10 Years of Making Apps

Why all my iOS Apps are on hold - or iCloud sucks Part II

Not a day goes by that I don’t receive questions about the current state of my iOS companion Apps for my OS X Apps which I published a year or even two years ago.

And since then – so for almost two years now – all I can do is give the same answer over and over again:

They’re almost finished. I’m just waiting for Apple to finally fix the iCloud problems.

And yes, that’s the only reason. I’m not sitting here doing nothing and telling convenient lies just to avoid work.

Quite the opposite is true. In those two years I’ve rewritten my iCloud code several times now in the hopes of finding a working solution. Apple clearly hasn’t.

Core Data and iCloud sync are still a joke. I can’t count the number of developers and companies that all ran into the same trouble and finally gave up – meaning they dropped iCloud support completely after hundreds of thousands of users lost their data.

Using Core Data also means that the data is not securely encrypted, so you try to build your own secure and reliable syncing databases using iCloud. And you fail. It may work most of the time. Until it doesn’t. Without any chance to understand why. Your users will blame you and I don’t blame them.

Since Apple is telling them that iCloud just works, it must be the developers fault. If you don’t incorporate iCloud into your Apps, Apple will never feature them – meaning you’ll most likely need a second and third job to pay your bills and to buy all those Macs and devices to test the not working iCloud. At least when you have only one ‘smaller’ App on the store.

And users demand it. Because Apple tells them that Apps need to have it and that it just works. So, if you don’t feature iCloud, no one is going to buy your App.

Core Data doesn’t work. Your own solutions built on top of iCloud don’t work, thus you finally start to rewrite your Apps to all use a document based approach – because it seems to work for document based Apps. At least that’s what they tell you.

Until you realize it does not.

Yes, you could use one of those other sync services. Kinda leads the whole iCloud thingie ad absurdum. Without iCloud, no support from Apple in terms of featuring, your users have to sign up (and maybe pay) for yet another service, or they simply skip your App because of that, and there’s this big elephant, hovering over the App Stores, asking when Apple will ban those competitors.

Because you have to use iCloud. And it just works, you know?

No it doesn’t!

It hasn’t worked for almost two years now and I am the one feeling ashamed every time I have to give the same ridiculous answer why I still haven’t finished my iOS Apps.

Isn’t it time already that this feeling got ahold of the right people for a change?