Next week at WWDC, we’re likely to hear a familiar response to many requests: “File a bug.”
I’ve had countless Apple employees tell me over the years that filing bug reports is the most effective way to get actual bugs fixed and “vote” for new API features. (It’s also the only way that most people have.)
I’ve filed 15 bugs since 2009. Of those:
- 8 have been marked as duplicates. All but two of the “origin” bugs remain open, despite two actually being fixed. Another two very different feature requests were marked as duplicates of the same origin, and since I can’t see the title of the origin, I have no way to know if either was a mischaracterization.
- 6 have never received any kind of response and remain open.
- 1 had Apple request a sample project, which I provided, then got no further response (and is still open).
I’m not an anomaly. From Fix Radar or GTFO:
We file radars and we’re lucky to hear back about them. The majority of radars are either left untouched or marked as duplicates of other radars we cannot see. We may get a request for more information from engineering, but sometimes it is for irrelevant information or information already given in the original report. All this makes us feel like our radars make little difference. And this is important as our time is valuable.
From our point of view, there’s little reason to file bugs. Filing a good bug report takes a lot of testing and time, and it seems like Apple just disregards most of them. Of the few that get any response at all, it’s almost always a useless response or the obvious result of a careless engineer trying to clear out the bug backlog with as little work as possible.
With these results, what reason do we have to spend any time filing bugs?
Apple’s employees present a nice story: Apple cares! File a report! It matters! And I believe that those individuals truly believe that. The system works by the time it gets to them. And in the aggregate, they do need our bug reports.
But actions speak louder than words, and Apple’s actions tell a different story to the vast majority of developers who actually bother filing bugs.
Their abysmal communication and responsiveness, with most of the responses indicating carelessness or apathy, tells each individual developer, “Don’t bother filing that. Nothing will happen. It’s a waste of your time. We don’t care.”