Apple Has Had a Bad Week in Terms of Software Crashes and Security Flaws

Apple, a company that prides itself on customer experience, just had one of its worst customer-facing weeks in history, with a major security flaw on macOS High Sierra and a bug in iOS that rendered some iPhones essentially unusable. It has been an embarrassing turn of events for a technology company that frequently boasts about industry-leading customer satisfaction levels.

The company’s two biggest and most important platforms —iOS and macOS — experienced serious issues that required last-minute, rush-job patches. What’s worse, these flaws were not minor inconveniences —the macOS security hole could leave a system completely compromised, while the iOS bug made iPhones crash repeatedly, rendering them essentially unusable.

It all started on Tuesday, when a major vulnerability in High Sierra gained publicity. The issue actually existed for weeks —and maybe months — before it garnered its justified widespread attention this week.

The Mac flaw provided root system administrator access in High Sierra without the need for a password. That’s about as critical of a flaw as you can imagine on a widespread platform like macOS.

Apple responded a day later, issuing a quick fix to patch the hole. The company was also compelled to apologize, humbly stating: “Our customers deserve better.” The rushed patch broke file sharing —a minor inconvenience considering the severity of the flaw that the patch fixed, but still noteworthy from a user experience perspective.

Once it seemed like the macOS issue might be behind it, the clock turned to Dec. 2, and a particularly troublesome bug in iOS 11.1.2 was discovered. Users affected by the issue found that their iPhone would repeatedly crash, sometimes as frequently as every few seconds. Whether on the home screen or within an app, the device would crash to a black screen with a spinning wheel before returning to the lock screen.

The fix is not exactly simple. It requires going into Settings and disabling notifications on an app-by-app basis —a process that can be particularly frustrating if your iPhone is continuously crashing. Apple responded, as it did with the macOS bug, by pushing out a quick fix for iOS.

When installing iOS 11.2, users are told that the update “introduces Apple Pay Cash,” but that’s incorrect, as the feature isn’t even live yet, given the fact that the iOS update was pushed out the door early. Imagine users who may not be technically savvy and have no idea why their iPhone kept crashing Saturday morning. It’s likely that Apple’s support teams are going to be working overtime this week.