Another week down, with summer finally beginning to look that bit closer. It’ll be so nice to wake up in sunlight, and get the vast majority of the evening before darkness sets in – I love that about the summer months.

Anyway I wanted to talk about something I mentioned briefly in social media posts this week (check me out on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram) – software updates.

There’s been a steady change of attituides over the past several years, encouraged by software providers, to UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE! I wanted to explore that a little after the latest iOS 9.3 updates caused users some problems.

I’ve always been an early-adopter, and I think as a support person, that’s part of my job. But I don’t believe that to be necessary for most people. Why try to fix something that ain’t broke….and risk breaking something else?

My advice to general tech users is to wait at least two weeks after a software release is shipped before applying it. The only time I would say differently is when the new software is an urgent fix for a flaw of the dangerous kind (i.e. risk to security or of data loss). If the new release is to patch minor issues, or rollout new features, surely a two week wait won’t hurt? At least then you can let some other sucker find the ‘oopsie’ the software author never noticed during beta testing.

Let’s consider iOS 9.3. It was released originally on March 21st. Immediately there were reports of older devices being prevented from activation (rendering them temporarily useless), which Apple resolved by releasing a new build of the software fairly quickly (March 25th). But there were still reports of many users suffering from crashes when clicking on links in Safari, which Apple finally acknowledged on March 29th, and released a fix for on March 31st. As I write this, there’s still a problem for users on at least one network in the US with connecting to high speed LTE cell towers. And we’re on day 11 since release…..

When you consider the number of people affected by these problems (not everyone, but still enough to make a dent), and the risk that you may heve been one of the unlucky ones, what in iOS 9.3 was worth that risk immediately? Absolutely nothing in my opinion. And that’s usually the same every time a software release comes out. Sure, you’re keen to see the new features. But wouldn’t it be better to wait 2 weeks, and then play with them knowing they’re almost certainly going to be more stable?

We can look back at so many software updates over the years and find a similar pattern, and not just from Apple. Lots, and I mean LOTS, of app providers have dropped a new update only to find there are serious problems in the release causing them to roll back to the old version or ship an urgent fix. Seriously, it’s really worth just waiting that extra two weeks to increase the chances exponentially of getting a stable upgrade!

Last but not least

Sometimes software is released to fix an underlying flaw that can cause you serious harm. In almost all these cases, I’d recommend you apply these immediately, and I’ll do all I can to let you about them via social media going forward. If you have any questions about whether to apply a new release, I’m usually available via any of the social media sites I frequent, so get in touch!

Have a good weekend