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On the Bugginess of This Year’s OS Betas From Apple

Ulysses:

During the last couple of weeks, quite a few people contacted us about crashes, hangs and other problems with Ulysses on devices running the beta versions of iOS 13, iPadOS and macOS Catalina. We’ve been asked a couple of times if we couldn’t offer a beta version of Ulysses that works fine on the new OSes. Unfortunately, for the time being, we can’t.

From our experience with previous OS updates, we feel safe to say that these betas are extraordinarily unstable and buggy. After all, beta versions of operating systems are still just beta versions — they are buggy, they are crash-prone, and they do lose data. Whereas in recent years, it was pretty safe to install preview versions early on, this year that’s definitely not the case (see for example this report on Cult of Mac).

Most impactful for us, however, is that the (great, great) updates done to iCloud are also leading to severe problems with the service. As iCloud is Apple’s sync service, it’s beyond our power to solve them, of course. Some public beta users reported synchronization outages and data loss that propagated to devices that did not even run the beta but were just connected via iCloud.

I’ve heard this from a bunch of developers. Right now iCloud is dangerous on the beta OSes. That’s not a complaint in and of itself; if there weren’t bugs they wouldn’t be betas. But I think it was a bad idea for Apple to release public betas at this stage. One trick I learned long ago is to install MacOS betas on an external hard drive and keep my regular startup drive unmounted while running the beta OS. But iCloud is a data store too, and you can’t unmount it.

Tuesday, 9 July 2019