It’s been five full years since I first tried to leave the Apple ecosystem. My first attempt to escape started with a Pixel 2XL and followed with a System76 Oryx Pro, a FitBit and a range of software to the point where I could all but delete my Apple account.
At the time I was worried about my over-reliance on Apple as well as simply wanted to work with more open software and hardware. First I went completely to Google’s ecosystem. Then I spend the next few years trying to leave big tech behind entirely, not just once but twice, something I failed at miserably.
Today I’m more dependent on Apple than ever and I don’t think that’s a healthy turn of events.
On the hardware side my work and personal laptops are Macs, I have an iPad Pro, iPhone, Apple Watch and 3 Apple TVs in the house (I don’t even watch 3 TVs myself but that’s a story for another day).
On the software side I use nearly all Apple’s default apps and, frankly, little else. I don’t consider my needs all that complex and the simplicity of Apple apps are fine for me, but that doesn’t mean I’m comfortable with Apple as a single point of failure. If something happened to my Apple account I would be in serious trouble.
It’s not just the “single point of failure” issue that bothers me either. I tried to leave big tech behind as much due to all the ethical issues with Apple, Google and the like and those issues have largely only grown over the previous five years. Apple’s issues on the treatment of workers, tax avoidance and more almost make Google look clean and their direction on privacy really looks to put them on about the same plane as Google as Apple continues its push into ads and services driven by surveillance.
While my current hardware has a lot of life in it, and I’m not into just replacing hardware while existing hardware still works, it is time for me to start building out a sustainable alternative that Joy and I can be happy with. This means I’m considering adding a Framework laptop to my office and I’m experimenting, again, with some self-hosted solutions.
I don’t believe the answer, this time, will be to try to forsake big tech entirely. I think this time it will be to move as much as I comfortably can to alternatives and just not worry about using a big tech account when I have to for what I can’t find an alternative to, like maps and travel in general.
Will it all work this time? I don’t know. What I do know is that, while my Apple stuff seems to work for me, I’m not comfortable with my over-reliance on Apple nor the fact that I’ve sold my souls to big tech again and that I do think I can do something about.