind, the one eyed man is king. I don't see anyone bowing to you yet.

            1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

              Re: @TonyJ

              Somebody's getting awfully snarky about this. I suspect somebody broke his beloved iPhone and he can't afford a new one...

              1. TonyJ Silver badge
                Devil

                Re: @TonyJ

                No thanks. I stopped using iPhones about 3 years ago. Currently have a nice shiny S7 Edge with a much more intuitive OS on it, whatever Google's faults (and they are many).

                More likely you lot are getting upset because someone (well, some ones, here) call Apple's shoinky practices out for what they are.

                Or maybe I'm just holding it wrong.

                Wanna herd sheep? Release a new phone.

                Yet to see Android users drilling holes in their shiny...

                1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

                  Re: @TonyJ

                  "Currently have a nice shiny S7 Edge with a much more intuitive OS on it"

                  Did you replace Android with something decent then?

                2. Ian Joyner

                  Re: @TonyJ

                  >>Apple's shoinky practices out for what they are.<<

                  No - go and read my other posts - this is the complete opposite of shonky practices.

                  Scamscum - lack of testing, rushing product to market. Exploding washing machines, Note 7, failure to reregister a domain exposing many to hacks.

                  Where do you think Scamscum and Google got what you claim is a more intuitive interface from - Apple.

      3. John Bailey

        Re: I wonder

        "Sorry, this is Apple we're talking about not Google. They actually respect user's privacy."

        And then sell it for more.. cos you are so special.

  5. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
    Childcatcher

    plug your [i]phone in and forget about it for 30 minutes.

    Aww....is diddums worried they might miss a farcbork update from their friends?

    Seriously?!?!?! 30 minutes is a concern? Do iPhone owners never sleep or charge their phones?

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: plug your [i]phone in and forget about it for 30 minutes.

      The time is fine. The testing on user devices without permission on the other hand - not so much...

      The data is also important. Apple's update process is incredibly data hungry, which is even more annoying for those on metered data when they use them for testing, and so chuck out extra.

      Also Apple literally made every iPhone and approved every single app installed on them (except the jail-broken ones which they don't have to cover for warranty anyway). So they ought to have a much better handle on what exists and testing it.

      They've always been pretty cavalier with iOS updates though. When I got the original iPad, every single iOS update I had for it, broke the WiFi - where it was flaky and would keep dropping the network. And it was only after I upgraded to the iPad 3 that WiFi remained stable after iOS updates - so it took them 2 years to get that right. On devices they utterly control.

      Finally, I'd say control here is the issue. Apple have the arrogant belief (admittedly not alone amongst Silicon Valley companies) that they still own my device, even though I've handed over folding money for it.

      1. DougS Silver badge

        Re: plug your [i]phone in and forget about it for 30 minutes.

        No one is forcing you to do any upgrades. I don't see what the problem is with the 10.1/10.2 that added a non-destructive test (i.e. didn't touch a single bit of the actual HFS+ filesystem, only messed with free space to set up alternate metadata) to the process. If it requires more data and you have limited cellular data, do the upgrade over wifi.

        1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
          Megaphone

          Re: plug your [i]phone in and forget about it for 30 minutes.

          If it requires more data and you have limited cellular data, do the upgrade over wifi.

          And my point proven. Not everybody has all you can eat data on their broadband connection. They might have a limit of 10GB a month, or 20 or 30 - but the point is that's their fucking data! For which they are paying, and belongs to them. Not to Apple to piss around with. So I've no problem in a bit of diagnnostics data going back and forth, and obviously you choose to install updates - but those should be only the size neccessary to do the job, and not include the kitchen sink, or some Apple software design team's pet project.

          1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

            Re: plug your [i]phone in and forget about it for 30 minutes.

            "They might have a limit of 10GB a month, or 20 or 30 - but the point is that's their fucking data!"

            Do the update when and where it suits then - maybe at your local Apple Store with the free wifi. You're not compelled to perform the update at a certain time, and iOS helpfully warns you how much data it will take - you know, so you can make an informed decision.

  6. gerdesj Silver badge
    Childcatcher

    Whatever the reason given - it's bollocks

    That is not the way you test a new filesystem out - it would amount to commercial suicide if you had any doubts as to its efficacy. You can't test a fs in a "fiddle with the current - test for a short while - put it back and crack on" - test.

    There was another reason for this nonsense, whatever it is.

    1. s2bu

      Re: Whatever the reason given - it's bollocks

      The rest wasn’t the file system itself. The test was the conversion!

      I’m sure there was a thorough test before hand, and it was done in a way to insure that it couldn’t cause damage. What better would you recommend to test something major like this across every possible combinations of things?

      1. sabroni Silver badge

        Re: whatever it is.

        Massive arrogance?

      2. nematoad Silver badge
        Unhappy

        Re: Whatever the reason given - it's bollocks

        "What better would you recommend to test something major like this across every possible combinations of things?"

        How about asking the owners permission first for a start?

        Or is part of the cult the fact that you never actually own the ithing but are just using it with Apple's gracious permission?

      3. Alan Bourke

        Re: Whatever the reason given - it's bollocks

        "across every possible combinations of things?"

        These are Apple devices. A fairly limited selection of fixed platforms and OS version combinations, not Android where world+dog has a device and their own jimmied version of the OS.

        Therefore surely not beyond Apple to test in-house.

        1. DougS Silver badge

          Re: Whatever the reason given - it's bollocks

          After you test in house, if you want to be really sure you got things right, you test everywhere. People are acting as though this could have actually lost data for them. Since when has altering blocks in free space ever corrupted a filesystem?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Whatever the reason given - it's bollocks

            And just where did you get this information that that's what they did (altering blocks in free space) from?

            I've not seen that anywhere and afaik you are just speculating out your ***

            It almost sounds like you work for Apple and just want to cover their butt

            1. Ian Joyner

              Re: Whatever the reason given - it's bollocks

              >>And just where did you get this information that that's what they did (altering blocks in free space) from?

              I've not seen that anywhere and afaik you are just speculating out your ***

              It almost sounds like you work for Apple and just want to cover their butt<<

              Now which Anonymous Coward is writing? Look at:

              http://www.zdnet.com/article/wwdc-2017-what-we-learned-about-apples-new-file-system-on-macos/

              under cloning.

              Also:

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_File_System

          2. Uffish

            Re: "After you test in house,...you test everywhere"

            Think twice about that, in my experience people with that sort of attitude get swatted.

  7. Field Commander A9

    "But I don't care!"

    Says every Apple fan boy.

    1. Ishtiaq
      Meh

      Re: "But I don't care!"

      Well, actually I don't.

      Nor do I sit and watch the thing whilst it is updating. I have other things to do in my life.

      Just saying

      Cheers… Ishy

    2. Stuart Elliott

      Re: "But I don't care!"

      Not a fan boi, have an iPhone, don't care.. Let the downvotes commence.

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: "But I don't care!"

        I didn't notice anything odd about the update, I set it off, put the phone down somewhere then a bit later I picked it up again and it was done. I would never have known.

      2. Uffish

        Re: "But I don't care!"

        Stage 15 has been completed successfully for this one - start stage 16.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This poses an interesting question.

    Where did it put all the data while changing the file system? Not once but twice.

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      Where did it put all the data?

      I presume you have just skim-read the article then?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Where did it put all the data?

        No, I've just re-read it and it doesn't mention anything about user data just that the file system was updated and rolled back twice then updated.

        Maybe it was done on the fly but that would be quite dangerous in my opinion.

        1. Ian Joyner

          Re: Where did it put all the data?

          >>No, I've just re-read it and it doesn't mention anything about user data just that the file system was updated and rolled back twice then updated.

          Maybe it was done on the fly but that would be quite dangerous in my opinion.<<

          Well, your opinion doesn't count for much. This was obviously not just someone at Apple waking up one morning and saying "I think we'll change the file system today". No it has obviously been a very carefully thought out process.

          Had they not done that final dry-run test, you would have been saying they did a dangerous file system upgrade without sufficient testing.

  9. deadlockvictim Silver badge

    Apple vs Google vs Microsoft

    If Google had done it, my first thought would have been that it was a data-slurping exercise, because this is what Google does. It makes money by connecting all of the various bits of your data and metadata and then selling it to the highest.

    Apple, on the other hand, is a hardware company. They want to sell you expensive hardware as often as possible. This means causing as few problems to the end-user as possible, The hardware and software must just work. There must as little hassle as possible. This tactic of theirs, while bold [1] in the extreme, is not at all bad. 30 minutes' separation discomfort and sweet bliss.

    Microsoft is a software company and wants you to buy expensive software licences as often as possible. It is caught in the middle. It lacks the panache of Apple and has a much more heterogeneous base than Apple. There might have more goodwill towards Microsoft had they not interfered with their UI as much as they did (the ribbon in Office and all UI changes from Windows 8 onwards).

    [1] For Irish readers, it was naughty too.

    1. Sil

      Re: Apple vs Google vs Microsoft

      Apple is a hardware company ? What's the most profitable, most growing source of income for Apple ?

      Please stop with the old stories about MSFT, do you think that the ~~ 400 millions Windows 10 users, not counting the hundreds of millions of Windows 7 users have nothing else to do than bear ill will ?

      Then Windows 10 has been a free upgrade for years, way to go to sell expensive licences, and Microsoft does not want you to buy software, they want you to purchase a subscription, just like the whole industry.

      1. deadlockvictim Silver badge

        Re: Apple vs Google vs Microsoft

        Sil» Please stop with the old stories about MSFT, do you think that the ~~ 400 millions Windows 10 users, not counting the hundreds of millions of Windows 7 users have nothing else to do than bear ill will ?

        My understanding of Microsoft is that they make their profits on server licences — SQL Server, Windows Server and the likes. I am open to correction on this though. It may well be that The Cloud (Azure, subscription-based access to services etc.) becomes a big money maker for them in the future but I haven't read anywhere yet that it has reached the point of serious profitability.

        I can only speak from personal experience and people whom I know really don't like the ribbon (I, personally, quite like it) and miss Windows XP and 7. Windows 8-10 may be faster, more energy efficient, safer and less trouble but the UI changes have not been well received,

        And Apple is still a hardware company. While they make lots of money from the iTunes Store and apps, they also sell a great many tablets, smartphones, gimmicky devices (as well as a few actual computers). The iTunes Store and the devices go hand-in-hand. One makes the other great.

    2. nematoad Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Apple vs Google vs Microsoft

      "It makes money by connecting all of the various bits of your data and metadata and then selling it to the highest."

      Gasp! Do you mean that Google has a contract with God?

      Probably should have added "bidder" just to make things clearer.

      1. deadlockvictim Silver badge

        Re: Apple vs Google vs Microsoft

        You are correct. I realised it too late and the 'edit' button had disappeared.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Using your customers as testing and QA

    Lazy & stupid IT practice.

    1. Alister Silver badge

      Re: Using your customers as testing and QA

      Lazy & stupid IT practice

      But isn't that the whole basis of the continuous development methodology?

    2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
      Devil

      Re: Using your customers as testing and QA

      Lazy and stupid you say? Oh dear. Perhaps we shouldn't do it.

      Cheap? Oh, OK then. Go ahead, that sounds great!

  11. Matthew 17

    Other than it taking a bit longer to update

    Was anyone remotely inconvenienced with this?

    If they'd asked users whether they wanted to change from one file system to another 99% of users would have had no idea what a filesystem was.

    Even if a phone did die in the process restoring it is trivial.

    If you're ever worried about an update bricking your device then wait to see how the update went for the masses before installing it yourself. They're not forced on you.

    1. no-one in particular

      Re: Other than it taking a bit longer to update

      > Even if a phone did die in the process restoring it is trivial.

      To you it is trivial, but to Joe Bloggs who has just been faced with a dead 'phone for the first time, not so much. Where does he find out how to restore it? Look it up on the Web? But his 'phone was how he normally accesses the web.

      > Was anyone remotely inconvenienced with this?

      Restoring a 'phone is so trivial it is actually _convenient_ to do so? Interesting use of the word.

      And as for the "anyone", well, what about Tachikoma earlier on in the comment thread?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Other than it taking a bit longer to update

        To you it is trivial, but to Joe Bloggs who has just been faced with a dead 'phone for the first time, not so much. Where does he find out how to restore it? Look it up on the Web? But his 'phone was how he normally accesses the web.

        Ah, but herein lies the underlying and as yet unproven assertion of this article: has anyone suffered a dead phone as a consequence? Given how keen Android users are to talk up Apple iOS problems, however trivial (and vice versa, let's be honest) I'm sure we would have heard of it by now. Given the volume of these updates taking place I reckon even a few problems would have been reported, but so far, nada. As a matter of fact, you would not have even known if they hadn't mentioned it.

        Was it right for Apple to use users as a guinea pig? No. I think that should at best have been restricted to beta test users who have at least knowingly opted for the risk and would have been a bit more bug-tolerant so I think they took a risk they should not have, but from the angle of facing a possible disaster I think we can safely say they got away with it. I just hope they don't pull a stunt like that again because I'm not happy with this being done without my say so.

        1. Ian Joyner

          Re: Other than it taking a bit longer to update

          "Was it right for Apple to use users as a guinea pig? No. I think that should at best have been restricted to beta test users who have at least knowingly opted for the risk and would have been a bit more bug-tolerant"

          But they weren't asking the users to be beta testers since they restored all systems to not be using APFS. They are not using people as guinea pigs - rather the opposite. They are reducing the risk that things might go wrong when APFS goes live.

  12. Nameless Faceless Computer User

    Anyone who knows Apple releases knows the following to be true.

    10.0 - buggy experimental version

    10.1 - alpha testing version with major issues

    10.2 - beta testing version with minor issues

    10.3 - pre-release stable version

    10.4 - first usable operating system

    All it takes is patience for Apple to quit testing their operating systems and google "ios problems" BEFORE allowing the phone to "upgrade" - and, consider upgrades mandatory.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      From my experience of owning iPads I'd say that:

      iOS 1 = Windows 3.1 - limited abilities but worked well

      iOS 2 = don't really remember it but let's say Window for Workgroups

      iOS 3 = Windows 95 - did more, had bugs. Didn't like WiFi or Bluetooth much.

      iOS 4 = Windows ME - oh how my WiFi fell over! Oh and now I have to reboot to make Bluetooth work.

      iOS 5 = Windows Vista - turned my iPad 1 to treacle. To be fair it was OK on faster devices.

      It's all been mostly indistinguishable since then. At least there's been no Windows 8 - although there was that time they changed the icons, in a way that I barely noticed, but some people got really angry about.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It wasn't as risky as the author makes it out to be

    Sigh.

    I know you need the sensation for clicks, but Apple has been running a beta test program for a loooooong time, and participation in that is open for ANY Apple user provided they understand that it's risky (that's why it's called beta by Apple - it still means something there).

    I've been on this program since iOS 9, but especially 10.2 has had MANY updates. I think there were 6 or 7 releases before it went live, and with iOS 10.3.3 we're now at public beta 3 too. If the author had bothered to actually research how Apple releases code he would have discovered this, but that would, of course, cut down on the sensationalism. Be honest, "Apple tests releases thoroughly before going live" doesn't quite have the same dramatic ring to it now, does it?

    In short, what Apple publicly releases has already had play on quite a few different devices which means the risk is not as high as the author makes it out to be. They still haven't quite turned into Microsoft.

    By the way, I have not experienced problems with the beta either. Although I back up a device before an update (a good habit I retained from the Windows world) I have had as yet no need for a device recovery.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It wasn't as risky as the author makes it out to be

      Did you actually read the article?

      This wasn't about releasing an untested update on peoples devices, it was about Apple purposely using peoples phones as a test bed, i.e. they implemented a change, ran some tests, then rolled the change back whether it worked or not, all as part of a single 'update' as far as the users were concerned.

      If they were not planning on using this new file system in those specific updates, they should never have included it in the update in the first place.

      By all means do this testing with people who have signed up to be beta testers, I've no issue with that, but don't force testing on the regular users who didn't.

      1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

        Re: It wasn't as risky as the author makes it out to be

        This wasn't about releasing an untested update on peoples devices, it was about Apple purposely using peoples phones as a test bed, i.e. they implemented a change, ran some tests, then rolled the change back whether it worked or not, all as part of a single 'update' as far as the users were concerned.

        I actually quite like this approach, if it means they can test some aspects of introducing the file system changes in a safe way, before rolling it out wholesale.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I don't really care about files. As long as I can continue to share my memories, moments and magic with my social media friends, and they can see how well it's all rocking for me, then slow upgrades are fine.

  15. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

    Can't live without your iPhone for 30 minutes, even if doing it at a time of your choice?

    Pathetic.

    I can inform you that Android upgrades aren't exactly speedy either.

    At least the i-stuff gets updates. My i-stuff that's a lot older than my LG G3, for example, still gets updates (LG won't update the G3 for no other reason than wanting to sell the latest and shiniest -don't get me wrong, I knew about this general Android problem). Having Google's own hardware doesn't seem to help that much. They just think it's natural to leave perfectly working stuff behind for the landfills.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Apple, a product only the technologically illiterate purchase.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Downvoted for the obvious stupidity of the comment. The technically literate use the correct tool for the job. Since Apple's stuff broadly seems to work, that means there are appropriate times to use it - depending on circumstances.

      Down with this "your system is crap because I chose to use something else" rubbish! We got enough of it when iPhone and Android were starting off. Not to mention Linux vs Windows.

      The only time this is ever appropriate is mocking people who had ZX Spectrums, when you had the obviously clearly superior Amstrad CPC464...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        >The only time this is ever appropriate is mocking people who had ZX Spectrums, when you had the obviously clearly superior Amstrad CPC464...

        Ironically I had an Apple III (yes 3), overpriced shit then and overpriced shit now.

  17. chivo243 Silver badge
    Gimp

    I should feel violated

    ...but it says I can't in the T & C's

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I prefer the Microsoft way of just launching half arse shit on to people with no testing - and making them pay for it.

    Wow! Vista!

    SNARFU Office patch 32

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I value my data, my phone, and my time

    I greatly appreciate that Apple tested whether the APFS migration would work under my particular set of circumstances, before pushing the change.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I value my data, my phone, and my time

      I greatly appreciate that Apple tested whether the APFS migration would work under my particular set of circumstances, before pushing the change.

      That's one way of looking at it. The problem is that a bug could have left you with a need to restore the phone from backup, and not all people have a backup to start with. It was IMHO a big risk to take without the user's knowledge - I'd restrict that to people who have willingly signed up to be beta testers. They got away with it this time, but it's not a good precedent.

      1. Ian Joyner

        Re: I value my data, my phone, and my time

        "The problem is that a bug could have left you with a need to restore the phone from backup, and not all people have a backup to start with. It was IMHO a big risk to take without the user's knowledge - I'd restrict that to people who have willingly signed up to be beta testers."

        This was not a beta test. Beta testing is to check that a system works with your software or in your environment. Users were not being asked to do this. As far as I know all iPxxxs are backed up to iTunes. All devices were restored to a non-APFS file system. Apple would have carefully tested this and evaluated the risks beforehand. There seem to have been no complaints.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I value my data, my phone, and my time

          As far as I know all iPxxxs are backed up to iTunes

          Yeah, that's the problem right there: "As far as I know". The issue is that you do not know, and neither does Apple. You NEVER assume people have made a backup, because few do, even before an upgrade. Sure, they tell people with a message that a backup is a good idea, but there are whole tribes of people who are immune to such messages and do it anyway.

          When that goes wrong you could rightfully say that you told people to make a backup, but you will still have to explain why you performed a test on the device without seeking permission from the user. That's not good PR.

          1. Ian Joyner

            Re: I value my data, my phone, and my time

            >>Yeah, that's the problem right there: "As far as I know". The issue is that you do not know, and neither does Apple. You NEVER assume people have made a backup,<<

            Well, you are again showing your ignorance of how this works. I said as far as I know because the default working is you connect your iPhone to your Mac (just come into its proximity), iTunes starts up backups and syncs for you. You seem to assume the user must do the backup.

            My hesitancy in saying this always happens is that iPhones can be bought in Windows environments and I have not researched all the different ways of doing that.

            Anyway, this all happened way back in March. Register and its cult-following knockers here like you are just making a non point anyway.

        2. Adelio

          Re: I value my data, my phone, and my time

          I know people who ONLY have an Ipad, no MAC no PC so backups are a bit harder, and if the Ithing is not working its a bot hard to restore the dammed thing

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Jesus Christ

    The tinfoil hat brigade are out in force with this one. Get over yourselves. Every tech company does similar testing with their users. Oh, and you bought it. Suck it up.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    According to rumours....

    iOS 11 runs ReiserFS. Quite a murderous release schedule I'm told.

  22. Ian Joyner

    Most incredible feat of software development - ever

    This must be the most incredible feat of software development (call it engineering if you want) in the history of the computer industry. It is almost so breathtaking that it is shocking. A file system upgrade is no small piece of software. If it goes wrong many people could lose data.

    So, test, test, test. But most tests are artificial - that is why testing is so weak (despite what TDD advocates say). The best test is when something goes live. But then you find out the problems to late. So who had this daring idea of testing the system by going as live as possible without actually deploying.

    That is a master stroke and an act of genius.

    Yet what do we get here, but a bunch of comments about Apple using users as guinea pigs and the usual ignorance from people who follow the Register's anti-Apple cheerleading. Well you are all well and truly caught out on this one for your usual idiotic comments.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Most incredible feat of software development - ever

      Yet what do we get here, but a bunch of comments about Apple using users as guinea pigs and the usual ignorance from people who follow the Register's anti-Apple cheerleading.

      I'm happy with Apple, but I use IT based on its merit for my needs following rational evaluation, not because it's some sort of bizarre religion that must be defended (that's just weird). In that context, this action concerns me. I'm a beta tester so I accepted the risk of possible bugs and maintain a decent backup regime, but your average selfie kid didn't sign up for that.

      The only possible argument FOR this is that they will have to perform this test anyway on hardware prior to installation so they got it out of the way early, but I'm not happy with users being used as test platform without their knowledge. That's not right in my book.

      Well you are all well and truly caught out on this one for your usual idiotic comments.

      I'm terribly sorry that we doubted your God, oh wise user. Now go and grow a clue. People like you are the exact problem because you don't bring rational arguments and thus end up arguing rather than debating. In this particular case I think Apple took a chance. That they got away with it doesn't make it right.

      1. Ian Joyner

        Re: Most incredible feat of software development - ever

        "it's some sort of bizarre religion that must be defended (that's just weird)"

        Please don't make silly comments about 'bizarre religion'. This is a technical discussion and I made technical points.

        "but I'm not happy with users being used as test platform without their knowledge. That's not right in my book."

        Any software release is using users as a test platform. Testing never proves the absence of bugs. Anyone who has worked in software development knows that there is still the possibility of really obscure conditions.

        Thus when Apple eventually releases APFS as an initial release, it will still be a test. The previous testing must be to show there is as little possibility as possible. That is exactly what Apple have done. They have now tested the installation and update process.

        It is a good thing that Apple have attempted such a test. As far as I know it is novel. Expect much more of this kind of testing in the future.

        "I'm terribly sorry that we doubted your God, oh wise user. Now go and grow a clue"

        Did you actually bother to read what I said - or even to find out who I was by doing some web searches? No, so don't make stupid comments and think about what is going on here.

        Note I don't post as "anonymous coward" as you do, so people can find out what I have said elsewhere.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Most incredible feat of software development - ever

          @Ian Joyner:

          Thus when Apple eventually releases APFS as an initial release, it will still be a test. The previous testing must be to show there is as little possibility as possible. That is exactly what Apple have done. They have now tested the installation and update process.

          I'm really glad there is as little possibility as possible.

          Does that also mean that there is as little probability as probable?

          What if I want possibility though?

          1. Ian Joyner

            Re: Most incredible feat of software development - ever

            >>"Thus when Apple eventually releases APFS as an initial release, it will still be a test. The previous testing must be to show there is as little possibility as possible. That is exactly what Apple have done. They have now tested the installation and update process."

            I'm really glad there is as little possibility as possible.

            Does that also mean that there is as little probability as probable?

            What if I want possibility though?<<

            Possibility of what? That there are unforeseen problems? No, testing is to remove as many problems as possible. Apple's testing in this has been amazing.

            It seems you Anonymous Cowards do not know the fundamental tenet of testing. Here it is as stated by Edsger Dijkstra:

            "Program testing can be used to show the presence of bugs, but never to show their absence!"

            https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Edsger_W._Dijkstra

            But that is not saying don't do testing. No do it very thoroughly. That is exactly what Apple has done, and I'm sure along with the many other software verification techniques of Dijkstra, Hoare, Jean-Raymond Abrial, Bertrand Meyer, which sadly most of the software development community ignores.

    2. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

      Re: Most incredible feat of software development - ever

      "This must be the most incredible feat of software development (call it engineering if you want) in the history of the computer industry. It is almost so breathtaking that it is shocking."

      No it's not. You are exaggerating. It's neat though.

      Going to the moon with the equivalent of cheap calculator as the on-board computer, that's an achievement.

  23. adam 40

    Why are they changing the FS anyway?

    Is it because the current FS doesn't have enough backdoors to allow the NSA quick enough access to data on a perp's phone?

    I think we should be told....

    1. Ian Joyner

      Re: Why are they changing the FS anyway?

      >>Why are they changing the FS anyway?

      Is it because the current FS doesn't have enough backdoors to allow the NSA quick enough access to data on a perp's phone?

      I think we should be told....<<

      I can't give you a straight answer to the second question. But let's consider that Apple stood up to the FBI to protect user data. APFS is being introduced with encryption baked in, not put on top of as in previous FS. So I think this is more about removing backdoors.

      As to the first question, a bit of history. Originally there as Apple DOS on the Apple II. On Macintosh (I don't remember what it was on Lisa, perhaps that can be research for others), Apple introduced HFS - Hierarchichal File System. They also dumped the old 5.25" floppies in favour of the 3.5" hard cover floppies. Howls of outcry from the anti-Apple people about that - "those 3.5" disks are not real disks", even though they were in all ways superior - hard cover, much more difficult to finger surface, more storage capacity.

      Then when disks became larger and internal hard drives, so HFS+ was introduced (I could look up dates, but around 25 years ago). People became more sensitive about data on disks, since even once junked data could be read - so file encryption was introduced on top of HFS+. This is now called FileVault.

      Now its time for a change - not a gratuitous change but changes for the good reason that security is now much more important (logical reasons) and disks have gone from 20 MB to several terabytes (physical reasons). Then there is flash and hybrid storage. Time to address these new factors. In fact, it was time for a change around ten years ago. It looked like Apple was going to adopt ZFS, but for reasons which I don't know that didn't work out.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ZFS

      https://arstechnica.com/apple/2016/06/zfs-the-other-new-apple-file-system-that-almost-was-until-it-wasnt/

      So ZFS didn't happen.

      I'll mention a computing fundamental here, since it came up in my comment about hybrid (fusion) flash (solid state) and spinning disk (moving) drives. That is as far as programmers and users see their is just one level of storage. It is the job of the system (and system programmers) to provide this abstraction of single level of storage. The key to hardware speed is to keep data as close to the processor as possible, but the fetching should not be seen by higher-level programmers. This is the principle of a Turing machine. Any memory storage levels are implementation detail and add nothing to the power or computability of a system. We see Apple moving towards this in several levels. As mentioned, the hybrid drives where the system will automatically get data from a fast flash drive or from a slower hard disk. But not only that - have you ever thought where the "save" menu went in iOS?

      That is Apple changing to the paradigm of the user just works on a document - safe storage is done, including writing up to iCloud for backup and sharing. So there are some other factors - HFS was not developed for cloud storage and backup. Bake those in and make file handling much faster. Now I'll admit, iCloud drives me crazy sometimes - partly because I don't believe it is perfected yet, but partly because as an old timer, I feel like I should be manually doing this.

      Enter APFS. Again Apple ends up doing things for themselves after attempting to get others to participate (Adobe Flash comes to mind). So why not address a whole bunch of issues at once, bake in security at the lowest levels (where it should be according to Rik Ferguson). Here is a whole lot of reading on this subject:

      https://medium.learningbyshipping.com/wwdc-2017-some-thoughts-3ff3230cdd58

      http://www.cultofmac.com/435718/apfs-new-apple-file-system/

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_File_System

      http://www.zdnet.com/article/wwdc-2017-what-we-learned-about-apples-new-file-system-on-macos/

      https://www.theverge.com/2017/3/27/15076244/apple-file-system-apfs-ios-10-3-features

      I'll also note that since the upgrade to APFS was already done in March for iOS 10.3, this is rather old news. It is done, complete, and it worked. As I said in another thread, Apple have pulled off an amazing engineering feat. Register is well behind the times on this.

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: Why are they changing the FS anyway?

        I'll also note that since the upgrade to APFS was already done in March for iOS 10.3, this is rather old news. It is done, complete, and it worked. As I said in another thread, Apple have pulled off an amazing engineering feat. Register is well behind the times on this.

        Err I think many here have missed the 'news':

        " In an on-stage love fest last week between Apple fanboi John Gruber and senior execs Phil Schiller and Craig Federighi, Federighi – SVP of software engineering – revealed that in the iOS 10.1 and/or 10.2 upgrades to its operating system, it caused every device to upgrade to Apple's new APFS (Apple File System), check it, and then roll back to the current HFS+ system."

        Also note the total absence of the filesystem update from the iOS 10.n release notes.

        [ https://support.apple.com/kb/DL1893?locale=en_US ]

        So whilst the release of APFS might have happened back in March, what was not widely known until last week was that Apple had pulled off an engineering feat: using the iOS 10.1 and 10.2 releases to dry run the migration and in the iOS 10.3 update totally changed the running filesystem; all without fanfair or user awareness.

        1. Ian Joyner

          Re: Why are they changing the FS anyway?

          >>Also note the total absence of the filesystem update from the iOS 10.n release notes.<<

          I agree, and I have a general grizzle with the release notes anyway. I remember Burroughs P&D Notes that accompanied MCP OS releases. Just about every small change was documented. But P&D was for Programming and Development. I think the equivalent of this for Apple is to run WWDC, where developers are made aware of such changes. For end users Apple just put together some release notes. Perhaps they figured that APFS really isn't that visible to users since it is just taking functionality that they have added onto HFS and baking it into the file system. As a technical guy, I like this information, but it is totally foreign to 99.9% of users. The idea of notes is to report on issues that might change the way you work.

          So I think Apple tries to make updates as seamless of possible, while innovating technically. But then others criticise them for not being innovative anymore. It's almost a case of you can't win against the spin.

  24. Ian Joyner

    The end - fait accompli.

    Just to sum up. This whole thread has illustrated how pathetic Apple's detractors are - including the Register. iOS 10.3 came out with APFS in March - it is done, it is dusted. Apple well tested this and as a last step before final release in 10.3 did dry runs in 10.1 and 10.2.

    That Apple could do this is just amazing engineering and shows the very thorough testing they go to. Had anything gone wrong, Apple had a lot to lose. Had they not done that final dry-run test and things went wrong, they had a lot to lose. Thus it is not only about minimising risk to customers but minimising risk to Apple themselves.

    The Register has long led this flock of mindless detractors who post at everything Apple does, especially those who post as Anonymous Coward. They mostly make ridiculous comments and are not even prepared to reveal their identity. They are just trolling. The comments to this article have clearly revealed how stupid, ignorant, and unresearched most of their comments are.

    And no, I am not an Apple patsy, or fanboy. Labelling people as such is just another form of lazy argument.

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