Why I Won’t Bother to Submit Bug Reports to Apple Any More

I’ve long had an Apple developer account in order to have pre-release access to Apple’s operating system and other software so I can write about it. As part of this developer account, I have access to Apple Bug Reporter, a site where you file reports about problems with software and hardware. As I pointed out in a recent Macworld article, this bug reporting system is “An impractical black hole that’s frustrating to use.”

I generally file only iTunes bugs; I pay particular attention to iTunes for my writing, and I find obscure bugs that many people don’t notice. For many of these bugs, I’m told they are duplicates, but a fairly high proportion of my bugs are not. They sometimes generate requests for more information, and emails telling me that they have been fixed. In fact, a few days after the above article was published, I got an email from Apple saying that one of the bugs I reported had been fixed, and asking if I could verify that it now worked correctly. I checked, it did, and that’s how it should work.

The other day, I noticed an issue with the way artist biographies are displayed in iTunes. In the iTunes Store they have line breaks, but in Apple Music, they are one long, unreadable paragraph. This is a problem of both usability and accessibility. It’s hard to read, and especially hard for people with visual limitations.

After I published that article, an Apple employee tweeted me to suggest that I file a “radar,” or a bug report.

Radar tweet

I hadn’t planned to file a bug report for this issue, because, in my experience, they don’t pay much attention to such things. However, in the past, they have corrected other usability bugs that I’d file, so I figured why not. I gave a brief description of the issue, and directed Apple to check my article for screenshots.

Today, I received an email from Apple saying the following:

Hi Kirk,

This is a follow-up to Bug ID# 31558442.

Engineering has provided the following feedback regarding this issue:

Thank you for reporting this. The correct process (and fastest way to a resolution) for account or iTunes issues like this is to log a ticket with AppleCare. They have the right tools to either resolve this issue themselves or route to the correct team with the appropriate information to further troubleshoot.

So, they now suggest contacting AppleCare for iTunes bugs? Because it’s not important enough for them to deal with? Or did the person who read my bug report not even bother to look at what I was describing? It’s a real slap in the face for those who care about usability and accessibility.

Notwithstanding the often pathetic level of support one gets from AppleCare, they are not a bug reporting system. It’s one thing to get no response when you file bug reports, but it’s now clear that Apple doesn’t care much about them at all, and I won’t be wasting my time filing them any more. I’m tempted to add an expletive here, expressing how this makes me feel about Apple, but I’ll just end this article now.