Blog » Reformat syndrome

You know the worst thing about owning an Apple product? They tend to work all the time.

Hey, quit giggling. For the easiest proof that any activity repeated enough times becomes a habit, consider that I’m apparently compelled to reformat my computing devices at least once every six months. When OS X Mountain Lion came out, I reformatted. I do it to my iPhone and iPad every time there’s a major version number upgrade. I’ve even done it to my Xbox 360, moving my saved games onto the internal memory, wiping the external hard disk, then moving my data back and setting the machine back to factory specs. All of it’s totally pointless. My devices run just as well as they did before, but now my brain can rest.

Sweet soothing progress bar

This compulsion came from my years as a Windows guy. I loved tinkering with computers. On Windows that often meant installing strange system modifications, dealing with botched installs, and trolling Astalavista for useful software *wink wink*. And when things went south your only recourse was to back up your data, wipe the hard drive, and reinstall. It’s like rebooting a finicky Unix server: it fixes everything. Your PC always ran faster with the latest drivers and utilities.

But now that I’m a Mac guy it’s all wasted time, cargo cult behavior. I’m starting to tone it down, as there’s no methadone for my particular addiction. Instead of reformatting my MacBook, I’ll delete all the icons from my DragThing docks and build anew. Or I rearrange my iPhone and iPad home screens. Or wipe my iTunes playlists.

It’s kind of hopeless, but at least I’ll never end up on Jerry Springer.