With the arrival of WWDC oh hardly a month ago now, Apple users worldwide were tantalized by the changes to iTunes, the coming of an Apple sound system, the new iPad Pro, and a new Mac OS, but perhaps nothing near as exciting as iOS 11. Everyone and their mother has an iPhone or iPad and iOS 11 appears to be the biggest overhaul to the mobile OS that we’ve seen, ever. And we all wanted it now.
Well, I’m here to issue this public service announcement with creatives in mind, that no matter how tempting, if you’re a working pro and/or rely on your mobile device to shoot or conduct business, my recommendation after having used the public Beta for over a week, is to avoid it like it has Ebola and it about to sneeze.
Yes, I can hear from the more vocal of you in the peanut gallery that it’s a beta and therefore not expected to be immaculate, but we’re not talking about just being shy of perfection here, we’re talking about unusable. This public beta is particularly poor as far as Apple’s prior public betas go, and if you’re just using your phone to make calls, text, and swipe right, then it’ll probably do if you can deal with the stuttering keyboard, significantly degraded speed, and frequent crashing. But if you’re a photographer there are some issues that really void this. Here is a short list of issues I’ve come across and have been able to corroborate with other users:
Whilst Lightroom Mobile opens fine and you are able to pull images already in the cloud, getting new images into it is problematic, and may need frequent phone resets to allow for this to happen. In addition, raw files on my phone (transferred by cameras – so NEF and ARW and Leica DNG) that were previously able to be altered would not fully load in LR.
There is a significant community of photographers out there who depend on LR Mobile and if you identify as such then keep this in mind and hold off on the update.
Native Camera App & Third Party Apps
The native camera app, as reported and seen by my own eyes, is temperamental, and while it may appear you can take a photo, the photo often will not save. Strangely, third party apps seem immune to this problem. However, even at times when the third party apps do save, they appear as blank cells in the Photos app.
On its own that may not seem too much a bother, however, it also means that if you use the camera in an app like Google Hangouts it won’t always work there.
While Halide and Cortex cameras all seemed to function fine, other camera Apps which gave problems intermittently were VSCO, Snapseed, and Lightroom Mobile.
Uploading Photos to Instagram & Facebook
This, perhaps, is the real kicker for those who are high-functioning mobile shooters; that at this junction uploading photos to any platform, or even to send via text cannot be counted on. Simply put, it works on and off, and from testing it seems the longer you use the phone without a reset (sometimes a hard reset) the more likely you’ll run into problems. I’ve found that restarting the phone or doing a hard reset can get things working to a degree, but not with consistency.
There are other quirks alluded to above, such as the frequent crashing of otherwise-would-be-stable apps and the frequent occurrence of a screen that’s stuck between apps (as shown above in the center photo), but the lack of dependability on certain photography-centric apps is what should really be considered here. And, perhaps, speed. Everything just takes that much longer even on a 7+.
This is not meant to be an Apple bashing moment, but simply a warning to those looking to get on iOS 11 in public beta, especially as reverting isn’t the easiest thing to do. The upsides? Well, when it works it’s great and the Files system is sure to be a boon to creatives, especially on iPad.
Oh, and unless it’s my imagination, Portrait Mode seems to be improving, though that could be because I’ve been shooting a OnePlus5 and HuaWei Mate 9 side by side with their versions of it, and while they both have strengths, at this point Portrait Mode isn’t one of them.