Developer calls for boycott of Apple’s Feedback Assistant

Feedback Assistant

After continuous frustration with what seems like a system that was built to fail, Apple developer Jeff Johnson wants developers to band together and get Apple to notice Feedback’s failures.

Anyone who pays attention to the developer community will likely have noticed a slow increase in complaints about Apple’s bug-reporting system. Feedback Assistant is pitched as a way to communicate directly with Apple engineers, but developers feel they’ve sent a report to a wall instead.

According to a blog post from developer Jeff Johnson, creator of apps like Stop The Madness, he intends to stop filing reports with Feedback Assistant altogether. The boycott would be carried out with three simple steps.

  1. File a new Feedback about Feedback Assistant (in Developer Tools & Resources) that lists the issues below and states that you’re boycotting Feedback Assistant until the issues are addressed.
  2. Don’t file any other new Feedbacks unless and until Apple addresses the issues.
  3. If Apple requests a response to a previously filed Feedback, respond only by saying that you’re boycotting Feedback Assistant, and refer to your Feedback number from step 1.

Johnson hopes developers can make each Feedback as unique as possible to force Apple to address the boycott. If a flood of Feedbacks rush in about Feedback Assistant itself, Apple would supposedly be forced to respond.

The thinking behind this boycott also suggests Apple gets free labor from developers for finding bugs. While developers can find workarounds for a bug, Apple benefits most from users bug hunting for them.

Johnson lists several reasons why Apple’s Feedback Assistant is a broken and hostile piece of software. Bug reports often go without any comment for months or years, Feebacks are closed unceremoniously without comment to the developer, and Apple demands invasive sysdiagnose reports, often without reason.

The boycott isn’t meant to be a complaint directed toward individual Apple employees and engineers. In fact, that community would benefit from an improved Feedback Assistant system.

Apple employees have previously been vocal on social media or in interviews, suggesting the system would be difficult to improve due to the incredible number of reports filed every day. Johnson believes Apple is in control of its own priorities and should hire more personnel if that’s the issue.

Feedback Assistant is an app that appears on iOS, macOS, iPadOS and others when developers are participating in a developer beta. The app automatically installs itself during the beta and can’t be removed.

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