As a user, the recent issues with iCloud are extremely frustrating — especially if you’ve paid for iCloud and paid for apps that use iCloud. It seems like the iCloud team is having a difficult time preventing and avoiding clusterfucks. The lack of reliability should be a concern to everyone.
The last time iCloud had major issues, I wrote an rsync script to manually backup my iCloud drive directory on my Mac. I also turn-off the “Optimize Mac Storage” setting so that everything gets downloaded to my Mac. This all gets backed up again locally via Time Machine — at least, when it works. It really sucks to not be able to trust an essential service like iCloud.
The problem is that, in my view, the alternatives are not much better. Google Drive, like all Google products, is spyware. Apparently, they are now scanning your personal files for copyright infringements, and not very well at that. Dropbox is scummy and invasive — it’s up in your kernel or installing its own file manager. Other, less popular apps I’ve seen rarely meet both of my quality and trustworthiness expectations to the degree that I’m willing to make the effort to switch. Luckily, I have personally avoided all of the reported issues with iCloud, but I remain immensely skeptical. So, I stick with iCloud (for now) as a user and diligently make backups.
But as a developer, the iCloud issues are even more frustrating. Sure, we all know software is hard. Minor, intermittent issues are to be expected. But two things are unacceptable — data loss and the (still!) terrible communication from Apple.
If Apple fails to maintain quality software and prevent data loss — that affects our users and there isn’t much we can do about it. Apple strongly promotes these services. Apple really wants third-party devs to integrate iCloud support into their apps. And yet, they seemingly can’t be bothered to make it reliable. Among the many other issues that developers have with the App Store, this ranks at the top. Third-party developers must pay 15-30 percent of their wages to Apple. And for what? What are we paying for? A totally broken iCloud? Developers that depend on iCloud get doubly screwed.
And then, to make matters worse, developers received zero communication from Apple during this outage — not even an acknowledgement that an issue existed. Depending on when you start counting, it took multiple days (or months!) for their “system status” page to reflect reality, despite many reports of ongoing issues since last November.
It is no secret that Apple’s developer relations are at an all-time, abjectly abysmal low. It is truly incredible that the company continues to make the exact same mistakes. The absolute dearth of communication and gross inconsideration for third-party devs is shocking. We honestly are not asking for much. Just like… tell us you know there is a problem, when you expect it to be fixed, and what we can do in the meantime. You know, very basic communication skills. They continue to disregard and shit all over third-party developers, as if third-party apps aren’t the main reason that people continue to support Apple platforms.