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Five seconds after the “Restarting Your Computer” popup the error message in the middle followed – as the countdown kept going, I just waited it out. When the countdown was done, nothing happened. I then clicked “Try Again” in the error message, and again nothing happened.

So I clicked “Restart Now” in the System Preferences pane once more – and it finally restarted. As macOS has adopted “Windows File Copy Dialog” estimation for upgrade progress a while ago, I then stepped away for an hour to let it get on with it.

When I returned, it greeted me with a “Your computer was restarted because of a problem” error dialog – and guess what, the update was not installed. Sigh.

Just as a prelude: I am not a Apple Music user, and I have not been one for several years now. I did a six month trial around early 2017 where I went full in on it to really give it a chance. In the end I decided that it sucks for my needs and never looked back. Except when Apple’s obnoxious ads force me to literally look at it, of course. But you can bet your ass that I’m using any available recourse to banish the very existence of Apple Music from all my devices as much as is humanly possible.

Earlier today I was deep into a Zoom meeting in the office of my apartment when suddenly fairly loud music started playing from somewhere in the house. This is very unusual for my neighbors, so I was a bit irritated, but didn’t think much of it. Quite alright if they do it once in a while.

After a few minutes I decided to briefly excuse myself from the meeting to see where it came from and possibly close a window or door to dampen the noise. While walking over to the living room I started to think if it could possibly be my HomePod? And it actually was. Concerned and annoyed I quickly tapped it to stop/pause playback and went back to finish my meeting in peace.

I also checked my phone real quick to see what actually had been playing as I didn’t recognize the music at all. I saw what the above screenshot is showing, and was actually a little shocked. What on earth could I possibly have said during the Zoom call that Siri somehow picked up and then triggered this Apple Music / radio / whatever this definitely-not-from-my-library content is playback?

After finishing up the call and telling Philipp about it, he showed me Nick Heer’s tweet, featuring a screenshot where Apple was announcing some new Apple Music goodie – the exact thing that my HomePod started playing out of the blue.

As I wrote on my response to the tweet:

  • I’m not a Apple Music subscriber (and I made sure to triple-check that fact again after this event)
  • I have never before in my life listened to that artist
  • I have not seen the ad from Nick’s tweet myself, nor did I acknowledge, activate, subscribe or even click/tap on anything even remotely related to this
  • I did not even use or interact with either my iPhone nor my HomePod within hours of this happening

So I guess my question for you, Apple, is this: What the heck?

Apparently it is not possible to review a history of the voice commands that a iPhone or a HomePod have processed, which is absolutely ridiculous. I tried going through the HomePod’s analytics data, but nothing in there looked useful. Let me know if I missed a way to verify if it really did start completely on its own, or if it “just” misunderstood something I said. I deem this unlikely, as it has never happened before and the office is fairly far from the living room. It happens a lot when I watch TV in the same room. I’ve requested a fresh GDPR report, maybe there’s something in there.

In case you’re not a connoisseur of technical Minecraft videos like myself – the screenshot above is not showing a mostly blank video. It’s showing a video that should fill the entire screen, but for some bizarre reason is shrunk down to the size of a stamp when rotated into landscape.

If you look carefully, you’ll see that this post actually ties back to the footnote about in-app browsers from a few days ago, because the mobile YouTube website here is of course loaded in one of those. It shouldn’t have, but it did. I don’t know why, or what I could do to make it behave differently. And I wouldn’t even care all that much if it at least almost worked. It’d be okay that it won’t be in my account’s watch history, no big deal. It might be annoying if I wanted to add it to a playlist, but really, I’m not asking for much. Just let me see the video.

I have a Google account. I made a YouTube page, channel, whatever they call it these days, which they forced on you years ago. I even pay for their Premium service. I have the official app installed on my iPhone. I’m doing everything right. I’m a good little customer.

And in theory, YouTube links should open in the app. Often they do. Sometimes they don’t. Sometimes I’m stuck in the in-app browser instead. Seeing ads despite paying for Premium. Not being able to interact with things using my account. Being forced to this broken experience instead. There’s no pattern as to when it works and when it doesn’t.

And of course it’s not that big of a deal. I can just copy the link, try opening it again with actual Safari. Sometimes that will open the app. Sometimes it won’t, but show the “Open in the app” bar on top, though sometimes it also doesn’t do that. And I’m just so tired. Why can’t things just work. I only want to open a damn resource. What happened that something as benign as this has become such a horror show. I honestly dread interacting with links on mobile these days, because so often it will result in a 30 to 60 second interruption where I’ll have to perform some voodoo dance to make things work.

Love it when some minor iOS update puts a few upselling ads into my settings menu. Remember when we celebrated how Apple finally stopped providers from doing this shit?

So many questions… for example: Why show this instead of restarting automatically, it’s not like I’ve got a choice.

Up until a few years ago, I used to feel good when sharing Twitter links. Compared to the other handful of websites that now make up our entire lives, it was the best option:

  • Not a walled garden like Facebook or Instagram where you either don’t see any content at all or are bombarded with “sign up to continue” popups after scrolling down more than ten pixels.
  • Not horribly confusing and overwhelming for people that don’t use it regularly like Reddit, be it the old or the bad design.
  • Mostly clean and straightforward links.

None of that is true anymore. As a user that isn’t logged in you’re now bombarded with the same engagement nonsense as anywhere else.

Even if logged in, they’re so desperate for increasing engagement that UI clarity suffers, for example when “Related Tweets” will be shown in a way that makes them look like they belong to a thread.

And since a few weeks (for me, seems to be rolled out in stages) there’s some weird, random new tracking parameter when sharing links to tweets. Now I have to make an effort to share clean links, or rely on additional tools that automatically remove tracking garbage from URLs in my clipboard.

As a year-long Twitter user who’s always logged in on all devices, I didn’t really consciously notice how things deteriorated over time. But thanks to the fresh hell that every damn iOS app has its own integrated “browser”1, even despite already having an account I now often see what Twitter unleashes on people not willing to succumb to their pleas for signing up.

  1. Sometimes that is actually preferable, but I still think that overall it’s quite the indictment on how much iOS still sucks for multitasking that just opening a link is so much more cumbersome and interrupting than it is on a desktop. It’s ridiculous how many high-profile apps have a dedicated setting for where you want links to open. Some (Apollo, a great app!) even have specific options for links to specific sites. ↩︎

Justus writes: “For months now my 2014 MacBook Pro has been nagging me to upgrade to MacOS Monterey. And I would love to…except my laptop is older than Monterey supports!”

Thanks Justus for the submission!

If you have AirTags in the vicinity of your iPad it drains its battery for no reason.

The past months I’ve been wondering why my iPad Pro always needed to be recharged when I used to use it without charging for weeks.

I’m not the only one:

Literally the only helpful piece of information for me here would be the exact starting time in my current local timezone, because depending on when exactly DST starts in each country it might be an hour sooner or later.

While I do have all my devices set to English, I of course also have correctly specified where I live, so this should be about the easiest thing in the world to provide.

Instead, Siri demonstrates that not only is it unable to give that information, apparently it doesn’t even know what timezones are at all. Also it seems like I’m pronouncing “GMT” as badly as “30 minutes”.

I also recorded the attempt of getting any useful information out of my HomePod, and playing back that recording on my iPhone managed to trigger Siri on that same device. I feel like I’m taking crazy pills, because things like that were already working quite well years ago. What the heck did they do to make Siri so much worse?