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More Apple Core Rot: Apple Mail Still Broken + More Views

MPG first wrote about Apple Core Rot in February 2013, having been troubled about declining software quality for several preceeding years. The noxious trend has accelerated, and it now is a major issue in both OS X and iOS (major to users, ignored by Apple). New software releases from Apple are now a risk to both data and workflow.

Reader Don H notes that John Gruber (DaringFireball) has a post on Apple Mail problems.

When the upgrade to El Capitan finished on my iMac, three of my email accounts in Mail were missing. They happened to be the accounts for my three most important email addresses. Two of them were still configured in Mail’s settings, but had been disabled — I just needed to toggle the “Enable this account” checkbox for each of them

MPG: this mirrors my experience: upgrading to 10.11.2 destroyed my mail accounts; I had to delete the accounts and set them up again. That was on my laptop. Fortunately, that’s not where I do most of my mail.

On my desktop, to this day the VIP accounts do not function (destroyed by El Crapitan), even if deleted and recreated. The VIP accounts list feature is utterly non-functional. It’s a big hit on my time (I get a lot of mail). Yosemite destroyed VIP accounts (wiped them out), El Crapitan made them non-functional (to this day).

My local Contacts and Calendar are destroyed. If I jump through hoops and restore them from iCloud (a convoluted process), then I get duplicate entries for all of them on my Mac and my iPhone. It’s a sick joke.

Apple “quality” = garbage when it comes to software. It’s not just 2 or 3 things; it is dozens of problems and 99% of the feckless fawning press thinks the emperor is fully dressed. Every aspect of the system has been compromised, and iOS is prone to breaking key functionality too. For some users, backup fails too (now apparently fixed in 10.11.2). Apple Core Rot is spreading, metastisizing. MPG sees this as juvenile delinquency in the Apple software develpment group; there are no adults in charge. Heads should roll.

The dismal software quality should be a source of massive embarassment to Apple. Ultimately Tim Cook is responsible. Apple software quality is Cook’s responsibility ultimately, and he gets an 'F' both on iOS and OS X. And yet, Windows is not a desirable alternative. Who would have thought that “lesser of two evils” would become the strongest argument for a Mac?

James G writes:

I couldn’t agree with you more about Apple’s hardware and software decline. Two points:

Apple Safari continues to have problems with a lot of websites that work just fine on Firefox and even Google Chrome. Ongoing updates never seem to fix the problem. Perhaps it’s due to these websites having sloppy code, but Firefox seems to have done a workaround. Maybe Firefox is just more tolerant of slop. That would fit with Apple’s perceived software development arrogance as compared to Mozilla’s pragmatism.

And I just upgraded from a Verizon iPhone 5s to a Verizon iPhone 6s. Reception on the new phone is terrible. My 6s sitting on the desk immediately adjacent to my partner’s 5s shows 2 bars to his 4 and now I can’t consistently make or receive calls at home, which admittedly is in a low signal area but was fine when I had the 5s.

To Apple’s credit the Genius Bar did a full diagnostic on the new phone, couldn’t find anything wrong and but did a full retail swap. Different phone but still has exact same issues. Call to Verizon and they did line tests and “reprovisioned” my phone but reception still sucks, though setting cellular LTE to “data only” helped a little in medium signal strength areas. According to the Verizon engineer they have logged innumerable complaints of poor reception with the Verizon iPhone 6s. Supposedly it has the same antenna as the iPhone 6 and the internet is replete with complaints about bad reception with the iPhone 6.

If it was a bad software or antenna design in the iPhone 6, you’d have thought Apple would have made changes to improve the iPhone 6s reception.

At this point I can’t hold my breath for much longer. As a physician, I have a legacy land line that saves my bacon. but if Apple and Verizon can’t get this phone to have decent reception I’ll return it and make them give me some version of my old iPhone 5S back (though it will probably be a refurb and not in as pristine a condition as the one I traded in :((

MPG: the iPhone reception issue was my initial concern with my iPhone 6s Plus. It has not been an issue, but I still wonder.

Kevin B writes:

My problem is that Mail has a memory leak. If I launch it fresh in the morning it starts out using between 100-200 MB of RAM. By lunch time it’s usually up to about 6 or 7 GB and by the end of the day it’s anywhere from 10-20 GB! Of course, I can quit Mail, relaunch it, and I’m back down to minimal RAM usage, but it’s pretty pitiful.

On the plus side, El Capitan had broken Junk mail filtering for me … every day I’d see between 25 - 50 junk e-mails in my inbox and no matter how many times I clicked on “Junk” to try to train Mail, the next time an exact same spam came it’d still be in my inbox. However, with the 10.11.2 upgrade (and this is the plus side) the Junk mail filtering is back to working … I see 2 or 3 e-mails a day show up in my inbox that are spam and a corresponding increase in the number of mails going straight to my junk folder.

So - and you’ll get a kick out of this - I decided to file a bug with Apple on the Mail memory leak. I filled out the report, attached all the appropriate files, and submitted it. That was yesterday afternoon. This morning my bug report *still* hadn’t submitted successfully and I had to kill that tab. So how exactly do you file a bug report about bug reporter not working?!? ;-)

I’m a 25+ year Unix SysAdmin who started using the Mac when OS X first came out. I’ve watched the quality decline and it truly makes me sad.

MPG: that's a really bad memory leak. Mail does have a file-close bug (for years now): send any attachment and the file remains open until Mail is quit. So it’s not surprising that other leaks would be present.

MPG recommends disabling Apple junk mail filtering (but it has a bug that even when off it still marks messages at time!) and using SpamSieve.

Don H writes:

Yet another article (politely) complaining about Apple’s software problems, and again from a prominent user/writer (Adam Engst):

https://tidbits.com/article/16146

(You don’t have to read the whole thing; it’s just another example of needless OS nuisances.)

.... I’ve been using Macs since 1985 and have experienced the Rise and Fall and Rise again of Apple (I actually used NeXT machines day-to-day during the 90s while Scully/Spindler/Amelio floundered along) and I’d really rather not have to go through another ‘lost decade’ where everything is just tolerable and third-party support dwindles to a few loyal stalwarts.

I know you’re generally outside of the current Apple ‘clique’ and a bit more acerbic in your criticism (ok, a lot), but if there is an opportunity to lend your voice to something constructive that involves a lot of the more popular names in the Mac community I think it would be helpful. If enough key developers can amass evidence of problems that Apple simply cannot ignore and wrap it up in some sort of unified presentation then there’s a chance that Cook might do the right thing before the dam cracks completely.

MPG: what would be the reward? Working 80 hours a week, I must use my time to earn a living, not on fixing slovenly work at Apple. I’ll vote with my wallet and let Apple sort its own affairs—and if Apple actually cared, someone there would read this blog and contact me—this has never happened, not once. I have become reluctant to buy Apple products, but will continue to do so for specific needs that serve my business purposes. It’s a “least bad” thing now—sad but true.

As for Adam Engst’s post in TidBits, he’s spot-on: the endless “verify your identity” alerts on my iPhone drive me crazy—and I actually have a strong password, so this is a serious headache.


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