Few companies attract as much loyalty as Apple, which is matched by a huge amount of hate from those who can’t stand the brand. But what are the reasons why people dislike Apple so much?
From the justified to the emotional, let’s look at some of the common reasons for widespread Apple hate.
1. The Walled Garden and Lack of Customization
Apple designs the hardware, operating system, and many apps for its devices. This means that the company can fine-tune the experience exactly the way it wants and engineer its products to work smoothly together.
Since Apple wants you to use its devices the way it intends, the company places restrictions on behaviors that would go outside the “garden.” For example, you can’t sideload apps on iPhone; you’re only able to install apps that Apple has approved to be on the App Store.
Another by-product is that Apple allows far less customization on its platforms than competitors. On an iPhone, you can’t install an alternative launcher app to change the way apps display on the Home screen. SIP on macOS increases security at the cost of disabling many user customization options.
Some people want to do whatever they please with their devices, so they hate this aspect of Apple products. They don’t see being kept safe from potential dangers, or avoiding lousy experiences from external apps, as a worthwhile trade-off for being able to use their devices exactly as they want.
2. Anti-Consumer Practices
Apple is generally known for providing solid products that last for a long time. But the corporation makes a lot of decisions that are insulting to customers, especially given the high cost of Apple hardware.
Most people weren’t happy when Apple removed the headphone jack from the iPhone, starting in 2016 with the iPhone 7. But over time, wireless audio became much better, plus Apple included a Lighting to 3.5mm adapter with every iPhone so you could still use wired headphones.
That was, until 2019, when the iPhone XS line stopped including the adapter. Apple still sells one for $9, but having to order a cheap dongle separately for a $1,000 phone is ridiculous. Similarly, since the iPhone 12, Apple has shipped its phones with no charging brick in the box—you’ll need to supply your own or pay Apple $19 for one.
These are just a few of the issues. Other anti-consumer moves include making it essentially impossible to repair a MacBook or iPhone on your own, and requiring dongles to use almost anything else with a USB-C MacBook. You also still get just 5GB of free iCloud storage, no matter how many Apple devices are tied to your account.
These practices are easy for anyone to criticize, especially Apple naysayers.
3. Lack of Innovation
For a company that revolutionized the technological world several times, it’s surprising how stagnant Apple has felt in recent years. Compare 2018’s iPhone X to 2021’s iPhone 13 and you’ll notice hardly any differences.
Sure, the newer device is more powerful under the hood, has a better camera, and features a slightly different design. But each year, the new iPhones feel more like slight iterations and less like exciting technological advancements.
Apple also has a habit of letting its other product lines stagnate for years. The 2010 model of the MacBook Air went virtually unchanged (aside from under-the-hood upgrades) until Apple revised it in 2018. The 2013 “trash can” Mac Pro model, which had problems with cooling, wasn’t upgraded until the new Mac Pro launched in 2019.
Also contributing to this is that Apple doesn’t bring changes to its devices until they’re ready for mass usage. For example, Android devices had features like wireless charging and facial unlock years before they came to the iPhone.
But many other smartphone manufacturers throw new features into their devices to sound exciting, even if those functions are half-baked and only serve to sound exciting on paper. Apple tends to wait until they’re perfected, which some people see as a way to make incremental changes to devices and encourage new purchases.
While tech in general has now reached a point where major innovations happen less frequently, it’s easy to make fun of Apple for these problems, given that it’s a premium brand.
4. Poor Communication
Since Apple’s products rarely run into major issues, it doesn’t have to issue apologies, recalls, or similar very often. However, when these situations come up, Apple doesn’t communicate about them well.
A perfect example is the battery scandal that happened in 2016-2017. After an update, some users noticed that their older iPhone was running more slowly than before. People claimed that Apple was slowing down older iPhones, in a planned obsolescence move to make users of older phones buy a new device.
Instead, Apple explained that iOS was slowing down some older devices to keep them from shutting down when the battery couldn’t provide enough power. This was a workaround to counteract some of the effects that come with an aging battery. But since Apple didn’t tell users this was happening until much later, it looked shady and became a big story.
Combining this issue with the above, Apple has also stuck with poor design decisions for years. The Butterfly keyboard, first used in 2015’s 12-inch MacBook redesign, was plagued with issues. Any debris that got inside a key would cause it to stop working, and you’d have to visit a technician to disassemble the device and fix the problem.
Bizarrely, Apple kept the Butterfly keyboard in MacBooks until 2020. Even with an extended warranty included for these keyboards, they still caused problems for a lot of people.
In some cases, like the infamous iPhone 4 antenna issue where cell reception suffered from holding the device in a natural position, Apple will tell customers that they’re not using the device properly. This comes off as tone-deaf and uncaring.
5. High Prices
There’s no getting around the fact that Apple charges a lot across the board. You can argue that some of this balances out—Apple devices hold their value, so you can usually resell them years later and make a decent amount of the cost back. But people tend to dislike expensive brands, especially one that’s perceived as a status symbol like Apple.
Someone who just wants a laptop for light work will avoid paying $1,000+ for a MacBook Air when they can get a decent Windows laptop or even a Chromebook for a fraction of that price. Others scoff that people are willing to pay a monthly fee, which essentially goes on forever, to always have the newest iPhone.
Apple’s high pricing isn’t just for its main products, though. As mentioned above, accessories like dongles and chargers cost way more than a suitable third-party version on Amazon. Apple’s upgrades are also way above the manufacturer’s price. Going from the base 256GB of storage to 512GB on a MacBook Air costs an additional $200, even though you can buy a high-end 500GB Samsung 980 Pro SSD for around $130.
6. Platform Tribalism
In a world with only a few options for devices like smartphones and game consoles, people have become defensive about their choices. It’s easy to dislike Apple simply because “it’s the other side” and you want to show loyalty for what you use. If you’re a big fan of Android, Linux, or Windows, the above issues with Apple are easier to notice.
This goes both ways; many people dislike Apple because of Apple fanatics. While there are some people who simply use Apple products out of preference, some fans are diehard, buy every Apple product, and defend any decision the company makes. Apple detractors are quick to call these people “iSheep” or similar.
It’s not a phenomenon unique to Apple; there are fanbases for video games, movie series, and even non-tech groups like sports teams that make others hate them. Even if someone is neutral on the actual company, seeing how its fans behave might turn them off.
Apple Is Easy to Hate
Apple, like a lot of big companies, is polarizing. One person might love Apple for its locked-down devices, while someone else will despise it for the same reason. While using Apple devices has a lot of benefits, there are clear reasons why people love to hate Apple too.
If you hate Apple, you’re probably in another company’s ecosystem that has its own problems, too.
With Apple and Google continuing to expand their ecosystems, it’ll soon be too hard to switch from one to the other. Here, we’ll take a deep dive.
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