Everything Apple Stuffed Up This Year

People like to believe that Apple is a company that never makes mistakes. Never has that logic been so obviously flawed as it was in 2017. This year, it seemed like Apple couldn't make it through a single week without some big, embarrassing screw up. So, for the sheer joy of it, we made a list.

All photos: Getty

The word "joy" bears a certain specificity here. By all business standards, Apple had an absolutely spectacular year. In the fourth quarter alone, the company brought in $US52.6 ($69) billion in revenue and growth in every single product category. The company even managed to grow its long-suffering Mac business and release a new iPhone that everyone agrees is awesome.

So there were some goofs. No big deal. Apple is still rich and successful.

Before diving into the chronological catalogue of disasters - which is a fun thing to do - it's useful to define what we're talking about when we say that Apple made some goofs. Let's be honest. The definition is broad. Apple has never been an invincible company, even during the hallowed reign of co-founder and mean manager Steve Jobs.

However, the mistakes the company made in 2017 range from upper-level management boondoggles to simple software bugs that ruined the blessed Apple user experience. Then there's the whole Apple-doesn't-want-to-pay-taxes business.

So let's start at the beginning of the year and bring you up to speed on everything Apple fucked up this year. It's a lot!

"Apple Sets It's Sights on Hollywood"

This is more of a stumble than a full fledged fuckup, but man is it grim. In mid-January, The Wall Street Journal reported that Apple was developing a plan for scripted television shows and possibly even feature films. While the strategy has worked well for other tech giants like Amazon and Netflix, nobody can confidently say that Apple succeeded in the original video game.

Its existing properties - shows like "Carpool Karaoke" and "Planet of the Apps" - are embarrassing at best. We actually used the headline "Apple's First TV Show Looks Like a Cry for Help" to describe the latter. Now, after a year and a reported $US1 ($1) billion budget, Apple still doesn't have a hit.

There's always next year.

Exploding iPhone 7 goes viral

Let's call this one an unsolved mystery. A teen in Arizona posted a video of her iPhone 7 Plus supposedly exploding back in February. The video went viral, and Apple said it was "looking into" the matter. While there had been other reports of exploding iPhone 7's, this particular one received a lot of media attention - and not the kind of media attention Apple likes.

Is it Apple's fault that a video of an exploding iPhone showed up on the internet? As far as we know, it is not. Still seems like somebody screwed up, though.

Siri doesn't understand women's basketball

In a minor kerfuffle, sports fans noticed that Siri thought women's NCAA teams only played two halves, when in fact, there are four quarters. That led the artificially intelligent assistant to label the third and fourth quarters of every women's NCAA game as a first and second overtime. That's not very artificially intelligent!

Apple no longer lets iPhones robocall 911

A teen got arrested last October for forcing iPhones to call 911 nonstop, bringing a Arizona town's police department to its knees. He was actually exploiting an iOS bug with the help of a piece of Javascipt he found on the internet. That's bad enough. But it took Apple nearly six months to fix the bug.

That fix finally came through in March of this year. So technically, the original fuckup here must have happened some time in 2016, but the fact that it took Apple so long to fix it puts it on this list.

Apple buys all the good trees

Despite many celebrated attempts at making its new headquarters environmentally friendly, Apple was bound to bungle the process at some point. That moment happened in April when the San Francisco Chronicle reported that other construction projects in the Bay Area were getting upset after Apple bought up all the good trees for its new multibillion-dollar campus. How rude.

Leaked employee injury hints at secret Apple products

Here we have some fuckups within a fuckup. Last spring, an Environment Health and Safety report about workplace safety at Apple was mistakenly sent to hundreds of Apple employees and then leaked to Gizmodo. Inside, there were allusions to mysterious new Apple products -- one of which could be an augmented reality headset - as well as some pretty pedestrian office injuries.

We don't know who fucked up by leaking the report, but it seems like somebody at Apple fucked up by building a prototype that burned people's eyeballs.

Creepy HomePod is creepy

As anticipated, Apple announced its own smart speaker, the HomePod, at WWDC in June. It seems pretty similar to an Amazon Echo or a Google Home, except it uses Siri instead of Alexa or Assistant. Also it includes an indicator on the top that's a dead ringer from the murderous artificially intelligent software HAL 9000 featured in 2001: A Space Odyssey. That's too bad.

Watching "Planet of the Apps" is like slowly dying

We've already covered this, but Apple's first original TV series is awful. The June premiere of "Planet of the Apps" was met with widespread hatred. Gizmodo's own Bryan Menegus said that "the most challenging aspect of watching it is arguably knowing which part to hate the most." He's honestly being too kind.

Apple leaks details about new iPhone

This one's a doozy. Apple, the company that's infamous for its ruthless secrecy about new products, pushed out a version of its HomePod firmware that also contained details about a new iPhone. The HomePod code suggested that Apple would soon release a bezel-free device with no home button, a touch-to-wake and some sort of facial recognition software built-in. We now know that Apple was indeed about to do all of those things.

In other words, Apple itself leaked the biggest features of the iPhone X before Gizmodo had the chance.

Apple leaks more details about new iPhone

Remember how embarrassing it was when Apple accidentally revealed new iPhone details in the HomePod firmware. Well, Apple encountered the exact same problem six weeks later, when the Gold Master build of iOS 11 leaked online. The additional information about the iPhone didn't include a picture of the new device, but it did confirm the existence of FaceID.

The leak also revealed the names of the new iPhones (the iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and X) as well as the existence of Animoji. On top of all that, the code showed that an Apple Watch with an LTE chip was on the way.

iOS 11 breaks a bunch of cool apps

One could argue that the very act of release iOS 11 amounts to an Apple fuckup, but for the purposes of this list, we're going to give every major iOS 11-related scandal its own little section. First up is the fact that the new operating system would not work with apps built for the older 32-bit iPhone processors.

That means if your favourite app didn't support the new 64-bit standard, it simply wouldn't open in iOS 11. Now obviously Apple is trying to push developers to build apps that work with its latest devices, but preventing its own users from using some apps they love is just rude.

iOS 11 tricks people into thinking Bluetooth and wi-fi turns off

Here's another rude thing: in the new iOS Control Center, you think you're turning off Bluetooth and wi-fi by deselecting their icons. But you're not. Toggling these features into the off position simply disables them. This really pissed off security researchers who believed many users would feel tricked into a false sense of security that their devices weren't talking to other devices when they actually were.

macOS High Sierra lets hackers steal your passwords

If you thought that only iOS 11 was riddled with problems, you're so silly because macOS High Sierra's release was also a shitshow. On the same day as its launch in September, a security researcher reported that hackers could access all of the passwords in the Keychain utility in plain text. Apple played down the issue at first and eventually fixed it.

But High Sierra would rear its ugly, bug-ridden head again a couple months later. More on that in a second.

Apple let Uber's iOS app take secret screenshots

Uber is a bad company that's done a lot of bad things, and on at least one occasion this year, Apple was complicit. For some reason, Apple let Uber include a feature in its iOS app that allowed Uber to record the device's screen, even when the app was only running in the background.

The app got yanked after security researchers pointed out the privacy invasion, but the fact that Apple let it happen in the first place is unsettling to say the least.

iPhone batteries develop swelling problem

Reports that iPhone batteries were swelling and causes displays to pop out because widespread enough that Apple launched an investigation into the issue in October. This was no exploding Samsung Galaxy sort of scandal, but it sure made Apple look bad.

iPhone X delays prevent many nerds from spending $1600 immediately

For months, news reports claimed that Apple was experiencing some supply chain issues that would make the iPhone X hard to get at first. Those reports turned out to be true, and for at least a month, after the phone's November 3 ship date, it was indeed very difficult to obtain in iPhone X.

This also meant that people were paying scalpers on eBay close to $2600 to get the device during the shortage. Obviously, it's not Apple's problem that people are so desperate to spend money on their products. It is pretty annoying that the company couldn't get its shit together in time so that the supply of its new iPhone matched up with the demand.

Face ID isn't flawless

A lot of people were worried that Face ID would be vulnerable to hackers, and to a degree, they were right. In addition to the feature getting a little confused when confronted with twins or a person wearing lots of makeup, some researchers in Vietnam claimed to have tricked Face ID completely with an elaborate mask.

This one's not such a huge deal, since Apple was obviously selling the iPhone X with its Face ID feature faster than it could make them. Still, Tim Cook probably wishes it hadn't happened, especially after the very public screw up, when Craig Federighi demoed Face ID on stage at the iPhone event and it didn't work.

iPhone X doesn't work in the cold


HomePod gets delayed until 2018

Once again, Apple is struggling to release its new products on time. Not two months after the iPhone X shortages, the company announced that the new HomePod smart speaker wouldn't be ready until early 2018. Too bad.

Security vulnerability lets anyone gain admin access to a Mac

Someone, Apple left a gaping hole in the macOS security because someone figured out how to gain access to all the user accounts by typing "root" into a username field and then skipping the password field. Once they had access, the intruder could delete accounts or grant themselves access to other accounts. It was even possible to do this remotely.

Apple fixed the bug pretty quickly, but wow.

iOS still sucks

As the year comes to a close, iOS 11 is still buggy as hell. This, in addition to the macOS screw ups, made it painfully clear that Apple and perfection were no never synonymous. In fact, it seems like Apple gets sloppier every year. And 2017 was a doozy.



    Maybe it's time for the US to split Apple into separate OS, phone, and computer companies.

    It’s a given that a new iOS will brake apps. This is not a new thing. Also, do you need to use such explicit language in this article?

      Legacy support for older architecture isn't something that would have been unreasonable to expect.

      Agree with you on the surprise left-field language though.

        The only popular consumer OS that really does well with legacy support is Windows, and that's because Microsoft have worked hard at it (probably to their detriment).

        iOS was slightly different because it stopped 32 bit apps from working - but on the other side, Apple are effectively forcing developers to support their software.

          There's no doubt that the entire Windows-on-Windows legacy system created numerous security issues, and I'm sure that's why Apple was happiest with a clean break from the entire 32-bit architecture.. but on the other hand I don't think legacy support -- or at least a period of transition -- would have been unreasonable. From my understanding, the notification period before iOS 11 release was minimal at best, which leaves developers and users worse off.

          I understand their reasoning, but either legacy support or a transition would have been better than cutting support with very little notification to users who would be affected. :(

          EDIT: It seems I was very mistaken on my notification period claim - Apple notified developers ages ago. My apologies.

          Last edited 18/12/17 12:32 pm

            Ummm you do know about iOS 10 don't you? THAT was the notification period. Apple said it wanted ALL developers to support 64bit or their apps will be removed from the App Store.

              Yeah as I added to the end of my comment nearly 2 hours before you wrote yours, my understanding was incorrect, and I apologise for it.

              If you'd have read down to the bottom of my comment you might've saved us both some time.

        Legacy support SUCKS BALLS. Until last year I had spent 18 years working in IT and my role was basically putting bandaids on broken arms keeping old software running on new platforms. There needs to be a point where someone has to say this is dumb we need to update our software. Apple forces this change every so often (the last time apps stopped working after an update was with Snow Leopard (10.6) which was 8 freaking years ago. That's a stellar run considering Windows has ballsed everything up with EVERY new release. There has NEVER been a smooth update with legacy crap software in the entire history of Windows so don't give M$ any credit.

        Legacy hardware is even worse and incidentally M$ hasn't even bothered with this either so once again don't give them any credit.

      Seriously? An Operating System's main purpose is to host applications and provide a degree of abstraction between the hardware and programs.

        Ironically, one of the things that has held Linux back from being widely adopted as a desktop operating system is the fact that it does not provide a stable ABI (Application Binary Interface). This means that applications need to be compiled for the specific version of Linux that it is being run on, which isn't so much of a problem for software that is distributed as source code, but makes distributing commercial software (where the source code is not made public) much more difficult.

        However it seems to me that Mac OS X / macOS / iOS have the exact same issue: developers are expected to release application updates every twelve months whenever Apple release a new OS version, whilst also being forced to support n prior versions.

      Firstly, "break", not "brake". The brake is the pedal in your car that makes it stop.

      Secondly, the big deal about iOS 11 is that it completely disabled 32-bit apps. Just...completely. After updating to iOS 11 you can't run 32 bit apps AT ALL. They don't even start. And it basically came out of the blue with very little warning - Apple only announced it was happening a few days before the rollout started. They basically said "oh by the way guys iOS 11 disables 32-bit apps" and then the updated started rolling out.

      I do agree that the expletives were unnecessary though.

      Things the article missed I think yo do with the iPhone X:

      - The stupid notch
      - The WEIRD 19.5:9 aspect ratio (seriously what the hell, 19.5:9?)
      - The removal of the home button with that old home functionality moved to a "swipe up" movement from the bottom of the screen, which actually breaks some apps and makes task switching unnecessarily tedious

        " And it basically came out of the blue with very little warning - "
        No it really didn't.
        Apple stopped accepting updates to 32-bit apps in June 2015.
        iOS10.1 was giving warning when you opened 32bit apps.

        This is entirely the fault of developers.

          Why should developers, including those that release free applications for other people's use and enjoyment, be forced into a life of updates because Apple decide something isn't trendy enough anymore?

            are you seriously implying the move to 64bit was style based and not function based?

              No, I'm suggesting that 32-bit support was deprecated to reduce the burden of support on Apple, by increasing the burden of support for developers.

                I'm not sure how you meant that from what you typed, but sure man. Why should an OS dev bloat there OS with legacy support? they gave app devs months to sort themselves out.

                  Apple has the highest rate of OS updates of any major vendor - Is it reasonable to expect all app developers to update their application every twelve months?

                  Is it reasonable to consider 32 bit support for hundreds of thousands of apps to to be bloat, whilst considering things like ARKit, HomeKit, Apple Music and additional emojis to be important new features?

                  I disagree.

                  It's not just about making updates to accommodate the known changes that Apple make, it's also about regression testing and accommodating the unknown changes and bugs that Apple inadvertently introduce.

                  All of this would almost be tolerable if the yearly iOS updates yielded new features requiring an updated OS, but most of the time each successive iOS update mainly introduces new applications and support libraries that could easily be accommodated without any significant OS changes.

                The burden of support isn't on Apple, it's on developers of individual apps. If they don't want to support their app, that's fine - it just ends up not working. That's on developers, not Apple.

                  The Operating System is there to support applications, not the other way around.

                  @lee the OS isn't there to support applications, developers write applications for the OS. If you get ample notice to port your 32bit app to a new 64bit OS update, and you fail to do so, that's entirely your problem. Support from Apple extends to making the environment easy to develop for - which they have. Support from Apple is giving developers notice of changes - which they did. Support is not bending the knee to every developer who can't or won't update their apps for architectural changes that ultimately benefit end users.

                  Users support developers by using or buying their apps. As a user, I don't support developers that abandon their apps and would look for something with continued support.

                  There's absolutely no issue with making architectural changes that require updates to applications. My gripe is the regularity with which Apple make these changes.

                  Look at the debacle with mDNSResponder / discoveryd as an example.

                  Having to regression test an application, including Apple's own applications, every twelve months is a ridiculous expectation. The general consensus is that Apple's software quality is declining - which seems strongly correlated with their move to strict yearly updates.

                  Higher quality OS updates less often would be better for everyone.

                  As for my comments about the OS being there to support applications, I don't understand the downvotes. That is the sole purpose of an OS in the true sense of the word. The problem is, what we commonly call an OS has evolved to include applications, frameworks and the kernel.

    Trolls like to believe that Apple is a company that never makes mistakes.

    Fixed that for you.

    Apple is a tech company, run by humans. I’ll leave it as an exercise for the students to figure out what that means.

    Meanwhile Google and Facebook are collecting all your data, even when you tell them not to, and selling it to advertisers.

    Google is allowed to get away with recording your private conversations, has been allowed to create a walled garden around Android, and refuses to use its authority to force Android OS upgrades. And the screen on its flagship phone is reported to suck. But that too is ok.

    Say hi to Jesus Diaz for us.

      The fan obsession and perceived need to defend is real here.

      The article never compared Apple to Google or Facebook. For all we know there could be similar summary articles for those companies and more in the pipeline.

      Out of curiosity - did you get past the first line, or did you simply take extreme offence to that and decide to berate the article based on your perception of that? I take umbrage with plenty of stuff on with my visits to certain Allure network publications, but I at least try to read the article before I write up a comment.

      ..and if you think they aren't all in the exact same boat when it comes to treating your personal information as a commodity then you're a blind fanboy, as well as a vocal one.

      Last edited 18/12/17 11:00 am

        It was juvenile piece, written to attract the trolls.
        And they came, as expected.

        As I said, only trolls claim Apple is perfect, while completely ignoring the worse stuff that Google and Facebook do.

          It says a lot that you take this article as the author's be-all and end-all opinion not just on Apple, but on Google and Facebook. As I said, this article dealt solely with Apple -- there may be others coming -- and made no comparisons to any other organisations...

          That didn't stop you from running in and starting though... and the total useful points made were.. hold on, let me count them...


          As I said, only trolls claim Apple is perfect, while completely ignoring the worse stuff that Google and Facebook do.

          As I said before, you're making a big assumption in thinking Giz have jumped onto some sort of anti-Apple, pro-Google/Facebook bandwagon. You're reading too much into something that was never written.

          Last edited 18/12/17 1:48 pm

      Yeah I was thinking "Apple is a company that never makes mistakes", said no Apple user ever.

    Wow, whoever edited this article must have stuffed up in the spirit of the topic. I miss when Journalists could read and write good.

    "Apple Sets Its Sights on Hollywood"

    While the strategy has worked well for other tech giants like Amazon and Netflix, nobody can confidently say that Apple's succeed in the original video game.

    We actually used the headline "Apple's First TV Show Looks Like a Cry for Help" to describe the later.

    I had to stop at this point. Maybe go back to the editing board on this one and do more than a spell check this time?

      Typos do occur, thanks to our team being human - thanks for the heads up. This won't be a problem when robots take our jobs.

        Will they still talk to us and apologise in the comments section though?

          They won't. But some people will enjoy that, I think :P

          no, but they will tell us how to make $2000 in just one day sitting at home though.

            You don't have proofreaders there or anything? Because it's pretty horrific in recent years.

            Last edited 19/12/17 12:20 pm

              We do not. So we do our best, and sometimes there are mistakes.

        Ah I see jovially teasing a team of humans for ironically making so many errors on an article teasing a company of humans for making so many errors is lost on you. ;)

          i am so very tired, jaded

            Only one more week until Christmas crazy time is over!

              hahahaha yep! And I'll be here the whole time. Drop by and say hi while y'all are on holidays, yeah?

                Sadly, so will I. Xmas / new year period is my most productive week of the year.

                  @raejohnston when I’m not hanging out with puppy dogs at the office, apparently I’m a senior programmer / team lead.

        Well hopefully the bots can at least be programmed without all the sailor expletives. Estes makes himself and allure sound so unallureing

          While it's not something I include in my writing, there's been swearing on Giz since well before my time. As he is one of the Giz US writers it's not my place to tell Adam what to do, I'm afraid.

          If a couple of light hearted swearwords offends you that much the internet is not a place you want to be.

        People complaining about spelling. People complaining about rude words. People not understanding this article is essentially a light hearted giggle, not some deep and in depth look into Apple.

        I mean, fuck me. The comment section for Gizmodo Australia has become almost as bad as Gizmodo.US

        In the words of one of Australia's most underrated bands:
        Australia, don't become America.

          I really dont get why people like those above get so up in arms over a couple of harmless swear words.

          They really need to get into the real world instead of the perfect bubble they pretend exists where no one swears. They sound really up themselves.

    Many of the points are legitimate issues. Many are a complete joke though and would have gone right by all but about 50 people. I mean seriously, "Apple buys all the good trees". No one heard or cares about things like that and it doesn't reflect poorly on Apple even if true other than the fact a half dozen landscapers probably had to look further for some plants. Hows that an Apple stuff up?

    Last edited 18/12/17 1:14 pm

      Yeah I stuffed up pretty good when I bought all of the remaining soda bottles at the store the other day... supply chain issues: totally the consumer’s fault...

    I haven't purchased an apple product since 2009 and don't intend to do so until Steve Jobs comes back with the innovation

    This sounds like a drunk Sunday, my dad doesn't respect the journalism job i have, I'll show him and I'll show Apple, kind of article.

    USB-C to HDMI dongles on a 2017 MacBookPro, flaky as all hell, seems like it keeps discovering each monitor then resetting and discovering the monitor again, gets stuck in a loop. One you have both external monitors working , something as simple as the laptop going to sleep or restarting can be enough for it to go back into the monitor/dongle loop-of-death.

      I had the same problem with about 4 off-brand dongles until I finally ponied up for the Apple one. a firmware update automatically installed on plugging the thing in and I haven't had a disconnection problem since..

      ..however it won't recognise the two monitors off the dock as separate monitors, but bootcamp into win10 and it does. nothing I've tried works except for running the 2nd monitor off a different usb-c port.

    You missed my favourite one - they updated tvOS and made it so the home button didn't go to the home screen any more. It went to a particular screen in some Apple app instead. Completely broke the ease of browsing the OS.

    And somehow it got through god knows how many layers of Apple employees and no one piped up and said "guys, we seem to be making it so the home button doesn't go to the home screen any more. Shouldn't the home button go to the home screen?"

    Thank Christ they had an option so you could switch it back to the unmistakably correct behaviour.

    I picked a convenient year to move to Android.

    Quirks aside, the worst in my book was the null password for root - bloody hell...

    And yet, I'll stick with Apple thanks.

    Better to be the customer than the product.

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