The months since WWDC in June have been a terrible experience for both customers and developers alike and the literal center of the chaos was Apple’s iCloud syncing service.
For us, it all started with customers reporting lost Linea sketches in their iCloud Drive. Initial investigations led to a common factor: all of the people affected had installed the iOS 13 beta release.
And when I say lost, I mean really lost. Entire folders were either gone or corrupted. Apple’s mechanism to recover deleted files was of no help. The customers with weird folder duplicates were the “lucky” ones.
I installed iOS 13 on my iPhone relatively early on in the beta cycle. I ran into issues with Shortcuts and promptly downgraded back to iOS 12 a few days later. Since then, I’ve stayed far away from the idea of running the beta on any of my devices.
Here’s the thing, the data I keep in iCloud is just too darn important for me to take a chance with. Especially with beta releases like we saw with iOS 13.
Luckily, there is an eventual happy ending to this story, though:
Now it appears that the entire stack is getting rolled back and there won’t be new iCloud features in iOS 13 (at least initially.) I honestly think that’s the wisest course of action at this point. My only wish is that Apple would make an official statement.
If it’s broken, fix it before it ships. And that’s exactly what Apple appears to be doing.
I really like Craig’s suggestion for the future, too — iCloud simply can’t be a beta again. But I actually think having the ability to backup and restore all of your iCloud data is a more attainable first step that would mitigate a lot of fear from situations like this in the future. Essentially, Apple could prevent beta releases of iOS from touching iCloud data unless the service first confirms that the user has completed a download of an iCloud backup file. Then, if anything goes wrong, the user can at least restore from that point.