Your Software Updates Are Not That Important

September 18, 2016

In recent years, Apple’s software updates have become more and more aggressive. Almost every keynote, they boast about how many users are on the latest operating system. They make fun of Windows or Android.

Last night, iOS 9 nagged Luka to update to iOS 10. They dismissed it by selecting “update later” (which sounds a lot like “don’t do anything right now”). They put in their password or used Touch ID just to get back to what they was doing.

This morning, Luka woke up to an iPad only capable of displaying an iTunes icon with a lightning cable. That’s a scary image. It means that the iPad is inaccessible. An update failed.

“Make sure you’re backed up,” you might say. Or even Apple might say this, passing the blame onto their. But what happens when iCloud Backups fail for months? We checked, iCloud Backups were on, they just keep failing. (?)

This problem is Apple’s fault. iOS knows when the last successful backup was. If iOS checked for a successful backup before prompting users to update, it would prevent data loss. This situation presents a data loss bug, and Apple should take it seriously.

We checked iTunes backups. We checked iCloud backups. The latest was from June. That’s months of sketches in Procreate. If you have valuable data on any device, I’m sure you can feel this pain.

iTunes pressured us to update the iPad that was in recovery mode. We did. After downloading a 2GB file and updating the iPad, everything seemed to be there. Was no data lost?

That is a twist even I didn’t expect. I still don’t know what happened. I don’t know how the data is still there. Luka and I presumed the data was gone.

For a good half-hour, we were both incredibly stressed about data loss. Of course, we’re backing up everything twice right now. What’s the lesson to be learned? That we should be on top of our backups? What if they fail? (And they do.)

There are two simple steps that Apple and developers should take:

  1. Apple should not be so aggressive about updating iOS devices that aren’t backed up. iOS bothers you at least once a day to update. But they only bother you weeks after unsuccessful backups. Instead, they should be more aggressive about backing up those devices. Their updates are not more important than my data.
  2. Procreate (all apps) should have a proper cloud storage solution. Whether it’s iCloud or their own, I don’t care. But right now, I’m terrified for the moment when this ever happens to me. I have a hundred sketches in Procreate.

Just be a little more fucking careful. Please.