They’re Bad Prompts, Tom

Thursday, February 9th, 2017

I recently discovered the Good Dogs! game, from the same mind that brought the world the fabulous @dog_rates Twitter account. Despite being yet another entry to the seemingly endless ranks of endless runner games, the game is enjoyable, and I wanted to share it. I figured I’d just grab a link to it from the App Store and message it along.

To do so, I tapped the Share button in the upper right corner of the app’s listing in the App Store:

Step 1: Tapping the Share button

This gave me a fairly standard Share sheet, showing different ways I could share this content. Even though the app itself is free, it seemed neat to be able to gift it to someone, rather than just sending a link.

Step 2: Tapping the Gift button

I tapped the “Gift” button, and got a “Send Gift” form:

Step 3: Filling out the Gift form

As you can see, I filled it out with an appropriate message. I then hit “Next”, and was given the option to select what sort of theme my gift would have:

Step 4: Selecting a theme

After settling on a theme, I hit “Next” again, and I was taken to a Review screen, as seen here:

Step 5: Reviewing the gift

Everything looked in order, so I hit “Buy”. When I did, very little seemed to happen. The only difference was that now the upper right said “BUY NOW”, instead of “Buy”:

Step 6: BUY NOW

This seemed odd, but I again tapped in the upper right. When I did, the control reverted back to reading “Buy”. I was confused, but eventually noticed that the network activity spinner was whirling away in the status bar:

Step 7: Spinning

After more than a few seconds, I finally got the iTunes Store password prompt with which iPhone users are far too familiar:

Step 8: Password entry

I filled out my password and tapped “OK”, certain I was finished. My thoughtful (though admittedly free) gift was headed across the internet! Except that it wasn’t:

Step 9: Oh. OK.

After all that, the system rejected me because this item was free. Even more annoying, it took four additional taps to bail out of the whole gifting UI, then another two to just message a damned link like I’d intended to in the first place.

A modest proposal for Apple: If gifting isn’t available, don’t offer gifting.

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