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This may seem pedantic, but on a site like this, precision is important; so can I ask that we all watch out for the correct use of the words Depreciate, Deprecate, and Removed?

Depreciate means to reduce in value, and one may expect to see this word in answers about old Mac hardware. However, it's a one-letter slip away from 'Deprecate', and there are plenty of answers which speak of OS features being depreciated.

To make matters worse, answers often use 'deprecate' (spelt correctly or as 'depreciate') to mean a removed feature (e.g. "Rosetta was deprecated in OS X Lion."), when of course it means a feature that is still present but advised against.

For instance, 32-bit apps are deprecated in Mojave, and support for them is removed in Catalina. The retail value of 32-bit software may depreciate as a result.

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    I support and endorse collaborating on style guides and definitions that are precise. This is the content I’m here for - being precise, correct and deliberate about use of technology and how we document knowledge. Thank you for launching the discussion. – bmike Jun 11 at 14:53
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    Thumbs up for one of my favourite OCD eye-twitchers; along with appraise/apprise and apostrophe's in plural's. ;) – Tetsujin Jun 12 at 10:05
  • @Tetsujin if having to read it bothers you, try hearing someone say "depreciate" when they mean "deprecate". The cringe factor is hard to describe. – Z4-tier Jun 22 at 3:33
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Just to show that this has a real-world impact: I've lost track of the number of blog posts, reddit comments, etc I've seen claiming that OpenGL no longer works as of macOS Mojave!

Since OpenGL was indeed deprecated in macOS Mojave, the source of this misunderstanding is relatively obvious.

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    +1 I wish I'd known that before carrying on with this game, totally oblivious that it should no longer work; like a bumble bee who hasn't read why he shouldn't be able to fly ;-)) – Tetsujin Jun 12 at 16:39
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Well, we have users from all over the world for which English is the second or even third language they learned. Expecting proper use of words in all cases is probably asking a lot.

This doesn’t mean that proper use isn‘t important, it even helps everybody interested in improving their vocabulary. So if you see posts which would be more understandable with proper terminology please go and fix them.

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    I don't think anyone is suggesting that users be burned at the stake for using the wrong word—merely raising awareness and encouraging edits when something is wrong. – Wowfunhappy Jun 12 at 22:39
  • On the other hand, most of those words are only used because they were seen in log messages, articles or support documents, and anyone who is unsure of what to use can always fall back to copying and pasting the correct words straight from the source, just like one would do when quoting said source – John Keates Jun 13 at 16:11
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By all means, change the word choice and let the moderation queue judge. Personally I would hesitate before bulk replacing deprecated with removed.

I agree that depreciate is likely to be mistakenly used instead of deprecate. The former is more frequently used in English language and may be being suggested by auto-correction tools.

Apple's use of "deprecated"

Note that Apple widely use deprecated for API calls and features that are likely to be removed (or hidden) in future releases of their products. I wonder if this is why it appears frequently on this site.

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    Yes, but "likely to be removed in the future" and "actually absent right now" are two clearly different things. Many things in MacOS are deprecated, but continue to work until some point int the future. The distinction should be preserved. – benwiggy Jun 11 at 20:35
  • Given Apple often deprecate something before removing it in a later version, should answers be updated to reflect the version they refer to or edited to reflect the latest version? – Graham Miln Jun 20 at 9:48
  • Ideally, an answer should read "This feature was deprecated in OS X Lion", and then be edited to include "and removed in 10.16 Vasquez Rocks". That way, anyone using an older OS will know exactly where they stand. – benwiggy Jun 20 at 10:42
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I would suspect that the vast majority of “depreciate” being used in place of “deprecate” are innocent typos. On more than a few occasions, I had to correct my phone’s autocorrect selection with that specific word choice. So, a simple fix via edit should suffiice.

However, regarding the word “removed,” this should be done with a some due diligence. I recently rolled back an edit where my chosen word of “deprecated” was replaced with “abandoned” changing the intent of the sentence not to mention being factually incorrect. The technology was made obsolete, it was never abandoned.

Another example would be AFP because at first glance it seems as if it could straddles both definitions, but it doesn’t. Here’s why:

  • AFP is deprecated in Catalina as a client. You can still connect to AFP share from Catalina though the preferred method is SMB2 (and SMB1 is deprecated in favor of SMB2)
  • AFP is not supported in Catalina as a file share - you cannot share from Catalina to another client.

It’s important to note that AFP was never removed as a file share in Catalina (APFS) as it wasn’t supported in the first place - you can’t remove something that wasn’t there to begin with.

Additionally, I agree wholeheartedly with accurate descriptors. For instance, going back to the word “abandoned,” it carriers a connotation that someone just “up and left something with no warning.” Technologies that come to a natural conclusion in their lifespan are not abandoned, they’re End-of-Lifed or EoL’d. An example of this would be Firewire. It naturally came to and end of it’s life because it was superseded by USB. Thunderbolt 1 and 2, likewise, were not abandoned, they were deprecated because they were superseded by Thunderbolt 3; deprecated because they’re still supported

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    "deprecated because they’re still supported" - Shouldn't deprecated mean that it's not supported anymore? TB2 may be obsolete compared to TB3, but I don't understand how it's deprecated – Dev Jun 13 at 14:10
  • @Dev - I actually wrote an answer, that in part addressed this very topic. See: apple.stackexchange.com/a/285419/119271 – Allan Jun 13 at 14:17
  • You're right that describing hardware requires more care, certainly, because whether Apple still builds the hardware into Macs is one thing; and whether the OS supports that hardware, if found, is another. Apple has abandoned the inclusion of FireWire ports in new Macs, it could be said. EoL is perhaps the more technical, if clumsy, descriptor. – benwiggy Jun 13 at 15:54
  • @benwiggy you keep using the term “abandoned” which is altogether incorrect. The very first definition for abandon “cease to support.” Using the Firewire example, Apple has not ceased to support it as Catalina still has support for it, I can also currently buy “official” Thunderbolt to Firewire adapters. Not including the device is not abandoning because if it were, Apple would have abandoned SD cards, USB-A, and HDMI. EoL is highly accurate and nothing “clumsy” about a well established industry term. – Allan Jun 13 at 22:54
  • Fair enough. (Though the second definition is 'given up': Apple has given up adding FireWire ports to Macs.) For non-technical questioners, there ought to be another English verb that fits the definition. A three-word adjectival phrase turned into a verb is linguistically clumsy, arguably. – benwiggy Jun 14 at 7:48
  • The term is “no longer” or “ceased.” “Given up” means “surrender” and Apple has not surrendered putting ports on a MacBook; they are no longer or have ceased including FireWire ports on the MacBook. – Allan Jun 14 at 8:18
  • So I've surrendered to smoking by not doing it anymore? But yes, those are better alternatives. – benwiggy Jun 20 at 10:45
  • Definition of surrender. Look at first bullet under #1 definition. Microsoft abandoned the Windows Phone because they gave up or surrendered to iPhone and Android. MS even gave a date when they would stop support. Apple didn’t abandon Firewire when they stopped including the ports because it is still supported today. – Allan Jun 20 at 11:58
  • It’s important to note that these aren’t my definitions per my opinion; these are industry accepted terms.. Before becoming a network admin and subsequently moving into IT management, I was a product manager for a hardware manufacturer and consequently I still have connections to that life via publications, colleagues and friends. If English isn’t your first language, it’s ok, we’re more than happy to help with the nuances. But there isn’t a debate as to the terminology or phraseology used; you’re just using the terms incorrectly. – Allan Jun 20 at 12:10
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Further complicating things is that while depreciate means to decrease in value and deprecate means to declare something obsolete and to be avoided, either depreciate or deprecate can be used to mean "to disparage or belittle" – I am happy to deprecate or depreciate the myriad faults of Catalina and encourage people to use Mojave instead (or better still, Snow Leopard, but alas…)

Deprecated and removed are decidedly different, though, and must not be mixed up.

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  • Yes, but users here are unlikely to report that Apple has belittled the APIs in CoreGraphics. – benwiggy Jun 12 at 9:51
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    "I am happy to deprecate or depreciate the myriad faults of Catalina and encourage people to use Mojave instead" A fellow Catalina hater? :D – Dev Jun 13 at 14:13
  • The computer I have in service that crashes the least is a G4 eMac running Snow Leopard. I certainly have newer versions of the OS running on faster hardware, but when I need steady and reliable, I boot up my sixteen-year-old eMac. – Daniel Jun 14 at 12:48

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