In this modern age, technology advances are typically accompanied with some sort of software that makes the technology work. Whether it be an operating system for your computer, phone, or tablet, or software that runs on these devices, there is underlying software that makes it work. It used to be that updating your software was a great idea, but more recently, it can be a problematic process when those updates aren’t ready for consumption by the masses.
While software updates can help greatly with bug fixes, updated features, and other useful functionalities, lately I’ve noticed that some of these updates have been lacking in quality control. I’m a big proponent of Apple products, but my enthusiasm has waned over the last couple of years, especially when it comes to the Mac operating system, OS X. In my opinion, the last decent version of OS X was 10.8, Mountain Lion. It refined features and added stability over OS X 10.7, Lion. I’m still running 10.8 on my MacBook Pro with Retina Display, and it performs magnificently. In contrast, I’m running OS X 10.10 (Yosemite) on my 27” iMac, which is slightly older (almost 3 years old) but has a lot more RAM and a much better processor. I performed a fresh install of Yosemite less than 6 months ago to gain a few new features like iCloud Photo Library and Handoff. Less than 4 months later, and my iMac has problems. Half of the Apple programs like Messaging, Facetime, and even Contacts crash consistently without opening. I don’t think my MacBook Pro running Mountain Lion has ever crashed, not once.
The latest update to OS X is called El Capitan, but for some, they call it “El Crapitan”. This name seems well deserved, as we have seen an alarming number of Macs come in to the shop for repairs after performing this update to their operating system having it render their machines inoperable. Sure, we can fix it, but you shouldn’t have to pay someone to fix your computer after applying an update.
Aside from the update itself not being a smooth process, each successive update to OS X since Mountain Lion has been lacking in some way or another. Personally, I think that the attention and care that Apple provided to their computer operating system in years before the iPhone and iPad has been eclipsed by these hugely profitable devices. Their focus, shifting towards mobile, has abandoned their platform that kept them alive throughout the lean years. From a business perspective, I can certainly understand, but from a Mac user perspective, it hurts. I used to be able to trust and vouch for nearly everything Mac. Now, I preach warnings about updates to OS X.
Apple isn’t alone in this. Microsoft is pushing Windows 10 wholeheartedly to every user not running Windows 10. That icon in the bottom right of your screen sure wants you to get that “free” upgrade, but Windows 10 isn’t ready for public consumption. Their new integrated web browser, Edge, is nowhere near being a dependable or usable browser. For business users and networking, even larger omissions and failures are present in Microsoft’s latest operating system.
For people buying a new computer, whether it is a Mac or PC, you’ll get these latest operating systems. New hardware will run these OS’s better, so it won’t be the worst-case scenario, but it isn’t ideal. What really irks me is how heavy-handed these companies are when “suggesting” that you upgrade. For most users, they don’t know any better and blindly trust what they are told. It didn’t used to be so dangerous to maintain your computer.
We have become a huge group of uncompensated beta testers for these software giants. Rather than do their research, development, and testing fully before releasing software into “the wild”, we have become the unpaid testers. Even if the update is free, we are paying in another way, as we are subjected to “half-baked” releases and updates which cost us our time and peace of mind.
In summary, don’t be so quick to update. It’s unfortunate that it has come to using this level of caution when maintaining your computer, but it is the direct effect of the need to meet sales and stockholder expectations for these companies. The push to meet release dates exceeds the need to fully test and have them ready for the public. We, the users, are ultimately the victims, and the future seems dim. I sure hope there will be an update to fix this.