Thursday, Jul 08, 2021, 14:09 Apple services

Apple's Feedback Assistant – Lots Of Unused Potential & Unfixed Errors

Operating systems are inherently complex and a company's own internal testing process would never be able to discover all of the errors, bugs, and necessary fixes on its own. The various ways an OS can be configured and used are too numerous to all be tested by a company's internal division. That's why the majority of large tech companies entertain test programs for willing customers and developers looking to prepare for the next release. This way, errors and bugs can be discovered naturally before the software is released for all users. Apple is no exclusion and also offers several preview versions for OS updates for customers and developers.

Apple's Bug Reporter
In the past, developers submitted bug reports via Apple's "Bug Reporter", other users have to make use of Apple's "Feedback Assistant", which will also soon be accessible to developers.

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Not reproducible, Ignored, Forgotten
It only takes one look at a Mac development forum or social media to see how disastrous Apple's responses to bug reports are. Bug reports are either simply ignored, or dismissed with the message "not reproducible". Numerous developers report that even after submitting detailed programming projects including a fully fleshed description of errors found, Apple often doesn't even read anything. For developers, error reports are no joke – they take a lot of work to write. Firstly, developers have to figure out if the bug is from their own application, or if the operating system is responsible for the bug. Then, an example project has to be broken down into the most basic components, which is necessary to recreate the error. Lastly, a detailed description is also necessary, explaining how to recreate the error. It's a process that takes a lot of work for Apple to simply ignore the results.

Better To Develop Workarounds
Many developers have caught on to the fact that bug reports sent to Apple essentially disappear into thin air and prefer to simply work around issues with the operating system when developing apps – rather than relying on Apple to correct them. This is damaging in two respects, firstly – "workarounds" often carry side effects, and secondly – the original issue remains unfixed. Developers often simply don't have the time to spend days or weeks on the issue so that bugs are fixed within Apple's framework.

Contacts Are Important
If you don't have a direct contact at the relevant Apple development or via Apple's "Worldwide Developer Relations" support team, then you can forget it – it's highly unlikely that Apple will respond.
If, however, you have contacts – then it's normally easier to get feedback concerning difficulties encountered in the form of bugs.

The Feedback App
It's not only the responses (or lack thereof) from Apple concerning feedback that's questionable, it's also the Feedback application itself. For example: localisation (translation) of the Feedback app are terrible to such an extent, that it hardly looks like it came from Apple at all. Rather than expend any effort in translating words in a manner which makes sense, Apple simply automatically translated all words literally – which can lead to a great deal of confusion for non-english developers, who are left guessing what the intended meaning behind the butchering of their language might be.

Too Many Reports – Too Little Substance
Internally, Apple likely faces a different problem. The majority of fault in error reports from developers are likely traceable back to the developers – and not due to bugs from Apple, who could also be overrun by a flood of questions that developers find themselves unable to solve.

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