Survey Results: Which iOS 15 and macOS 12 Monterey Features Do You Actually Use?

They are pushing product at every opportunity, and that train ain’t gonna stop anytime soon. Apple is making money faster than they can count it, and I would never begrudge them their fantastic success. The problem is that when companies start making that kind of money, they can’t help wanting to make more and more… and more.

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I’m annoyed by the same thing. I don’t want to see Today. I’m either in that app to update or to search. I don’t want ads for apps thrown at me that I have to get out of the way first just so I get to do what it is I truly want to get done.

Indeed, it feels this is just another attempt by Apple to force their desire to market stuff in our faces above and beyond our preferences as users.

I know how everybody and their dog thought it was so awesome that Apple wanted to be a services company. Hardware sales are tough and you can’t expand annually by a gazillion percent with hardware, so pivoting to services meant $$$ and that Apple had set its course for world domination. Wall Street rejoice. Well, IMHO respectfully, screw that. I’d prefer they continue to work hard to convince me to buy their hardware because it’s awesome and they have a great OS/ecosystem to go with it. I prefer to pay upfront the true cost of excellent hardware/OS. This is Apple, not Facebook. So I sure as heck don’t want to be exposed to constant services marketing and the incessant nag to spend more money on crap I don’t want or worse, being told I actually don’t truly yet know what it is I really want. Frankly, that mindf*ck baloney belongs perhaps to cheap Chinese junk outfits, but certainly not to a quality hardware purveyor who wishes to continue to appear classy.

Back in the Wintel days we used to make fun of crapware and people being carpet bombed by cheap marketing ploys attempting to get them to spend money on some junk they never needed. Well look who’s being exposed to the marketing BS now. I just got the 18th offer for 3 months of “free” Apple TV after having just dropped $3k on another Apple computer. So right now joke’s kind of on us if you ask me.

On iOS, you can easily go to update by pressing the App Store icon until a pop up menu appears and then select Update. I usually use that or go to Purchased to check on subscriptions.


Some of the features aren’t available to me because I don’t buy iCloud+ or have an iPhone. The only time I use apps in full screen mode is when I’m watching an Apple (old iTunes) movie or series I’ve purchased and downloaded, so I don’t want any menu bar showing.

A lot of the features are dependent on purchasing other Apple hardware or services, which makes sense for Apple and I understand that. But for me, while I’m aware of the newer features, they just don’t work with my simple use of my computers. I have no need for them, frankly.

Then again, although in the last few months I purchased a new Mac Studio, Studio Display and M2 MacBook Air, with the associated adapters and cables to utilize my other hardware, I don’t think I’m really Apple’s marketing target. I’m a retired, aging Boomer on Medicare, so…I don’t see a lot of people who look like me in Apple’s ads and marketing.

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Ok, correct me if I am wrong, but…

Regarding iCloud Private Relay: Is having an iCloud+ paid subscription really necessary to making the function work? Or, is it simply Apple making a person pay for a useful feature from which anyone would benefit?

If the latter situation is the case, it seems Apple is putting profits ahead of customers’ best interests. We already have too many companies with this type of business model.

I would say that creating a relaying server like this has some cost to Apple, yes. I suppose it’s possible that Apple could provide it gratis to all users who purchase their devices at some future point, but limiting it to paid users of their iCloud service to start out seems reasonable to me.


The theme of discussions of the subject of Apple’s constant upgrade always ends the same way, with many lamenting all the unsolicited new features and the unchanged embedded bugs. The issue is that you are not really surveying the people that are important drivers in new features and bug quashing. Apple is trying to please the coders! If they quit or jump ship, then Apple is doomed. So the real survey should be about which new features are the most fun to program. No one (who is a talented programmer) wants to track down that ancient Finder Copy bug when they can be known as the guy who figured out how to lip sync a cat face during a video chat. My guess is that Apple may even practice a bit of Kaizen and actually ask the programmers what features they think they can add. For me, no complaints about new features, they are making someone happy (I hope.)

Apple is a major global company with many multiples of targets to address a full range of hardware and software products and services. How many college and high school students and recent grads can afford a Mac Studio and/or Display? Or even a top of the line iPhone, iPad, Watch, AirPods Max, headphones, Apple TV, Home Pod etc.? Or even qualify for an Apple Credit Card or BNPL in their own name?

They also target developers, whose products and services helps keep their hardware sales growing. But their broad target is people who have, and can and will spend, money on expensive hardware and services. And add to the above, developers that will sell products on the Apple Store.

Also, the survey was intentionally simple, recording only the fact that people used a feature frequently, occasionally, or never. It didn’t attempt to discern why that might be, so any conclusions are merely speculative.

Adding to your list of speculative conclusions… Perhaps Apple chose to implement some features that it knew from the start would appeal to only a small number of its users, but considered that group very important to support.

Take FaceTime Links as an example. I would guess that that would appeal most to business users; in particular, groups of co-workers who use FaceTime for meetings. It was never intended for someone like me. I occasionally FaceTime with one of my siblings and on rare occasions with more than one at a time. But it’s almost always spur of the moment, an alternative to just phoning. If we did want to schedule a multi-person FaceTime call, we could easily just post a message to our on-going Siblings conversation in Messages.

I see the survey turned up 1% of respondents who use FaceTime Links “Frequently.” Let’s just imagine that the survey is (contrary to fact) representative of all iPhone users. There are over 1 billion active iPhones. That would mean 10 million FaceTime Link users. I can imagine an Apple programmer thinking, “This is a feature that will be useful for our group here at Apple and it won’t take me much time to implement this hack. It will also appeal to 10 million of our customers. Let’s do it.”

I really think the intended target are Apple device users with friends and/or family who use windows computers and/or Android phones. Now they can also participate in FaceTime calls.

I’m not sure those are mutually exclusive - you can both maintain code and eliminate bugs while adding new features. Perhaps we can guess that Apple just doesn’t have enough people to do both as well as they should. These new features, however, do seem to work, and things that are more confusing (Focus for example seems to leave people flustered) can be perfected over time.

And clearly Microsoft, which updates Windows major versions far less frequently than Apple, is a clear example that this doesn’t leads to a more reliable operating system.

I think it is just common sense that the more complex any system becomes, the harder it is to maintain the same level of reliability. When you add in the pressure of Apple’s very competitive development schedule, it becomes even harder. I think Apple does a good good job considering these factors, but to me the question is: What is more important in the eyes of the company—reliability or beating the competition?

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I think that’s a valid point.

If we’re being honest, we all assume that Apple has limited resources. Case in point: just witness discussions about longstanding bugs that don’t get fixed and the consensus there that Apple cannot commit sufficient resources to fixing some bugs they deem not that serious. So there. Finite resources constraining reliability and stability.

It is a fair point to claim that if Apple devoted less engineering resources to flashy whiz-bang (needed for marketing-heavy annual major releases on a forced external schedule), they could allot more engineering resources to provide for improved stability and reliability of existing feature sets.

Granted, if they’d end up actually doing that, is an entirely different question. Perhaps they’d instead just fire a bunch of superfluous engineers and pay their shareholders a fatter dividend. And we’d still be stuck with buggy code.

Now that all said, I don’t think the question is really reliability or beating the competition. IMHO it’s rather can they beat the competition by offering the absolutely best in class reliability. There was a time when Apple was lauded for “it just works”. We know they can do it. I’d claim I’m asking for them to do it once again.

I actually learned about a bunch of these features just by reading the survey! Now using menu bar in full screen and shortcuts, among others.

Yes! Unfortunately, I no longer believe they have the will to do that. Human nature being what it is, it seems to me that the more successful a company becomes, the more success becomes an end in itself—that is to say, the less they care about how that success is achieved

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A few thoughts:

  1. I think that doing the survey annually after the latest version ofOS software has been installed and used on a large percentage of our Macs is great. The survey itself provides a great summary of features that were new in the release. I’m one who installs a new OS rather early in the cycle, but even then, I tend to be overwhelmed by the breath of features and concentrate on a few that seem, to me, to be important, often forgetting about the rest. The survey is a great opportunity to check ou the stuff I skipped over.

  2. My community does not entirely consist of folks dedicated to the Mac (even if I am). So community features such as SharePlay and FaceTime are things I have no personal interest in. On the other hand, Tab Groups fulfilled a need for me, even if it was useless for most folks. I think that’s great. As long as a new feature doesn’t cause difficulty for folks who have no use for it, I don’t see a problem with adding it.

  3. Many folks complain about maintenance of old releases of software and systems. These things should be fixed. However, doing this is low status work and certainly doesn’t help build a resume. Compare ‘fixed bugs in older software releases’ with ’ developed new and exciting software’ as resume items. It’s an unfortunate fact of life.

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Neat. I had no idea. But since it requires holding the icon, the time saving is reduced or eliminated. Nonetheless, if I remember enough times, I’ll make a habit of doing that, because it lets me bypass the Today screen.

I’m not sure there’s any good way to determine that, but it was one of our main goals in doing the survey to start. And to see what topics might be ripe for more coverage. :slight_smile: And it worked!

That’s a good point. Apple clearly likes to focus on certain markets, like video professionals, so it’s entirely probable that many features are aimed at particular audiences even when the developers know that no one outside the target audience would care at all.

Indeed, and even if Apple has more money than many small countries, that doesn’t mean it can find the developers who have the necessary skills, hire them, train them, and get them to work effectively in the same codebase. Brooks’s Law comes into play quickly.


A full half of respondents use Hide My Email, which feels like another privacy win for Apple. Many people wince when asked to provide their email address for yet another account, knowing that they’re signing up for bulk email. Hide My Email won’t prevent you from receiving marketing email, but it does ensure that companies don’t have your real email address, and it enables you to block messages from that particular sender anytime you want…

I agree that this is a good feature and I do use it, but it’s value is mainly in the future, for me. I just checked the Logins section of my 1Password database: there are 759 entries. All those companies have my email address, because when I created those accounts Hide My Email didn’t exist. There’s not much I can do about that now. I view my email address as basically public information, much like my name.

I deal with spam and marketing emails by explicitly filtering all the mail that comes into my Mail account. Over the years I have created hundreds of Rules in Mail to deal with the mail I receive. As a result, companies really don’t have access to me, not via email, unless I have explicitly decided that I want to see what they send me.

When did the Hold/pop-up menu get introduced in iOS? I have tried it with my 13 Mini and nothing shows update, although I do get the pop-up menu with various options depending on the app.