ANALYST CORNER

Warning: Think Twice Before Updating to iOS 9

Apple, you insensitive scoundrel, you made my bride cry. It wasn’t tears of joy over your great technology, either. It was because you caused the loss of countless personal photos and memories, and all sorts of other personal information that we can never get back again.

It’s all because you simply didn’t warn users not to upgrade to iOS 9 until the bugs were worked out. By the way, your iCloud didn’t work for us, either.

Countless other Apple users have suffered losses like ours. To make matters worse, during the middle of our technology meltdown, Apple had the nerve to issue a press release touting how many users already had upgraded. The problem is, Apple didn’t tell how many successfully upgraded versus how many had problems.

That is what users really care about. Anything else is just PR gobbledygook. Making it seem like everything is going great when it’s not is telling a sneaky half-truth. This is not the first time Apple has downplayed problems that caused people heartache. There have been many over the years.

Don’t get me wrong — I love Apple. My whole family loves Apple. I carry a variety of devices, including an iPhone, an Android and others. However, everyone else in my family carries sticks to their iPhones and iPads.

Apple does a great job with its technology. However, that does not mean the company does a great job all the time. For example, every time it launches a new operating system, it typically stinks to high heaven until all the bugs are finally worked out. That takes weeks — even months.

Never Upgrade Early

That’s why I typically wait months to update iOS. I want to give Apple a chance to work out all the bugs. This time, however, I forgot to be cautious.

When the new iOS 9 was released a couple of weeks ago, I upgraded my iPhone 6. After hitting the start button, I remembered that I never update so soon. I looked for a stop button, but no such luck.

That’s suggestion No. 1, Apple. Give us a way to stop the process before it’s too late to change our mind. The upgrade proceeded. Fortunately, the upgrade worked. Phew.

My kids upgraded their iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and iPhone 5s — all without problems. So I thought Apple finally got it right this time, right out of the gate.

So I happily talked with my wife about upgrading her device. She didn’t want to. She didn’t need to. She was happy with it the way it was. After a great sales pitch, I finally got her to agree.

So I upgraded my wife’s iPhone 5s and her iPad. That’s when lightning struck and completely shut down her two devices. They were dead as doornails. Useless. Unusable.

How do you think that made her feel? She was upset, but I told her not to worry. I would fix everything.

I drove all the way to the Apple Store and spent the entire morning there, while employees tried several times to forcibly reinstall iOS 9 until it finally worked. However, even though the two devices worked, they were as blank as when they were brand new.

I asked where my wife’s settings, apps, photos and data were, and the Apple staff told me they had made a temporary fix. When Apple comes out with an update to the update, I should get all the data back. What happened was an inconvenience, but we wouldn’t lose anything permanently.

Well that update came out last week, so everything should have been fixed, right? Wrong. There were no photos, apps or data restored. All the photos my wife loved to look at and all the apps she used and all the messages she sent and received were gone. Poof.

All Is Lost Forever

I logged on to her iCloud account and found it blank as well. What does that mean? That means everything is lost forever. That’s when the tears began. My wife cried as she thought about all the memories she was storing having been lost forever.

To make matters worse, she only had me to blame for convincing her to update her iOS. So now I look like a real idiot to my darling wife.

Thank you very much Apple!

What Did Apple Do Wrong?

Apple did plenty wrong. First, it allowed my wife’s iPhone and iPad to download and install iOS 9, which corrupted everything. It should have warned us to make sure we backed everything up in several different ways to protect our information.

I’m sure if we waited a few months for all the bugs to be fixed, there would have been no problem and my wife would still have all her memories.

Why Did the iCloud Fail?

What about the iCloud? Why didn’t that back up all her data and photos? After all, she did set it up to back up everything. In fact, our kids — all of whom are Apple experts — made sure her iCloud account was backing up.

However, she was living under a false sense of security since it didn’t work. Somehow, everything was lost.

Perhaps the iCloud has too many switches on the control panel. Perhaps we have to better understand what each switch actually does in order to be sure we have it set up correctly.

Whatever the problems, Apple should know better. Apple should have created a simple and easy on and off switch. Anything less is unfair to users who are not technology experts — and most users are not experts.

Apple’s Dark Side

While Apple will continue to grow and continue to wow users, the dark side of the Apple coin is that sometimes you are on your own. Don’t just assume you can safely update to the new iOS 9 without a problem.

Don’t just assume your data is safe on the iCloud. You can’t count on that. Back up your data to the iCloud, but back it up in other ways as well. Sync your iPhone to your computer. Sync it to a backup drive.

As a business person, I obsess about backing up my data. I back up data in a variety of different ways. Perhaps I’m being overprotective, but that’s better that than losing anything, right? That hit home after my wife’s experience.

Never assume your data is safely backed up. Remember, when you assume, you make an ass of you and me. Right, Apple?

Jeff Kagan

E-Commerce Times columnist Jeff Kagan is a wireless analyst, telecom analyst, industry analyst, consultant and speaker who has been sharing his colorful perspectives on the changing industry for 25 years. Email him at jeff@jeffKAGAN.com.

1 Comment

  • Why does everyone blame someone else for there mistakes? How many people put too much trust in others to protect their data? Apple surely does not really care, this happens plenty with upgrades. Every single time a major upgrade comes out people in some significant numbers lose something. Its really just not Apple either, people are dumb and careless about backing up. The cloud thing is not better, its just easier and for many they can still be dumb and not worry about how to backup their data.

    Really sad part is that server loses are far less then end user problems creating loses. Operating systems, apps that are supposed to backup data and tools like built in backup systems work more easily but are seldom verified or backed up themselves. I find if people did better local backup they would not have to keep blaming Apple or someone else for their lost data. But I guess maybe cloud storage gives you that right? For me, I would say you need to do better yourself and not blame Apple. Its your data don’t trust Apple to protect it. They do not care.

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