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Upgrading iOS on MacOS

Published by marco on

You would think that the latest version of MacOS would work seamlessly with the latest version of iOS during an upgrade.

I had my iPhone plugged in to my Mac to charge. I noticed on the phone that it wanted to upgrade the OS, but figured I’d do the upgrade through the Mac so I could use the keyboard and mouse to navigate.

Suspiciously, MacOS did not seem to be aware that there was an upgrade pending for the phone. I refreshed the status and then it noticed that there was an upgrade and offered to apply it.

I told it to go ahead and noticed that there’s now a progress bar at the bottom of the Finder window to show download progress, which is a nice improvement in Big Sur that brings MacOS up to the HIG[1] of ca. 2000 or so.

Unfortunately, the operation now locks the entire Finder for the duration of the 4GB download, which is much more like the HIG of OS 9 than OSX or MacOS. It’s 2021 people.

 Finder is locked during iPhone update

I let the update proceed and complete, but MacOS wasn’t 100% on board. The phone was fine. It had stopped complaining about an upgrade, but even after unplugging and re-plugging in the phone, MacOS still saw the phone as having the older version of the OS.

The  After unplugging … still no clue it's been upgraded

Note that I’d initiated the upgrade from MacOS and it was still blissfully unaware that the phone was up to date. It even popped up a notification to let me know that an upgrade was available—the same upgrade that we had just applied together.

 No idea he's just updated my phone

After unplugging and re-plugging the phone, the iPhone page in the Finder still couldn’t remember what it had just done minutes before. Instead of just showing the old version, now it was also offering to upgrade to the OS to which it just upgraded me.

 Utterly unaware of what's going on

A few unpluggings and manual refreshes and MacOS finally got the memo and settled down.

As with all complaints about Apple on this blog, it’s just a mystery how Apple manages to bungle such a standard operation that is (A) executed millions of times by its users and (B) involves only their own hardware and software in the latest versions. This is just sloppy testing.


[1] Human Interface Guidelines, as Apple has always called its style guide.