The Problem With Undesired OS Updates

Yesterday I complained that macOS was no longer something that worked for me and today it seems Apple heard me and decided it was time to force their latest OS onto my machine just a few minutes before I was to start my working day, which was to begin with three back-to-back meetings totalling 6.5 hours. Several months ago I had disabled the App Store's scheduled checks for application updates, but this doesn't seem to be a setting that Apple's operating system adheres to for very long. Once again I am asking who actually owns my hardware. If it's me, then Apple should be 100% hands off even if it's to my detriment. If Apple owns the hardware, then I was mislead when I forked out the money for the device.

macOS Mojave Announcement

There are a lot of things that fundamentally bother me with the recent evolutions of corporate software. Companies are forcing updates down our throat. Companies are tracking how we use our machines. Companies are remotely overriding personal preferences in order to push their increasingly invasive changes onto us1. People will shrug and say "it keeps everyone up to date" or "it ensures we all have the latest updates" and that's fine for Merlin™, but it's not for me. The computers I sit in front of are generally not used for casual purposes outside of lunchtime. When I sit down to use a computer, I'm accomplishing a goal.

While I can appreciate that software companies really, really want people to use the most recent version of their software in order to fix bugs, reduce the number of active versions that people are using (which simplifies support), and introduce new functionality, the person who owns the machine needs to explicitly approve any update to the system when automatic updates are disabled. Apple is not the only company guilty of this, either, as most of us have likely seen Windows 10 update itself and reboot in the middle of a meeting or presentation.

My computers are my property that were paid for with my money. If some multi-billion dollar company wants to override my decisions, then they'd best refund the money paid for the machines and switch me to a rental agreement that clearly states the requirement for software updates. Otherwise, they must respect any decision I make regarding the operation of the computer.

  1. Regardless of what people say, I have seen this on all of my Apple devices over the last three years. macOS and iOS are making decisions for me rather than the other way around, which is fundamentally wrong if the device is my property.