Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Bank tells customers to disable updates and not upgrade to iOS 16 (coutts.com)
296 points by pbowyer on Sept 10, 2022 | hide | past | favorite | 298 comments

This is one of the most exclusive banks in the world, counting the British Royal Family among their notable clients, and they can't even be bothered to keep their mobile app up to date. Pretty much sums up what rich people think about technology: make it sexy and powerful but I don't want to hear about ongoing maintenance costs. According to Wikipedia, new clients needed £500k in disposable funds to set up an account back in 2001.[0]

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coutts

That’s quite a jump there.

One bank is bad at maintaining their app all the way to a blanket statement about rich people and technology.

I'd definitely have gone to banks are terrible at IT rather than rich people.

I am not a rich person, although I'm comfortable, but several of my banks are terrible at IT. Like "We are upgrading our web site so it won't be available until Tuesday" level bad at IT.

Note that wasn't just "Some services won't be available", the whole web site was out of action for most of a day. It's disappointing but understandable if I can't send a random stranger 2500 ¥ at 2am because the bank are upgrading something. But it's straight up crazy that I can't even see my 2018 bank statement PDF because they're upgrading, it's the sort of feature a PHP Blog site can make work.

Ironically the PHP blog site may have gotten a lot more engineering TLC than the bank’s IT system.

Not necessarily more hours or $$ spent on it, but more care.

> We are upgrading our web site so it won't be available until Tuesday

I envy this sometimes. It takes a lot more work to evolve a system with zero downtime.

Maybe go work for a bank? I think they pay pretty well too (because the work is boring)

Never had any problem like this. I’ve essentially been doing all my banking online for as long as I’ve had any banking to do. So 20+ years or so. Can’t really remember any significant downtime or problems. Biggest problem I’ve had with a bank tech-wise is that my current bank refuses to support Apple Pay. Considering switching banks because of this.

I've never had this problem with my good bank (First Direct) but I had this problem with a bank I use for some routine financial transactions (Santander, currently advertised by celebrities Ant & Dec for some reason) and also with my safe bank (NS&I, a bank owned by my country and thus "safe" in the sense that if it's bankrupt so is my country and therefore that's the least of my problems)

Maybe every other bank is better? I doubt it. For me one bank being unavailable is a mild inconvenience (it so happened I wanted to use Santander to check some records, but most days I wouldn't have noticed) but most people only have one bank, so it being out of action is really problematic, and we live in an era when "you could visit a physical branch" might as well be "You could fly to the moon" for all the practical good it does normal customers.

We could say not just banks for rich people but most companies where software is not a product (money-generating part) are bad at IT (general trend: cost-centers are neglected).

The IT Crowd TV series are representative.

In a previous life I banked with Coutts. They were very pro online banking and security very early on. From the mid nineties to early noughties I was handling my account online and was given a physical securid token (Remember them? Like a thick credit card with an LCD display that generated a new OTP every 60 seconds) to deal with the login. But then they were absorbed into NatWest, and I expect their approach to IT changed.

Name one bank that's run by a poor person.

Why? That has absolutely zilch to do with this. Banks that are good at IT are also run by rich people, right?

And all unicorns are horses.


It’s ironic he’s been here since 2010 and me and you are actually new here.

> they can't even be bothered to keep their mobile app up to date

Guessing their clients aren’t banking via mobile apps, their staff having lines to their banker. Most top-tier private banks barely have an online presence. If you want something, you (or your assistant) calls or texts your banker.

Coutts has (in)famously gone through a digital transformation recently making talking to a personal banker exceedingly difficult. They are getting slaughtered on social media and on review sites for the change, because the new website and app are extraordinarily bad, even for a bank.

I seriously don't understand how websites with TREMENDOUS funding end up so bad. I have literally watched seniors in college, who three years prior did not know how to "int i = 1;", do senior design projects that put out what I'd call "standard bootstrap + rails websites" (which are fine! just specifying how EASY it is nowadays to make websites that don't suck) which are ridiculously superior to even any single page on most bank's websites.

Look, I'm a data engineer by day, I understand how bad UIs happen. I use Airflow, for God's sake, and heavily customized Airflow at that (where we've honestly only kind of roughly kept pace with the UI quality. like I said, I get how bad UIs happen).

But seriously. I try to be charitable. I can understand how page flows might be janky, how you might need a few redirects as they pass you through decades of legacy systems, etc.

But by God, there are some pages where I seriously cannot figure how they made that specific page, alone, in isolation so bad. The only thing I can come up with is they either a) contracted it out to someone who is literally not as capable as someone 2 years into a CS degree, or they've split the page among multiple teams who all wrote little scraps of HTML and JS and then some poor soul had to weld them all together and that's how it ended up.

Is it really just that they all hire huge incompetent contractors who "nobody ever got fired for hiring etc etc" and then they invariably fuck it up? I don't get how that doesn't get disrupted by either SaaS or just someone making a contracting shop that actually finishes projects correctly.

> senior design projects that put out what I'd call "standard bootstrap + rails websites" ... which are ridiculously superior to even any single page on most bank's websites.

Oh sweet summer child. You have not known the sharp pain of regulatory constraints, split stakeholder constraints, legacy enterprise constraints, COVID constraints. You know not of capacity planning, SOC2, or international banking law.

You have not known the one million lines of code repositories (PLURAL).

You do not see behind the summer rain. To the endless blizzard of business logic behind the frontend. To the third party vendors, evil so vast if it were written down the generations beyond could never forgive.

I envy you greatly.

I've been in the industry nearly a decade and have indeed seen github enterprise repositories so large that github tells us we need to either split into smaller monorepos or stop using github enterprise and roll our own e.g. like google etc do.

I've exclusively worked in highly regulated industries - first a registered broker dealer where one of my (less favored) hats I wore was working directly with the SEC and FINRA handling inquiries, and the second being a large fintech company I don't want to be too specific about that dealt with a lot of banking and money movement regulations.

I'd appreciate it if you'd point your condescending prose elsewhere. I stand by my point. There's no reason some of the banking sites I've had to use should be so bad given their funding. If an ungraduated CS student can make their website not break chrome's credit card autocompletion, why can't enormous banks?

They use that enormous pile of cash to hire a prestigious consultancy like Accenture to build it for them.

... who then hires the cheapest contractors they can find to do the work. The developers working on the $million sites may very well have far less app development experience than a 2nd year CS student. The CS student is also motivated to make a reasonable effort for good marks; the contractors know they will get paid, regardless of what crap they deliver.

In my former company we had a small software project to write a small driver for remote command execution on an embedded processor. Dealt with many senior managers on the internally outsourced SW side, and after months what we got was terrible. Buggy, inflexible, etc. It eventually came to a head and we had a meeting where the guy actually doing the work was called in. He was fresh out of college, and way over his head. Layers of management meetings, deadlines, pressure, testing by the HW teams, bug reports, etc. Never once did that team get more senior devs in to re architecht (or even architecht in the first place). In the end we dropped what they had and rewrote it in a few days, and we're HW guys.

Definitely true. I'm with a bank that feels like I might be their poorest client. They do have a nice app, but the real benefit to working with them is that I have a banker on standby that I can call or email for anything.

Wonder why a transaction was denied? Shoot an email with a screenshot. Want 500$ of Moroccan Dirhams for your next trip? Shoot a text and they'll put together a package + a few sweets for you to pick up when you stop by.

That sounds amazing sign me up.

Is the concierge the main benefit?

This is so true. Try to bank in Switzerland, it is so 1980ties...

> Try to bank in Switzerland, it is so 1980ties...

What do you mean by that? In a way it's not retro enough (for me?), I currently have an account that can only be accessed via a mobile app (e.g. no website). See for instance https://www.neon-free.ch/en/

You can open an account fully online from your home, I don't think you even have to mail anything.

Fully agree with both you and parent. I'm in the process of switch from Credit Suisse to Neon.

Opening an account with Neon is the simplest thing ever.

I'm still on the phone weekly with CS to even attempt to make them do anything I've ordered them to.

Three weeks ago, they sent me a letter to confirm that my email address was authorized to make orders. I sent that back with the enclosed envelope. 4 days later, they called me to confirm my order. I did (verbally). They called back 10min later to confirm again. I confirmed again.

It has been two weeks since that phone call and the transfer has still not been completed.

There is quite a gap between the incumbents and “neo banks” in CH.

Neo banks are more modern and convenient but only compared to traditional banks within CH: spotty online bills support, no twint (or prepay twint), money transfers only occur once a day at 10am on banking days, customer service open from 9 to 5… Banks in CH are hilariously bad (and expensive), and it’s a shock because you always have this image that Switzerland banks must be amazing. Nope, far from it.

I feel like if I need customer service for basic banking services (as these banks are supposed to provide), I'm already at the wrong place.

For the rest I guess it's things I don't personally care about, so while it could be better (I have a EUR account for which my recipients get transfers within hours), I don't really notice it in practice.

I have 0 issues with canton banks, e.g. ZKB, works perfectly.

Are mobile only systems popular or trending? I am not a fan of mobile apps, kind of annoying. I’d use a dumb flip phone if I could.

I think it's becoming increasingly popular to only develop mobile apps: they are basically required at this point so no way to avoid the corresponding costs, while companies might save money on other entry points (physical, websites). Ideally you'll get some of these savings back via lower fees, but it definitely makes the loss or theft of a phone way more of a problem than it used to be.

BNY Mellon also. You ring your wealth manager.

The wealth management arm of a bank can simultaneously have managers with clients and sane online systems. Some people will want to do everything over the phone and/or in-person. Others will still want the personal touch while also wanting all the usual online access--possibly including mobile (though this tends to be less relevant with wealth management accounts).

This is a feature, not a bug.

nineteen eighty-ties?

Edit: 5 downvotes, tough crowd

I suspect their customers are people who want personalised and personal service, and sound financial advice and investment opportunities.

If they wanted an app-based fintech they could have instantly opened an account with the many available companies in the field, and maybe they also have, but obviously that is not what Coutts is about.

> This is one of the most exclusive banks in the world

Not particularly exclusive, bought by NatWest in 2000 and then taken over by Ernst & Cie. So its little more than a brand-name these days, you can effectively buy your way in.

If you want truly exclusive, you have to cross the road and walk a bit further down the Strand to Fleet Street.

Regarding Private Banks and the online world, yes they tend to be a bit further behind the bleeding edge. But then if one can call up one's relationship manager who recognises one by voice without the need for tiresome security questions, then one might understand why expenditure on one's bank's online services is a secondary priority.

> If you want truly exclusive, you have to cross the road and walk a bit further down the Strand to Fleet Street.

So if you can’t “buy your way in” to these banks, what are the criteria?

> So if you can’t “buy your way in” to these banks, what are the criteria?

First you will need to be "introduced" to the bank by an existing customer. We're not talking about a referral link here, we're saying who introduces you is just as important as who is being introduced (i.e. long-standing customer vouching for an introduction gets more weight than a newbie trying to get a mate in).

Second, if the introduction is acceptable, then you will be invited to a meeting with one or more members of the bank's senior management to determine if you are a good fit (and no, "good fit" does not equal a commercial fit about determining how much they can sell you, its a "good fit" as in determining that you have your head screwed on and won't cause the bank problems).

You might think this is excessive, but at the most exclusive bank the management have genuine skin in the game (e.g. bank is purposely setup as unlimited liability legal structure, so if management were to ever fuck up, they really would FUCK UP because they have no corporate veil to hide behind).

It also means that dodgy overseas money and the nouveau riche can't buy their way in and start causing problems. A truly exclusive bank values quality of client over quantity of clients.

"e.g. bank is purposely setup as unlimited liability legal structure"

Why would they want to do that?

> Why would they want to do that?

To show the customer they're putting their money where their mouth is, i.e. that they are genuinely more interested in the long-term relationship than the pure commercial profitability of the client.

Going for unlimited liability also focuses the mind of the bank's management. You can't make short-sighted decisions just because you want to boost your bonus. You have to genuinely make sound decisions with the bank and the bank's customer's in mind.

Its very rare these days. Rarer than pure partnership legal structure which is already very rare. Almost all organisations these days opt to take the easier route and hide behind the corporate veil.

Thanks, that’s insightful. What’s an example of one of these banks?

> What’s an example of one of these banks?

C. Hoare & Co. [1]

Their unlimited liability and the reasoning behind it is briefly discussed in a blog post by one of their senior partners[2].

[1] https://www.hoaresbank.co.uk/ [2] https://www.hoaresbank.co.uk/The_Special_Dynamics_of_a_Famil...

I've always wanted to get an account with them because of a throwaway line in a Patrick O'brien book:

> 'Mr Babbington,' he said, suddenly stopping in his up and down. 'Take your hands out of your pockets. When did you last write home?' Mr Babbington was at an age when almost any question evokes a guilty response, and this was, in fact, a valid accusation. He reddened, and said, 'I don't know, sir.' 'Think, sir, think,' said Jack, his good-tempered face clouding unexpectedly...'Never mind. Write a handsome letter. Two pages at least. And send it in to me with your daily workings tomorrow. Give your father my compliments and tell him my bankers are Hoares.' For Jack, like most other captains, managed the youngsters' parental allowance for them. 'Hoares,' he repeated absently once or twice, 'my bankers are Hoares,' and a strangled ugly crowing noise made him turn. Young Ricketts was clinging to the fall of the main burton-tackle in an attempt to control himself, but without much success.

Have had the same thought myself on occasions.

One take I've heard on that, whether or not its true I don't know, is that it is a tongue-in-cheek reference to one of the very early generation of Hoares, one of whom earnt himself the nickname "naughty" (Richard "Naughty" Hoare).

Allegedly he was no stranger to, shall we say, a particularly extravagant lifestyle.

Yep - if they're your bank, you're not checking in the supermarket to see if you're about to hit your overdraft.

Completely fooled me. Looks like a poorly made sign up funnel site.

That's not a lot for a wealth managament firm.

> not a lot for a wealth managament firm

Not sure why downvoted. Many private banks have $1 to 10mm minimums.

£500k in 2001 was ~720k USD, or, adjusted for inflation, $1.2 million in todays money.

It was 21 years ago. The figure on the website now is £1M.

> figure on the website now is £1M

OP’s point still stands. That’s middle of ground for a private bank. Far from “most exclusive.”

I don't think this is the sort of bank where you can just show up with 1m and the staff will bend over backwards to open your account.

For instance, if the Royal family banks there it means they think the bank will never ever make headlines for the wrong reasons or at all.

Right, because the Royal Family themselves never ever make headlines for the wrong reasons.

It just made the headlines for the wrong reason…

“The headlines” typically refer to coverage in a mainstream publication, not a post on HN.

In practice, if you’re over 40, the limit is closer to $5-10m USD at anywhere good, but the idea of banks being “exclusive” is sort of out of date.

Anyone will take your cash if there’s enough of it.

Proof of stake before it was cool.

I'd agree with you - that's barely exclusive in the world of exclusive fund management. It's table stakes.

My bank, too, has been struggling with app updates to the point that sometimes I can’t accomplish a simple task like checking my credit card transactions. It’s so infuriating that companies in particular (let’s say critical) domains are allowed to reach rock bottom levels of app quality. As a consumer, this is a horrible position to be in - changing banks is not straightforward, and the alternatives are not much better.

What unique services does a bank like this offer it’s clients?

All the staff you interact with have been to the same handful of British public schools (ie private fee schools) so you never have to talk to someone who is ignorant of precisely your standing in the British class system and they will all speak with comforting RP, follow the cricket, and drop an occasional Latin phrase into the conversation. Banking service is basically as shite as all the rest. [source: I ran a company that for very strange reasons ended up having to use them for business banking services]

"RP" explained for oiks: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Received_Pronunciation

Think William Reece-Mogg, not Dick van Dyke.

> Think William Reece-Mogg

FYI not sure about other countries, but Americans don't know who the fuck that is.

Name's misspelt, it's Rees-Mogg. This is his son, same speech pattern they're talking about:


"There even are places where English completely disappears. In America, they haven't used it for years!” ― Alan Jay Lerner, My Fair Lady


And yet there are places in America whose regional accents are closer to English was at the time those places were settled than Britain is now.

Even more ironic is that My Fair Lady is an American film based on a play by an Irish Brit (George Bernard Shaw, Pygmalion).

I think it's ironic that language which is used as the primary form of communication for one's whole life still requires training in University.

Perhaps there truly is no such thing as proper English.

Partly because his name is actually Rees-Mogg

More Jacob Rees-Mogg than William - it’s important that there be absolutely no discernible substance, skill or wit behind the voice.

Agreed. Looked him up and sti ll don't know who he ism

> What unique services does a bank like this offer it’s clients?

No clue about Coutt’s. But for a top-tier private bank, you have someone you can contact 24/7 (if not them personally, someone you know on their team) to help you. You can effortlessly escalate to the bank’s senior leadership when problems arise.

As a result, having cash overnighted in the event of a lost wallet, cabs paid for over the phone on the firm’s account, or international wires processed instantly and without fees happen. (Also, Formula 1 tickets and access to the firm’s Parterre box at the Met, as well as, for the up and coming, introductions to the bank’s other clients.)

Well, not on the same level, but my dad used to have an account with a small bank in our town, and as a business owner he could literally walk in and speak to the owner of the bank within 10 minutes tops. Any issues with his accounts or international payments, there was an employee(usually the same one) looking into it personally.

It was just a lot more personal service than any large bank could ever offer.

I imagine this is exactly the same, just on a bigger scale.

Growing up, a friend's dad ran a couple of fast food franchises. As teenagers, we talked a lot to the dad about his business, and he was more than happy to impart his business wisdom on youngsters. Anyway, he told us he banked with the local bank in town rather than any of the regional or national banks for just that reason. He could walk in and talk to the top guy whenever he wanted. The top guy understood his financial situation completely, and would easily make arrangements the big banks would take weeks to make, if ever.

My brother did the same thing when he started his businesses, and I've moved to it over time. It's hard to beat talking to a banker who understands what you're doing and is actually there to help you.

First thing that comes to mind is that a bank like this is probably going to have a much better developed wealth management offering than mainstream commercial banks. The sort that helps you diversify into art rather than real estate, sort of thing.

For starters, you won't run into any of those poors when visiting one of their branches.

Well with the number of branch closures (atleast here in the UK) that is becoming an non-issue for everyone :-p

The warm feeling that they don’t waste time dealing with the peasants.

You pay for service, for, service, flexibility, and and advice.

Service= a dedicated banker with whom you can call directly with issues/problems

Flexibility= Custom solutions / humans in the loop decisions. E.g. I know someone who was able to procure a 90 day bridge loan implying dizzying leverage as he was buying a business and buying + selling a primary residence because he was able to sit down with someone, walk through the merits with a human underwriter.

Advice= Conduit of multitudes of expert opinions around insurance, tax, estate planning etc.

Lack of scalability. It’s a person checking your transactions for possible fraud, not just an algorithm.

A relationship with a banker that will cater to your needs at your request. They also know who you are and are prepared to help you with loans based on your relationship more than just a plain algorithm.

Even if there were no unique services that doesn't matter. The key metric for a bank is trust.

It doesn't consort with the poor. Some think that's a service.

The whole of British society is structured this way. Constantly blaming poor people when a good proportion of rich people are rent seeking and/or not doing the most basic things to help their customers.

How is this bank blaming poor people by asking its rich customers not to upgrade to iOS 16? I'm struggling to understand where the logical jump is to, "The whole of British society is structured this way." Which way? I'm assuming you're replying specifically to the parent comments' "what rich people think about technology: make it sexy and powerful but I don't want to hear about ongoing maintenance costs," but not sure how this then implies poor people are being blamed.

Just seems like a flamewar comment that doesn't actually explain itself. If the whole rich vs. poor thing resonates with me on some deep ideological level, I can go ahead and pretend I understand what this all means. Maybe I can even respond with a supportive comment about something something Reagan Republicans.

Aren’t the royals literally rent seeking by renting out ancestral lands? Seems like a good thing to nationalize and use for better public good.

Most of it is administered by the government and the government manages the profits. It is ultimately His Majesty's government.

The royal family gets some of it in their personal coffers, and it's a nontrivial sum, but it wouldn't fix the UK's financial problems all in one swoop to take it. And it would come at a cost of a significant amount of prestige and tourism dollars. It might be a net gain, but most people in the UK feel that it wouldn't be worth the cost to their nation identity.

Many in the UK want the opposite of nationalization. They want to sell off major government properties to private owners, and let capitalism do the work. This isn't quite a majority opinion but it has strong support (and bitter opposition).

I watched a documentary that featured a hereditary lord who rented out his lands to hunting, events, tenents and takes about how his family had done this for hundreds of years.

I think it’s not just the literal king, but also all the other remaining royalty.

Perhaps privatization is a better path than nationalization. It just seems quite unjust to have literal hereditary land that cannot be transferred.

It’s no different from Reagan Republicans. All the rules are for thee(the poor) but not for me(the wealthy).

Funny, that's what all the Republicans kept saying about the Democratic politicians like Newsom who were seen flouting their own COVID lockdown policies.

Maybe it's more than just one tiny group of people who are prone to such things as hypocrisy.

Ahh yes, but by being careful stewards of their wealth, they ensure that the British economy is productive and healthy /s

Because all their wealth trickes down eventually. Any moment now...


There are people that got rich any number of ways. Many on this forum are rich through technology.

Also, rich people are much more familiar with ongoing asset maintenance costs than the average person, having more assets to maintain.

Coutts probably doesn’t interact with its clients primarily through the app. I bet it’s mostly direct calls/texts between bankers and clients.

Isn’t this more of a banking, or even corporate, culture? Our IT group needs a year to “upgrade and test” our applications.

I remember the “we only need to support Internet Explorer” days. Testing on Chrome and Firefox wasn’t important.

I remember the "Everyone uses Chrome or Firefox, but we need to still support Internet Explorer" days. Because so much software was IE-only, and IE 6 at that, companies had a hard time updating.

I'm sure the consultants they pay to maintain the app cost more to churn out just one version than the entire budget of most mobile app startup companies for the first three years.

I know the team that made this app. It's low price labor who cobble together Java... It will be just as terrible an experience to use as any other 'old tech' banking app.

What I find interesting is you think the ultra-rich do their own banking?

They are not paying assistants and accountants so they can do mundane tasks like login to a banking site and pay a bill.

Not at 500k. Exclusive private offices start making financial sense in the 160M to 200M range. There are shared private offices below that, but this* gets nebulous with asset management and such.

Edit: thst -> this. Mobile autocorrects the wrong "correction"

as someone posted, 500K was like 20 years ago.. it is now a million dollars.

and no one said they have 'exclusive accountants'. There are accounting services where you pay them for a few days work and they take care of all your bills for you.

I've only met one multi-billionaire in my life and can assure you that he has never seen his bills, let alone pay them.

He doesnt even own a smart phone, because he has assistants who handle most of that for him allowing him to focus on one thing - making money.

Family offices are an investment fund + services company wholly owned by a single person/family for the benefit of that person/family's goals. It's much more than accounting services. It's a step above private bank / wealth and assess management by a firm with multiple clients.

Their quality and approaches are highly varied, but the one billionaire you know probably uses one, as the "never pay bills and no smart phone" is fairly indicative of a family office behind the scenes.

So basically he doesn’t even enjoy his money except as a means to make more money. Sounds like a hunger curse.

To have such problems.

It sounds sad to me. It’s like how visions of heaven 500 years ago all imagined huge feasts every day, but if you told me heaven was a Golden Corral, I’d look for a different heaven. We are still in this scarcity-capitalist-mindset that more money/stuff is always better, but I don’t think that’s the right way to be looking at things. We should appreciate the forced scarcity, like how our ancestors may have been hungry sometimes but lived at a much healthier weight.

Please keep in mind I’m not talking about living in poverty, I’m talking about having all your monetary needs met to live your lifestyle (without being forced to work), without having a huge excess left over.

> Please keep in mind I’m not talking about living in poverty, I’m talking about having all your monetary needs met to live your lifestyle (without being forced to work), without having a huge excess left over.

Out of curiosity (not debating, but rather conversating) -- what portion of humanity is in this enviable condition?

I'm not even sure what the measurement would be. It's like asking what portion of humanity didn't suffer any food insecurity back in the 1500s. It's gonna depend on a lot of variables.

It's probably somewhere <5%, maybe <1%, right now (I would include current successful retirees).

The comment you’re responding to is talking about family offices.

I know many rich people maybe one qualifies as ultra rich ($100M+, private jet with crew). Some have assistants but they all access their own banking. They move money around, check balances, dispute fraudulent charges etc.

But all the rich people I know are in tech or banking/investing, and made, not inherited, their money.

As an aside, my guess is that average tax rate for the techies is 40% but probably <30% for the bankers.

I work at a bank catering to private wealth management. The rich do their own banking, but maybe not their own investing.

Interesting how you don’t frame it as “Apple can’t be bothered to maintain APIs and avoidably forces everyone to rewrite everything to save them the effort”.

It’s not framed that way because that’s not what’s happening here.

Loss of OS API compatibility isn't a reason that app developers have to keep "maintaining" their apps?

>>>This is one of the most exclusive banks in the world ... and they can't even be bothered to keep their mobile app up to date.

A friend is a Director at Apple and banks with Coutts. Just because your bank is shitty in some ways doesn’t mean you don’t care about technology.

My bank (First Republic) caters to richer people, and has had shitty website features in the past. It’s all outsourced to Intuit, I think. But overall it’s a great bank. I care a lot about technology but don’t make all life decisions based on it. One I did make is refuse to buy a car in 2017 (Mini Cooper) that didn’t have CarPlay (I bought a GTI instead).

To clarify, I wasn't trying to say that individuals who bank with Coutts don't care about technology. The point I'm trying to make is that this is a clear example of an institution that has the means to afford a mobile app and they just choose not to perform basic maintenance, which is one of the biggest and most frequent complaints that I see around the industry.

People love to be marketed to and sold the promises of amazing technology that can do extraordinary things, but nobody wants to pay for it. And if you're a company that wants a mobile app as part of your business, then you need to understand that you gotta pay to maintain it. There's no excuse for a bank like this to skip out on app maintenance. If the wealthiest among us can't understand this, what does it say about our decision to transition towards a more technology-reliant society?

> they can't even be bothered to keep their mobile app up to date.

In the face of Apple's app store bullshit, I completely understand. Apple regularly shit the bed in getting apps updated. Frankly the wheels have come off their 'premium' branding a while back.

Apple is “premium” in the category of “people who work for a living”, which is not necessarily the same as premium in the category “the face of one of our customers is printed on everyone else’s money”.

What I find really amazing is that we have here an incredibly elite service that the vast majority of people will never be able to afford, and yet its elite clients are dependent on essentially the same mobile devices that everyone else is. You can spend ~$2k on a phone, and it will be the best phone you can buy. There's no $20k phone that will be any better.

It's like flying in first class and then having to queue up in the same immigration line as everybody else - except in that scenario you can pay your way into a priority lane.

True, ~$2k is still a lot for a phone, but it's within reach of so many more people than the gatekept world of private banking and jets.

This is not a comment about wealth disparity - it's about goods which seem to resist the impact of wealth disparity; where there is a relatively low upper bound on how good of a thing you can buy.

It's not going to be any better, but if you'd like to spend $20k on a phone, Vertu still seems to be around peddling crocodile skin phones encrusted with diamonds etc.


The gullwing titanium SIM card slots are straight out of Silicon Valley. There's even a Gavin Belson-worthy signature!


And tying neatly back to the original article, it seems these things are running a 2017-vintage fork of Android 8.1 called "Luxury OS".

I am reminded of:

“The main trade that was carried out was in the skins of the NowWhattian boghog but it wasn’t a very successful one because no one in their right minds would want to buy a NowWhattian boghog skin. The trade only hung on by its fingernails because there was always a significant number of people in the Galaxy who were not in their right minds.”

- Douglas Adams in Mostly Harmless.

At least you get a crappy android now. Not too long ago they were peddling gold encrusted dumbphones as some kind of a tasteless luxury item

Edit: they still have those too https://www.vertu.com/products/signature-v-black-gold-diamon...

I'm shocked that Vertu are still about - that said there's a classic idiom "money can't buy taste". The aesthetic of Vertu's devices is just so gauche, I'd imagine the traditional Coutts customer would abhor it.

These are real world equivalent of game skins .

You don’t get any actual advantage from them , it is all cosmetic. Your flagship $1500 phone which is within the reach of the many people has the same or better specs than that.

Reminds me of this Andy Warhol quote:

"What's great about this country is America started the tradition where the richest consumers buy essentially the same things as the poorest. You can be watching TV and see Coca-Cola, and you can know that the President drinks Coke, Liz Taylor drinks Coke, and just think, you can drink Coke, too. A Coke is a Coke and no amount of money can get you a better Coke than the one the bum on the corner is drinking. All the Cokes are the same and all the Cokes are good"

This logic fails to extend to Thunderbird or Buckfast.

I was joking the other day that the Apple Watch is the ultimate equalizer. The CEO, worth a billion dollars, and the janitor at our company are rocking the same Apple watch

There is an exclusive version of HN, but I can't tell you about it. Entrance fee is $50k.

HN Prime. Or is it HN+?

It's HN++.

HN λ

> $20k phone

Is this what some of Blackberry phones would have been if they continued their earlier legacy and designed phone lineups that appeal to reach people (hardened device, durable, privacy, "non-trackable", can connect to any cellular network and satellite internet.. etc)?

Vertu was originally using Blackberry OS, but now is based on Android.

They did not use an OS from Blackberry / RIM.

Vertu emerged from Nokia when they were at their peak - Frank Nuovo was the key designer there, and it was one of his projects.

From memory the original versions (Vertu Signature, Vertu Ascent, … ) used one of the Nokia feature-phone OSs as the base - maybe Series 30 or Series 40? - or they might have used one of the Symbian OS’es (Series 60).

They definitely used a Symbian OS in subsequent Vertu devices, before switching to Android later on.

They were incredibly well made devices, but ridiculous.

Source: I worked at Nokia for a while in a non-engineering role. I spent some time with a Vertu Ascent, and had access to the Vertu stores in Asia.

Funny enough investments is the same.

Index funds and low fees is the best way, and that's available to everyone. In fact the more expensive services are worse precisely because they're more expensive, and so underperform against passive index funds.

(I generalize of course.)

I completely agree, but people still try to create the premium phone. It used to be vertu before they went bankrupt and now sells strange phones.

These days guess it's more rebadget iphones like the ones sold by caviar.

And the $2k phone is only marginally better than a mid-tier 500-700 dollar device lol

On the other hand here’s the email I received from Revolut (European neobank similar to cashapp) yesterday:

Apple sent out a notification on Wednesday 17 August warning of two security issues within their operating system, and advised users to update their devices to the latest version to resolve them.

As you've previously accessed your Revolut account from an iOS device, we advise you to follow this recommendation as soon as possible.

You can update your device via Settings > General > Software Update.

As an aside, cash app is pretty different to Revolut. The former is a payments platform and the latter is a bank. I think the US doesn't really have much of a true equivalent given their sclerotic retail banking sector (how on earth do the big banks get away with charging for current accounts, inter-account payments, cash withdrawals... it genuinely beggars belief)

It's effectively a banking app, they just don't call it that: https://cash.app/help/us/en-us/1113-direct-deposit

Medtronic sends emails to their customers also, for both iOS and Android it is recommended to disable OS upgrades, as they will not update their Minimed Mobile app yet [1].

I imagine they need to test / get FDA clearance first or something similar, since it's a medical app.

But... people will forget to re-enable the updates afterwards, of course.

The email is send every year, with every update of the OS.

[1] https://apps.apple.com/en/app/minimed-mobile/id1464664725?l=...

Apple tends to ask people to reconfirm system settings now and then after iOS upgrades. Does iOS ask about automatic upgrades occasionally?


Everyone is jumping on the bank for not staying up to date with the frequent and massive chanages that Apple makes. But this is only a news story because it is a bank, this scenario happens constantly to a large fraction of all iOS software. The problem here is that modern libs and standards change so fast (similar to JS) that it really is hard for anyone without a megacorp's worth of software dev employees to keep up.

This isn't just this bank. This is many. And this is future shock.

> The problem here is that modern libs and standards change so fast (similar to JS) that it really is hard for anyone without a megacorp's worth of software dev employees to keep up.

Are you so sure of this? I have apps that haven't been updated in years that still run on my iPhone 13 Pro Max using latest iOS.

As an iOS dev of 7 years, year to year changes are generally mild and impact is generally low, particularly if your app is built with UIKit.

For the past 4-5 releases the worst I’ve seen in the apps I’m responsible are a small number of minor non-breaking quirks… think things like a button rendering slightly oddly. It’s never been beyond what a single dev could handle.

Android on the other hand…

>Android on the other hand…

Yeah. Hence why Kotlin is a dead end and React Native is more or less the new standard.

I am not an iOS dev, but is it possible that banking apps (and I admit they're slow at adapting) depend on certain APIs that have changed, or Apple deciding to enforce a use of a specific API for a specific type of apps?

I am asking to learn.

It’s definitely possible. But iOS deprecated APIs, iirc, it doesn’t just delete them. (At least that’s what I remember from iOS dev four years ago.)

I conjecture that the bank didn’t bother to test the app on a new version of iOS until this week, found a major bug, and knew they couldn’t fix it fast enough.

But they could have tested three months ago when the beta came out, and any major issues (like using an old API) probably would have occurred then.

With a few exceptions (mainly where hooking into the kernel is concerned), deprecated iOS/macOS APIs tend to hang around for many years after deprecation.

If I coax a random FOSS Mac app project from the early to mid 2000s into compiling on modern macOS there’s usually deprecation warnings left and right, with many of the deprecations having happened in OS X 10.2-10.6 (well over a decade ago), but it’ll still work fine.

So devs usually have plenty of chance to move things over. The grace period just isn’t indefinite like it is with e.g. Windows — sometimes the deprecated APIs are removed 5-6 releases down the road and so it’s a good idea to move off of them sooner than later.

Apple releases an update once a year and they give several months of betas where app devs can test and prepare. That’s more than enough for supported apps.

Still pretty embarrassing when Microsoft maintains backwards compatibility for decades.

This is why I don’t like developing on Windows, everything has 10 layers of complexity. To write a script for something that should be a simple task, I need to either reengineer the exact environment settings used in the UI or write an additional script to find the correct executable (with all the overhead of running the executable) to recreate the state needed to run a single command.

That backwards compatibility has also infamously been a ball and chain on Windows development. It doesn’t come without tradeoffs.

Providing backwards compatibility for decades has some serious tradeoffs. Breaking apps that were using the most up-to-date APIs three months ago is simply amateurish.

It's clear that Apple has no respect for developers on their platform.

As mentioned in other comments, it's very unusual for undeprecated APIs in iOS to break badly from one release to the next, at least the time I've developed for the platform. Usually if something is that broken it's because the app in question was using an API that was deprecated years ago despite repeated warnings.

Not embarrassing, its a deliberate strategy to keep the platform moving forward.

Backwards comparability doesn't prevent forward movement. Moving forward is an overused tagline from every meeting ever anyway. If we move along a path does the path behind us crumble into the abyss?

I see this as Apple breaking the app. Demanding and nudging users to auto-update the iOS, the consequences being the OS fails to run what it previously could run.

Apple literally removed chunks of the processor that was needed to run 32 bit software to make room for more forward looking features.

Backwards compatibility would mean that MacOS should still have support for 32 bit apps? PPC apps? 68K apps? Should they have ported Carbon to 64 bits? Should they have kept support for QuickDraw from the 80s? QuickDraw GX from the 90s?

A smartphone that fails to run a banking app that worked literally "yesterday" is not the same as 32bit deaktop apps no longer working on 64bit systems.

Either way, I expect my PC to be capable of running old software including 32 bit apps. My 64bit Windoze machine does that.

> removed chunks of the processor

Did users petition for the chunks to be removed?

It's not like 32/64 bit applications are equivalent to VHS/DVD, where hardware is obviously different. But even then, I own this DVD/VHS combo player: https://www.lg.com/au/dvd-blu-ray-players/lg-RC689D

No, users appreciate having better photography because the die space that was used to run 32 bit apps can now be used for other features. They appreciate their memory not being used to hold both 32 bit and 64 bit versions of shared libraries. They appreciate their apps not being purged from memory because of memory being taken up by the 32 bit and 64 bit libraries. They appreciate the better battery life because Apple could add features and reduce the size of the chip.

Your x86 PC that you appreciate being able to run 32 bit apps, also can’t last 20 hours on one charge, the integrated graphics are much slower and it probably sounds like a 747 under load compared to the fanless MacBook Air.

32/64 bit applications are in fact the equivalent of VHS/DVD combo players. Each instruction set is duplicated and shared libraries are duplicated. If you have some 32 bit applications in memory and some 64 bit applications in memory, you have duplicate libraries in memory.

Off track now, 32/64 bit is drifting too far from a banking app that works fine on iOS 15 but not iOS 16. Looks like they fixed the app anyway, as the message on the link has changed and is advising people to update app.

I use a desktop machine primarily, no battery issues, no memory issues. Purrs like a kitten under load. I like pushing 3D graphics and having lots of headroom in general. A MacBook Air won't cut it for my purposes.

I suppose rejecting backwards compatibility is better for business: Competition from older software is no longer a problem.

I still use Photoshop CS6 (2012) because it does what I need. My work laptop has latest Photoshop and while some of the new tools are nice, I don't see 10 years worth of innovation. I see a software company's nagging efforts to enforce cloud dependency, hustle users with sneaky price hikes, and even spam the email addresses of licensee seat holders with "trusted partner" junk.

So Apple had a beta period that gave developers a chance to test for compatibility and either Apple fixed the underlying issue before the OS released or the developer fixed their app. Either way, things worked as expected.

Photoshop actually is another example of things working as they should. Adobe has ported Photoshop from 68K, to PPC, to OS X, to x86 32 bit, to x86 64 bit, to ARM.

As far as subscriptions, I don’t use Photoshop. But back in the day, one seat of MS Office use to be $600. Now I can get a 5 user license of Office where each user can use Office on any combination of Macs, Windows PCs, iPhones, iPads and the web plus 5TB of cloud storage for $99 a year.

The vast majority of people are using laptops. But even desktop ARM Macs are seeing the same benefits from being able to ditch backwards compatibility.

> "But even desktop ARM Macs are seeing the same benefits from being able to ditch backwards compatibility."

Because who doesn't want better battery life for their desktop machine? Or quieter fans or more memory.

Desktops have plenty of RAM, enough to not worry about whatever insignificant benefits you're talking about that may arise from ditching backwards compatibility. Which by the way, has never been an undesirable feature. You're just trying to sell it as undesirable by claiming users are in great debt to those who decide to take away the option to run older software.

Apple has stated they will delete iOS apps from app store if they haven't been updated in awhile even if they technically still function. This will lead to a farcical situation of updates for the sake of updates, which is no doubt happening now anyway to get attention. "Remember me? I'm the app you haven't touched in a few months, here's an update!"

You're a subscription apologist and you dislike backwards compatibility. Your position is unconvincing in this discussion, but it sounds like you're happy! All the best.

Because Microsoft focuses on legacy enterprise convenience while Apple focuses on end user convenience.

They've had 3 months to test the new iOS software. That's the whole purpose of WWDC in June and new OS coming out in September

I don’t think it’s crazy for any company to want more than 3 months to support a new OS.

This specific situation is unfortunate, but I’d expect many other companies to have a mildly broken app for a few months. In particular, the punch hole gimmick was kept a secret and I’d expect apps who expected no touch target in that area to have to rethink a bunch of assumptions.

Out of ignorance I ask:

Why aren’t there LTS versions of iOS?

As a long time iOS user each year brings a bit of change with improvements just barely better than regression. Under the hood, what changes so much as to consider it a major upgrade with breaking changes?

The MS pattern of deep support of legacy API for applications seems too extreme in the other direction. However iOS has long sense reached a point of maturity where annual breakage is also an extreme.

> LTS versions of iOS

I think that would be cool for users that want security and don't want the new features or new design.. But it'll be used as an excuse for certain apps to not keep their up to date with the newest APIs.

As for the company, they often use the OS version to drive more sales. The new OS almost always requires a little bit more performant hardware. The older the phone, the slower it gets with the newer OS.

There is, once your phone can’t support the latest version of iOS, you are de facto on the LTS version where Apple will provide security patches as needed for years. iOS 12 just got a security patch for the iPhone 5s (circa 2013) last month.

How does it benefit consumers, developers, or Apple to support older OS’s on phones that can support the newest version?

If value of new features is less than lost value in regression then a change doesn’t benefit consumers.

For example, I wish that they didn’t support OG SE on 15 since there were goose-egg OS level improvements and giant regression in battery with 15.6.

Case in point: this morning I visited a recipe website and my phone is now hot to the touch.

Bilal_io's point on driving phone sales is spot on.

To add to that, phones have no OS downgrade process, so even if as an app provide you decide you won't support the latest OS, every new phone bought from now will still come with it, and the user can't do anything about that.

A LTS would require to also get read of the version up rachetting.

oh really? Three whole months? Shame on them /s

That's been how it's been for years now. Every year. I'm sympathetic to the argument that that's not enough time, but if your company has a mobile app on iOS and you're not planning to do this work every summer in time for the September release then it's a pretty major failure of planning.

If you need to do months of work every summer to keep up with iOS updates you need to look at what you’re doing wrong, unless you’re simply adopting new features every time. Things should generally just work. Apple doesn’t usually break well-behaved apps (usually).

For sure, but you at least need to plan to maybe have work to do. Either to proactively support new features/devices or any necessary updates. If you're hitting September and your app is still broken, something has gone wrong.

You just need to plan to test your apps every Summer. And maybe extra time for implementing new platform features, like log-in with Apple and whatnot. But it’s still a yearly routine!

To be fair, iOS version increments usually aren’t rocket science if you don’t want to take advantage of all the new features right away.

Why the /s? Three months is a _very_ long time in software. This isn’t retooling physical metal for a new car model year; it’s minor software tweaks at best. Most developers don’t actually need to do anything.

> Three months is a _very_ long time in software

No, its not. For example, I use an open source app called fd:


I have not updated it since 2020. Yeah, new versions are available, but the old one works fine, so no need to even upgrade. You shouldn't have to get every single version of software just because its available.

What exactly is the point of all these releases if you don't upgrade?

Do you think Apple just releases new versions of iOS with API changes to keep developers shipping new versions or something?

I don't understand this mentality that just because v1.6.3 is available you don't HAVE to upgrade from v1.2.1.

There's obviously new bug fixes and features available to you.

The only reason I would say not to upgrade is because your device doesn't support the new version and in that case you CANT upgrade.

Right, but since when does Apple (or any company) get to dicate what versions of software that I use? Granted in some cases, forced upgrades are a thing. But I am a human being with agency, I can make my own decisions on what to run on my own computer/devices.

I would criticize the bank for suggesting to non-technical customers to disable automatic updates.

I think that’s a major security issue for the average person.

Companies like this act like their services are special and that customers should bend over backwards to accommodate their own shortcomings.

It's hard to really make a judgement one way or the other without knowing the technical and organisational reasons in the first place.

Maybe their iOS dev left a few months ago and there are large changes needed they haven't been able to pull off in time? Maybe there's a very specific issue/bug they're having trouble to work around? Maybe they actually did make an update but it got rejected in the (in)famous "Apple approval process"? Something else? Who knows...

Whether or not a company can get apps updated in a reasonable window - or whether a bank having “an iOS dev” is reasonable, or not, it is simply unforgivable to suggest that people turn off operating system upgrades.

The reasons are interesting on a human level, but on a professional basis they should have had a plan months ago.

Maybe the did have a plan but something went wrong at the last minute; or maybe not and they just messed up. We don't really know that.

Marco Arment (Overcast) and David Smith (slew of apps) would argue differently



Marco did have a pretty massive rant this year about how terrible the beta process was and how he was getting told that bugs filed in July were "too late" to be fixed. It's certainly not a friendly process for small devs, but OP is definitely overstating how hard it is.

The iOS betas have been available to the bank for three months prior to the public release, every year since they first signed up for a developer account.

If this is their first year dealing with an iOS update, they have my sympathies.

If the bank has spent the past 90 days trying and failing to make their app work, they have my sympathies.

If this is not their first year, and they chose not to bother testing their app until the release candidate was issued this week, they do not have my sympathies.

Separately from the utter ridiculousness of this...

...can anyone guess what about their app might break in iOS 16? I was under the impression that iOS updates didn't generally break compatibility, unless it's locking down some kind of permission. But I'm having a hard time imagining what a banking app would rely on that would change underneath it?

There is at least one expensive enterprise DRM/obfuscation/"code protection" tool that had a late breaking bug in the iOS 16 beta process, and any app that uses it works with with earlier iOS 16 beta builds while crashing on newer ones.

I worked on a iOS product and Apple breaks things across versions pretty constantly. A lot of them are undocumented (things like UI components just not rendering correctly or breaking) and it requires a pretty big sprint every year when betas arrive (which is a pain because you don't know which of the bugs will be fixed by release).

Android isn't much different.

Apple Pay is changing in subtle ways that can break payment flows.

Can you expand on this? From my understanding about Apple Pay, anything already working should continue to work, and any new features are optional… so I’m curious what you have in mind.

If you fail the payment request, the Apple Pay dialog remains on the screen and the user can change cards. Before, the payment flow would end and the app would then submit a new payment request to try again.

Maybe they're still using FTP (support removed in iOS 16).

Upvoted for being the first comment with the content I come to HN for.

Touch ID/Face ID lockdown most likely.

If only there were some program whereby app developers could preview the new iOS version so as to ensure compatibility. /s

So it seems that you have never worked in a real company, where it can't easily be done to make a major technical rework of some components in a 3 months timeframe. With debugging, conception of a fix, implementation and testing, it is not often possible.

Teams are also not standing by to be available anytime for such works, often those apps are being worked on with contractors.

> So it seems that you have never worked in a real company,

Pretty much all of us who are posting here, even many of the students, have in fact worked at real companies. Perhaps you mean to say that not all of us appreciate that some organizations are a mess and simply cannot design and release a feature in a 3 month timeline even with a year or two of deprecation notice.

Most companies (and banks) seem to manage alright, without their apps breaking, or their customers being given inane advice. Or is this not your experience?

There are at least 3 in this thread that have made a warning, there could be others. It will most likely happen to apps using some special features (security, connectivity, ...), not to the most common table view.

If an app has "security, connectivity" as important features there is a greater not less an onus to keep abreast of platform changes and ensure your userbase isn't exposed.

Banking apps have always been the bottom of the barrel to me, with many (non critical) bugs taking months to get fixed. Gov. apps and utilities app come second and third from the bottom.

My personal experience is, many mammoth companies are not managing that alright.

It's fairly reasonable to assume a new major iOS version will come out around September or October every year, with multiple betas before the final release.

The question is more what to do when you find a major issue from let’s say the third or fourth beta, and your dev company tells you refactoring is needed and it will take 3 months to ship.

I feel most people’s opinion in this thread stops at “just don’t be in that situation”

It’s very unusual for major technical reworks to be required as a result of a new version of iOS unless you’re using APIs that have been deprecated for a long, long time and have been kicking the can of migrating to the new APIs down the road for years.

The companies that care have dedicated iOS teams that work on precisely this. Perhaps this bank should funnel some of the outrageous sums of money they presumably skim off the top and spend it here?

Depends on how much their users actually use it. Maybe the app is just a gadget and not their main business tool.

Most companies with such kind of app usage won't have a team all year round for their app and will work with contractors on a project basis.

Sounds like "app doesn't work on iOS 16" would be an appropriate thing to get a contractor team to fix?

And every client of every iOS contractor is asking the same "please check and fix" within the same 3 months (2 of which are also during summer holiday period in many places).

While it's not clear what the exact problem is in this case, the Triumph motorcycle company seems also to have issued a message about not updating iOS because of a bluetooth connectivity issue with it (https://superbike-news.co.uk/triumph-motorcycles-ios16-updat...).

It is annoying that Apple breaks existing apps. System updates should keep existing apps working as they are, and only impose changes to those that are rebuilt/updated after the release.

> Apple breaks existing apps.

They have a pretty long beta program (source: Apple dev., since 1986). If your app doesn't work with the upcoming release, it's not Apple's fault.

Some companies will refuse to start testing, until the OS is officially released. That's a corporate process problem, and not Apple's.

I'm not an Apple apologist, though I am often accused of being so (because I develop Apple apps, that is enough to categorize me as a "fanboi"). It's just that Apple (and many, many other companies) goes well out of their way to accommodate prerelease testing of apps on their operating systems, and many many companies don't bother to avail themselves of the opportunity. I do have a problem with people that consider themselves to be "professionals," having these issues, and blaming the operating system, when the fault is PEBCAK.

I tend not to do very much testing of prerelease, beyond a simple "make sure it doesn't crash" test. I will turn up an issue, from time to time, but it's rare. When I do get an issue, it is often that I rely on a certain order of calls, in delegate protocols, and they can change, with OS releases (the fact I rely on the order is a bug, and this just exposes my bug, so I need to fix it).

This is because I take a very conservative approach to writing apps, use native Swift, but not "bleeding edge," and support one version back. I have deprecation warnings turned on, and all warnings as errors, so I can't compile, if I have stuff that Apple sees will break (usually, the deprecation warnings start a couple of major releases in advance).

I also don't use dependencies, or write, using hybrid systems. That helps a lot.

You’re saying it’s their fault for not testing their app on a pre-release OS that breaks the app.

The people you’re replying to say that an OS shouldn’t break an app unless it’s absolutely unavoidable.

> You’re saying it’s their fault for not testing their app on a pre-release OS that breaks the app.

The notice doesn’t say that iOS 16 breaks the app. It’s extremely unlikely that it does, unless they’re using private APIs (bad), or they’ve hardcoded an “iOS 15 or lower” version check (bad).

What the notice does say is “we couldn’t be bothered to test the app with iOS 16, even though it’s been available to developers for months”.

That's exactly the issue. Writing an app once shouldn't mean a lifetime of maintenance. You shouldn't have to test and rewrite once a year (!!).

If I gave you a three month warning before punching you in the face, it doesn't make it reasonable for me to punch you in the face.

If you need to rewrite your app, every year, then the problem is not the operating system vendor.

If you don't want to write apps for a platform, then the solution is simple; don't support it.

Most folks like to support Apple, because it's a really lucrative user base. People make a lot of money from users of Apple devices. People use Apple devices, because they like the assurance they get, of certain things. Most of the folks that complain about Apple are not exactly representative of the huge majority of folks that use Apple devices; who don't have much interest in going out on social media, and making noise about their devices.

If someone gives me a three-month punch warning; I have no one to blame, but myself, if my face is still there, when the punch comes. Whether or not the punch should be thrown, is another matter, and not really relevant (or appropriate) to the discussion.

The issue is the other end of this is Microsoft having essentially eternal backwards compatibility for everything in Office and Windows and the major security risks and code baggage that come with that.

I work at a big 2nd-tier tech company and corporate security policies prohibit beta versions of OSes. Our ios and android apps are a huge part of our business yet the only way for devs to work on updates is to subvert corp security like figure out how to proxy client certs or bridge the corp network from their laptop to their personal equipment.

Its a huge fight every year that never gets resolved

That sounds like a problem with your corporate policies.

Sure it's annoying, but backward compatibility has a non-trivial cost. In terms of tech behemoths, Apple and Microsoft are on opposite ends of the spectrum. I think it's a pretty easy argument to make that Apple should do a little more for backwards compatibility. But on the other hand if they had had the Microsoft commitment to compatibility, the quality and modern features of iOS would be nowhere near what they are today.

Especially in Apples case, because Apple have a copy of every binary ever signed to run on iOS.

That means they can theoretically make every app run exactly the same on new or old OS, and they could totally have a fuzzer to ensure this.

That's a road straight to library hell. You'd basically have to manage multiple versions of libraries, some of which would likely be system libraries that depend on other system libraries. Are you trying to suggest Apple's iOS should be more like Nintendo/BroadOn's IOS for the Wii? Way to waste users' storage.

Sometimes things break when things are updated, especially across major versions. This has been true for the entirety of computing. Microsoft, who have one of the best track records in the industry regarding backwards compatibility, still break countless programs with major Windows updates. Every platform I can think of that isn't an 8-bit system running BASIC has made breaking changes over time. What is your suggested solution?

>Microsoft, who have one of the best track records in the industry regarding backwards compatibility, still break countless programs with major Windows updates

Do you have any examples of these countless programs broken by updates?

Why does a motorcycle need an app

It's actually in the link: to show the turn-by-turn navigation on the bike's display.

Useful or not, that's for users who will not be able to use it to judge.

Fun coincidence. We are telling our customers (the banks themselves) the same thing for our B2B product.

We are going back to a web app for everything. Native is a joke if you care about stability over time. We sign contracts that are 5 years long. That’s 5 major apple/google/etc product cycles. We needed a different strategy for our tiny company.

There’s not really much you can’t do in iOS Safari in 2022. I’ve even got some customers pushing PWAs over Azure Intune to iPads without any problems. No codesign or apple developer program in sight. Life feels much better this way.

99% of Coutts and similar customers absolutely will not mind, they're not the demographic. And nobody else should either, because they're not impacted. Speaking as an ex Coutts customer, until recently they didn't even have a mobile banking app. The bank I moved too as a marginally better one, and it's one of the reasons why I moved to them.

I absolutely do not operate day to day from these accounts, they are for doing specialist things and making large movements. Only a very small portion of this banks customers will use them for day to day needs.

Private banking is more like business banking for personal use. Oh and also networking events for people who speak a certain way to meet other people who speak a certain way. /eyeroll

The disclaimer at the bottom is the icing:

"A smartphone or tablet with a recent version of iOS or Android is required to access our digital service. Read-only access will be provided to users age 11 to 16. Access to our digital service is at our discretion. To activate the service, we’ll need to hold an email address and mobile phone number. Face ID and fingerprint recognition available on selected devices. Payments made to new payees over a certain value will need to be made on the desktop version as an additional layer of security."

To be fair maybe the app is done but not rejected by the Apple review process so there is some back and forth getting the app to pass. A lot of app politics to navigate for both Apple and Google to get your app out and published.

More then likely being a bank they probably have a lot of policies and procedures in place to get an app to the point where it is ready to be published and someone just figured out that Apple did an update.

The reviews of this bank on TrustPilot are rather telling.


My experience with just pretty much all major banks in the UK as a telecom startup has been beyond horrible. No international trade allowed - whatsoever, on any of them. Opening an account is nearly impossible. And those who open... Inbound payments from Brazil? Not allowed. A transfer from UAE? That's a high-risk country - bloody terrorists. Oman? Just forget about it. Exclude all Africa, Middle East and Latin Americas completely from your user base. EU? Well, maybe, if your client is not too far to the East. Slovakia sounds dodgy.

That's all while they are laundering billions of corrupt cash.

Never in my entire life I saw a financial system failing and undermining a fundamental function of the society so much. Seriously, I can't wait for the entire UK banking system to go to hell.

They don’t care about the clients who use the app because their bread and butter clients don’t want to use the app— they want to call or they want to text or they want to email. The uber wealthy clients this bank caters to want white glove service with a “private banker” at their beck and call all hours of the day and night. The people leaving these reviews are probably trust benes whose opinion doesn’t matter to the bank in the slightest.

Fascinating stuff. I do not know so it is a stab in the dark here. Is there a possibility that there is a correlation between this note and clientele not using mobile banking enough to justify an upgrade?


i posted above, but it is crazy people think the ultra-wealthy sit around and pay bills online.

They have assistants and accountants and they are not paying bills the size wealthy people rack up on their phones.

I suspect many of us can tell more about IT horror-stories in the banking industry. There is simply no way to make agile software in such a gigantic and obsolete environment. And yes... doesn't matter if you do micro-front architecture now... it is still obsolete.

I once switched banks to get away from their insistence on Internet Explorer, a fake requirement which could be easily bypassed by switching user-agents.

This seems to be equally lazy.

Their engineering prowess is also demonstrated by their website’s butter-smooth scrolling performance. /s

Their security department must be up in arms. Making sure your software is updated is a pinnacle in security - you simply do not turn of updating of your devices - I know this is a little bit simplistic but it isn't as if the BETA hasn't been available for iOS 16 for ages.

Instead of disabling your updates, you should change your bank. Don't let them get away with it.

Security departments are generally so unhelpful that most organisations quickly learn to ignore them beyond the box ticking exercises.

This is the difference between Microsoft and Apple. Where Microsoft goes through great lengths to keep new versions of OSes compatible with previous ones, Apple just lets users and developers sort it out.

This honestly just isn't as true as it used to be. Microsoft is happy to break and deprecate stuff nowadays in all of its platforms, it's just been slower to do so on Windows, but even Windows is losing its immunity. Remember it was only a few months back everyone was up in arms that their relatively modern computers wouldn't be supported by Windows 11 without purchasing hardware. The Azure/MS365 platform sunsets APIs all the time or makes back-end changes to their APIs used by applications without even so much as a warning, and applications using those APIs have to rush out patches around these changes.

Yes, it's impressive that some old applications can run just fine on a modern Windows box, but it's not really something they've been pushing for long time. If Microsoft had their ideal world, you wouldn't be developing applications for Windows, you'd be building something backed by a series of Azure Services and all your apps would just be light clients talking to an endpoint on Azure.

Yes and Microsoft has constantly paid the cost by not being able to move as fast and having security issues because of some long forgotten piece of legacy code. Apple was able to have basically the same core OS run on phones, tablets, watches, set top boxes and monitors (yes the latest Apple display runs a version of iOS on an iPhone 11 era chip with 64GB RAM).

Back as early as 2005 there were more than half a dozen ways to represent a “string” in C on Microsoft platforms depending on which API you were using.


Of course this led to an early easily exploitable security issue in Windows where all you had to do was encode a DOS command and put in the url for the browser and you could run any DOS command with admin privileges on a web server running IIS.

> and having security issues

Security fixes should always be backported, because there will always be people stuck at a version of the OS for one reason or the other (it is guaranteed if you serve millions of people).

Blaming users for not upgrading, or forcing developers to upgrade is NOT how it should be done.

So should Apple have kept compatibility with 32 bit apps? PPC apps? 68K apps?

Apple does release security fixes and released one for the 2012 circa iPhone 5S last September. But once it dropped support for all 32 bit apps, it didn’t have to carry it forward to new Macs and was able to remove support from the processor itself.

Why not? Given Apple's growth, they can hire a person for every release of their OS and keep them working on backports of security issues without problems.

Every piece of code you have to maintain is technical debt and increases the surface area of bugs and vulnerabilities. There is no hardware support for 32 bit apps in the newest ARM chips. Should they also ship both a 68K, PPC, and 32 bit capable x86 VM with Macs?

Why stop at software compatibility, why shouldn’t modern MacBooks come with SCSI and ADB ports? Why shouldn’t Apple desktop computers still support Nubus?

We were talking about security updates.

So should they update MacTCP for System 7 for my old 68K Mac LC II?

They already provide updates for phones and iPads back to 2013 as recently as last month.

That was the first phone that supported LTE. Any phone older than that will soon be inoperable as the carriers shut down their 3G network.

Speaking of security.. tell us, what is involved in "jailbreaking" an iphone?

you take some action, and get "root" access to the OS which allows things like bypassing the anti-theft mechanism?

Do you remember the days when all you had to do was go to a website and now your iphone was "rooted"

Microsoft should have done more to limit "backwards compatibility" as it has stung them over and over again.

Apple has a tendency of intentionally breaking things (sorry, your mac isn't supported on this version of MacOS. Apply a very small patch is suddenly is supported?).

Pretending that Microsofts legacy support created security issues while Apple doesn't have security problems on its own is misleading.

I never said that Apple didn’t have any security issues. But by definition if you have a smaller attack area, you have less chances of security vulnerabilities. You don’t have to worry about an old forgotten part of the code that was just there to support 32 big apps from iOS 1 have lingering bugs.

That’s why the Microsoft mobile operating system is so much more successful.

Guidelines | FAQ | Lists | API | Security | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact