OS X Mail Scrolling

Since OS X 10.10 “Yosemite” came out, Apple’s Mail client has had a simple but annoying bug. The “home” key doesn’t work right.

On previous versions of OS X, if you were viewing a large thread of emails—such as a daily notification that’s always sent with the same subject—you could click in the message pane, push the “home” key on your Apple extended keyboard, and you’d zip right to the top of the list of messages.

Well, that’s still there in Yosemite… but it doesn’t quite work right. The “home” key takes you almost to the top of the list. You then have to scroll about an inch or so to actually view the top of the topmost message.

This is a little detail, a small thing. But it’s annoying. It’s an obvious flaw. And it should be an easy fix. Something’s not right in the code that processes scrolling to the home position. The calculation is a little off. It’s 100% repeatable, and it shouldn’t be hard to nail down the bug in the code.

The flaw started in 10.10, and it’s still present in 10.10.4.

iOS Lock Screen Keyboard

I don’t even remember when this bug first appeared. It was present in iOS 7. It might have been in iOS 6; I don’t recall. It’s definitely present in every version of iOS 8 up through the current 8.4.

Let’s say you have an iPad that’s been configured for a non-“simple” passcode, one that uses letters. Sometimes, when you go to unlock it—either by swiping, or especially by opening a Smart Cover—the keyboard is unresponsive. On iOS 8.4, at least, you’ll know because the Enter and various shift keys will be missing. On older versions, you would only know you’ve hit the bug because your typing does nothing. The only solution is to swipe left, wait a second, then swipe right again to reset the unlock screen. This doesn’t happen all the time, but it happens frequently. I’ve had it happen on a “New iPad” (iPad 3) and an iPad Air.

I’m not saying Apple ever wrote flawless software. But three years ago, it was a lot less likely that Apple software would have glaring errors like this, and if it did, it would be fixed in the next version. I feel like Apple has gotten much worse about fixing flaws like this since Steve died.

I suspect that Apple, despite its size, simply doesn’t have enough programmers to keep on top of all their products. The Apple-centric press often mentions how programmers are being diverted from one project to another, particularly to support the latest new-hotness project. For the last year, it was OS X and iOS getting shorted on manpower to support the Watch. Now there’s rumors that all three of those projects are getting shorted to support the car project. If this is true, Apple desperately needs to hire more staff—or put a moratorium on new projects until the existing ones work right.

Perhaps, without Steve there to fly into a rage at embarrassing, ugly bugs, Apple’s management is more likely to let them slide. After all, it’s mostly cosmetic, right? There are bigger bugs that need work, bigger features and new shiny toys… except that Apple’s meteoric rise was due in part to cosmetics, and very much due to It Just Works—not It Almost Works or It Usually Works (But Not Always).


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