Et tu, Apple?

Posted: October 4, 2008 in software

Anyone who has ever set up a new Windows computer has dealt with the frustration of the factory installed JUNKWARE. Ads for AOL products, antivirus and game trialware, and a host of other applications, shortcuts, and garbage clutter up the desktop until you take the time to remove them. Even after you’re up and running with a slightly cleaner system, you’re still plagued by sneaky add-ons that installed with applications that you want. I’m really tired of continually removing Yahoo toolbar, Google desktop, and Picasa!

So far though, Apple has been pretty up-front about what they’re trying to do to your computer. When I have an Apple software update, it usually tells me if it’s trying to install iTunes or QuickTime or both. So . . . a few days ago I was working on my desktop computer and I wound up in the Control Panel box. What’s this? MobileMe? I didn’t install that. I remember reading about a lot of problems iPhone users were experiencing with MobileMe, so I knew it was an Apple thing, but I didn’t (knowingly) download it, and I certainly didn’t (knowingly) install it. As I scrolled through the list, I also came across Apple Mobile Device Support. Apparently these two little gems were dropped in with the last iTunes update.


Apple is like a lot of other companies. They do some things right, and they do some things wrong. So far though, letting users know what they’re updating has always been one of the things that they’ve done right. I’m really disappointed that they’ve taken the new direction of slipping things in on unsuspecting users. What’s next? Apple Toolbar?

  1. Joe says:

    You said:” factory pre-installed…” when “.. factory installed..” would have been correct. There is no reason to add pre to the sentence.

  2. surferblue says:

    Thanks for the comment. Noted . . . and edited. 😉

  3. Tedious says:

    Seems like apple is following the age-old trend of having all the check-boxes checked by default.

    BTW “Software Update” is a misnomer on Windows. (It’s named that to mirror it’s Mac counterpart). It’s proper name should be “Package Manager” or “Software Installer”. It doesn’t actually install updates. It just downloads and installs new versions over your old one.

    When it comes to their gear (Macs/iPods), Apple is top notch; when it comes to supporting the other 98% of the population, they’re “just another Windows Developer” and make the same crapware as everyone else on the platform.

  4. JOHN DAVIS says:

    SurferBlue, you have a bad case of knee jerk! How can you possibly equate Windows PCs arriving crammed full of junk with a MobileMe icon in your System Preferences (it’s not the Control Panel Box on a Mac, looks like you’ve got it mixed up with a PC) and Apple Mobile Device Support. What did the Apple Mobile Device Support and MobileMe do to you? Tear you limb from limb?

    The free software Apple provide is excellent and has no comparison with ads for AOL, etc. In addition to which, if you don’t like “Chess,” just drag it to the trash. Uninstalling on a Mac is a piece of cake compared to a pc.

    And then we get this gem of wisdom, “Apple is like a lot of other companies. They do some things right and they do some things wrong.” Wow! Changes my whole perspective!

    If you’re worried about what gets installed with an update, get on to the Apple site and see what’s written there or, wait a couple of days and read what others have to say about it. MacFixit is a good site for this. If you go into System Preferences you can set what happens with upgrades, whether they are automatically installed or whether you get asked or not.

    John Davis

  5. surferblue says:


    To address your first comment, this is hardly a case of knee-jerk. I discovered this “extra” software a few days ago. I thought about it, and I read about it online before writing my post. I’m certainly not the only person concerned about this. Take a look at this July 21st post from Computerworld:

    Incidentally, Macworld carried the same story at their site:

    And yes, it was in the Control Panel section, not System Preferences. I am using a Windows computer, not a Mac.

    Thanks for the pointer to MacFixit. I visited the site, and it seems to be dedicated to the Mac OS. Since I’m using Windows rather than Macintosh, I’m not sure that this site is relevant to me. I took a look through the list of forums, but they all seem to be targeted towards MacOS, not Windows. Is there a Windows section that perhaps I just missed?

    I am not directly equating Apple with other companies that load computers down with software. In fact, if you read my post carefully, you noticed that I said – not once, but twice – that Apple has always been good about letting users know what they’re updating. I’m merely concerned because I don’t like having surprise software foisted upon me, and I’ve always thought of Apple as being better than that.

    Hope this clarifies things a bit.


  6. Sachi Wilson says:

    I suspect that because Apple typically designs its products to work as part of a whole system, it felt that installing the control panel applet was appropriate as part of the iTunes install. Still, it is possible to look inside the overall install package to pick out (and install) the individual parts that you want. I believe Lifehacker ( had the article about how to do that.

  7. […] Installation of Apple iTunes In my last post I wrote about some of the unwanted "extras" Apple bestowed upon me and many other […]

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