I'm at a loss to understand why my question is off topic.

Why do macOS/iOS upgrades take so long?

Presumably I've run afoul of asking the following verboten question:

  • Asking how/why Apple does some thing XYZ.

So, am I really prohibited from asking how Apple does upgrades and why it sometimes takes a while?

These Stack Exchange sites generate a lot of negative emotions in me. I think I may need to quit for my own health.

  • Thank you for bringing the discussion here! +1 for the best place to discuss and review the voting.
    – bmike Mod
    Jun 29 '18 at 2:09

Overall I don't think it is off topic.


If the system is in /System, why isn't an OS upgrade simply creating a /NewSystem, putting all the necessary files in it (all in the background, without interrupting the user), renaming /NewSystem to /System, and then rebooting?

Is basically asking why doesn't Apple just create /NewSystem... So I can see how it may be perceived as

Asking how/why Apple does some thing XYZ.

when in actuality (I think) you were asking more like "wouldn't it be faster to do x"?

Edit for clarification

“Wouldn’t it be faster to do x” is still borderline off topic. I think you were getting a bit confused because what you intended to say and what you did say were different. And people marked what you did say as off topic.

Even without that paragraph it would basically be why is updating so slow. Which could be marked as too broad.

  • 2
    Well said about the “why didn’t apple do X?” aspect.
    – bmike Mod
    Jun 29 '18 at 2:08
  • 1
    Even „wouldn’t it be faster to ...“ is borderline off-topic bacause it basically can only be answered with speculations.
    – nohillside Mod
    Jun 29 '18 at 3:24
  • @nohillside As a software developer, I disagree strongly that an empirical question such as "wouldn't it be faster to do X" could only be answered with speculations. There are specific technical details that might render such a method unusable, which could be provided in an answer.
    – user293202
    Jun 29 '18 at 5:58
  • @taylor I agree. But anybody who knows these details for a fact can't provide an answer because they are Apple employees and are not allowed to post internal information. As Apple outsiders we can just speculate, and speculation is not facts.
    – nohillside Mod
    Jun 29 '18 at 6:01
  • @nohillside Well, I think we should be encouraging Apple employees to break the silly rules and post anonymously.
    – user293202
    Jun 29 '18 at 6:05
  • @taylor Maybe they do, who knows. But as long as they post anonymously we have no way of knowing whether their answer is correct...
    – nohillside Mod
    Jun 29 '18 at 6:48
  • @nohillside X may not be restricted to macOS only meaning that people with experience with other types of computers maybe able to answer accurately. Updating occurs on almost every modern device and almost all of them require restarts from time to time.
    – JBis
    Jun 29 '18 at 10:20
  • 1
    @jbis discussions about how computers work in general, interesting as they are, are off-topic. Look, the SE sites are about questions with specific, verifiable, and acceptable answers. „how to improve OS upgrade performance“ is an interesting question but there is no clear answer possible, so it‘s better asked on a site/forum open for discussions.
    – nohillside Mod
    Jun 29 '18 at 10:28
  • @nohillside If the question is specifically about macs, someone can use there knowledge from other computers to answer a question. For example if someone asks about disk recovery on a Mac, it can be answered by someone who knows little about macs because drive recovery is pretty standard across all computers.
    – JBis
    Jun 29 '18 at 10:38
  • P.S. I’m not totally disagreeing with you here. The part I quoted is borderline off topic but I think the entire question isn’t.
    – JBis
    Jun 29 '18 at 10:40
  • @JBis Disk recovery is a specific problem with specific, verifiable answers. Discussing OS upgrade strategies is open to a lot of opinions, only verifiable by people with access to the macOS source code (aka Apple)
    – nohillside Mod
    Jun 29 '18 at 10:40
  • 1
    @JBis I agree on the quoted part :-) The question would actually be better without this paragraph
    – nohillside Mod
    Jun 29 '18 at 10:41
  • @nohillside or maybe edited to change how it’s asking.
    – JBis
    Jun 29 '18 at 10:42
  • @nohillside Well that’s another debate. The only variables are really the type of drive and the type of damage to that drive. “I spilled water on my Mac SSD” and “I spilled water on my PC SSD” is going to have identical (or very close to identical) solutions.
    – JBis
    Jun 29 '18 at 11:00
  • @JBis LOL, let me rephrase that: "Discussing OS upgrade strategies is open to a lot of opinions, only verifiable by people with access to the source code of the OS in question. As non-Apple OSes are off-topic anyway and source code to Apple OSes is only partially available..."
    – nohillside Mod
    Jun 29 '18 at 11:16

My initial thoughts are that your question looks like a rant and has a ton of “meta” and explaining as opposed to being a very simple phrasing of asking how to figure out what’s happening during an install.

To avoid getting further down votes or close votes, would you be open to shortening it to 1 to 2 paragraphs basically asking How to benchmark a clean install and/or review the install log after a long install to learn what happened and when?

Seems to have a lot more words than necessary.

(Side note, asking why Apple does anything is also pretty explicitly off topic. Focus on what specifically you want to do given some objective definition of what “too long” is to you. Also, please don't take this as a judgement that questions asking about why Apple does X are inherently bad, they're just not what this site aims to do. Focusing on practical questions and avoiding ones that are highly subjective or come out years later when the people at Apple that explain why they did X or decided Y doesn't help people make usable questions on how to use a product. The damage done by the distraction and noise of these justifies the rule in my eyes, but I get not everyone will see it that way. That's why we have meta to reason out if the rules need a change.)

  • Thanks for the answer bmike. I really can't stand the pedantry of these sites (not blaming you). Super unwelcoming, and I don't really want to participate further. Anyway, I do think there's a little annoyance in the question ("take so long"), but it most definitely is a technical question and not a rant. I focused on the length of the operation because I'm not sure I want to get bogged down in the minutia of everything that happens during an install, but rather the operations that take a while.
    – user293202
    Jun 29 '18 at 2:56
  • Also, there are many great answers to question fo the form "Why does apple do X". That rule is completely foolish. I despise all these rules, and don't want to associate/interact with people who are rigid rule followers.
    – user293202
    Jun 29 '18 at 2:58
  • @Taylor can you add some links of good Q&A about „why does Apple do X“?
    – nohillside Mod
    Jun 29 '18 at 3:19
  • @Talyor Also keep in mind that this site is about getting good answers on actual problems. „Why doesn’t Apple use thisandthat“ can only be answered by Apple employees (and they aren‘t allowed to do so), so how do you find a good answer here? And which problem does it solve if people speculate about better ways to do X? Just look at the many comments beneath Allan’s answer. They are a good indicator that there is no fact-based answer possible
    – nohillside Mod
    Jun 29 '18 at 3:22
  • @nohillside Well, if you want to constrain yourself to easy questions of the tech support nature, fine. Plenty of good "Why does apple do X" questions can be answered by referring to their Human Interface Guidelines. And then there's the history of Apple, which is quite interesting. The tagline is "Answers to your Apple Questions." It should be "Answers to your Apple tech-support questions."
    – user293202
    Jun 29 '18 at 5:54
  • 2
    @taylor See apple.stackexchange.com/help/on-topic, mainly "If you have a question about a practical problem you are trying to solve...". The practical problem you are facing is "How can I speed up OS updates", the answer is "you can't, only Apple can". Everything else is speculation (which might be interesting to discuss but is off-topic for the site).
    – nohillside Mod
    Jun 29 '18 at 5:59

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