Why I’m Quitting iWorks

I know, I know, the title is click bait, but there’s some truth to it. I will start out by saying that I know Apple makes some great hardware, but their software has been lacking lately. Case in point is iWorks. To twist a phrase we’ve all heard before… “it doesn’t just work”.  There are at least 3 problems I have with iWorks that don’t seem to be well documented anywhere.

  1. It’s slow… really slow.
  2. It doesn’t appear to sync documents in a timely manner.
  3. It takes up way too much space for what it does.

Slowness Issue:

Try placing 500 to 1000 documents in Pages. Once you’ve done that try opening pages on another machine. It will literally take hours just to show you thumbnails (thumbnails!!!!) of your documents. I would much rather get a bunch of generic icons with file names. Showing me a live preview of my document isn’t worth it. Once those thumbnails have all downloaded things don’t get much better. Usually you will have to wait 10 to 15 seconds just to be able to scroll.

Document Syncing:

This may go along with the slowness issue, but it’s still an annoyance. If you create a document it will show up on your Mac and iOS devices, but on iOS at least it will take several minutes to actually download the document. In one case I had a two line document that took 15 minutes to download…. wtf?!

Space Issues:

Going back to the syncing issue, you’ll notice the first thing I mentioned was adding 500 to 1000 items to Pages, I did that on purpose. There is another issue that occurs when you do that, and no one seems to acknowledge it. In order to really see this you will need to start with a fresh install of an iWork app. If you look at the free space on your iOS device before you install the iWork suite and then look at it immediately afterwards you’ll notice the apps are taking up the space they advertise. So, in the case of Pages you’ll notice the app is taking up roughly 300MB. While that’s a lot it’s not too far off from what the iOS Words App does. It takes up about 250MB. Now, here’s where the problem comes in. Open the newly installed Pages app and tell it to use iCloud. After you’ve done that wait a while (see syncing issue above). Once all of the documents have been synced from iCloud to your iDevice go back into the settings and look at usage. You’ll notice you’ve lost a significant amount of space. I can’t tell if Pages is downloading all of the documents locally, but it’s pretty close. I have ~750MB of Pages documents and I would say I’ve lost an additional 500MB of space just by having that app on my device.

BONUS ANNOYANCE: I just figured out while writing this that Pages on the Mac apparently doesn’t auto-capitalize after you end a sentence or when you use the word ‘I’.

To be honest the only thing that has been holding me back from making the jump is the fact that Office on the Mac is still not free. While the iOS variants are, the desktop app still cost ~$150 for the full version or $9.99 a month. If I wanted to make that jump I would go with the subscription model since it ensures I have the latest and greatest version. It goes without saying that $120 a year is a lot more than free. However, if the issues I’ve outlined above don’t get fixed soon or get worse, then $120 a year may be worth it.



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