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Apple’s ecosystem – I love it but…these 5 things make me MAD!

I’ve often mentioned it but never written about it. Today that changes…

Apple's ecosystem making me mad!

Pretty much every time I write a piece at some point, as hard as I try the phrase Apple’s ecosystem will creep in.

Trust me I fight the temptation hard but I can’t think of another way of re-phrasing it.

Apple has quietly and seamlessly built this walled garden around us almost without us noticing and without a doubt it is part of what locks us into carrying on buying Apple’s latest toys – and on the whole it works ever so well.

Even simple things like switching phones are so much easier if you are switching from iPhone to iPhone – bringing one close to the other pretty much gets the job done. iCloud sits in the background in an almost masterful fashion overseeing everything and keeping our Apple lives in order.

There is plenty to praise and love about the Apple life – the Photos app for instance is an app I’ve only recently started playing with and am finding out how powerful it is – it is a gem.

Yeah, there is nothing new to our photos and documents being in sync and available anywhere – that much we expect no, it’s the finer nuances of the Apple ecosystem that are of more interest – the ones that make owning multiple Apple devices such a seamless integration.

Apple life

Handoff is something I’ve mentioned from time to time – I love it.

When I get in from my morning run the fact I can just offer up the phone to one of my HomePods and it’ll carry on playing the album or podcast I was just listening to is genius!

Universal Control – one mouse across multiple Macs is just so convenient. Writing this I am sitting in front of my Studio Display with a 16-inch MacBook Pro to one side of it and an M2 MacBook Air to the other – and all are controlled with one keyboard, one mouse and one trackpad. Brilliant.

A quick sidebar on that one actually, this week my Bluetooth has been dropping out multiple times a day for no reason on my M1 MacBook Pro meaning that Universal Control has dropped too. Nothing has changed in the studio – I just wondered if any of you had noticed anything odd – I’m on Sonoma 14.3.1. I’d be interested to know if I’m alone with this glitch…

But odd problems like that to one side the Apple life is pretty bloody amazing. Every day it all just works – that is until it doesn’t!

As great as Apple is to live with it still has its moments – and they are so infuriating when they strike – so today I thought I’d vent my spleen on a few of the daily irritations I come across to see if they resonate with you…starting with the obvious one…

Siri

Hmmm – I could probably leave it there we all know the woes of using Siri but I couldn’t in a clear conscience write this story without at least mentioning it!

Although I’ve only used Siri and I had a brief taste of Google’s voice assistant alternative when I used the Pixel 8 Pro last year and the difference between them was shocking.

Theoretically, the wake-up command has been shortened to a simple Siri – well for me that works sometimes. The most flaky response is in the car when I use Apple CarPlay.

The car is the one place where voice assistants are super helpful but in my experience, Siri is at its worst in the car – a lot of the time I’ll just get no response and it hardly ever recognises the single word wake-up command – instead, I have to use the old Hey Siri command – and even then CarPlay won’t pick up on it – it’ll wake up the phone instead!

When Siri does work the answers and replies or just plain weird much of the time – and if I hear that “I can send details to your phone” one more time I may just launch a HomePod through the living room window!

Let’s face it Siri is a mess! We are hearing strong rumours that at WWDC this year Siri is going get a major makeover as Apple gets around to revealing its take on AI. Here’s hoping they nail it.

Siri as it stands is a bit of a joke.

Continuity camera

Right off the bat let me clear this one up – in itself, Continuity Camera is pretty neat.

If you’ve not used it you should! Quite possibly the best webcam you own will be the one in your pocket – and with Continuity Camera it means it hooks up to your MacBook or iMac so that you can use the iPhone camera for your video calls.

If you’ve updated to the latest tvOS you can even use it for FaceTime calls on your TV – if you are brave enough to see yourself in HD on a 55-inch panel that is! But it works – wirelessly and seamlessly.

So with all that praise why has it made it to today’s naughty list?

This one is going to be a bit user-specific I’ll admit but every single time I open up Premiere Pro my iPhone sparks up asking to connect as a camera input – every single sodding time! I know it’s a small thing but I just wish there was a way I could tell it to forget Premiere forever. All I want to do is get on with my project not continually disconnect my phone – grrrr!

And in that same vein…

Auto switching

Again – a great concept but living with it is a proper pain in the backside.

I’m gonna make the cheeky assumption that you may have more than one Mac. If you do, and you’re an AirPods user then you’ll feel this pain – sitting working on one Mac listening to something and then switching over to another Mac… at that point, the AirPods get themselves in a right paddy – suddenly they want to follow me to the other Mac – and here’s the odd thing it happens even when the other Mac isn’t playing anything.

Auto switching is one of those features that falls under the banner of useful in theory…to some boffin somewhere in a lab it made all the sense in the world – but in the wild – not so much…

You’ve left what behind?

Again, I’m fairly certain this one will have happened to you.

You leave a Mac or a pair of AirPods Max in the car for just a moment as you pop into a shop on the way home to get some dinner and the obligatory bottle when you get this notification on your Apple Watch saying that something has been left behind – every single time that sends the fear of god up me as without exception it first makes me think that something has been stolen.

Yes, I know it can be the notifications can be turned off in the Find My app – but it’s one of those things I always mean to do…but always forget to do.

A notification too far – what do you think?

The silent assassin

So – like most of us these days I have my phone set to silent. I don’t get that many calls anyway and it just seems a more zen state to have it set to silent.

I rely on either seeing calls as the phone is normally on the desk in front of me or getting a vibrating wrist with the Apple Watch.

But here’s the rub – again, like so many of these niggles I’ve mentioned today it only works sporadically – there seems no rhyme or reason. When it does work it’s the best way bar none to get a call notification but I just can’t rely on it.

The watch is also hit-and-miss with unlocking Macs. Ironically the Mac it works best on is my old 2015 27-inch iMac. I’ve tried to avoid buying a new Magic Keyboard with fingerprint recognition as the Apple Watch should work.

Don’t get me wrong – I love Apple’s ecosystem – AirDrop I’d be lost without, Apple Pay and CarPlay – all play a part in my day every day.

I guess I’m guilty of expecting everything Apple does to work every time – but sometimes even the mighty Apple falls short of the mark.

I’d love to know what naughty niggles you’ve come across in your day-to-day use of your Apple gear – surely there must be things that annoy you too.

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