A Few Things I Hate About iPhone OS 2.0

I love the new iPhone 2.0 OS, mostly, though I really think they should have let it bake for another couple of months before releasing it. There are parts of it that just don’t feel fully cooked. For instance, one application dying should not cause the entire phone to reboot. That doesn’t happen in OSX, nor does it happen in Linux. It does happen in Windows, but that’s another story. It’s happened to me at least six times with different apps, and that’s just not cool.

Next, it’s really difficult to actually delete an application from the phone. I’ve figured it out, but here’s what I went through. The first time, I deleted it from the Applications panel of iTunes and said “yes” when it said that they would be removed from the phone the next time I did a sync. Perfect. Except it wasn’t. The next time I did a sync, I got a dialog saying that there was purchased content detected on the phone and did I want to transfer it. A parenthetical note advised that failure to do so would result in the content being removed from the phone. I answered “transfer” because I wasn’t sure if I’d installed anything directly to the phone or not. Of course, the only content that was on the phone that wasn’t in iTunes was the apps I’d just deleted. Actually, the very first time I tried to delete apps this way, I didn’t get the “purchased content on phone” message, because I’d seen it once before and had checked “always transfer” as the default. That means that it would be impossible to ever remove apps this way, since iTunes would always transfer them from the phone back into iTunes.

So then I tried deleting the apps from the phone itself. I pressed the icon and held it down until the screen went “wiggly” and then pressed the ‘X’ on the icons I wanted to delete. They got removed just fine. Until I did a sync with iTunes again, at which time they were dutifully reinstalled.

What this means is that there is only one surefire way to delete apps: delete them from both the iPhone and iTunes before doing a sync. You could just delete them from iTunes and then answer “don’t transfer” from that dialog the next time you sync, but you have to make certain that the only “new” content on the phone is the deleted apps, and not something that you want to hold on to. Good luck with that.

Finally, I hate the fact that every time I do a sync, iTunes will gladly spend 20 minutes backing up the iPhone. It apparently goes brute force and just backs up everything on the phone, whether it needs to or not. Some of the installed apps, like Apple’s Texas Hold’Em, have tons of images and audio files, which take forever to backup. And once those files have been backed up, there’s no reason to ever back them up again; they won’t ever change! A little checksumming of files could go a long way towards solving this.

I still love my iPhone and the ability to install apps on it is awesome. I’ve paid my $99 to Apple to get into the developer program, and as soon as I come up with something decent that needs writing, I’m going to write it. So even though this post contained the word “hate,” I still love you, iPhone. XX OO XX

A day or so ago Apple began seeding iPhone OS 2.0.1 to developers, so I’m hoping that goes GA quickly and that it addresses some of these problems. Just like Leopard had problems at launch and a relatively quick point release solved them, that’s what I’m hoping for with the iPhone.

07-26-2008 16:20 Update: When I sat down to write this post, it was originally “Three Things I hate…” but at the end, I’d really only included two. So I changed the name. But a little while ago, I remembered the third thing, and that’s when you update apps with new versions, they don’t stay where I had them. For example, just this morning, UrbanSpoon had an update and when it was updated, it moved from page 2 to page 5. That’s very uncool, too.