What’s up with Apple’s QA team?

I’ve been writing a lot more negatively about Apple since the launch of iOS 11 and the iPhone X announcement. This isn’t like me but I need to get it off my chest and into words, it’s like therapy. 

This time I wanted to talk about my view of current QA (Quality Assurance) at Apple and try to figure out what’s going on. 

Lack of staff

The first most obvious question, do they have enough people? I’ve worked in the industry long enough to know that you need a large QA team to cover the complexities of modern software.

There are a lot of facets to test both from a look and feel perspective. Unless you have a large team something has to give. In my experience the performance of iOS isn’t a priority for Apple, so it’s form over function. This only gets you so far and even on newer hardware iOS stutters. 

This coupled with bugs I’ve raised since beta 1 still not addressed leads me to believe they simply don’t have enough people. 

I want Apple to be proactive not reactive.

Focus on the wrong type of issues

Links up with my previous point but they need some direction. 90% of my bugs raised are performance and UI, which don’t get updates very often. 

Unable to replicate

I get a lot of requests for a system diagnostic even for simple bugs. I’m getting worried something fundamental is broken in iOS if basic behaviour is different between my device and those being tested at Apple.

Trained staff

Are the staff trained to the appropriate level in development? Can they fix code issues or is everything reassigned to the development team? This introduces a bottleneck and puts more pressure on a development team that should be focussed on underlying code efficiencies. 

Testing on older devices

I like to think that Apple QA have access to a lot of older devices and test against all the platforms it supports. This will make sure that performance is acceptable for all devices. This should also mean that the underlying performance should be worked on to help with these efficiencies.

Widening it’s QA team

I feel that with the modern world a lot more companies should embrace the concept of having a portion of your staff working at home full time. Apple moving this way, specifically for it’s QA team would open up in a few ways

  • More experience: You have a larger pool of experienced QA staff to call on
  • Different point of view: You now have access to people in different countries with different values, having a diverse QA team would I believe give a more rounded view of iOS
  • Grow the team: You have a lot of money in the bank, why not expand the QA team, with remote working you can do this

So here’s my pennies worth on where I think the QA team at Apple is, I am probably 100% wrong but as someone on the outside that has worked for various software companies it’s where I feel Apple are right now.