A Very Frustrating MacOS

If you don’t already know me, let me tell you I am not a big fan of Apple software. If you already know me, this is obviously not a shock to you since you… already know me! However what you may not know is that I had a very close encounter with MacOS and my conclusion is that I am now even more convinced of how great things are in the non-Apple world.

Please do not assume that my frustration stems from not knowing MacOS. I am way past that. In the time since, I have used MacOS, configured it, installed several software suites, etc. I have gotten used to the gestures for the large touch pad without buttons, where the whole touch pad acts as a clickable button, or the lack of a right-click button on your mouse. These are all simple hurdles that anyone with an open mind can get past with a few hours of usage.

It all started a few months ago when someone I know decided to go with a MacBook Pro after having used Windows PCs forever. Starting from a very open-minded position I figured: we might test it anyway, everyone is praising both software and hardware so much that we might as well try, everyone says how easy it is to have them up and running that it was a tempting scenario. What reassured me the most that it was worth going in this direction was that I had been mostly surrounded by a like-minded group and it would be a reasonable experiment, just to know what the Apple crowd was so hyped about. After all, even though they are a mere 4% to 6% of the computer market, they are still in the millions. When compared to the 1.5 billion Windows users, they are just an insignificant sample, but my curiosity was excited with this opportunity. I thought “Who knows, they might be on to something I don’t know!”

What a disappointment! Never in a million years I would have thought that Apple was so messed up, particularly in light of the comments that most users have for their products and services.

Where can I start! Apple Mail is so limited: connecting into Google Apps corporate account was a struggle. After Apple Care was unable to connect into the service and account that worked just fine from a Windows PC (with and without MS Outlook), Android smartphone, iPhone and Windows Phone… The files were even packed and sent out to Apple for analysis and after about 24-48 hours it came back with a verdict of “Not our problem” and no additional help. Fortunately, we were able to resolve the issue in-house without Apple Care’s help. In the process we proved that it was actually an Apple issue when we had to rebuild the Apple Mail store (or whatever they call it).

Uninstalling an application is simply a joke! The official documentation indicates that for uninstalling an app, you just need to drag the icon to the trash… well; on the PC side, I thought; if you did that, you would only be removing the shortcut and not the actual program, settings and files that the program saves on the hard drive. I thought that this was one of the advanced MacOS features that make people praise the OS so much… How naïve of me! After finding some odd looking files, I just discovered that the program files were still there… so, in fact it is a similar scenario as Windows where you could potentially delete the shortcut to the application without actually uninstalling it. The only difference is that in Windows you have a Control Panel screen where you can uninstall any installed application, and this feature has only been in Windows since … err… Windows 95, for only 17 years! Apple’s detractors have always said Apple was extremely arrogant… but to this extreme? Unbelievable! To make matters worse; this was not a typo or mistake someone made on their documentation: Apple Care (Apple’s tech support over the phone) officially pushes this procedure and asks unsuspecting users to simply “delete their shortcuts“. I wonder what they would tell the users when they unsuspectedly run out of space even though they “uninstalled” all their software from their Macs.

I remember from the ad campaign from a few years back “I’m a Mac; I’m a PC“, one ad in particular where the PC was being poked fun at for having a security guard that wouldn’t let it do anything. This guard would keep asking for permission when a particular task needed to be done. This was a feature introduced in Windows Vista that would ask a do you allow app X to do Y; expecting the user to click on yes or no. MacOS takes this one step further and instead of just asking the user and instead it requires for the user’s password. So, back in the ad, the Mac; would have to key in a password every single time it needed to do something. Personally, this is a security measure I can live with,but oh…the irony is that after all the nagging and whining, in just a few years, MacOS could not find a better process than what was being ridiculed in an ad.

Malware prevention is one of the hottest topics of our time. A past lack of security in Windows allowed a whole generation of black-hat hackers (hackers with evil intentions) to write malware and viriii aimed at Windows PCs. Fortunately Windows is today one of the most secure environments in the market. Not because of lack of interest in writing malware for the environment but because some hard lessons were learned. MacOS has recently been characterized as being at least 10 years behind in terms of malware protection by industry experts. There is no education or documentation as readily available as there is on the Windows side that will teach users they need to protect themselves from these threats. Windows has a set of alerts that will raise a flag whenever you are running and your Antivirus is either inactive or hasn’t been installed; MacOS: nope.

Malware Prevention II: My friend was at an Apple Store, where one of the so-called “geniuses” recommended him to remove the AntiVirus that was installed on his computer. Whether MacOS protects against Virii or not or whether anti-virus software is needed or not has been long debated but Apple marketing would like users to believe they do not need it… while malware (amongst which Virus is just one category) spreads rampant on MacOS computers. Anti Virus software, these days covers users not only against Virus, but all kinds of malware. Suggesting users to uninstall the very software that will prevent malware from getting installed on your device, even if you specifically have to trigger it yourself is definitely non-genius-worthy.

Malware Prevention III: Apple Marketing’s half truths only hurt their own customers… they claimed that MacOS does not get PC virii on their website. As noted by PC World in “Apple Quitely Pulls Claims of Virus Immunity” article; Sophos, Kaspersky and other security expert companies are hoping that Apple takes security a bit more seriously. The latest malware, worms, botnets, trojans, etc have been particularly harmful for MacOS users.

MacOS plays nice with… nobody, not even customers. After several attempts and failures, we searched online for potential solutions to each and everyone of these issues and found millions (millions!) of pages of people that report the same set of issues we had, all of them reported similar lack of support, indifference and an utter lack of care from, ironically, Apple Care.

The funniest thing was that when I started talking about these issues with users that normally use Macs, the merrily acknowledged that this is very common. Everyone started mentioning how flaky Apple software was and how easy it is to just change one little setting and have the whole OS blow up in a mess that needs to be reconfigured completely. In fact, I heard from Mac users mouths’ come words like “fickle”, “flaky”, “inconsistent performace”, “high maintenance”, “unpredictable”, “erratic” and “unreliable”. I was as much shocked as I was amused! How could these people not switch to “the other” platform? In their minds Windows was worse, even though this might have been true in the past and true no more.

Given all these shortcomings and many more that are of smaller importance I can say that MacOS is a very frustrating yet inept OS for users who are not technically savvy. The risks that unsuspecting users face with an OS that does not aim at protecting the users or even itself it just too high for anyone to wants to place personal and private files in it. In addition to MacOS’s shortcomings, most Apple users are so blindly following Apple and anything it does, that they cannot even notice how much more useful and EASY Windows has become over the years.

About Diego Samuilov

Editor in Chief/Founder Diego Samuilov is an executive, consultant, IT strategist and book, e-book and web published author. Diego has worked in Microsoft’s environments since 1990. Since then, he has successfully filled many positions related to the Software Development lifecycle. Having worked as a developer, analyst, technical lead, project lead, auditor and, since 1996 a project manager, manager, director and VP in the Software Development, Server, Desktop and Mobile environments. Diego is very passionate about the software development process, which has played a great part in his skills development. Since the introduction of the first ever PDA (the Apple Newton MessagePad) in 1994 and Windows CE in 1998 he has pioneered and pushed the envelope in the field of mobile software development. He has developed many solutions used in mobile markets, desktop and server environments. He participates in public and private developer community events. He actively collaborates with the community at support forums and blogs. Diego is the author of "Windows Phone for Everyone" available [HERE].