While updates to apps and software are a necessary evil, without them not only would we expose ourselves more to the threat of system hackers and cyber criminals and the dreaded document malware, but we wouldn’t have a way to make sure automatic updates hadn’t been hacker-disabled, and also pass on harmful malware to others unintentionally.
The best reason to update is instant (or in most cases, delayed, given how long the process can be) access to exciting new features carefully and skillfully leaked by the company for months before they are available to you.
Necessity aside, here’s a list of the app and software updates we all feel we could have lived without.
Topping off the list is the Snapchat app update. It looks like the design will get a complete overhaul, igniting fury among the huge numbers of loyal users who love the fun and spontaneous photo effects that can be created via the app.
In the updated version, Snapchat stories will now also appear next to your friend’s photo (much like the dreaded and inescapable Facebook news feed) when you swipe left. Swiping right will take you to the “Discover” page, where full-page ads will appear.
The good news is if you want to avoid the new and painful navigation woes, you can simply act fast and disable the automatic updates feature.
Microsoft Windows Millenium Edition
Not to the surprise of many, Microsoft earned the honor of the most mentions in our illustrious list.
One of the first of the tried, and failed, software updates offered by the company to keep it afloat and help it stay competitive was Windows ME, released in September 2000. Though for the time it was not a bad option (its release was rushed before the targeted Microsoft 2000 system was ready), the half-baked system was loaded with bugs, featured no DOS mode or final buildup of Internet Explorer (IE), and worst of all a simple mouse movement could trigger a crash.
The End of Free Google Apps
Google didn’t earn many friends back in 2012 when it announced its plans to no longer offer its Google Apps for Business account.
In the 6 years since its creation in 2006, the all-in-one service had grown to include an impressive suite of offerings, from e-mail, spreadsheet apps, calendar, e-mail backup, and word processing apps: all free. The weeks leading up to the December 6th cutoff that year saw millions of new signups.
Microsoft Windows Vista
Though not quite the sinking ship (more like a burning sinking ship) scenario that played out with Windows 8, Vista did not perform much better when it first appeared in 2007.
The name captures the comic irony of the entire experience. Judging by the definition of the word, “a pleasing view”, this mid-2000s venture launched by Microsoft at the start of 2007, had a longer life than some of Microsoft’s other failures.
Most of Microsoft Windows Vista's problems came from competitors: it was less stable, respected and preferred than Windows XP, and more importantly, it appeared at a time when Apple was beginning to position itself more strongly in the market. Still, let’s not forget the charges of software bloat and software incompatibility that were leveled at Vista.
Microsoft Windows 8
Thought we were done with Microsoft? Not a chance. Many call this update a bigger blunder than Windows ME (at least in the case of ME, Microsoft seemed to act more quickly to make it disappear) mainly because of larger technology trends at the time of its 2013 release.
There was no reason to market an update for desktops at the time, and let’s not forget the strange and ill-fated Metro interface that added little to know value to the system.
Windows 8 seemed to offer a land mine of problems: some didn’t seem apparent from the outside, and then boom, another awful sign confirming Windows 8 was a huge failure, the biggest one being that it was in no way developer friendly.
Finally, the fact that Windows Vista outperformed Windows 8 in almost every category also was a sign of disaster.
Like having a terrible soup at a restaurant and deciding to forego the salad and skip straight to the main course, Microsoft made the very wise decision to skip straight to lucky number 10.
The Apple iOS 6 Maps version that appeared in 2012 with claims that it would eclipse Google Maps, offer turn-by-turn navigation with Siri, send directions via a third party, and even feature a 3D flyover mode.
The result, as everyone knows, of course, was many of lost users, and an app that renamed even the most common geographical locations with new and comical names (but, at least in the same language as the original).
Apple Final Cut ProX
Continuing with Apple, this update to Final Cut, a video editing application, is another reminder that even Apple is not above creating the occasional update failure. A slew of problems seems to be popping since the version appeared last year: system crashes, and difficulty importing and exporting video clips.
eBay App for iPad
eBay shoppers value convenience above all, so providing them with an easy-to-use app is very important. The main complaints coming using this newer version are reporting problems with the saved search functionality (which is the hallmark of online shopping capabilities in our times), and an overall less user-friendly interface.
Sony BMG Rootkit
We had to dig into the time capsule for this one. Sony, in an effort to root out music piracy (it was in its much earlier stages in 2004 when the plan was conceived), began sneaking MediaMax CD-3 and Extended Copy (XCP) software onto CDs being sold at the time to stop buyers from burning any copies of them.
The plan backfired because the software exposed Windows PCs at the time to a host of malware. Some say Sony in many ways hasn’t regained consumer trust (it seems a moot point to mention gaining the trust of hackers).