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  • Apple and Losing Old Friends

    July 24th, 2015

    Some of us have been extremely close to Apple. Not so much being acquainted with the people there, although some of us are. It’s about being loyal to Apple gear for a number of years. I can tell you that it hasn’t always been a cake walk. For years, I was regarded as the odd man out, the fellow who refused to get with the program and use Windows as everyone else did.

    While I did own a Windows PC for a very short period of time in the mid-1990s, I found that I rarely used it and eventually sold it off. I also reviewed Windows computers from time to time for various publications, but I knew that, after a few weeks, I could send them back.

    And return to my Mac.

    But Apple doesn’t always make it easy for users of their products. They often do foolish things, and not just in the old days but in the era of the “second coming” after Steve Jobs returned to the company. One of the biggest problems remains online services. Anything related to iCloud, such as mail and synced content, may suddenly become unavailable or get messed up somehow.

    Since Apple Music arrived, some subscribers have complained about corrupted iTunes libraries. Tracks would be missing, duplicated, or mislabeled. DRM would be applied even to music you owned free and clear. It got downright confusing, and all you wanted to do was take advantage of a 90-day free trial and see if you really wanted to rent music.

    While I haven’t seen any evidence of file corruption on my own equipment, I am not enamored of the flaky manner in which it handles the “For You” listings that are supposedly tailored to my musical tastes. Even though I frequently specify, in Music for iOS, that I do not like an album, it remains in the list. I religiously select the artists I don’t like, using Music’s “I Don’t Like This Suggestion” feature, and they are still there. I also wonder why iTunes still lacks that feature, but it doesn’t matter if it has no impact.

    I assume things will get better, and file corruption issues may be resolved or fixed, but it may be too late for some people.

    Take Jim Dalrymple of The Loop, a professional musician and veteran tech journalist who has covered Apple since the 1990s. His work background includes a stint at Macworld, and he is well connected. Clearly he has sources within Apple that sometimes feed him exclusives, witness the fact that he will occasionally predict, accurately, whether or not a certain rumored product will actually appear. A terse “nope” is sufficient to confirm the rumor is unfounded, and he’s always right.

    Jim is also realistic about is praise and criticisms when it comes to Apple. He doesn’t have blinders, so when something upsets him, you can bet he won’t hold back.

    So when Jim complains that “Apple Music is a nightmare and I’m done with it,” you know that he’s really upset. It’s not about a few glitches, but significant deal breakers, and Apple surely has some explaining to do.

    In his article on The Loop, Jim disclosed a litany of problems with Apple Music, but one particular incident was clearly one of the straws that broke that camel’s back:

    As if all of that wasn’t enough, Apple Music gave me one more kick in the head. Over the weekend, I turned off Apple Music and it took large chunks of my purchased music with it. Sadly, many of the songs were added from CDs years ago that I no longer have access to. Looking at my old iTunes Match library, before Apple Music, I’m missing about 4,700 songs. At this point, I just don’t care anymore, I just want Apple Music off my devices.

    Now Jim isn’t blameless. He should have had a full backup of his music, so he’d be protected if something went wrong. I just wonder why he didn’t have a drive with Time Machine at hand, so he’d be able to restore his iTunes library to the condition it was in before installing Apple Music. But he admits that, “I also failed by not backing up my library before installing Apple Music.”

    Regardless, that problem and the others detailed in Jim’s article were entirely unnecessary. It appears that Apple Music isn’t as kind in situations where a music library is extremely large. Apple needs to do something to help customers recover their lost music, if possible, and to repair broken databases.

    As for me, I’m sticking with Apple Music for now. I do keep multiple backups of my stuff, and I recommend that, if you wish to give the service a try, make sure you can revert to your old music library if things turn bad. I would also hope that Apple is working hard on the problem and solutions will soon be at hand.

    I’d also be interested to see how Apple responds to the bad news from someone who was, for years, on their side. I very much suspect it’s a case of all hands on deck to see what can be done.



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    4 Responses to “Apple and Losing Old Friends”

    1. DaveD says:

      Who has not been at Mr. Dalyrimple’s plight. When a situation calls for a backup and knowing it is not up-to-date. I have called myself more than a dummy many times trying to calm down and to accept the situation.

      I do recall the grief working on a Windows PC which kept getting in the way of trying to get things done. Yes there were times it was my error The thought of picking up the PC and giving it the heave-ho popped in my mind a number of times. I hate to admit the same thought has crept in when I have situations with my Yosemite Mac. Are there complicated or convoluted things in the current state of OS X?

      Yes, iCloud is finicky. When it works, it is great. When it does not, I have to do a workaround. I thought that iCloud is going to be wonderful when upgrading the Mac to OS X Lion to transist out of MobileMe. I get good results from my iPad and (Yosemite and older) Macs with Mail, Calendar, and Notes. Pages document (new/revised) on the iPad appear in Mavericks Mac. Pages and TextEdit documents (new/revised) on Yosemite Mac in iCloud limbo, not in Mavericks Mac nor the iPad. My hunch is that they are on iCloud Drive which has never been setup due my older Macs. So I remain cautious with any new iCloud feature.

      I do think that Apple needs to be out in front with notes of awareness/advisement of what will happen to your music files on the Mac and iTunes Match before using the new Apple Music service. Wished I was aware of a caveat with iCloud Drive which I assumed that it was going to be just like iDisk.

    2. Peter says:

      He should have had a full backup of his music, so he’d be protected if something went wrong.

      Well, he did have a full back-up of his music up in the cloud–y’know, iTunes Match. That’s administered by Apple, and we all trust Apple to not screw up our data. Right?

      So what you’re saying is that he should have had a back-up just in case Apple’s software decided to wipe out his music library. Why? This is a released product–it’s not like he’s using betas or something. Isn’t it a fair assumption that Apple’s released software will actually work?

      “Gosh, sorry we ate your music library and the back-up that you’re paying $24.99 a month for. You had your own back-up, right?”

      The other part that should bother him even more is that Apple actually deleted his music. This is music he owned. Why is Apple messing with music that he owns?

      Anyone who believes that Apple isn’t “The Man” when it comes to music should consider this.

    3. patrick says:

      It does sound like a beta mess. I don’t don’t know. I only use Music on my phone, the app that is, because there is no other choice. It seems okay, except: 1) the slider is so thin and small, it’s hard to move the slider to advance the music. And hard to see. 2) I work in a building where the phone signal is not good. When I go to play music, Apple Music app tries to phone home and my music screen goes blank and I’m unable to play music. It’s like Apple App needs to phone home for me to even see what music is on my phone. Also, the app will lose my place when playing music when I launch it because it seems to default to the streaming music part of the app.

      Apple is starting to feel like MS. Like they forget about the user and the focus is on steering you toward there services. Added to the fact there are 2 dozen or so Apple apps on my phone I can’t delete. I have no plans to buy their watch, yet the app is there. So I have an Apple graveyard screen for their apps, most of which I don’t use because their map and cloud services are not as good or reliable as others.

      For the record, I’ve been using Apple products since 1980. Typing this on a Chromebook because I prefer it over my Mac 99% of the time.

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