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macOS Catalina 10.15.5 (support.apple.com)
228 points by simjue on May 27, 2020 | hide | past | favorite | 377 comments

Since Catalina I have been getting daily freezes, where the entire operating system locks up. I can still move the cursor around and audio keeps playing as well, but everything else is completely frozen.

Once in a while the freeze lasts so long the computer crashes resulting in a crash report:

Termination Reason: WATCHDOG, [0x1] monitoring timed out for service

Termination Details: WATCHDOG, checkin with service: WindowServer returned not alive with context:

unresponsive work processor(s): WindowServer main thread

I am at my wits end to what can be causing this. Is anyone else experiencing similar freezes?

Tons of people: https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/constant-kernel-panics-...


There's like a dozen threads on MacRumors and the Apple discussion forums on various crashes, mostly related to sleep, but also to the watchdog timing out for WindowServer due to GPU lockups.

I didn't wade through that entire thread, but the most recent post has a specific set of circumstances:


> After waking from sleep and running a process using hardware accelerated video decoding / encoding, the UI will freeze for a couple of seconds, then starts working again, then freezes again, and so on. The mouse can still be moved but the UI is non-responsive. Eventually, after waiting for long enough, a kernel panic occurs and the machine reboots.

How to reproduce:

1. Use any Navi10 or Navi14 graphics card inside a Mac Pro 2019, eGPU case or use a MacBook Pro 16.

2. Open Video Proc or any other app utilizing hardware video acceleration (e.g. Safari playing Youtube, exporting with FCPX / iMovie).

3. Run the video acceleration test in Video Proc, start playing a H.264 / H.265 video in Safari or export a H.264 / H.265 file from FCPX / iMovie.

4. Put the machine to sleep.

5. Wake it again and re-test video acceleration.

6. If machine doesn't freeze, repeat the cycle from step 4.

7. Repeat this until the UI starts freezing / video acceleration stops working.

8. Eventually the machine will kernel panic after several minutes.

I’ve had this happen on my work MBP (13” non-touch bar, BT magic keyboard and trackpad and HDMI monitor connected via a cheap USB-C hub) a handful of times. Really have no idea what motivated it.

I don't even let my screens turn off anymore; these days I get this weird thing where after waking the monitors up the monitor does not get a signal, but if it is plugged in, the mouse jumps around at like 2fps on the main display as if there's some weird interrupt denial of service going on.

To fix this, I have to restart just to use my monitor again.

I have that problem too and I tried that, but then the OS forgot the setting during an update, and now I'm back to unplugging and replugging my adapter every time I grab a coffee or take a phone call.

External display wakeup problems have been an issue on many generations of MacBook Pro going back to PowerBooks (even with Apple displays). Very annoying!

I experienced this issue using an HDMI to DVI adapter from my 2018 Mac mini to a Dell Ultrasharp display. After purchasing a replacement cable that didn't remedy the problem, I discovered that it's a known issue.

The fix was to use a USB-C -> DisplayPort cable (using DisplayPort via USB-C alternative mode). It appears that the HDMI port can't be used with a DVI converter. DVI ports have been replaced by DisplayPort, HDMI, and DisplayPort for some time but it was still a disappointment.

One of the reason why I dont like GPU acceleration in general. And this isn't just on macOS, Windows, Firefox, Chrome.

May be it is better on iOS since Apple owns the whole stack from Metal to Drivers to actual GPU.

Genuine question: How is GPU accelerated rendering more prone to crashes than just doing it on the CPU?

Also, on macOS, Apple practically controls the whole stack too. Putting macOS on something that isn’t their hardware is a challenge.

Side note: there’s errata on the Intel CPUs, but I’m sure there’s also some (confidential) errata on the “A” series processors in iDevices. If iOS can work around the errata, why couldn’t macOS?

On Mac and Windows, you are relying on Drivers to do the work where you dont have the source code. While the piece of code is running on OpenGL or Direct X or Metal. And on top of all that there is a composition layer.

Modern GPU drivers is an insane piece of optimisation / engineering. But the complexity means you will never quite grasp the problem when things go wrong. In the early days of Firefox or Thunderbird it is recommended you turn off Hardware Acceleration whenever you see Font or Graphics rendering problem. While a lot of these have been fix ( or migrated ), it is still popping up from time to time.

There was a recent thread on HN ( I cant find it sorry ) Firefox asked for help on a GPU rendering bug that they have a hard time figuring out what's wrong.

On iOS, Apple owns the whole thing they can figure out what's wrong and fix it. As Apple write their own GPU drivers.

The GPU is a whole separate computer, running code independently, with its own clock scaling and power management. Having two separate things that can break is more complexity than one thing that can break. And having to have the two communicate in order to do delicate procedures like waking from sleep increases complexity dramatically.

Also, on many Macs, it's actually three separate things. There is the CPU, the integrated GPU, and the discrete GPU. The system switches between the two GPUs dynamically based on load and whether the system is plugged in.

How's that different from each CPU core?

The CPU cores are all (more or less) identical. The GPU has a completely different architecture.

> May be it is better on iOS since Apple owns the whole stack from Metal to Drivers to actual GPU

This goes the other way than what you would think.

Owning the whole stack lets you reach through abstraction layers. This can be good for, say, efficiency. You don't have to assume the implementation of another component could work in multiple different ways, you can look inside it and do something that only works with the specific implementation you're actually using.

It tends to be bad for reliability. Having clean interfaces between things makes them easier to reason about, because they're independent components instead of a giant ball of spaghetti. Each component only has to consider the other component's published interface and not have to worry about every detail of its internals. It's "do one thing and do it well" vs. "nothing is ever guaranteed not to change in any way at any time."

The latter gives you greater flexibility at the cost of greater instability and fragility.

Why do you guys put up with this? Do you like pain?

Edit: I'm not trying to troll, I genuinely want to know why people put up with this. I bounce between Linux and Windows and have no loyalty to either of them. I've settled on Windows with WSL2 on my desktop but I'm tempted again to install the new Fedora on my Thinkpad. Is it the lock in? With my hardware I can run anything I want except for macOS. Once you buy Apple hardware it seems incredibly difficult to go elsewhere.

I've got a brand-new 2019 16" and am dealing with the widespread crashes on wake from sleep. Honestly, it's a harder decision to send it back than you might think, for several reasons:

1) The hardware quality of other OEMs is bad too. Lenovo has really gone downhill. I sold my maxed-out X1 Carbon 7th Gen, which in less than a year: a) came with an LTE card that never worked for more than an hour at a time; b) had the display bezel start peeling off (it's a sticker!); c) developed a bunch of dead pixels; d) started randomly locking up; e) had weird issues with power usage, where some service related to the touchpad would go crazy and start using all the CPU.

2) Other laptop makers make design choices and trade-offs that I find unacceptable. For me, the 16" MBP is the perfect balance of power, weight, and battery life. It compromises by using a 3K screen instead of a 4K screen, and gets 11+ hours of light usage. Alternatives like the XPS 15 or Lenovo X1 Extreme force you to choose between an FHD panel and good battery life, or a 4K panel and substantially shorter battery life. The Surface Laptop 15" uses a 15W ultra-mobile processor in a machine that runs $2,800 when configured with 32GB of RAM, and has a battery half the size of the one in the MBP 16". Many 15" laptop vendors include a numeric keypad, which is a deal-breaker for me because it forces you to type at an angle to keep your hands centered in front of you when in the home position.

3) Touchpad and high-DPI scaling.

A guy at work installed Windows on his MacBook. He claimed it was the best Windows machine around. I'm not sure if his tune changed after Retina, because I really do have to hand it to Apple there: their high-DPI scaling is flawless.

I bootcamp'd Windows LTSC on my old late 2013 MBP. Your friend's experience is similar to mine. Everything is smooth and the magic trackpad 2 works flawlessly, which used to be an issue with Windows.

I won't switch back to Windows, but if I ever need to, I'd definitely consider using a MBP for it.

Have you considered System76?

I have a similar issues with OEM's laptop quality years ago with both HP and Dell. System76 laptops have been a pleasure to use.

The new Lemur Pro has a 10th gen CPU, does not have a numpad, and does have an FHD panel. They claim up to 14 hours of battery life on Linux. (21 hours coding on VIM.)



If he's (reasonably!) not happy with Lenovo's build quality, he's absolutely not going to be happy with Clevo.

I had a friend who bought one and it stopped working after two years. Their build quality is worse.

Have you considered keeping the Macbook and running Bootcamp full time?

(Or Linux, but I know Linux was in a bad state on new Macbooks as of fairly recently, don’t know if it has gotten better.)

I’m often away from a power outlet, so battery life is paramount. The battery life in Bootcamp is unacceptably short (3 hours) because the DGPU is always on.

Bootcamp drivers are in a sorry state. Expect battery life, performance, trackpad, display to all tank.

I was recently using Bootcamp on a relative's 2020 Macbook Air, and I was generally impressed with how well everything worked. Especially the Trackpad, which I remembered being a problem under Bootcamp many years ago.

If I didn't dislike Windows so much, I thought I could see myself using that setup full time.

I didn't look at battery life though.

Even my old MacBook Pro 2012 in BootCamp is very poor under BootCamp. Getting the right drivers for it is the worst bit because who knows whether I should be using Bootcamp 5 or 6? The display brightness and volume keys no longer work. The discrete GPU is used all the time so battery life is very bad.

The touchpad works fine though!

> Getting the right drivers for it is the worst bit because who knows whether I should be using Bootcamp 5 or 6

I mean, I'd use whatever the heck Bootcamp Assistant downloads for me automatically. I don't think I've ever thought about Bootcamp versions.

Never had issues with brightness and volume keys either...

What magic do I need to perform to do this? It worked and then stopped working after a Windows 10 update and Bootcamp 5 (for my 2012 mac) doesn't know about Windows 10 drivers or something...

Running Windows / Linux on bootcamp will decrease performance since the fan curves and other thermal settings aren't preserved when in Bootcamp.

A weird think to notice is that running a MacBook Air under bootcamp will make the display 300 nits brighter. https://www.notebookcheck.net/The-Apple-MacBook-Air-2020-is-...

If you're going to run Windows you'd likely be better of getting a Razer or one of the other systems that, at least for GPU work, is like an order of magnitude faster than a MacBook Pro.

x1 carbon, yeah good. but the T-Series are better. any thin, laptop you're gonna run into the same macbook problems, due the design constraints of letting the laptop be thin and lighweight. I have a t490, hardware solid all around. though lenovo put clippers on the bottom panel. don't know why. I know previous models t480 etc didn't have clippers.


XPS 15

I have trouble measuring how many complaints are real at scale type issues anymore.

I think you could find any popular hardware, particularly with any emphasis on performance where there aren't some issues logged.

Yes, this is reality. But for some reason some people decide that they're absolutely certain about the huge scale of issues with Apple products while being absolutely certain about the lack of scale for issues everywhere else. It couldn't _possibly_ be their bubble.

Yeah it certainly applies to Apple too.

The reality of failures applies everywhere.

I think the "reality" is hard to actually know.

> Not sure what this proves...

That every laptop exhibits problems. That "Your X has problem? Y doesn't have problem." is wrong and silly.

I'm seriously considering the new XPS 15. It hits much of the same great balance as the 16" MBP, and like the Macbook Pro, it has a 16:10 display. I'm gun shy, because of potential coil whine: https://xps-15.fandom.com/wiki/Coil_Whine

> As Coil Whining is a big problem on this model we will try to find out witch parts are causing this noises. First we need to disassemble this notebook and identify the noisy parts.


> I immediately noticed I felt slightly 'uncomfortable' when it was on, and within about 30 seconds realised that it was emitting coil whine at a volume/pitch high enough to physically bother me. It's like an ever-present noise that I can only imagine must be how low levels of tinnitus feels to people who have to deal with that type of thing. I am pretty disappointed to say the least.

I might just assume that this is random internet griping, but I had this exact same problem on my last Dell laptop (admittedly, it was almost 20 years ago) and it drove me insane when working late at night. It's one of those little "quality of life" things I'm willing to pay extra for. (Not to say that Apple doesn't have quality-of-life issues, like randomly removing ports. But for the most part I find I can solve those issues just by throwing money at the problem. I can't do that with coil whine, or a non-centered keyboard, or a laptop that only offers either an FHD or a 4K display and no power-efficient compromise.

I switched to a XPS-15 9570 from a MBP of roughly equiv spec, but previous gen, after the last round of laptop shuffles at work - I went from MacOS to Windows at the same time in order to feel the pain of our environment under Windows.

I'm not saying that it's a bad laptop. But there are just so many little annoying things about it after coming from the MBP and MacOS;

* Trackpad is subjectively worse, but I can't tell you why beyond its just smaller - but I am objectively much less accurate with it and trigger tap-clicks when I don't mean to. The trackpad positioning is also slightly uncomfortable to use.

* Fan noise - the fan curve has it ramping up earlier than a MBP

* Windows was hosed out of the box (fine, fixable, but it wasn't a good start)

* The "soft" covering results in so many fingerprints

* Webcam on the bottom bezel is an awful angle


* Great screen, touch is a nice add-on but found I rarely use it now

* Keyboard isn't terrible

* Power adapter isn't a brick

Would I do it again. Honestly, not sure. My daily driver isn't the laptop and I just deal. If I had to use the laptop daily, I'd probably reconsider.

The new XPS 15 allegedly has a battery rated for only 300 cycles: https://www.notebookcheck.net/The-new-Dell-XPS-15-s-battery-...

For comparison, MacBooks' batteries are rated for 1000 cycles.

I tried the XPS 15 7590 late last year before I switched back to Mac when the 16" MBP came out.

It felt like absolute garbage in comparison. Trackpad was so bad I had to use the touchscreen to scroll. Internet stopped working intermittently. Display felt like far inferior quality (and, like you said, your choices are too few pixels or too many).

It was honestly a confusing experience to me, like reviewers or other people who treat these machines as comparable were living on a different planet or something. Of course I don't expect everyone to like Macs and there's nothing wrong with preferring the Dell but I don't understand why the quality differences are not more widely acknowledged.

Are you agnostic about using Windows or MacOS?

Personal experience: XPS 15 overheats and becomes extremely slow. Maybe it's a user error...

Touchpad hardware is good, but the software and adjustability... it's nowhere comparable to a Macbook.

What does task manager say is causing the CPU to be used so much that it overheats and thermally limits itself?

Have you used Sysinternal's Process Monitor or Process Explorer or any of the tracing tools already built into Windows to see why it's slow?

If you've got some service running behind the scenes and keeping the machine busy, of course it'll be "slow".

> Have you used Sysinternal's Process Monitor or Process Explorer or any of the tracing tools already built into Windows to see why it's slow?

Yeah, poked it a bit, took some ETW traces. Couldn't find any good reason for it to behave like that with a low CPU load.

This sounds like a challenge!

I've been using Macintoshes since 1986. I've used Mac OS X since 10.1. I've used dozens of different models of Apple computer.

There was only a single combination of hardware/OS X release that I ever recall experiencing kernel panics often enough to bother me. It was one of the first generations of Intel iMacs on release 10.4 or 10.5.

I'm currently using 10.5 (Catalina) on a work-provided 2018 13" MBP hooked to an external display via a Thunderbolt 2 dock. I use it for compiling Android and iOS mobile apps, web browsing, accessing work via VPN, Slack, Google Meet, all the normal things you'd expect of a developer machine.

I also have a personal 2017 non-retina MBA running Catalina. My wife has the same laptop running Mojave. Both kids have 11" MBA's running Mojave. There's a 2013 iMac in the house running Mojave.

I can't recall having seen a kernel panic on a single one of these machines ever. I'm not denying they happen to other folks, but if this is so common an issue, I'm surprised I haven't seen it across any of my machines.

Are there other issues with macOS and iOS that occasionally drive me crazy? Sure, let me tell you about iCloud drive syncing issues I've had to deal with. Or the bug in Bootcamp I just experienced yesterday where it doesn't properly account for the SSD portion of a Fusion drive when partitioning the drive for Mac/Windows. Or how screen rotation sometimes just gets stuck on iOS in the wrong orientation or at the wrong aspect ratio.

But having just installed Windows 10 yesterday... OMG, I'll take macOS over Windows any day of the week.

And no, Linux is still not an alternative. (I'm a recovering Sys Admin and used Linux as my desktop for about 5 years.) I want a single OS I can run on all of my devices, and Linux just isn't an acceptable consumer OS for myself and certainly not for my wife and kids. I want an OS that just connects to WiFi, just works with my printer, can sync photos and music with my phone, allows me to rent movies, sleeps and wakes properly, that I don't have to futz with, etc. I want an excellent tablet experience for my artist daughter. As much as possible, I don't want to have to be tech support for my family.

So that's why this guy puts up with Apple, warts and all. It's the best set of tradeoffs for me and my family.

It's kind of why I still continue to use my Macbook (non-pro), despite of the warts that Catalina brings. The reason being that there is no credible desktop alternative other than macOS or even Windows. I don't see myself wrestling to get things done or googling general OS issues on macOS, when I try installing a Linux distro these days when there's WSL2.

TouchID does the security for me rather than having to repeatedly type in my password unless I restart the machine. Interestingly, it can be done on Apple Watch if you're savvy enough but I won't expect typical consumers to care about that but only TouchID. They would probably ask if this exists on Windows or another Linux distro, which the answer is 'there are equivalents'. For the former, it depends on the computer, but for the latter the kernel may support it, but requires some digging into getting it to work on your chosen distro, which isn't acceptable for a "consumer OS".

Even with Apple's incompetencies with NVIDIA, Metal requirements, no 32-bit support and their silly notarisation services snooping my executables, in the end I still use it. Why? Because macOS still 'just works' and gets out of the way. Some Linux distros are getting there but I have no time to play around with my dotfiles, desktop environment or fix my window manager to get work done. Which is why I'm now dual-booting with Windows for WSL2 instead of installing a Linux distro and worrying about breaking it by installing a conflicting library or system component.

In general, you're most likely to see issues with the first model of any given Intel microarch, IME. The 2016 MBPs were quite kernel-panic-y for a while, before OS updates smoothed it out. Same for the original Haswells, I think.

Not sure what the 16"'s excuse is, tho; that's still a Skylake++++ (possibly more pluses, but basically still Skylake).

I agree with this statement 100%

Personally I'm staying the hell away from Catalina, but it's not like Windows is the land of milk & honey. I've lost overnight testing data multiple times thanks to Windows' hostile "we're rebooting right now, whether you want to or not" upgrade strategy, and their mandatory telemetry bullshit is well-known at this point.

Basically: Catalina sucks, but there's nowhere to go that's unequivocally better.

Mojave will be good for a long, long time to come. I run El Capitan on one machine and it still gets security updates. Homebrew sometimes gets confused trying to find an El-Cap specific formula but that's usually fixable.

> I run El Capitan on one machine and it still gets security updates.

No, it doesn’t.

That caveat aside, if you can switch package managers, MacPorts explicitly supports older OS X releases (back to Tiger!) and thus may give you less problems.

For non-Home Basic versions of Windows you can change the policy for this (which I've done, and which works well, for exactly the reasons you've mentioned):


You can also disable Cortana, the telemetry stuff etc. https://blogs.systweak.com/how-to-disable-telemetry-and-data...

I know I post this often because I find it very useful.


You can disable the rebooting if you look in Default.preset file.

Because the alternatives are also bad in a bunch of ways and people still prefer these problems to those problems. Let's not pretend like other hardware vendors and operating systems are magical fairy realms of candy and rainbows where nothing goes wrong, everything makes sense, and everyone is happy all the time.

In Russia, we have a wonderful saying: "The mice cried and pricked themselves but still kept eating the cactus"

I haven't had any problems with Catalina. I'm sure other people do, but is the common experience mine or the people who complain?

Mojave wasn't perfect (I got a gray screen every few months or so), but Catalina has been measurably less stable on the same hardware, same monitors, same peripherals, etc. to the point where (as stated by others) I can't even safely sleep/hibernate with external monitors connected anymore.

Even if it were a hardware problem that Catalina somehow tickled more often, if it only affected 5% of users it's still a problem. Being one of the lucky 95% doesn't diminish the experience of the 5%, especially if with Mojave the affected user base could have been 1%. We're not talking about $200 Chromebooks. These are $3K+ professional tools.

Bottom line: Catalina is less stable than Mojave.

The common experience is yours - and mine. I’ve had minor problems with Catalina, mostly around slowness and my 2014 iMac 5k randomly sleeping from overheating (which might not be Catalina, might just be dust).

I use it heavily 10+ hours a day and the only problem I’ve had is my windows are sometimes resized when I wake it from sleep. Bug related to using an external monitor.

I'm sure many people haven't noticed any problems when using WD's SMR drives in a RAID either. Does that mean there are no issues with SMR in RAID or that it is insufficiently common?

Oh right, like I haven’t lived through countless blue screens of death in my time. Before Catalina OSX was the most reliable OS I had ever worked on.

OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard) is no longer supported, unfortunately.

The last good MacOS

I really think Snow Leopard is remembered overly fondly because it's direct successor—Lion—was quite bad. But, Apple fixed Lion's problems in 10.8 (Mountain Lion), and avoided introducing any new ones in 10.9 (Mavericks).

Consequently, 10.9/Mavericks is my actual favorite version, and what I'm typing on right now.

When I decided I was going to downgrade my main machines earlier this year, I did a lot of comparisons of Snow Leopard, Mountain Lion, and Mavericks. I could not see a compelling reason to pick Snow Leopard or Mountain Lion.

Mavericks performs well and never seems to crash. When I loaded all three up in VMs and starved them of resources, Mavericks remained the most responsive, I suspect because it supports memory compression. (Interestingly, Snow Leopard lists 1 GB of memory as the minimum required, whereas Mavericks lists 2 GB, but Mavericks still seemingly did better with 1 GB than Snow Leopard.)

Design-wise, while I prefer Snow Leopard's higher contrast in some places, it has a tendency to look either garish or plain in others. 10.8/9 look more refined, without going all flat. And while 10.8/9 have a lot of stupid defaults, I have a setup script I've been using for years which fixes most of them: https://github.com/Wowfunhappy/Mac-OS-X-Wowfunhappy-Setup-Sc...

The one big advantage of Snow Leopard would have been compatibility with PowerPC apps via Rosetta. But, there are only a handful of PowerPC apps I'd actually want to use, and a lot of Intel apps that support 10.9 but not 10.6.

Idk, Mojave is/was pretty good.

It's years of fantastic painless experience and even now it's relatively good. Before using these laptops I never knew what it meant to just slam the lid, then hours or sometimes days later open it and start from where you began, instantly.

The privacy. The comfort of having two devices (phone and computer) to be in sync in a private and safe manner. Excellent app ecosystem. Timely and long term updates, upgrades, and support.

But as the parent commenter says I am at my wit's end as well, for the first time since I started using Macs a decade ago - crappy recent OSX and iOS releases, iPhones getting bigger and bigger, being trapped in a data/communication silo etc.

So why am I still here? Because there's nowhere else that's better.

Simple answer: MacOS and Apple hardware are still a much better and more productive experience for many developers and everyday computer users. Windows and Linux both have their own problems.

That question presumes that crashing is the only axis upon which computer users experience pain.

Linux users said the same thing in 1996. It didn’t work then, either.

Anyone working on desktop Linux should know they’ve hit saturation with their current approach. What‘s missing or broken that’s causing Mac users to prefer a system that crashes once a day?

As a macos and linux user I’d say linux has the same problems it always had:

- driver support (even my thinkpad has an unsupported fingerprint driver, and a buggy intel wifi driver)

- fragmentation that affects user experience. For example, there is still the gnome / kde divide, and using a combination of apps from both is visually jarring.

- lack of microsoft and adobe apps, lack of high quality productivity apps (e.g. i would love a pixelmator equivalent)

- many paper cuts, like how copy and paste of images only works half of the time

- when things break, you have to drop down to the terminal to fix them, instead of running some automated repair wizard

I got a similar question earlier, and I think the answer to that one should apply here as well: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=23086849

No intention to be snarky but stability high ground from someone using windows with wsl2?

The post I replied to mentioned macOS locking up and being unusable daily. I can't remember the last time this happened to me on Windows. It's definitely been 4 or more years since the last time I've looked at a Windows BSOD. WSL2 is pre-release but still hasn't given me issues.

So, no snark intended, but where you have you been for the last 5 years? Windows and Microsoft are undergoing a renaissance and moving ahead and improving. macOS is regressing.

I’m a dev/creative and need an OS that: - Is not a total nightmare for software development

- Runs Adobe CC

- Does not throw ads at me

I‘m happy to take suggestions for an alternative to macOS.

Also, the seamless integration (call it lock-in) across devices is a nice bonus.

What kind of 90's hardware you have that you can't run MacOS on it? I've been running MacOS in both Hackintosh and virtual machines for over a decade now.

I've done a VM of macOS on Windows but it doesn't have hardware acceleration and is against Apple's terms isn't it?

1 - Hardware acceleration can be used if you use the right virtualization tool.

2 - Not really. On paper perhaps. On real life not really. I had Apple support live via screen-sharing and it was about my app (well, my client's app) on their store. They couldn't care less that I was running High Sierra on a VM. Maybe because the project I was working on was a successful app that was bringing revenue to them (and my client as well)? In the end money talks.

I don't like the pain, but I prefer the least amount of pain given, so in my case, macOS fits the bill the best.

I bought XPS 13 laptop about a year ago, in the hopes of finally jumping to the other side.

I have tried to use both, Linux and Windows, and UX just isn't there. Linux is still the most buggy desktop OS (I know, it's not an OS, but a kernel, but in this context I mean every possible combination of drivers, programs, and desktop environments).

If we start with the XPS 13, which is/was regularly recommended as the Linux laptop, the most annoying things are coil whine and fan loudness. I cannot even watch a movie at night, without either of them bothering me. My MBP is fairly quiet, especially when not doing much (doing hardware accelerated decoding of H.264 is something that should produce any noise). Not just the laptop, even the charger has the coil whine (thankfully I can just reuse MBP charger here).

Moving on, let's talk about Linux. There is still no sane way of having multiple screens with different scaling factor (I can't see anything useful on 4k 13" display without the scaling, and external 4k monitor shouldn't need it.) I have tried Wayland, which sort of fixes the issue, but there are other problems there. Last time I checked, GNOME Wayland cannot handle playback of a video, and scrolling in the browser on the same screen. When you scroll the content in the browser, video frames drop, and make video unwatchable. I forgot what the underlying issue was, but it was open for quite a while. Most of the things are broken on KDE wayland, and for the rest you usually need hacks.

Then we have things like bad performance (especially regarding the graphics) of web browsers, which work fine on Windows, on the same machine.

Touchpad issues are well known; I couldn't make it to mimic Windows behaviour (which should be possible since it's the same hardware), so let's just not get started on macOS experience here.

Regarding the Windows, general UX is much much better than Linux, and apart from touchpad, it seems on par with macOS, if we ignore all the telemtry, preinstalled CandyCrush and other unneeded software. Some things are bettern than on macOS, and vice versa.

Regarding the development UX, we do have WSL2, Windows Terminal, and stuff like this, which is great. It's a major improvement from the state we had a year or more ago.

However, WSL2 is far from perfect. I have seen issues such as WSL2 not starting for a single user, but it worked for the rest, which required reboot to solve. Sometimes, Visual Studio Code couldn't connect to the WSL2, and again, occasionally machine would have to be rebooted.

There is no USB support for WSL2, so I had to resort to exposing of USB devices via network on Windows, and using a client to attach those devices in WSL2 VM. There is no support for bridged network, so we cannot easily discover LAN devices, for example when we want to flash ESP8266 devices. Did I mention there is no native USB support, so you cannot flash it this way either?

Running Windows programs from WSL or viceversa has its own problems, and since there is no virtualization support in WSL2 (understandable of course), using Minikube was far from ideal.

macOS is far from perfect, and even if majority of the apps/libraries need fixes, since macOS is not completely compatible with Linux APIs, majority of the libraries have the support for it. I can easily run majority of the software natively, without any VMs. With Windows, some things work natively, but for the rest you have to resort to an VM or WSL(2).

Using libusb is the same as on Linux, and projects using it can be compiled for macOS with minimal changes.

Do macOS users like pain? In a Wired article, Ziff Davis editor Matthew Rothenberg put it plainly:

"It's like a B&D (bondage and dominance) relationship. There needs to a psychosexual analysis of the Mac community."


What a childish attitude.

Some people like cheap laptops. Some people like expensive laptops. Some people, like you, obsess over people's choices.

An, apparently, if you make a choice (the wrong one, in your eyes), you're not allowed to complain when things go wrong.


Any time I get these they come with a bushel of IOAccelerator errors; I'm fairly sure (in my case, at least) it's a problem buried somewhere in the video decoder stack.

I can reproduce it pretty reliably by previewing a bunch of videos in Messages, and quitting the app usually solves it.

Edit: I use a 13" MBP, so that rules out most popular theories e.g. problems with the discrete GPU or graphics switching.

I had similar issues as you but it turned out to be the hardware was bad... I replaced my macbook pro and it's been great... But the other hardware issue on the new macbook pro's is if you charge on any of the USB-c ports other than the one on the right side, you'll likely run the laptop too hot... so charge on the right side not the left side and you should be good... it's crappy i know... but new laptop i've almost and charging on the right side i've nearly forgotten about all of my apple hate...

I had this happening for a while, and I tracked it down to time-machine backups starting. Every hour the backupd cronjob would trigger and I'd get a minute or so of beachball. Similar WATCHDOG termination message. It crashed a couple times and corrupted the backup database. I disabled time-machine and haven't had any freezes since.

Is it a remote time-machine backup, i.e. to a Time Capsule (or a NAS pretending to be one)? Time Machine used to use AFP, but since AFP was deprecated, it now exclusively uses SMB for remote backups. (Specifically, it creates a sparsebundle image on the SMB share, and then locally mounts it.)

Now, Apple has their own implementation of SMB; and it seems to have been seeing frequent updates in Catalina (see https://support.apple.com/en-ca/HT210803).

Since the Apple SMB stack has some decent amount of kernel integration—and Time Machine doesn’t really have any—I’d guess that recent changes to Apple SMB are also the culprit for any freezes where it’s in the critical path.

And Apple SMB seems likely to blame, because there are already other well-known regressions from the recent changes to Apple SMB. Seemingly, there’s a lot of cowboy coding going on in this part of the system right now. For example, macOS can no longer connect to SMB shares via their mDNS names (e.g. smb://example.local). This means that any SMB server that shows up in the Finder sidebar (through an mDNS announcement configured to achieve AFP or Time Machine serving) now just chokes and kills the Finder process when you try to connect to one of its exposed SMB shares through that sidebar connection (see e.g. https://community.synology.com/enu/forum/3/post/129160). You now have to explicitly connect to the share using its IP (e.g. smb:// from the Finder ⌘K modal.

Weirdly enough, Time Machine itself isn’t broken for the SMB shares it auto-discovers through its configuration modal, so presumably they realized their error in that specific case and made Time Machine pre-resolve the mDNS name in the smb:// URI to an IP address, before attempting the connection. But they forgot to add this same code to the Finder. :/

I'm hitting the stupid SMB bug everyday but the symptom seems to be different. I tried to manually connect to `smb://nasbox.local` in Finder and it works with `nasbox.local` appearing in the sidebar. I can also click `nasbox` (without `.local` and this is advertised by the avahi-daemon on the nasbox I believe) and it opens the network shares fine.

However, if the Mac goes to sleep for a while and then later wakes up, I can no longer access the shares with the same message "The operation can’t be completed because the original item for “folder_name” can’t be found".

This is so damn frustrating.

I've given up on Mac-to-Mac networking in Catalina. All my other (older) Macs in the house can talk to each other just fine, but the new Catalina Mac just pretends to connect to them and fails. I have to use thumb dives to move files to/from it.

Apple networking had mostly "just worked" since the 80s. It took a big hit when they abandoned Appletalk, and now with Catalina it doesn't work at all. Apple has fallen a long way since its glory days.

The annoyance of trying to connect to a remote system and the entire desktop and all Finder windows locking up whilst there is a network request is the most annoying issue. I can't understand why it wouldn't make the request in a thread with a callback on success/failure - instead it seems to be in the primary thread and therefore hang the machine until it decides it can or cannot interact with the remote network share. Pretty shoddy.

> This is so damn frustrating.

Agreed. And then there's that extremely childish "Windows 95 blue screen" icon representing SMB shares... Really professional.

I think that icon was meant to be bait for Microsoft.

The host metadata, as it shows up in the macOS Finder/open dialogs/etc, is configurable by having your host publish an mDNS _device-info._tcp service record. You can publish a display name (as arbitrary unicode), an icon (as a machine model name), etc.

I'm guessing Apple figured that if they made the default icon insulting, that might incense Microsoft into building mDNS support into their SMB stack, just in order to use it to broadcast that _device-info service, to make Microsoft SMB present more professionally on macOS clients.

Sadly, Microsoft never bothered. But at least I get to use it to make my Linux homeserver look like an Xserve! (See https://www.tumfatig.net/20170607/let-mac-os-auto-discover-y...)

(Though, sadly, this exact combination of mDNS-announcing-SMB is what is broken in the newest macOS, so I can't recommend you follow the above guide right now. Maybe we'll get support for this back in a few releases...)

To be honest, Xserve is the only sane option for displaying a NAS (with its many drive bays! :)

Not all SMB shares. If you use a Mac to host an SMB share, it'll appear on other Macs with a nice Mac icon. ;)

I don't know, I find it funny/charming and I'd be sad if Apple got rid of it. It's something of an easter egg—you can't tell that it's a BSOD unless you open the QuickLook or Get Info window (or set your Sidebar Icon Size to "Large").

> I tried to manually connect to `smb://nasbox.local` in Finder and it works with `nasbox.local` appearing in the sidebar.

Right; that part still works, seemingly because probing for SMB shares doesn’t involve passing an SMB URI through whatever layer of the SMB stack can no longer resolve mDNS origins. It’s only connecting to the shares themselves that generates that arcane error message.

> I can also click `nasbox` (without `.local` and this is advertised by the avahi-daemon on the nasbox I believe) and it opens the network shares fine.

Yup; the Apple SMB stack is seemingly happy to resolve a WINS origin. Which means SMB servers will interoperate fine with macOS clients as long as the SMB server doesn’t run AFP (which nobody has a reason to be running these days anyway) and doesn’t offer Time Machine backup (which... is often the whole point of having a NAS.) If your NAS is configured to offer Time Machine backup, the WINS announcement gets subsumed by/attached to the mDNS host metadata record for the NAS (which is required to make Time Machine work), such that trying to connect to the SMB share via the Networks item (or the sidebar) will try to use the "canonical" mDNS origin for the host, rather than the WINS SMB-service origin—even if mDNS pointed at it.

> However, if the Mac goes to sleep for a while and then later wakes up, I can no longer access the shares

A thing about mDNS is that it gets announced on intervals, and clients are expected to cache it; but like regular DNS, the cached record announcements have TTLs, and you’re not allowed to use a record after its TTL runs out... but unlike regular DNS, you can’t just go re-fetch the mDNS record from the source once it expires; you have to wait for it to be re-announced.

This is why every bonjour/avahi/zeroconf tutorial has a line that says “now wait 15 minutes to see if your changes took effect.”

And this also means that these services inevitably do this thing where their URIs won’t resolve for the first few minutes after your computer wakes up from sleep, until they receive a refreshed announcement of the mDNS peer’s A and SRV records.

This has always been an inherent flaw in mDNS, papered over by various pre-resolution or standards-violating caching strategies by things higher-up the stack than the mDNS resolver itself. I’m not surprised that this sort of hacks papering-over is something prone to regressions, in macOS or any OS.

(This is also why Apple gave up on "Back To My Mac." It was dependent on "Wide-Area Bonjour", which was even more fraught and flaky than regular mDNS, with service records frequently disappearing from their domain, leaving you unable to resolve the address of your remote peer, despite it sitting there happily waiting with ports open. It especially didn't play well with laptops sleeping in a Wake-on-LAN state, despite several generations of Power Nap trying to make it work.)

Jeez, this is so messed up…

So basically I cannot have both Time Machine and SMB from the same NAS box servicing a Catalina Mac? I just tried disabling Time Machine share in Samba and Catalina Mac still complains "The operation can't be completed because the original item for "Share" can't be found." if I click the sidebar to connect to a share.

The sidebar entry is still coming from mDNS. Play with the NAS’s config until it shows up the same way Windows peers with shares do: as an all-uppercase-named machine only visible under the WINS workgroup name in Networks. (Finder will give it a sidebar entry from then on after the first time you connect to it, IIRC.)

Also, wait 15 minutes. Because mDNS.

Thanks for the suggestion. I figured it's actually less painful to just cmd+K in Finder to manually connect to NAS via its local host name before Apple got time to fix the bug…

I am! It only happens when I am on multiple monitors (clamshell opened or closed) and usually when I am in a video conference (zoom, hangouts, and G2meeting). Thought it was overheating.

I had that same issue with multiple monitors a year or two ago. Tried everything, reformatting, different OS versions, etc.

Turns out it was one of my mini displayport -> hdmi adapters, replaced that and everything was fine.

I had the exact same issue with a 2017 13” MBP. Switching from one of those tiny usb c hubs to a full fledged dock with external power solved it.

Im seeming to have the same issue. 2019 MBP connecting through USB-C. However, I find the issue is less frequent (to non existent) after I switched to a USB-C to HDMI adapter.

Have you tried the "nuke from orbit" approach of a full system wipe (T2, SMC and NVRAM reset, delete recovery partitions, Pre-boot volume, etc) and doing a fresh install and setup rather than restoring from backup?

I know it shouldn't be needed but sometimes it is the only option.

It isn't much help to you but my experience with Catalina has been very positive on a 2018 15" MacBook Pro. The initial release and first two point updates had some silly UI bugs but since .4 it has been solid as a rock for me.

I just updated to .5 and noticed I haven't had to restart my laptop since the last update I installed 42 days ago. In those 42 days I haven't had a single issue so I am pretty happy about that.

Yes, I have reset t2, smc, nvram, even reinstalled the entire operating system. I have the same problem on both 16 inch laptops I've owned (first one was stolen) suggesting it has to do with the software I use.

I am unable to identify a single application as the culprit, unfortunately.

Yes if you have such issues on two different machines it is most likely software rather than hardware.

It is frustrating and time consuming but have you gone step-by-step on a clean system to at least narrow down when the issues begin to occur?

By any chance are you running VMware Fusion?

I have the same issues !! I have a couple of raid drives and third 10T - a second dell monitor connected to my iMac pro 18 core....If I loop a time line in fcpx, loop audio in Logic, run the Black Magic disk test my system will freeze, still playing audio then give up the cursor then hang fully and crash = in the spin dump we get the watchdog time out !!!! I am on 10.5.5 looks like its some kind of GPU issue

I get 'watchdog timeout' kernel panics. For a while it was daily, since reinstalling OS now it's random.

The issue is I use a far different system than most reporting the issue. I see mentions of macbooks, sleep, etc, but I'm running an iMac 2013, a program that keeps it awake 24/7, etc.

No idea yet what the underlying cause is, but the panics started with 10.15.1 and got worse with 10.15.4, they were not an issue prior to 10.15.1

I had this Watchdog timer issue on OS X and it was causing major slowdowns. My solution was to stop using OS X, Apple support didn't really seem to have any solutions or suggestions other than reinstalling OS X, which I tried, and after a while I ran into the issue again.

If I'm going to be my own Applecare at least with a Free OS, I can access the source code.

Same here. It was frustrating to not see a fix for this in the changelog. Hopefully they fix this soon.

Same. My freezes seem to be caused only by GPU lockups.

Other scenario only a reboot can fix is sometimes menus don't draw and/or video playback doesn't work in any app.

But at least Bluetooth is nowadays more stable!

Sounds like what they were talking about on the atp.fm podcast recently.

I've had the opposite problem: started getting awful freezes on a MBP 2018 running Mojave on the day this latest Catalina version was released. No immediate explanation: cpu/ram/disk load perfectly normal, machine just incredibly slow (think 10 minutes to start up). Exact same behaviour in Safe Mode and nothing obvious after some common diagnoses.

Bit the bullet and finally updated to Catalina, all problems gone. Not sure what to make of this but it definitely resonates with stories of Apple practically forcing updates.

I just had that yesterday. Not sure if I've ever seen it before, but yeah.

Still having a (at least one of the multiple different) kernel panic during sleep:

panic(cpu 0 caller 0xffffff801e29169c): Sleep transition timed out after 180 seconds while calling power state change callbacks. Suspected bundle: com.apple.iokit.IOGraphicsFamily. Thread 0x2754.

Ever since moving to a brand new 16" MBP there isn't a day that passes wihout me being welcomed by the crash report dialog…

I managed to eliminate (or at least majorly reduce) kernel panics by disabling Power Nap. I've since re-enabled it to see if this is any more stable.

Kind of a joke really, this isn't a brand new model, nor is it using any cutting edge components. I thought we'd worked out sleep mode a long time ago.

Thanks for mentioning this. I get a kernel panic most every night while sleeping. I've just disabled Power Nap and will see if that improves things.

Oh damnit, damnit. I've been having those on 10.15.4 too, was really hoping they'd fixed it on this one. It's really profoundly upsetting to spend $3,500 on a brand new computer by the most reliable major manufacturer in the industry and still have daily damn kernel panics.

> by the most reliable major manufacturer in the industry

You might want to revisit that.

If you are looking for reliability, ThinkPads are way better.

I have had too many bad experiences with Lenovo business class desktops and servers to hope that one product line from them is somehow exempt from reliability issues.

Also a product long past it’s glory days. Ditched my less than year old X1 Carbon to get a 16” MacBook Pro because it was randomly dying while purporting to have 25% battery left.

I've owned four Thinkpads in my life (T42, X61s, T410, T420). Still got 'em. Every single one of them has one or more hardware issues. YMMV.

Oh and I forgot my T60! That one straight up died.

I also had this a lot on a brand new Mac Mini + clean install of Catalina. There's a long thread about the issue on MR:


I have the same. Every day. I've done a lot of searching, and some people think that certain external monitors might be "the issue"--which I use. It didn't seem to be an issue before Catalina though.

Hmm, same for me perhaps. New MBP 16 and Catalina connected to a external monitor via USB-C (a HP Z27 4K UHD).

If I leave it to sleep for a long duration, then it panics when waking from sleep and just black screens for a good few minutes, then turns on the fans full blast for like 2 seconds and reboots.

I've taken to just shutting down completely when finishing work and not letting sleep.

I have the same monitor and connect over usb-c with a 2018 13' MBP running 10.15.4. I have not experienced any such issue, even though Catalina broke several other things.

In my case, if I use the usb-c port of the monitor to connect the ethernet adaptor, it works for a few minutes and then drops all the packets. This was never an issue before Catalina or with a windows machine.

Another weird issue that I have with this monitor and Mac OS (not only Catalina) is related to the Microsoft sculpt ergonomic keyboard receiver, when plugged to one of the USB ports of the monitor. If I unplug a the MBP and connect a windows machine to the monitor, when I connect the MBP again, there is a >50% chance the receiver will not be recognised. Plugging and unplugging does not work. I have to do a restart of the MBP.

The above make it very annoying when I have to switch laptops. Sometimes I have to work on 3 machines at the same time, which by coincidence run 3 different operating systems (Win 10, ubuntu and mac). The reason I got this monitor is mostly for the build in hub. If it worked properly, I would just plug everything on the monitor and I would only need to plug the usb-C to the laptop and be ready to go. Sometimes it does work and I feel like I am in the future, using a dock that can support every device, with just one universal cable. Now I often have to plug and plug things directly at the laptops.

One last thing for people who might consider a similar set up. Due to USB limitations, if you plug any storage device on the monitor and the monitor is at 4k@60Hz, you are limited to USB2 speeds.

My MBP2019 running 10.14 also freezes if left on clamshell mode connected to a USB-C (U3818DW) monitor overnight.

After discovering this, I now put the macbook to sleep and remove the USB cable. Haven't had any issues after this.

Happens for me with a Mac Pro and XDR display.

Anecdote in case it helps someone: My problems went away after switching from a USB-C/HDMI cable, to a USB-C/DisplayPort one.

Same here on a 2015 MBP, no external monitors. Constantly kernel panics during sleep, occasionally while I'm actively using it.

Meanwhile, my 2013 MBP running Mojave and connected to an external monitor and peripherals has been chugging along with no issues pretty much 24/7.

Same here on my late 2013 15". Other than a few weird moments back in the 10.9 days when I tried installing Xcode on an external drive, it's run like a champ, upgrades and all. I was nervous about putting Mojave on it, but it's run surprisingly well, albeit a bit slow, although that's expected at this stage of the game.

The same can't be said for the machine it replaced, which began life on 10.5 but was brought to its knees by the combination of an 8600M GT and the 10.7 upgrade.

Right now, I'm waiting until things settle down - because COVID 19 - before pulling the trigger on a 13" Pro.

Discrete GPUs in portables are for masochists.

Read a user somewhere reporting that leaving his iPhone plugged into his Mac caused this problem to occur almost daily. After charging it with a wall charger, and not having it plugged in, the problem went away. After resetting PRAM and SMC too. Hope the issue gets resolved for you someday!

Glad to hear I'm not the only one. I've started getting these in the last week. It coincided with a screen replacement but sounds like that might be a coincidence based on your report.

For anyone else having this issue, the fix for most people seems to be disabling Power Nap[1], which is enabled by default when you're on AC power. Can confirm that this worked for me personally. Disappointed to see no mention of fixing this bug in these release notes, however.

[1] https://discussions.apple.com/thread/251274321?answerId=2526...

Didn't work for me sadly - if I leave my MacBook docked it crashes every night even with PowerNap off :/


FWIW I've ran into this too with a new 16" MBP and what largely fixed it for me (happened once in two weeks vs. every time the computer went to sleep) was to disable "Power Nap while plugged into a power adaptor" in the "Energy Saver" system preferences.

(I'm aware that this might not be applicable to your situation, since you might not even use a power adaptor when the crashes happen, just wanted to point this out in case it helps someone else)

Same here on a 4000 euro MBP 16”. I tried everything, but multiple times a day having kernel panics when starting up from sleep in clamshell mode.

I had one of those for the first time last night (new Macbook Air) on 10.15.4. Shame that you’re seeing it in 10.15.5 too…

Anytime I have sleep-related kernel panic issues I delete the sleep image:


Are you using an external TB3 dock? That's what's causing KPs for me. If the MBP goes to sleep, it goes into endless reboot cycles. Currently keeping it running 24/7.

I've been getting these too. Extremely frustrating.

> The battery health management feature in macOS 10.15.5 is designed to improve your battery's lifespan by reducing the rate at which it chemically ages. The feature does this by monitoring your battery's temperature history and its charging patterns.

> Based on the measurements that it collects, battery health management may reduce your battery's maximum charge when in this mode. This happens as needed to ensure that your battery charges to a level that's optimized for your usage—reducing wear on the battery, and slowing its chemical aging.

Sound great. I hope this means no more swollen batteries. https://www.ifixit.com/Wiki/What_to_do_with_a_swollen_batter... https://lepageblog.wordpress.com/2011/11/24/how-to-fix-a-swo...

I just had a MBP fixed (it was quick!) due to it swollen up one day. It would not lie down flat on a table and the trackpad was useless. Obviously could not close the screen either. How common is this?

I've had this exact thing happen with my 2012 15" retina. Won't lay down flat and clicking the trackpad required pressing really hard. Had the battery replaced, works like new now — on Mojave, I'm not updating to the dumpster fire that is Catalina.

My old mbp swelled up enough to shatter the trackpad glass. During zoom calls it would overheat and swell and disable keyboard and trackpad function until it cooled off.

I'm on my second swollen battery in my 2015 15" MBP.

Java dev though so my computer is always near the temperature of the sun's surface which I think has something to do with it. We purchased 5 of these MBPs on the same date and the other Java devs machine is swollen while the testers machines are still fine.

Very. It has happened to me so many times that now whenever I travel I always take a set of pentalobe screwdrivers with me so I can remove the back plate of my MBP when (not if) this happens to avoid structural damage.

pretty common occurrence, in my experience. if you own a macbook, it is just a matter of time until the battery swells up and needs to be replaced. usual first symptoms are that the trackpad can't be clicked anymore.

Deep discharge & Heat are common accelerators of swelling. Avoiding going to <10% battery and running aggressive heat dissipation will always help prolong the life.

My favorite is Macs Fan Control[0] for removing heat. 40' the fan is spinning mid range speed and by 50' it's full 6500 rpm.

It's the least I can do =/


I think I'll rather take the battery performance hit than bear with (near-?)constant fan noise.

My favorite nerd hysteria conspiracy theory is that Apple runs its computers hot and fans loud in order to sell AirPods.

I think the goal of running Macs hot is to prevent the fans from kicking in for most use-cases. If you're running twelve virtual machines and compiling Chromium simultaneously, then you might need earplugs.

Below a certain rpm you practically cant hear the fans. Even with them screetching, if you are in a room with an ac unit or outside, it would be tough to notice.

Never got this gripe personally, as I’ve never had a quiet device in my life. Certainly not from apple.

FWIW, iStat Menus also does fan control quite well, and the paid version is cheaper. (And it does a lot of non-fan-related things quite well, too.)

after update status of the battery switched from normal to "service required"

Swollen batteries were a result of design/manufacturing defects. It was certainly a common issue 5-10 years ago but should hopefully be a thing of the past by now.

Modern batteries should never swell, but will still wear out over time. Smarter battery management should be able to extend their lifespan.

I don't think you can conclusively say "Modern batteries should never swell" since there's always the possibility of manufacturing and design defects in new batteries too.

It's the battery equivalent of the halting problem in software.

No manufacturing and design process is perfect, there will always be errors. If you do find a perfect design and manufacturing process, I think you wouldn't be posting here on hackers news but would be drinking champaign with Bill Gates and Warren Buffet.

The word "should" implies non-conclusivity.

"Never" implies conclusivity?

Either way, you wouldn't use "should never" when it comes to batteries, which still has bulging, quality issues, etc throughout the entire technology industry with cell phones bulging, phones catching on fire, batteries on airplanes themselves being damaged, car batteries catching fire.

It's very well known that modern lithium ion battery tech isn't all that "failsafe" so using the words "should never bulge" in this context is very deceptive.

It is more likely that any battery using current battery tech in consumer devices will buldge within a certain number of charge cycles (which might be higher than the useful lifetime of the device), but it's very likely that the battery will bulge.




> Modern batteries should never swell, but will still wear out over time.

Unfortunately they still do.

Saw at least 2 Dell's and 2 macbook pro's with swollen batteries in the last 1-2 years, and this just in the colleagues in my immediate vicinity.

It's pretty scary when the touchpad starts to misbehave and you realize the whole macbook starts to bulge.

In some cases (like the AppleWatch), a swollen battery upon failure is an intentional design choice, apparently. At least that's what they told me when my Series 0 battery swelled up and caused the face of the watch to pop off. They claimed they do it intentionally so you know it has to be serviced and can't be used anymore. Probably different for laptops, though.

Considering you can't change the battery (easily) they better offer a solution for maintaining its life.

Why does everything have to be automated? Why can't I just specify manually that it should not exceed, say, 80%? This is just another process running and ... using battery.

> Major new releases of macOS are no longer hidden when using the softwareupdate(8) command with the --ignore flag. This change also affects macOS Mojave and macOS High Sierra after installing Security Update 2020-003.

As a Mojave user, not happy about this.

This is an admission that their upgrade rates for Catalina are bad. Between the now-customary list of new bugs and the 32bit massacre, the Vista comparison clearly struck a chord.

It would have been so much easier to just keep shipping the 32bit compat layer.

If MS wanted to kick Apple in the shins they should get the Github Actions runner to support Mojave (right now it only supports Catalina). Would help me stave off upgrading myself and users for a few more months.

You can't run the latest Xcode versions on Mojave, so it'd already be of limited use and in a year it'd be a very niche thing.

Whether this matters is very dependent on what you're doing. For webdev stuff, for instance, you don't need Xcode—much less the latest version—just Apple's "command line tools".

This really only matters for iOS builds, meanwhile I have users that can't upgrade to Catalina yet and I need Mojave/High Sierra environments to build and test against.

GitHub Actions is a subset of Azure Pipelines, I use Mojave there and don’t intend to move to Actions.

I was just about to let the 2020-003 Security Update run on Mojave, but after this warning I will leave that well alone.

Apple had a great OS once, but now they are losing me more with each update. Can't buy new Mac HW either any more, since it will be systematically unable to run the 32-bit SW I need. Apple forcing decades-long users off their platform to Windoze and Linux is just bizarre.

Not installing security updates with large numbers of pretty critical fixes[1] doesn't sound too smart to me.

1. https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT211170

Putting in a user hostile feature in a security update, leading to people to not update, doesn't sound too smart to me.

Why? Catalina has lots of security improvements so it's a net positive for security if more people upgrade.

But it's a net minus for usability that it can't run 32-bit software any more. That makes it a no-go for some of us, and Apple knows that, so all the nagging to “upgrade” is pointless anyway.

So because 0.5% of people have some dodgy 32-bit software that they cannot or have not updated, Apple should just not bother trying to make the rest 99.5% of people update?

Doesn't seem smart.

I didn't say that. But taking away the option to explicitly tell the OS to stop nagging me is still a user-hostile move.

So, you are saying that all 32-bit software is by definition “dodgy”? But let's break it off here since I realize that disagreeing with you may not seem smart.

When Catalina dropped, it became obvious that while Apple computers and I have had a good run, we’re now going in different directions. I started migrating to Linux late last year.

If your workflow is amenable to it, and you can stay productive during the (inevitably drawn-out) transition, I highly recommend you consider taking the plunge.

Meaning? Can you elaborate a bit? I’ve just downgraded to Mojave on an iMac (fusion drive) primarily used for Logic Pro. Do you think Mojave is not getting updates anymore ?

The "ignored" flag caused macOS to NOT offer the update to the new major version every once in a while (a little popup in the top right corner). It also made the Software Update app report that there are no updates available.

After installing this update, the Update app reports the update to Catalina even though I have ignored the update previously on this machine. This does not mean that Mojave is not getting any more updates, it's just that macOS will nag you to update (but you will still be able to dismiss it manually) without the option to tell it to stop.

Is there a patch somewhere that turns the nag off permanently? I'm definitely not updating several of my machines to Catalina in the next years, and the nag is just an useless distraction.

There was a Mac911 article[1] by Glenn Fleishman which detailed how to do this back in October of last year.

I have the following in a file called Catalina.sh:

sudo softwareupdate --ignore "macOS Catalina" && defaults write com.apple.systempreferences AttentionPrefBundleIDs 0 && killall Dock

Unfortunately - unless I'm mistaken - 2020-003 means this script is toast.

[1]: https://www.macworld.com/article/3447396/how-to-stop-getting...

thank you my friend.

I do not understand why they did this, and I say that as a Catalina user. Jeff Johnson seems to have some thoughts (and a sort-of solution) on it, though: https://lapcatsoftware.com/articles/software-update.html

that solution didn't work for me but this one did


This deserves a frontpage post all my itself. Thank you!

They did this just to annoy the scores of people who refuse to upgrade to Catalina.

My MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2019) was having kernel panics multiple times a day after having been asleep for extend periods. This was extremely annoying, as you can imagine. I’m happy to report that the Catalina 10.15.5 update fixes the kernel panics for me.

The issue I experienced has been well documented [here](https://mrmacintosh.com/10-15-4-update-wake-from-sleep-kerne...) and elsewhere on the web.

I use my MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2019) with a CalDigit TS3 Plus Dock and LG 32” 4K monitor. It’s worth noting that using the computer undocked never gave me any problems.

Thank you for documenting this. I have been getting exactly this kernel panic dump on my 16-inch MacBook Pro, and it's good to know I'm not sitting on a lemon.

(Another lemon. My first one was absolutely a lemon.)

> My MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2019) was having kernel panics multiple times a day after having been asleep for extend periods. This was extremely annoying, as you can imagine. I’m happy to report that the Catalina 10.15.5 update fixes the kernel panics for me.

Will update ASAP. Thank you for beta-testing this!

I have Catalina on a iMac Pro, a 16inch and 15 MacBook pro and for what it worth have hit zero issues.

Yep late 2013 MacBook Pro: Catalina brought some security annoyances but mostly pain-free. IMO this computer is the epitome of function and form; I'm worried nothing will truly replace it when that time comes.

I had a mid 2013 MacBook Pro at work and I completely agree - the epitome of function, form and longevity. I used it daily for almost 7 years and just recently passed it on to a non-dev coworker who needed a laptop at home, and got a 2019 MBP instead. I replaced it because I needed more than 500 GB of disk space. Otherwise it still works perfectly. I think that's very impressive for a 7 year old laptop these days.

same feeling about my 2015, except i still use it!

I feel the same about my mid 2014 mbp. I'm thinking I'll pull the trigger on a new one when the rumored 14.1 inch version arrives.

I have bad news. No 14.1" screen. https://www.apple.com/macbook-pro-13/

"works on my machine"

Most of this thread is anecdata, which tends to skew heavily negative. As a comment above says, it's difficult to tell whether these are issues at scale, and whenever I read these complaint-heavy anecdata threads I always feel like chipping in that I've had very few problems with my Mid-2014 MacBook Pro 15" on all versions of MacOS that have been release since I bought it. I'm not even sure what the purpose of threads like this is, really.

Yes. It's extremely difficult to get an idea of the scale of these problems from these threads because they bring out a lot of +1 piggybacking ("I have this issue too"). From there, it inevitably goes into a thread about the demise of Apple's quality control.

Somebody should make an accurate product problems site where you can share your issues and people can only vote on them if they legitimately have that issue. Then it would be obvious the extent to which the problem is actually there.

This sort of low-effort drive-by dismissal is not in the spirit of the HN community guidelines [1].

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html

"machines" ;)

Catalina has been fine for me (old macbook and a new iMac), but I do miss some of the old Steam games that no longer work with Catalina (was it a 64-bit thing?).

Is Steam or Apple going to offer some kind of virtualization thing to allow this old apps/games to run? Or did we really just lose these forever without using your own virtualization (VMWare etc)?

(Or is there some news about this that I just missed?)

No problems on my 15" 2017 MBP :) . I'm not much of a power user though

That's been my experience on my mid-2013 Macbook Air - for what it is worth.

Your experience of not having had any issues is mostly entirely irrelevant.

I went to a club and didn't get harassed. I went to bar and no one tried to feel me up. I walked down that alley and didn't get mugged.

Why is it that computer fans always say "It worked for me" as if it means something to the victims?

The victims are not the only people to whom this comment is addressed.

The group FaceTime UI is very strange, why have several overlapping boxes rather than just dividing the screen equally and using all of it? I know it's like this in iOS, but I'm not sure what group video looks like in macOS (though it sounds like it's the same based on the update text here).

It's weird because the easier thing also seems like the obvious thing, and it's clearly better.

why have several overlapping boxes rather than just dividing the screen equally and using all of it

It's good for smaller screens. I was on a Zoom video conference last week, and all I could think about was how so many people who weren't allowed to/going to speak were taking up valuable screen real estate.

At least when it's a four people conversation this doesn't really ring true.

Then I see three boxes of the other people that are smaller than they would otherwise be if evenly divided. Most of the screen is black empty space.

Minimally I'd prefer a gallery view of all speakers option and it's probably the better option up to at least 6 people.

There's a setting to toggle gallery view...

Correct, but if you have multiple people talking at the same tome, you still want to see all of those people, without relying on Speaker Mode to switch between speakers for you.

I typically use video chat apps like Facebook, Google Meet, and Zoom. I think the grid is efficient from a space perspective -- there's less wasted space -- but the grid looks very corporate and boring.

I think there's also a practical advantage of placing tiles haphazardly: it might help spatial memory. It's a lot harder to focus on or find a particular rectangle in a sea of rectangles than it is to follow a shape than looks a little different from the rest. However, I have never used FaceTime group calling (because I don't have most of my friends' phone numbers), so I don't whether this is effective in practice.

FWIW, I don't believe FaceTime requires others' phone numbers. I think it can be a phone number or any email address tied to their Apple ID, similar to iMessage.

I don't buy this - this feels like rationalizing a bad design decision after the fact.

It seems like bad design to waste space on a small screen because it looks 'boring'.

Battery health management sounds great!

I wish there was a way to customize this, though: Thinkpads have (on Linux) allowed setting thresholds for "charge only when less than" or "charge only up to" for many years now.

Given that such primitives must also exist as part of 10.15.5 now, I hope that somebody will figure out how to modify the default behavior.

There's an app for that called Aldente[0]. I am sceptical of the benefits though, too much of micromanagement for a device that's supposed to just work.

I mean you can be better off if instead of undercharging the device all the time and have less than optimal charge when you need it today you can have a device that holds just as little charge some time in the feature and fix it by replacing the battery if it turns into an issue.

Live the high life today worry-free and suffer tomorrow instead of suffering today for some possible occasion in the feature where you might need few more hours of juice.

[0]: https://github.com/davidwernhart/AlDente

I'd rather leave it to the OEM to determine the best setting (knowing their batteries and charge circuitry), but have the option in OSs that run on devices whose OEM hasn't done so.

on a mac those are the same thing

That's my point - I replied to someone wanting it to be configurable on macOS; I'm saying why, I'd rather leave it to Apple, I assume they can do a better/more accurate job than me, but sure, it's great that you can do that on Linux if there aren't OEM drivers available with better tuning.

I'm glad that sort of thing doesn't exist on macOS by default, though third-party tools have existed for a while.

I'd much rather the system figure out the charge threshold dynamically based on all sorts of variables like temperature, battery degradation level, expected imminent usage (learn from my own past usage on-device -- coreduetd) and other variables they can take into account. Which is what it does.

The cynic in me strongly suspects that planned obsolescence is one of these other variables.

Thanks, that's quite a lot of fixes.

I should note that this list isn't unusually long for a point release.

It's crazy that even dot releases are a full 3.6G download

Binary patching hasn't been a thing for years unfortunately.

Even bigger wreck on consoles these days, where an update can be 50+ gigabytes...

Yes it has, just not for Apple. Chrome/Chromium do Courgette (binary diff) updates to great effect. Those 8GB Xcode minor release monsters could definitely use some binary diff love.


> Binary patching hasn't been a thing for years unfortunately.

True, and it's fair to say binary diffs aren't worth the complexities they introduce anymore, yet the concept of only pulling updates for individual packages has been a thing for over two decades in the *nix world. It seems like a poor choice for Apple to not bother making updates more discerning while also removing binary diffs... certainly a shitty move for anyone without a 99th percentile internet connection - then again everyone outside of that group probably can't afford Apple products anyway.

For some perspective: 3.6 GiB is significantly larger than the downloads required to install my entire OS from scratch, and 36 times larger than my average weekly run of apt.

From my now outdated experience on Mac OS i'm aware they do divide things into installer packages with some kind of receipt for version info that software update probably probes. So I guess it must be that these packages are not very granular.

> binary diffs aren't worth the complexities they introduce anymore

Noob question: Why are binary diffs impractical?

Is it because the (compiled) object code layout dances around too much? If true, isn't that fixable? Meaning: make the order more stable, to minimize the size of the diffs?

I recall a recent story/post about boosting runtime performance by optimizing object code layout. Sorry, I can't refind that article.

If true, couldn't the internals of released code be "sorted" to better enable binary diffings? Maybe the layout optimizer step would minimize the variability enough without requiring a resort.

A fun experiment would be to take a series of releases, run that layout optimizer, and then try the binary diffing again.


Didn't Google publish some research, maybe 10 years back, about better binary diffing for publishing updates? Apologies, but I sorta assumed it had become the norm.

Yep, and they use Courgette for all of their Chrome/Chromium updates. It's why no one ever sees long "Downloading update..." progress bars in that browser anymore. 100KB binary diffs are typical. Blink (no pun intended) and you'd miss the download.

Result! Thank you.

Skimmed the landing page, original paper. Courgette infers program's structure for smarter diffing. My half-baked notion is somewhere in between.

Check out IntelliJ's binary patching - it might be closer to what you want? It's based on bsdiff.

The actual binary patching magic happens here: https://github.com/JetBrains/intellij-community/tree/master/...

Not a noob question... I don't know, but was assuming they were not worth the hassle from experience of using them, having lived through an era of binary diffs for old games where applying them seemed to be very computationally expensive at the time - sometimes to the point that it seemed faster to download a whole release, I assumed it was even more expensive to generate them - Those experiences may not be valid anymore in light of faster hardware or better algorithms, but the gains may also be too minimal when compared to highly granular packaging systems that various Linux distributions use these days.

Sibling comment RE chrome is an interesting one, I can imagine in the specific case of very large and frequently updated binaries like chrome it would still be beneficial to use binary patching.

Definitely frustrating for anyone not on broadband. There are more of us than you'd think. It's a giant 'fuck you' from the software industry, real world efficiency be damned.

Totally agree. Updated to Catalina recently and on top of the huge patch size the update client doesn't seem to have any retry mechanism built in. Connection drops 9.9G into a 10G download? Too bad, start over. Just a simple wget -c would do. Incredible.

I wonder how many real word resources are wasted over this. It costs money to serve that data, it costs money to download that data, it congests the network wherever that data is being routed, it consumes energy however that is generated in the region.

Windows Update does this too, if the transfer fails it starts from zero. Multiply this by... what, a couple million times for each update?

I assume they run the numbers and it's cheaper to just dump all the data and run things inefficiently, compared to having teams deploy it correctly. It's just a waste though, and it pisses off your customers.

My personal monthly usage is in the 100G region; this particular failed update has cost me 20G of burned bandwidth. Where I live around 2% of the country doesn't have access to decent broadband. Since these updates are released every 2 months or so in a very back-of-the-envelope fashion failed updates amount to 0.2% of the country's total bandwidth usage. I might be an order of magnitude off but that is still an incredible waste.

Maybe they did run the numbers, but the amount of engineering effort required to fix it is absolutely minimal (couple of lines...). A significantly worse outcome for society as a whole at the cost of a try-catch block.

JetBrains still do updates with binary patching for many (all?) of their products, and the experience is really nice.

Yeah, it's awesome having regular < 100mb updates for their IDEs and Android Studio compared to 7+ GB Xcode downloads :(

If they would only use something like rsync or ostree at the least. But if the biggest files are archives it would require recompression. If it's more like an uncompressed tar archive then it should be easier, but still it would require either a clever algorithm or the format support by the algorithm.

Xbox 360 patches were handled differently -- only the game binary would be included in the initial patch; any content updates were released as free DLC add-on packs (or, if a game was releasing new paid DLC, they'd require a new add-on pack that included some subset of the new content for free).

PS4 updates are notably bad, since they do a full copy & write (vs write-in-place) on patches. It's good if there's an issue on updating, since you can delete the partially-updated copy and start over, but bad because it requires more than 2x the disk space for the patch.

i visited my brother last night and he threw on the xbox. it forced an update. then it downloaded almost a gig and threw an error. then it started again and installed and rebooted and installed.. about half an hour later we'd moved onto other things and never even played it. answered my question about whether or not i wanted one though! lol

Where are you getting 50+ GB console updates?

I think they’re referring to games. A good example? CoD Modern Warfare (the recent one) _always_ seems to have 50GB updates. It is rather annoying, even with fast internet.

Modern Warfare is a nightmare. 50-80GB updates every month and no online play until you update. That can be over 12 hours for me. It's one thing I've noticed since getting a console recently after not having one since the PS2 era. Huge updates constantly. Even when you buy a disc they have to download a bunch of stuff. Such a horrible user experience.

Usually it's around 30GB. I play on PC and have to remind all of my party to update the night before. Each update seems to only come with small changes, and the total game size only increases by ~5GB usually. So they're either recompressing previous assets or changing stuff that can't be patched in along with new content. These updates usually happens every week/every other week. It's insane. I think all of the previous CoD:MW titles combined isn't as big as this one alone.

My girlfriend and I play with our old roommates most evenings as of late - we've gotten in the habit of turning on my gaming rig and her PS4 around lunch to suss out any updates. We are lucky to have symmetrical gig internet, but even with an Ethernet cable connected the PS4 download speeds abysmal. Those COD patches really are monstrous.

Newer games in general have these humongous updates. I’m somehow pleasantly surprised when checking that GTA V total size is 90GB all in. An open world online game with endless possibilities. Fortnite, a way simpler game, is ~70GB with monstrous patches too. I really wonder what is in those files..

Probably how the stuff is packaged for consoles where content is continuously streamed to make up for the limited memory on consoles and anemic CPU's so texture maps , world data and game logic are interleaved.

Patching all of that is difficult to it is probably easier to replace the content streams in one go.

This is the case for both PC and consoles for this game :).

I can't remember a time I've downloaded a patch that is as big as the base game on a console. Granted, most of the games I play are on physical copies.

Chrome uses binary patching mechanism rather reliably for millions of users.

Oh boy, you're spoiled by Linux.

Right... the earlier point releases were 100-500 MB.

Full history of OS X update sizes: https://robservatory.com/a-full-history-of-macos-os-x-releas...

It seemed to start getting out of hand around Yosemite 2014.

Yosemite is where OS X started getting out of hand in general, though it took a while for the papercuts to add up.

I "asked HN" about this recently but unfortunately it has not received much attention. Maybe now there are people around who know what exactly happens during an update?


Not an expert in how the update process works, but the update certainly contains all the changed files, of which there is usually a lot. (I would think this is every project that has had a source code change internally…) There are number of shared- and kext-cache related things that also run afterwards.

Btw does anyone know how to test-install a newer OS other than with Mac OS' upgrade option burning through 6gb+ downloads supposedly also replacing the OS rather than installing it onto an external disk? I've got an unused old mini that's still on the OS it came with - way out of date. I even went to an Apple dealer to get Mojave onto an SSD drive last year, only to find out that the mini needs a firmware update for APFS that only comes with Mojave/Catalina, but I can't find a download option for only the firmware update so that I could boot from an external AFPS disk.

Can you not just back up the current SSD and repeatedly OTA it to the last supported version? That would be my solution.

Exactly what I had hoped to avoid. I only keep the Mac for cross-platform builds, site testing on Safari, and for hypothetically being able to open old 3D assets, but the old apps almost certainly won't work on newer Mac OS anyway.

If I'm not mistaken, the amount you download when updating from a previous version is significantly less than a full installer image.

Still far from Microsoft Visual Studio update, which renamed VSO into Azure DevOps, and required 1.2GB download basically just for that.

2.98 for me…

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