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iOS 9 bugs are making me eye Android

Do I use my iPhone a lot? Sure do. Do I love it? Absolutely. Am I in love with it? Well, I have to admit that since upgrading to iOS 9 the shine had definitely started to wear off.

iOS 9 bugs are making me eye Android

I'm certain that regular readers of this column assume that I'm surrounded by piles of gleaming tech, and that as soon as something displeases me it gets promptly disposed of and replaced by something newer, better, and much cooler.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

While some seem to be able to move effortlessly from one bit of kit to another like some cyborg bee, I find that I'm much more efficient with the kit that I'm used to. This explains why I keep the same notebook for a few years and had that raggedy old keyboard case on my iPad from day one until the day I passed it down a branch on the family tree.

Back when I migrated from Windows to OS X as my main workaday operating system I put a lot of thought and effort into the move, and there was a knock-on effect on productivity that lingered for months after the move.

I don't make big, dramatic, drastic changes to my kit lightly.

But now the sorry state of iOS 9 is affecting my ability to do all the things I need to get done in a day done.

(I know fanbois hate any criticism of their favorite multi-billion dollar corporation, and these people have a predisposition for overreacting when they see someone else express displeasure for a product or service from said multi-billion dollar corporation. If you want a grinning pseudo-salesperson telling you that everything is awesome, go read something else.)

iOS 9 has transformed my iPhone 6 Plus -- a bit of kit that represents many hundreds of hard-earned dollars -- from something that was a joy to use into an object of annoyance.

Let me just list a few of the issues I'm faced with daily:

  • Poor touchscreen responsiveness
  • Wi-Fi drops for no reason
  • Sluggish user interface
  • Sluggish orientation control when turning handset from portrait to landscape or vice versa
  • Crashing apps
  • Sluggish app launching
  • Sluggish keyboard
  • Search is slow to respond
  • Poor battery life

And even the most cursory of glances at Apple's support forum reveals that I'm not the only one having these problems.

Now if you scour the forums you'll come across all sorts of unofficial "fixes" for these issues, but most turn out to be temporary fixes while others don't fix anything at all and just result in having to reenter passwords again and the like (an incantation that's regularly touted as a fix-all is Settings > General > Reset > Reset All Settings). And why would fiddling in the settings fix anything? These are deep operating system bugs and Apple doesn't give you access to any of the gory stuff in iOS.

Given that Apple has such a tight control over its hardware and software ecosystem, the fact that last year's iPhone is experiencing so many problems running the next version up operating system is frankly disgraceful. This isn't a case of me trying to get Windows 10 to run on a decade old-PC and complaining that it's a bit shaky. This is me upgrading a piece or hardware that I bought a year ago and that Apple says is fully supported. The apologists will no doubt reach for all the old excuses -- my sample size is too small, my hardware is defective, I didn't do XYZ... -- but there is no excuse.

And this isn't just a blip. The quality of the iOS builds that Apple has been shipping out have been slipping. I remember the first iOS 8 update that was pushed to my shiny new iPhone 6 Plus shortly after I received it that killed the cell service and Touch ID, forcing me to roll back the operating system. Yeah, great start with the new iPhone 6 Plus all that was.

iOS 8 spent months being plagued by a myriad of bugs that Apple couldn't seem to pin down. It got better, but it was never right.

Then came iOS 9.

Apple's tagline of "it just works" feels like it's been replaced by "it used to work."

The problems are getting to the point where I'm seriously considering dumping the iPhone and switching to Android (I mean, what other option is there? Windows Mobile? BlackBerry?). At least there if I can't rely on Google or the OEM to fix the issue there's an active aftermarket firmware community carrying out bugfixes and doing some really good work. Projects such as CyanogenMod are a win to the openness of Android.

I'm in no way saying that Android is perfect, but the way things stand with iOS right now, I'm loathe to put down several hundred dollars for a new iPhone in a year or so just so I can suffer through a few more years of bugs and shoddy builds. I'm just not prepared to do that.

Apple, I've given you fair warning. Buggy releases are sucking away at both the pleasure I once felt from using the iPhone and my desire to buy another. Fix this mess, or lose a customer.

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