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I guess it’s iMessage week at AT. I just don’t understand how iMessage is such a steaming pile of garbage. How dare I try looking up something from… *checks notes* yesterday! I’ve cut the recording as to not waste too much of your valuable data, but it went on for almost a minute (full video) before I gave up and force-quit the app.

iMessage, many many years ago, was amongst the very best instant messengers. I was converting people to using the app (or even to Apple altogether) just because how good iMessage was. It’s the opposite now, I’m trying to get the very few people I’m still using it with to change to something else.

That was a new one for me: The “Send message” arrow simply stayed disabled. For absolutely no reason at all. Closing the share dialog and restarting the interaction fixed it. Deleting the message and typing something else didn’t. Weird.

Setting aside how unbelievably cringe the translated versions of these Apple Fitness motivational default responses are (which is why I’m mocking my brother with a Kraut gif in response), it absolutely blows my mind that so many years later they still show up like a normal message in macOS. If I had seen the message on my laptop first, I’d have thought my brother had a stroke or someone stole his phone.

I was subscribed to Apple Arcade about two years ago, for a month. I guess I must have allowed it to send notifications back then. Or maybe I did allow Game Center to send them. Either way, I’m sure that it is technically perfectly fine for this push notification to be sent.

But as I’m currently not subscibed to Apple Arcade and haven’t had access to this game since my subscription ended two years ago, this is basically just a very personalized ad. And apparently an unintentional one at that: Unfortunately I didn’t have the foresight to start recording before I tapped it, but it just opened the App Store app. Not even on the Arcade page, just the default landing.

Let’s ignore for a moment how extremely annoying it is that any remotely useful app these days has to jump through these hoops and build a dialog like this, explaining to people how to make their OS allow the app to do its job.

Let’s also set aside how weird the location for this is: The “Accessibility” sub-menu of the “Privacy & Security” settings (while there’s also top-level “Accessibility” settings).

Wouldn’t it be nice if this would at least work as expected, no matter how silly the expectation? Because it doesn’t, at least not after I updated an app that I had already approved before. Regardless of how often I re-checked Espanso1 again in the list in those “Accessibility” settings, the dialog would not go away, and the app would not work anymore.

As a little bonus, this is what the list looked like before the very first time I re-checked it:

The famous three-state boolean switch, who doesn’t love it.

Don’t you just love it when a two-state UI control element seems to have three different states? Is it just a visual bug? A functional bug? Intentional functionality? Who knows, probably not even Apple themselves.

Still, after a click it did show in beautiful blue like all the other enabled/approved apps – but didn’t actually work.

The solution is fairly simple: You need to remove the entry completely using the + - controls at the bottom, then add it again and enable it afterwards. It just works!

  1. Great tool, by the way – think Alfred snippets, but more easily version-controlled and without platform lock-in. The latter being something I find increasingly important after the death of “Mac-assed” Mac apps↩︎

Left: What I see about 95% of the time when swiping down since upgrading to iOS 16.

Right: What I always want to see when swiping down, and what I always saw when doing so in iOS 15.

I waited many, many weeks to see if maybe it just had to “re-learn” what to suggest, but even a few updates later, “Siri Suggestions” in Search are still completely broken and rendering the feature basically useless for me – I can search for something, then delete the search term again, and most often (but not always…) the suggestions will then be shown. But that defeats their entire purpose: Being a shortcut that lets me skip searching.

As many others, I recently took another look at Mastodon.1 This is the web view that pops up when you’re performing a login in the official “Mastodon for iPhone and iPad” app.

Surely there has to be a way for iOS to understand that a web view is already running inside the very app for which it is showing the Smart App Banner?

  1. You can find me, Philipp and also Annoying Technology there now. ↩︎

A few weeks ago I signed up for a Udemy course and opened an account there for that reason. This was literally the first email I got from them, more than five minutes before normal onboarding/invoicing/etc. mails. I don’t even remember consciously having deselected any “Newsletter” checkboxes during the process – but even if I did that still means I have never signed up for anything in the first place.

Another day, another fun game of “Just a very low priority UX bug, or maybe a dark pattern that they figured out leads to 0.2% more subscribers in the end?”.