The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Monday, October 05, 2015

About my open love letter to Apple

So … about yesterday

iOS 9.02 hit the airwaves. I've been having an uneasy feeling about iOS 9 and I decided to wait a bit until things settled down. Normally, I'm all “if it ain't broke, don't fix it!” but there was an intriguing feature—the ability to block web ads! Which is an important feature if you're using the cellular network for browsing where each and every byte is accounted and billed for.

So, iOS 9.02 finally hit. What could possibly go wrong?

Twenty hours later, on phone support with Apple

“So what you're telling me is that there is no way Apple is going to let me dump iOS 9.02 on my own iPhone and roll back to iOS 8.4.1? No possible way? Is that what you're telling me?”



Ten hours earlier

Well, that was a disaster. I upgraded to iOS 9.02 and the second the iPhone rebooted, my version of iTunes dutifully informed me that it could not talk to my iPhone in question, and that I should upgrade iTunes if I wanted the ability to transfer data. Only thing is, there are no updates for iTunes I can download! There are no more updates for anything on my Mac computer. Remember “if it ain't broke, don't fix it?” Yeah. There's a reason for that.

I resorted to downloading iOS 8.4.1 off some random website (yes! I'm resorting to downloading possibly questionable software off the Intarwebs!) in an attempt to downgrade (look at what I'm resorting too, Apple! Why hast thou forsaken me?), but I couldn't get iTunes to install that version. It kept deleting the offered iOS 8.4.1 and kept shoving iOS 9.02 onto my phone. By the time I gave up, I had a phone without my music (not that I listen much music, but still), my contacts (which include custom ringtones for various friends and family members) and my apps.

That was totally unacceptable to me.

Had I been warned that iOS 9.02 would not talk to my version of iTunes, I would not have upgraded but alas, no mention was made in the Terms of Service (and yes, I read the whole thing) nor did iTunes give a warning until after it was installed.

On a whim, I downloaded the latest version of iTunes, just on the off chance I could run it. Good thing I checked before installing that, because it required a version of Mac OS X that I am currently not running.

What could possibly go wrong if I were to install that?

Don't answer that question!

Six hours later

If I can't solve it, perhaps the fine people at The Apple Store can help. I pack up everything I need and then some.

[What?  You don't use your iPhone earbuds to wrap around Mac mini power cords?  What do you mean I'm the only one that does that?]

My iPhone.
My Mac mini.
My Mac mini power cord.
My iPad.
My iPad keyboard.
And some miscellaneous cables and adaptors.
All went with us (Bunny tagged along) to Mecca The Apple Store.

We found a very helpful employee who was both amused and sympathetic to my plight. While Apple itself wouldn't downgrade my iPhone (corporate policy it seems) he did help me figure out one issue with my failed attempts to reintroduce iOS 8.4.1 to my iPhone—my use of DoubleCommand.

You see, I use an IBM Model M keyboard. It's the only keyboard I use (I am very picky about my keyboards) but it lacks a “Command” key. So I mapped the “Alt” key to “Command.” Only Apple calls the “Alt” key the “Option” key. And it's the “Option” key you need to hold down when you click the “Restore” button in iTunes to select an iOS version to install. Unfortunately, I had deleted the iOS 8.4.1 images I had downloaded due to sheer frustration and therefore, could not install them at The Apple Store. But with this new information, I felt confident I could carry on back at Chez Boca.

Also, while at The Apple Store, we found a very unhelpful employee who was incredulous that I would dare not upgrade my Mac system every twenty minutes. “Everybody upgrades, dude! What ancient software relic are you running that you can't upgrade?”

“I'm running a special driver that allows my Mac to use my keyboard.”

“Macs don't use device drivers, dude!”


And by the way, I did end up using everything I brought along to The Apple Store. Even the iPad keyboard. The helpful employee felt it was best to try using that keyboard (after disabling DoubleCommand) so I could use a “real Option key” to select the iOS 8.4.1 image.

Four hours later

I finally found the right iOS 8.4.1 image for my iPhone. I was able to select it in iTunes. iTunes dutifully extracted it, contacted some license server at Apple, which nixed the attempt, due, I think, to the fact that Apple knows I've installed iOS 9.02 on the phone, and damn it! That's what I'm going to run! Apple wasn't having any of this iOS 8.4.1 nonsense. It's onward and upward!

Two hours past that

Brings us to the opening, wherein it's made clear by Apple that YOU WILL LIKE iOS 9.02 BEING SHOVED DOWN YOUR XXXXXXX XXXXXXX AND YOU WILL BE HAPPY, CITIZEN!

There is simply no way to downgrade to iOS 8.4.1.

(I would also like to note the very audible sigh I heard from Bob when I told him I refused to use iCloud for backing up my iPhone. I'd rather not have the iNSA view my iData without my iKnowldege. Is that so iWrong?)

I'm willing to conceed that most of this is my fault and that I brought it down upon myself for my refusal to upgrade everything Apple-related every twenty minutes, and that Apple even states they do not guarantee any software they write will actually work (that's actually standard in the software world). BUT it's my iPhone. I should be able to run what I want on it, as long as I take the consequences of said actions. And iOS 8.4.1 was working for me. I just wanted to downgrade to what was working less than twenty-four hours earlier.

But no, I do not, we do not, own our own computing devices any more.

I think it's time I swim out of the Nile and admit to myself that I am not the master of my own digital realm.

And that Apple owns my soul.

Obligatory Picture

[The future's so bright, I gotta wear shades]

Obligatory Contact Info

Obligatory Feeds

Obligatory Links

Obligatory Miscellaneous

You have my permission to link freely to any entry here. Go ahead, I won't bite. I promise.

The dates are the permanent links to that day's entries (or entry, if there is only one entry). The titles are the permanent links to that entry only. The format for the links are simple: Start with the base link for this site:, then add the date you are interested in, say 2000/08/01, so that would make the final URL:

You can also specify the entire month by leaving off the day portion. You can even select an arbitrary portion of time.

You may also note subtle shading of the links and that's intentional: the “closer” the link is (relative to the page) the “brighter” it appears. It's an experiment in using color shading to denote the distance a link is from here. If you don't notice it, don't worry; it's not all that important.

It is assumed that every brand name, slogan, corporate name, symbol, design element, et cetera mentioned in these pages is a protected and/or trademarked entity, the sole property of its owner(s), and acknowledgement of this status is implied.

Copyright © 1999-2024 by Sean Conner. All Rights Reserved.