How to Report Bugs to Apple So They Get Fixed

Perhaps I need to point out that it’s highly likely that any feedback submitted in this manner on a macOS version that is not currently under beta testing will be ignored. You really need to be formally enrolled in one of the beta test programs and pay close attention to David’s recommendations on preparing a quality report. Also, reports from participants in the public beta are generally considered in bulk rather than individually and submissions will rarely receive replies. That’s one reason for the recommendation that everyone seeing an issue needs to report it for maximum effectiveness.

Wow. So Al, are you actually saying if somebody is on the latest shipping macOS (so 10.15.5 right now) bug reports they send are basically ignored?

It’s amazing that no one with any Catalina beta ever used Mail!

1 Like

I was replying to Gary about using Feedback Assistant for Sierra and above. It’s clear to me that. bug reports about an unsupported Sierra issue will be ignored and probably anything other than a Security issue found in High Sierra or Mojave, since neither of those are patching regular bugs any more.

Regarding 10.15.5 specifically, I doubt that the use of Feedback Assistant by a non-beta tester will accomplish anything, but if a currently enrolled beta tester were to submit a 10.15.5 problem report, it would most likely be rolled into consideration for either10.15.6 (should there be one) or 10.16 (or whatever number turns out to be the next major release).

1 Like

I have to guess that there were more issues raised concerning Mail during beta testing than all the complaints that have been registered after each public release.

Thanks, Al. Good to know. If Apple tends to ignore anything that comes from non-dev non-beta users, I do wonder why they solicit it in the first place. Besides Feedback Assistant, there’s also https://www.apple.com/feedback

Sorry if I wasn’t clear, but I specifically said “non-beta testers” not “not-dev users” if I understand what you mean by that term. All beta feedback is considered, some more intensely than others. Developers and enterprise IT admins have narrower focuses in what is important to their particular needs vs. public beta testers who are rather random and hopefully representative of the average users needs.

But you are correct, for all other user that are not involved in beta testing Apple has provided the feedback site.

So are you saying regular users should use the feedback site while only beta testers should be using Feedback Assistant?

I’m not even sure that regular users can use Feedback Assistant, since you have to use your AppleID which only gives you access send report on the OS’ that you’ve signed onto.

I’m signed up to the public beta program and that gives me access to Feedback assistant. I assume that Apple has tools that make it easy to identify similar bugs and they all get added togetherWhen MacOS X was under development and I was developing software I put a few reports in. Never heard back, so I don’t know if they had an effect, but the bugs disappeared.

With Mail I seem to have lost everything from before I upgraded. It is still there, as I have copied the folders, and then I search using BBEdit. Rebuilding doesn’t work. I don’t know how anyone could get it that wrong.

Sorry, but I’m even more confused now. I was able to use Feedback Assistant to report a bug in the current shipping 10.15.5. I’m not in any beta program. Did I just send a bunch of information to /dev/null? Should I instead have used the feedback website?

I wish I could answer that for you, but I have no idea how or if those are being handled nor even who at Apple would be able to answer, but thanks for verifying that a non-beta tester is able to at least prepare and send reports. I know that the various groups of beta test submissions are routed differently to the engineers responsible for managing them. As mentioned before, they are sorted and transcribed into a “radar” report (at least that was the system before the latest reorganization) so that the appropriate engineering section can take responsibility for it. You might get some feedback as to the status of your individual reports and how many similar reports have been submitted. You might get a request for additional information. That would tend to indicate that your reports are being handled. Just be aware that most submissions, even by beta testers, are never replied to.

Your experience isn’t unique. I don’t recall that I have ever heard that a public beta program participant ever heard anything back. They do get aggregated with similar reports, so I would suspect that they pay closer attention to the ones with the most reports. That doesn’t always insure that they will get fixed as they may be too hard or just receive a lower priority.

Thanks, Al. Appreciate the background. My Feedback Assistant lists recent similar reports as none and ‘resolution’ as none which I believe is the same it said right after I filed. So from all I can tell nothing has happened (so far).

Actually Al, I was just making a grammar nerd correction of the statement in the original article: “The Feedback Assistant app is installed in macOS 10.15 Catalina and later.” The implication of that statement, especially to someone who is new to macOS, is that it is an app that was introduced by macOS Catalina. I was merely pointing out that it has existed for quite some time. Whether or not it has any utility in previous versions of macOS was not stated nor meant to be implied. Hence the use of FWIW (For what it’s worth) at the beginning of my comment.

Having said that, I really appreciated your detailed and insightful explanations throughout the rest of the thread to date. Thank you for that background!

Great article. Thanks for sharing it.

I have a question on the process when I report a bug in a third party app running on a OS X public beta. One of the categories in Feedback Assistant is to report third party app bugs.

Am I wasting my time to report a bug in a third party app using Feedback Assistant?

Most developers it seems do not ever load a Mac OS beta. So if the beta OS causes bugs to appear in their app, the developers don’t care.

They assume the Mac OS bug will get fixed or the OS feature causing the bug in their app may not even appear in the Golden Master. So they don’t start to triage their app bugs until the crunch right before public release.

In other words, App Developers seem to only deal with bugs in the current Apple public OS release. In other words, developers are behind by a release.

So what happens to those Feedback Assistant reports that report issues that occur in a specific third party app while running a Mac OS Public Beta?

What happens to Crash Reports that relate to a crash in a third party app that are sent to Apple? If the app bug caused a Crash Report should I also report it in Feedback Assistant?

If a third party app crashes repeatedly, generating multiple crash reports, does Apple in any way work with the developer to fix the problem? Does Apple ever apply subtle pressure on App Developers to fix bugs in their app? Or are the Crash Reports simply forwarded to the app developer and forgotten?

I’m not a developer so I do not understand the process of third party app development and how closely Apple Engineers work with the Third Party App engineers.

The resolution of a bug also seems to depend on the “Which area are you seeing an issue with?” reported with the bug.
I have seen the same issue reported against a particular area get comments on Recent Similar Reports: Less than 10, while the same issue if reported against another area gets Recent Similar Reports: None.

Why does this happen.

This article was really useful… In my 30+ years of using Apple gear, I’ve never heard of this Feedback Assistant app. I always used Apple’s “Product Feedback” page which does not ask for any details. And who knows who reads the input from that link…

Correction, I did get a request from an Apple engineer once regarding a bug I submitted using “Product Feedback”. He asked for a Quicktime video showing how the bug occurs. I sent that in and followed up later to see. He responded and said the issue was being reviewed. Nice.

Feedback Assistant is relatively new. For years the Bug Reporter web site was how 3rd party developers to report bugs to Apple. There wasn’t really a single, coordinated way for users to report bugs. Apple does track calls to AppleCare and Genius Bar visits, to see what users are having trouble with.

The categories you see as outsider reporting a bug are not the same categories Apple uses in Radar. Radar has thousands of categories and subcategories, too many for outsiders to wade through, and many for secret, unreleased products.

If there’s no obvious category for the bug you’re seeing, you’ll pick one that seems close. The category in your bug report is mapped to a category in Radar, which is owned by an engineering team, which reads your bug report. But it might be mapped to the wrong team for that feature, there’s really no way for you to know. Hopefully the team that gets your bug will reassign it to the right team, but sometimes people get busy, and bug reports fall through the cracks.

If it’s not fixed in the next beta release, don’t be afraid to write a new bug report, and perhaps try a different area, if that seems applicable.

1 Like