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macOS Monterey (apple.com)
440 points by fossislife on Oct 25, 2021 | hide | past | favorite | 628 comments

I just upgraded to Monterey on my Macbook Pro 2018 15-inch and after rebooting, all of the USB-C ports stopped working, including the power adapter. I spent some time on the phone with Apple Support trying to figure out how to fix it. After about an hour and a half there was about 18% battery left before I started to panic and figure out how I was going to back everything up.

After panicking, the 3rd Apple Support Representative and I endeavoured to try and reset the System Management Controller (SMC) [1] once again. At this point I had realised that the first few times that I tried this with a previous support representative would not have worked, as I was holding shift on the left-hand side of the keyboard (the previous support representative did not specify) and not the right-hand side as outlined in the support article for Macs with the T2 chip.

Good luck!

1. https://support.apple.com/en-au/HT201295

> I just upgraded to Monterey > I started to panic and figure out how I was going to back everything up.

Upgrading to a new OS on release day without a prior backup. You like to live dangerously, do you?

This isn't Arch Linux we're talking about, it's the presumably tested and released operating system for the most premium personal computing hardware in the world. I'm not saying you shouldn't back up your stuff but your expectation on user behavior is unrealistic to put it mildly.

I am not very experienced with Arch, but my impression is that it is actually more reliable when updating/upgrading then going to a new major MacOS release, which is an absolute disagrace given the fact that Apple can actually test their stuff on every single hardware model it is supposed to run.

And no, my experience on general user behaviour is to expect no backup, but this isn't Auntie Ednas crocheting Facebook group, but Hacker News :)

> I am not very experienced with Arch, but my impression is that it is actually more reliable when updating/upgrading then going to a new major MacOS release

I used Arch briefly and this was not my experience, but at least in that community it's kind of expected that you understand this is a possibility and a tradeoff of running the OS.

Use Manjaro then. It's a polished and reasonably tested Arch (roughly saying kind of like what Ubuntu is to Debian). Never had a single problem with it.

Ubuntu… polished? Ha!

There always is a huge room for subjectivity, edge cases and other critique in this. But generally saying I'd say yes. My experience mostly is about desktop/laptop (non-gaming, on-board video only) though.

Same. The Ubuntu long term support releases are quite conservative.

I did find the Unity interface more polished however.

It seemed like Canonical did a lot of UX research, to make things like the "power off" button adjoin the corner of the screen, so you could imprecisely flick the cursor and know it has hit the target. It also worked a lot better under old hardware.

I still use Unity with community support. It's a shame, I think as I remembered seeing the Unity interface at work sometimes and thinking that Ubuntu was making inroads.

>I am not very experienced with Arch, but my impression is that it is actually more reliable

It is only an impressions, Arch fanboyus will quietly try to fix the mess and blame themselves for the bugs, only some honest users will tell you straight in the face "never update Arch without first reading some news page and never update if you don't hve the time to rollback and fix shit".

Both things are true.

Arch is, in my experience, much more stable, and yet you should glance at the news page and run full system upgrades when you could spare some downtime if you had to.

I would only call it a disgrace if the issue did not appear in testing yet appeared for a large number of users or if Apple released and update where problems appeared during testing.

Keep in mind these upgrades are being done to an OS that has a unique history based upon how the computer was used in the past. Issues that did not appear in testing are going to come up after release. Then there is the potential defects in the manufacture of a particular unit or due to how it was handled. In other words, it is legitimate to miss an uncommon fault.

As for Arch, I understand why the warnings exist. That being said, I have found it to be very reliable. I typically attribute it to changes being incremental, meaning that problems are less likely to arise; and due to development being done in the open, resulting in a larger pool of testers before it even hits rolling distributions like Arch (never mind distributions that do their own testing).

I think the notable difference is that macOS has a standard release cycle of about a year, whereas Arch has a rolling release cycle. This why there's more possibility for breakage, as many of the core libraries or other software are likely having their versions bumped. This is based on my knowledge of how most standard release distros function and which I assume is Apple's update policy for software they ship.

Even assuming this is the case, it still doesn't excuse how they weren't able to uncover this in their testing, since they only have to test against their own set of hardware.

Imagine the hardware that arch has to support vs the hardware configurations that arch has to support.

Makes you think on the QE that goes into the release.

Honestly, this is some FUD; I've used Arch for 10 years; upgrading at least once a week, and the only time an upgrade has really messed things up was when they switched to systemd.

Also used Macbooks at work for 10 years, and I'm far more wary of apple upgrades.

My expectation for user behaviour is that users, regardless of self-identified tech competency, shouldn't upgrade their OS on the first day of a new release. I find that there's nothing that one can miss out on with a new release.

what's the point of a release date if it's not ready? os upgrades do fail, and you better backup before you upgrade, but if it's released, than it means it's ready

Conversely, I’ve been looking at release notes and — with the exception of security patches and needing the latest version of Xcode for my job — I’ve not actually seen any positive benefit to upgrading since the versions were named after cats rather than places.

On the plus side, at least the most recent security update no longer had me listening to auto-playing YouTube videos in the front tab of Chrome before I even saw the login prompt: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LVvu94g3iq0

On the down side, the latest security update decided to spontaneously start playing the YouTube video in the front tab of Chrome about 15 minutes ago when my laptop went into screensaver…

> On the plus side, at least the most recent security update no longer had me listening to auto-playing YouTube videos in the front tab of Chrome before I even saw the login prompt: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LVvu94g3iq0

I had a similar problem, but with resuming from hibernation after the battery goes to 0. When you have FileVault on, that brings you back to the login screen; but Chrome videos started playing instantly. A horrific bug since you can't pause or mute it for a good 10 seconds until you get back to your desktop. Many people have probably been harmed by this bug, depending on what video they were watching last.

Could you share if FileVault was active when this happened to you? I believe the disk is supposed to remain encrypted before you log in, so I can't see how this would have happened on a reboot (or update install) without FileVault being off.

FileVault was inactive at the time I recorded that, though I still don’t expect this behaviour regardless of file system encryption.

From my perspective, it means it has been deemed ready for fresh installs — which aren’t uncommon. They have, especially with Apple, fewer configurations to test.

But the probability that they got a good enough sample for system upgrade is very small. Systems that have been in use— especially for a few years — tend to diverge widely.

The users who upgrade should wait unless they are willing to risk the small but not negligible probability that the upgrade will Bork their system.

> From my perspective, it means it has been deemed ready for fresh installs

I don't think you'll find many "normal" people (i.e. non-developers) that agree with you on that definition.

Indeed. And those people used to come to me for help when they upgraded their windows prematurely.

That used to be the case before everything was connected to the internet: devs would agonize about making sure there were no bugs, because once it was out it was out of their hands.

Games were especially nerve-wracking because a single show-stopping bug could bankrupt the entire company, but I digress.

Now, it’s “Get enough working code out the door so that we can sell copies! We can patch it if we need to!”

Software is never ready. It just has some local minimum of known issues.

I've been using Macs since about 2000 and that was my reaction too; I remember being very glad I waited a bit after one release that deleted some user's entire iTunes libraries.

> … presumably tested and released operating system for the most premium personal computing hardware in the world.

New tabs in Safari 15 are premium too. Look nice but totally unusable.

Those are opt-in in the final (12.0.1) release and the sane tabs are back..

You’ve gotten a lot of pushback on this.

Rightly so, I’d say.

As someone who has used and managed all types of Apple products all the way back to Mac OS 7, it is not just my direct experience here but also countless discussions with peers: Every major update has teething pains.

It feels like Apple engineers test only on fresh machines from the factory. The first week is the “release client” test. New OS’, new products, new components (eg: butterfly keyboard), etc. Nothing is immune.

Yes, the marketing says that every detail of every Apple product is flawless however the core DNA of Apple drives them to innovate and you cannot innovate without breaking things. Their white glove motto is “bring it in, we’ll replace it”.

Personally, I really didn't regret waiting for 11.1 back then... unfortunately this wasn't the first bugged major release.

While Apple's hardware and product interop is still top notch, I feel way less safe about their grip on low-level and OS technology. For me, the (lack of) handling of their bug bounty program speaks volumes towards their priorities and I'm actively looking for the next platform that I can trust my data to that works out of the box and I don't have to babysit or debug.

You don't update OSX before March in my experience. There are always teething issues.

At least on linux you can have /home as a separate partition, which should reduce the risk of losing user data. Unless I'm completely wrong and this doesn't really matter that much during updates.

bleeding-edge Arch Linux is more reliable than new macOS releases, lesson.

That's beside the point. Arch Linux makes no effort to appear more reliable than new macOS releases, and there's no reasonable expectation that it should be, even if it is.

At what point do we start to hold software and software providers to a higher standard?

A multi-trillion dollar company releases an upgrade to its flagship operating system and "anyone who knows anything" smiles and nods because we understand that actually USING the upgrade runs a high enough chance to brick your device that doing so without a backup is a rube cliche.

I get it. But my question stands.

And it's not like it's under Linux or Windows where target hardware configuration is more or less unknown. Building both software and hardware by Apple supposed to be advantage of Macs.

I absolute agree with you, it's an absolute disgrace and while I am all in on holding Apple, MS or Google responsible for their shit, any law in that regard would most likely only affect the livelihood of your friendly neighborhood OS developer, but not actually Apple & Co.

We do hold them accountable ... by using Apple :( It's not like Linux or Windows upgrades are drastically smoother. In fact right now I have a Windows VM that tells me "This PC doesn't meet the requirements to upgrade to Windows 11" in the upgrade screen, and their health check app tells me "This PC meets the requirements". Probably something got cached somewhere, as I had to add a virtual TPM just now. But still. This kind of experience is routine, with Windows. Like, why is the health check app not built in? Why is there a separate tool to begin with? Why doesn't it use their latest app packaging and distribution system instead of a sucky old MSI file? It constantly feels like there's nobody at the head of the ship with Windows.

NixOS updates are drastically smoother, if default option to boot into any of previous updates is enough to never overthink it

I don't think a platform that requires you to learn a custom functional programming language can be described as having smoother updates, really.

Haiku [operating system], while not ready for most people to use ar a daily driver, also has this ability to boot into prior state. Updated an app, or the whole system, and now something's gone pear-shaped? Reboot with the magic key held down and choose a previous config by date-time.

I do!

Actually I never upgraded to Catalina and waited until Big Sur seemed stable enough to upgrade to and it upgraded from Mojave without a hitch. I had been following the beta releases of Monterey and it seemed pretty solid, so I figured what the heck, let’s live dangerously baby!

As for not having a recent backup it’s just something that always gets put the back burner. That’s my failing. But to be honest, I wouldn’t have really lost anything of worth, everything important is in version control. Maybe I would have lost a few dot files, some configs, some PoCs, the grooves in my couch. Those grooves that I’ve cultivated wouldn’t cost me much time and honestly sometimes it’s good to get a fresh couch and re-evaluate the grooves of the past.

With all of that said, despite the inconvenience of the upgrade, I would love to give a shout out to Apple support. It’s these moments that you get to appreciate the fact that you can pick up the phone and talk to someone who has some outstanding fault finding and problem solving abilities, leagues ahead of any other provider I have ever had experience with.

I never had to worry about making a backup before upgrading Linux distros. I mean, what's the worst that could happen when your /home lives on a different partition?

I doubt anyone backs up their data with mac oses since they feel so much like generic updates.

The T2 chips were a bold move and probably necessary for Apple as a transition plan. Imagine all the features it provides (Touch ID, secure boot, disk encryption) arriving only with the M1 Macs? Firmware and software needed to see the light of day and be put to test by the millions.

Thanks everyone that ever owned Intel Macs with T2 chips. I am so glad I never owned anything from that generation, and I appreciate your sacrifice. <3

I think in most regards, they were actually a lot better than the Intel-only Macs - including on stability etc.

As the T2 chip was the primary thing controlling the computer, effectively they were M1 machines, up until the point where the full x86 OS was being loaded.

So for a problem like this - with the SMC, ports, etc. - there's no distinction between the T2 Macs and the M1 Macs, they're the same thing and run the same fundamental software (which does get updated)

Good example of why I usually wait for a few dot releases before upgrading MacOS.

I thank you and other early adopters (AKA QA testers) for your service.

But this kind of thing described by the parent (SMC data corruption) is usually caused by a local condition on the device rather than specifically buggy code. Waiting for a later version would not help in that case.

Not saying that there aren’t sometimes bugs in initial version released and it’s perfectly rational to wait to hear about any fire alarms going off, but the example given is not really a case in point.

I haven’t seen this anywhere when I’ve looked, so I’ll ask here on the slim chance maybe they really added something I badly want and somebody knows…

Is there any application forced sandboxing feature yet?

Something users can control to forcibly stop bad behavior from certain “must have” apps. Chrome, for example, has been caught doing entire drive scans on Windows, and I’m not sure I entirely trust Zoom either. So I’d like to lock down what they can access in terms of files, paths, devices and so on and be fully confident that even if my employer demands I run some software installer provided by their “partners” that it hasn’t installed some creepy daemon and configured launchd to keep it running after I kill the app or even kill -9 the process.

Yes we can use VMs for this, but Mac laptops aren’t generally beefy machines, so that’s not an optimal solution.

There used to be sandbox_exec, but I’ve heard they removed it entirely from this version. We’re now supposed to get things from the (cr)App Store, which guarantees the app will only have entitlements that Apple approves. But vendors are abandoning the App Store in droves for many good reasons, and after recent events I don’t totally trust Apple to prevent malicious use piggybacking on top of a legit entitlement.

I need this so badly. True story:

I've been eagerly awaiting a new Macbook to completely rid myself of Adobe software.

Over the past decade I've considered installing Adobe software but always held back because of how intrusive and shady the software is (I checked on friends' computers). I've been able to work around having to edit PDFs and used Figma in place of Photoshop for my very basic graphical needs.

Well a few months ago I needed to fill out customs form 5106. This form uses some kind of proprietary Adobe PDF form creation software thing. In order to do anything with it I need Adobe Acrobat. At least that's how far my research took me before I buckled and purchased Adobe Acrobat. I was extremely busy that week and didn't have time to figure out a hacky alternative.

After having installed Creative Cloud all I can say is... it's straight up malware. I doubt I'd be able to get rid of all the junk it installs even if I wanted to. And what's worse is the products are extremely buggy. It's just a mess!

I just checked and Adobe has TWENTY EIGHT processes running in the background. A lot of them are running as root. And of course two of them are NodeJS servers.

These processes are constantly phoning home at such a ridiculous rate that it's impossible to know what to block and what not to. Looking at Little Snitch right now, there are 13 distinct Adobe applications that have been making HTTP requests since I booted my laptop 30 minutes ago. I haven't used a single Adobe product since boot.

I wasn't surprised when, after installing Creative Cloud and restarting my computer, next time I launched Chrome I got a popup telling me that Adobe installed an extension. THANK YOU GOOGLE for taking the time to alert me about this. At no point during the installation process was it clear to me that Adobe would be hijacking my browser too.

I was going to do a fresh wipe to get rid of this junk for good but I wanted to wait until the Macbook was released. Once that laptop arrives I'm never touching Adobe software ever again unless there's a way to completely sandbox it.

> Well a few months ago I needed to fill out customs form 5106. This form uses some kind of proprietary Adobe PDF form creation software thing

PSA in case anyone doesn't know this: the built-in Preview app on MacOS can be used to fill in any PDF form. You can type into text boxes on some forms. But even if they're not there, you can add text anywhere on a pdf. You just have to drag your own text boxes to wherever you want to type. It also supports signatures and various shapes.

The options are sort of hidden - View -> "Show Annotation Toolbar" or Tools -> Annotate -> Text.

You shouldn't ever need adobe acrobat.

That’s not entirely true. Some government forms where I live are shared in a PDF format but are only downloaded and displayed properly when they are opened in Acrobat, and otherwise display a page telling you to download acrobat. I suspect this allows the form to be updated, and see why it might be done, but I still find it very annoying.

I've never seen this before, and I've been using the Preview method described above for 15+ years. I have also never installed an Adobe product on a mac, ever. Do you have a link to a file that can produce this error in Mac Preview? It would be fun to learn how to bypass that.

Here's an example of a file that won't load properly in Preview and requires Acrobat: https://www.canada.ca/content/dam/ircc/migration/ircc/englis...

You can use Firefox to fill that in.

It does get by the "Please wait..." that you get in Preview or Chrome but Firefox 93.0 doesn't actually load the form properly (e.g. it's 6 pages in Acrobat but only 3 pages in Firefox and those 3 pages aren't even rendered properly).

Which version? For me 90.0 shows the "Please wait" message which some JavaScript or something is supposed to replace, and 93.0 force downloads it, even when I try to open it from a local file.

As of Firefox 93.0

From the release notes: "Firefox PDF viewer now supports filling more forms (XFA-based forms, used by multiple governments and banks)."



All / most PDF forms used by the Australian Defence Force are like this - I suspect it’s because it’s all tied into the identity / ability to digitally sign the forms.

It’s very frustrating when you send someone (externally) a PDF and it required them to install Acrobat.

Or maybe it’s just Adobe trying to take the P out of PDF…

The PDF format supports all sorts of insane extensions only implemented in Acrobat and only used by governments and large enterprises.

When I get forms like this I just dump them to jpg, fill them in an a paint program and zip them back up and send them as static images.

That doesn't work. You can't even view the PDF without Acrobat. (There's an example linked elsewhere in this thread.)

They may not be accepted by the form issuer if they have a process to pull the text out of specific fields in the PDF. I have run into that before. They are not just looking at the document but processing it.

You might try filing you FBAR, which if you get wrong results in criminal penalties, and which (practically) every American living overseas needs to complete each year:


then press the 'prepare' button to trigger the download servelet to get the PDF.

Preview cannot even open the file, let alone allow you to digitally sign it in the manner approved by the Treas Dept.

My employer uses a training and document system (third party) that requires the use of Acrobat to view PDFs. I never have to fill out forms within the PDFs; I simply can't open the files via Preview (or Firefox). Apparently the provider inserts JavaScript into the published documents (which, I assume, track document usage, since it is a training system).

Also, I can't post a link to the document, since it contains proprietary training materials.

Yes, I've had to fill out similar forms for submitting a manuscript to Nature Publishing Group journals. It seemed to me like the entire PDF was being dynamically generated via JS code or something. E.g. I would check a box for human subjects research and it would just add the relevant section to the form, re-adjusting the pagination on the fly.

Yes, the US polar programs physical qualification forms are like this, making me either use a VM or use my wife's laptop (since no supported acrobat for Linux).

Some of the, especially government, form utilize what I think is some kind of Acrobat Forms QR code generation to create a machine-readable representation of the form. This isn't supported in Preview.

Further, PDF is a monstrous format which includes its own variant of ECMA script built in. I think its pretty unrealistic to expect Apple to cleanroom the whole "standard" so I'm not too upset. They've got probably 90% of the way there, but it's unfortunately not every form.

For Canadians, PPT-054 is a good example [1] - notice $Form$054 and so on in the upper right corner. I can't remember which off hand but either the US I-131 or I-765 has one, too. Unfortunately I-131 isn't even loading in Safari for me at the moment.

[1] https://www.canada.ca/content/dam/ircc/migration/ircc/englis...

Unfortunately, this is incorrect.

I have seen weird pdfs that only display “help” messages when opened in preview… you have to follow a link and then open it in actual acrobat.

Yep, this has been my experience too. I remember having such a hard time trying to fill out a form I-9 for starting a new job last year that I had to not only download Acrobat, but for reasons I no longer recall I had to BUY A NEW PRINTER and PRINT the damn thing on paper to fill it out by hand! Absolutely batshit crazy nonsense!

People need to be very careful with this, because not only are there some PDF formats that only work with Acrobat, but I've encountered issues where the PDF opens correctly in Preview, and you can fill them just fine, but if you save it and send it, and the person opens your filled PDF in Acrobat, the text you entered will be completely jumbled.

If a PDF is meant to be printed, who cares, but if you're sending it to someone, make sure to open it in Acrobat and check if it's formatted correctly; ideally, make it in Acrobat.

I've seen government forms that run some JavaScript or something to hide the actual contents of the form unless you open it in Acrobat reader.

For Wimdows/Linux users LibreOffice Draw also mostly works for this. Its clunkey, and there are exceptions, but generally you can drop a textbox wherever you need, then re-export as a pdf when you're done.

You can do this with Inkscape also.

Xournal is great for this

Sadly, I had to install Adobe Acrobat reader last week to print a tiled PDF. The PDF itself was poster sized, but I needed to print it out on a normal 8.5x11” printer. Preview didn’t support doing that, but Reader did.

This works to make a form that looks okay on your screen or when printed. It will not make a form that works correctly if the recipient wants to process it using proprietary Acrobat features.

Yes, Adobe is bad.

The way I got around this problem was to:

1. Download a Windows 10 virtual machine. It's free.

2. Download Acrobat Pro 2020 Trial for Windows. It has a full installation kit.

3. Install the virtual machine. But don't give it an internet connection.

4. Copy the Acrobat kit to the virtual machine and install it.

5. Make a snapshot of the virtual machine. When the trial expires restore the virtual machine.

It will cost you 30GB of space and 1 hour or so, but Adobe will be contained at least.

I use Photoshop for art. Unfortunately, all other desktop software just isn't good, but thankfully Procreate is absolutely amazing software that I can use on my iPad (if you're reading this, devs, please port it to macOS. There are countless artists that'll pay to switch to a non-subscription based, non-Adobe piece of software that doesn't suck). But for desktop, I really have no choice but to buy into the Adobe scheme.

But yes, Creative Cloud is seriously completely fucking nuts. It's shit I do not and will not ever need or want for any reason and exists just to burn through my electric bill and contribute to climate change. Trying to find ways to disable it gives you cheeky employees who post marketing fluff about how it enables consumer whatever BS, but nobody can explain what those 8 dozen background tasks are doing or why we can't disable it.

I resorted to just deleting parts of the software package one by one. Most background tasks are gone. I made the mistake of updating one (1) time and the number of background tasks doubled. Absolute insanity. Nearly gigabytes of memory swallowed and CPU cycles wasted doing nothing. For all I know, it's nothing but crypto mining processes--and honestly, it probably is since Adobe has shown themselves to be money hungry and absolutely nobody can or will say what those processes are.

> I use Photoshop for art. Unfortunately, all other desktop software just isn't good

I see this "I've tried one solution and I'm all out of ideas" approach a lot. I used Photoshop for many years. Pixelmator is hands down better than Photoshop in every regard and much cheaper.

> I see this "I've tried one solution and I'm all out of ideas" approach a lot.

Not sure where you've seen it, because it sure wasn't in my post.

I've tried the alternatives. I once (regretfully) paid for Pixelmator. I tried Krita. I suffered through GIMP. I've fiddled with Clip Studio Paint.

Photoshop is quite simply better, more full-featured, and stable. Pixelmator would crash fairly often and I'd lose progress. The others just don't have good UI, and in GIMP's case, it's outright user-hostile.

I've managed to switch most of my software to free/cheaper alternatives (Blender has improved a lot lately and I was glad to leave Maya), but when it comes to 2D art on desktops, Photoshop is unfortunately still the best.

Affinity Photo is pretty good though it may not suit your needs. I know you already tried it but Clip Studio is very powerful if you stick with it (possibly depending on what art you’re making)

I agree that Pixelmator Pro is fantastic. However, I'm not an advanced photoshop(-like) user or photographer in the slightest, so there may be some advanced features in modern versions of Photoshop that Pixelmator, being a product from a much smaller company, just can't ship as fast or as well. I'm not outright saying there absolutely are, just saying that's possible.

As for other alternatives, I've had good experiences with Affinity Design for vector work. Sketch is a favorite with many designers as well (although I personally am not fond of its workflow/concepts but that's just me, clearly it works for most folks). GIMP, while venerable, is aptly named because it's so butt-ugly nobody with any actual artistic talent cares to use it. Seriously, never have I seen anything created with GIMP that looks, aesthetically, competitive with designs created with commercial tools (this isn't the fault of the functionality within GIMP, just an unfortunate side effect of having engineers do art; we suck at that). I've heard good things about Krita but haven't used it seriously because the other tools here do a great job so I've never had to bother.

It's a damn shame Photoshop and other Adobe tools are essntially malware these days. They used to be fantastic back in the day.

I swear I still have left-hand muscle memory for Photoshop editing baked into my hand even now, 20 years since I last used it routinely. ESC, hold space, click + drag, V, hover, click to select layer...

I have it installed on my work machine. Only for the pdf reader.. and it won’t uninstall because of that..

For what it’s worth, a few artist friends of mine are using Krita for drawing, to good effect. (Those not on tablets..)


>but thankfully Procreate is absolutely amazing software that I can use on my iPad

There seems to be a recurring praise for ProCreate. At least every time Photoshop comes up ProCreate is mentioned. ( I even have to search they are not coming from the same user )

I guess I will have to add it to list of research topics.

It is great but iPad only. I wish it had a macos version.

Try Affinity Photo. It works for me as a Photoshop alternative. (Sorry if you tried already.)

Question from someone who doesn't know about this stuff - If I need photoshop can I get away with an old version pre creative cloud - cs5 or 6 or something?

I think on a Mac you'd struggle to get anything to pre-creative cloud to execute. Windows might be a different story?

If you are doing basic PS work - the open source alternatives are more than capable. Some non-adobe applications can open PSD files in a reasonably sane fashion.

The Photoshop 7 Educational version I bought in college still works on Windows 11.

This is absolutely my experience of Adobe software too. Terribly engineered with priorities weighted for the board rather than users.

I’ve been a designer for +20 years and sans-Adobe for five, I absolutely recommend any young designers to avoid the Adobe workflow. You don’t need it.

Photoshop = Pixelmator (Kitura is also very good) Illustrator/Indesign = Affinity Designer

Highly precise vectors I draw in Glyphs/Fontlab.

Just to add to this list:

Gravit Designer is quite good for small vector projects, though it is a subscription.

Adobe Lightroom (the new one) and possibly more can be installed from the App Store without all the Creative Cloud bloat.

Gravit is new on me. I'm bias against web apps, but it's very cool a someone is playing in that space. Thanks!

It's beautiful to see that inside a decade we've gone from having a monoculture of Illustrator as the sole vector app (post freehand) to having multiple very capable competitors on all platforms.

Totally agree, Creative Cloud by now is really one of the worst pieces of software ever created.

Because we are on this topic - what is a great alternative to Photoshop that uses mostly similar concepts?

I’ve tried Affinity Photo but simply doing some photo cropping worked completely differently than PS and took me a long time to figure out.

My main use case is having a photo, doing a selection overlay and running „cut via copy“, then deleting the underlying layer, nothing too complicated :)

Photopea is an excellent, free web app photoshop clone that is worth a try.


Pixelmator Pro is good. Prefer it over Affinity Photo. It’s lightweight and powerful with lots of smart ML-assisted features.

Have you tried digiKam and/or darktable ?

Yeah, Office got a lot better, but Adobe is still plain malware.

Here is one way to work around it:

- Create a new partition, install macOS and have each bootable partition have its own different FileVault password for encryption. - You can have a Adobe + other nononsencial software partition, and you can bail from typing your real partition encryption key, so your main data is secured from Adobe

I am not a security expert, but I did this for a while and it works well. It is annoying, but I felt my privacy was not at risk while I was booted on the "dirty partition".

Edit: I did it to use Premiere. PDF might be doable without that hassle as others pointed out.

I don't know how Adobe could fall that deep. Their sales probably still don't reflect that because they have a lot of momentum but I hear our designers really getting angry.

It’s absolute cancer. My favorite part is the creative cloud app randomly taking up 4gb+ of ram doing literally nothing.

I just force killed an Adobe installer running as root in the background. I don't know what it was installing or why.

It'll be back. I spent an half an hour figuring out how to stop all these processes from re-spawning once and then in the next update they came back.

I have Adobe's stuff mostly neutered on my Windows installation. No Adobe stuff is running unless I open an application. The worst is that Photoshop leaves a bunch of random crap running after closing and I have to manually kill each process.

> I'm never touching Adobe software ever again unless there's a way to completely sandbox it.

At this point I’m going to recommend a virtual machine.

I could, but I think it would take considerable effort on my part. You know how it is. You end up with a long tail of little things that don't quite work properly.

Eventually I could get it to work but I'm so upset with Adobe that I'm straight up boycotting their software.

I'm ashamed of this but I've fantasized about berating Adobe executives/engineers to their face if I ever met them in real life. Of course I'd never ever do that but even fantasizing about berating someone felt dirty. That's how much time and sense of security this company has sucked from my life.

I still haven't had to go through the process of cancelling my Creative Cloud subscription. I'm sooo hoping they didn't throw in a bunch of dark patterns in there as well but I have feeling they will.

> I still haven't had to go through the process of cancelling my Creative Cloud subscription. I'm sooo hoping they didn't throw in a bunch of dark patterns in there as well but I have feeling they will.

Their gotcha that I know about is that their advertised price per month is actually a year subscription / 12, with the true monthly subscription hidden. When you cancel they’ll try to get you to pay out the remaining months of the year.

I still haven't had to go through the process of cancelling my Creative Cloud subscription. I'm sooo hoping they didn't throw in a bunch of dark patterns in there as well but I have feeling they will.

I dumped CC two months ago and was bracing for all kinds of shenanigans. But I was really surprised. Not only did it cancel immediately with no dark patterns, but I got a refund for the partially used month.

I was only a month-to-month Photoshop subscriber ($13/month), so maybe it was easy for Adobe to let me go. Perhaps it's harder for higher value hostages... er... customers.

This is really frustrating for me as well, I've been manually killing CC processes for so long that it became a usual task in my workflow, a daily habit. Adobe is one of the companies I hate soo much for this shady moves, and I'm stuck with its softwares involuntarily.

But decision is made, I'm upgrading to a new macbook pro soon and will change my design tools. At least I'll try hard before installing creative cloud.

>Once that laptop arrives I'm never touching Adobe software ever again unless there's a way to completely sandbox it.

If the ipad versions of illustrator and photoshop have the features you need that's the only way you can avoid all the nagware. I only need to do the occasional edit to a logo or photo so the ipad pro versions are enough and I prefer the pen to a mouse. I've stopped using them on desktop and use https://smallpdf.com for editing and signing pdfs.

This is an excellent Mac PDF editing tool. I'm not affiliated, just a user.


I was editing pdf drafts from a publisher and just couldn't stand another minute of dealing with Acrobat. Found this, removed all vestiges of Adobe, and haven't looked back.

I've used Preview a lot, but it just isn't reliable (for me). Apple seems to muck around with the code every couple of versions and break things. Odd.

Noped out.

1) Defaulted to setting PDFExpert as my PDF viewer,

2) followed with a survey I could not close out,

3) required an account to begin.

I'm happy it works for you but I'm tired of the modern software that wants accounts, your data....

I'm not surprised by this.

Readdle's apps, namely 'Documents', have always been my go-to on iOS for editing PDFs and transferring files[1].

But they went and added a useless VPN to Documents, then released a 're-design' which cuts functionality (and from the reviews is quite buggy). It's sad to see a quality app degrade as the developer adds bloat and new 'features'.

1: For example, Documents (which edits PDFs as well) has a built-in WebDav server that is super useful for getting files between an iPhone and a Linux machine over Wifi.

I’ve been usding PDFpen pro for years. It is pricey, but I have used it enough for it to be worth the expense. It was recently sold off to a different company, though. Hopefully without ill effects.

I only install Adobe stuff on iOS. I can be reasonably sure they won't do shady stuff there. Their Acrobat PDF thing works on iOS as well as on Mac.

I'm thinking if, for these "one-off" tasks doable only with very special SW, we could utilize that APFS snapshoting feature of macOS filesystem.

1. Create snapshot 2. Install obtrusive SW, finish task 3. Restore snapshot.

Any sources for this kinds of workflow?

LibreOffice has Draw which can handle PDF files. It can edit and modify them and save them. The price is free https://www.libreoffice.org/

This is what I use when I need to edit PDFs. Works a treat.

> two of them are NodeJS servers.

At least they're not Java Spring servers. That's the software I had to install to fill my tax form in my country.

I suggest you to use virtual machines for those kinds of tasks. That's what I'm doing.

I know this may seem extreme, but you could always run Adobe in a separate MacOS user login to keep it sandboxed. When you don’t need Adobe, just log that user out…

If some processes are running as root, there's no guarantee that they won't fork+daemonize and still be running when you login with your regular user. On Windows, it's become a habit for some apps to install their own "Update Service" as part of the regular app installation.

This won’t really help against the numerous background processes that run as root (as mentioned above).

For natural media, Corel Painter, not getting much mention these days?

/usr/bin/sandbox-exec is still on macOS Monterey. It's not pretty, but you should still be able to roll your own sandbox rules and run any arbitrary app with it:


It's going away though and is less functional than in previous versions of the system. Basically a waste of time trying to build rules for it right now.

No, still no user-facing method for that. There have also been no apparent improvements to the Catalina permission dialogues (for Documents, Desktop, Downloads), but keep watching https://eclecticlight.co/ over the next few weeks, if there have been any improvements he'll probably talk about it.

> Is there any application forced sandboxing feature yet?

Yes it's been there for a while. But like flatpak and all other attempts to sandbox applications they tend to ask for coarse permissions like Home Directory and once you give that, it can read everything important.

It shouldn't matter what permissions an application asks for. It is up to the user to decide to grant the app access to a system, or to a mock system.

The "sandboxing" model of flatpack and the like is completely backwards. I'd even say it's user-hostile.

> Yes we can use VMs for this, but Mac laptops aren’t generally beefy machines

The newest ones with M1/M1 Pro are actually pretty beefy, and even the Macbook Air has benchmarks that beat literally everything else in the Apple lineup except the iMac Pros and the new-model Mac Pros.

This doesn't help much with current equipment, but it should make future planning easier.

What they really need is something powerful and open along the lines of QEMU/KVM. HyperKit is dead-last when it comes the virtualization race, and it's one of the technologies I'm rooting for Apple to scrap altogether. MacOS needs either a thinner hypervisor or a lower-level virtualization solution, either of which I see as equally unlikely from Apple.

They added a framework specifically for Linux in Big Sur. Also QEMU runs on MacOS lol


Does MacOS run on QEMU?

It does! Even PPC versions.

Is there an official source of disk images to install macOS in a VM?

QEMU runs on macos already?

That's news to me!

Pretty happy with Parallels performance on my M1 Mac tbh.

My belief is that Apple will eventually try to lock down macOS entirely or move to something similar to iOS sandboxing. This would more or less solve your problem and not hurt the majority of people’s experience. However, to make the OS good enough for software development, Apple will make it easy to create virtualized environments. This to me seems like the correct trade off and might actually be a net win for most. I have never understood why it’s a good idea to mess with your core OS to get some code to compile - use something where you don’t have to worry every time there is an OS upgrade.

> My belief is that Apple will eventually try to lock down macOS entirely or move to something similar to iOS sandboxing. This would more or less solve your problem and not hurt the majority of people’s experience.

Strict file-level-granularity sandboxing breaks all kinds of multi-file formats [1], because users will want to simply open the respective main file just as usual (especially if launching the file from the desktop or a file explorer window) and then expect that the program of course should be able to access not just that particular file itself, but any associated files, too.

The OS however cannot be expected to know the peculiarities of each and every file format, so how is this supposed to work without either degrading the user experience or else weakening the sandbox up to a point where it is possibly almost pointless?

Plus it also makes editing file paths in programs more annoying, because you can no longer directly edit a path (or paste it in from elsewhere) if it's displayed in a text input and instead always have to spend a few additional clicks because you must go through the OS file picker. (Though admittedly this latter issue might be more of a power user problem)

[1] Multi-part archives, multi-part video files, playlists, videos with separate subtitle files, HTML documents containing links to other local HTML documents or referencing various sub-resources (images/videos/audio/style sheets/scripts/...), Audacity projects, images with metadata in external sidecar files, ditto for georeferenced images, QGIS projects, ...

Regarding filepicker and path editing…

So, regression to several systems ago? Maybe System 7, or MacOS 8, or 9? If so, we'll need a new thing like Super Boomerang…except with all the modern security, it'd practic'ly have to come from Apple as some kind of option. )*:

Well... you could create a new user profile, install the apps to that user's profile, give their group access to the folders you want the browser to be able to get to (Downloads folder, whatever), then lock them out of anything else....then run the browser as that user only. aka (sudo -u Bob /Applications/Firefox.app/Contents/MacOS/Firefox )

OS perms should do the rest. I don't know if OSX has a firejail equivalent but that would be nice too.

Chrome will request admin privileges to install Keystone, I believe.

wow, this is such a great tip. Can I use the Zoom same way?

> Something users can control to forcibly stop bad behavior from certain “must have” apps. Chrome, for example, has been caught doing entire drive scans on Windows, and I’m not sure I entirely trust Zoom either.

I just upgraded to Monterey and OneDrive asked for permissions to a bunch of folders it didn’t need. I denied them. I doubt it’s bad behavior, probably just lazy permissions requests, but I’m glad I had the option.

Is it possible to add entitlements to an already compiled app dowloaded from a random place? A mac app installer could run any scripts, so we need to sandbox the installer, if it's possible.

I just watched the "What's new" thing. There is a new grid view in Facetime. Some improvements in the notification centre. Not sure if that warrants a risky 12 Gb OS update.

This is so critical, we've been scrutinising permissions on smartphones for so long & yet we have like an unlimited buffet for consumer desktop applications this entire time.

Sandboxing is one of the benefits that Apple taunts with apps deployed in the App Store. You have to explicitly give access to app for a range of locations. This is one reason that some publishers refuse to distribute their apps in the App Store.

Such a feature would be useless in practice, unless the sandbox could present convincing fake data. Without that, all of the evil apps you mention would just show a message box at startup saying "unsandbox me or I refuse to run".

> Is there any application forced sandboxing feature yet?

On Linux you can use flatpak where you can manually limit the permissions on a per application basis.

SharePlay to Mac (I tested audio) is utterly broken. Shockingly so. I just tried it again, and my music isn't paused, yet is stuck at 0:02. Pausing and unpausing it, and the song starts ticking, 0:03, 0:04, and so on, but you can't hear any audio. Pause it again. It goes back to 0:02. Now try this with AirPods connected to your Mac. Connect your iPhone's Apple Music to AirPlay to Mac. The YouTube video you had playing on your Mac gets paused, for no reason. But at least you hear your iPhone's audio on your Mac. Now pickup your iPhone. Your AirPods have now switched to your iPhone, that's still AirPlaying to Mac. You can't hear your music anymore. You reconnect the AirPods to your Mac. You can hear your iPhone music for a few minutes. Suddenly you can't hear anything. Pick up your phone, the volume slider in the Music app went all the way to the left. You can't move the volume slider to the right, like it's frozen; but the song is still playing. You go to Control Center, and finally manage to increase the volume. A minute later, the volume goes to zero again. If you were hoping to compensate for Spotify Connect not being on Apple Music, you'll be disappointed.

Also, Safari has a bug that ignores your setting to not reopen non-private windows, and reopens them anyway, so if that's important to you, you may want to temporarily switch to another browser.

And yes, it still has the "occasionally laggy trackpad cursor" bug on M1 for me.

But other than that, it seems quite a bit faster than Big Sur, and so far (past 2 weeks), very stable on the core stuff.

The easiest way to avoid “surprises” when installing a Mac OS update is to wait a few months and let early adopters be the gunnies pigs.

Yep, solid advice. Just went from Catalina to big sur a few days ago based on this principle.

How's it been? I'd still been holding out, but I've been thinking about finally moving up to Big Sur this week.

You get no new advantages, can keep doing the same things (such as using the newest XCode) and all new disadvantages, like the Messages pop up in the upper right now takes 3 clicks to reply to because they collapsed the menu into “more” drop down. Now just extrapolate that to every pop up.

I got forced to upgrade to Big Sur recently and it’s working okay. The Lock Screen is my only issue. It flashes several times and makes me re-enter my password halfway through typing it

BTW, I can't edit my comment anymore, but I meant "AirPlay to Mac"

This is a bit off topic, but moving up to an M1 macbook pro has been an unmitigated disaster for me, as far as AirPlay goes. (But I am very happy with it otherwise.)

I play my music though an Airport Express at home. It has always been a bit flaky at times, but most of the time, it worked fine. With my M1 mac, though, it pretty much stopped working. If I try, the airplay icon in the Music app turns from blue to black with some sort of error indicator on it. I have gotten it to work a few times, but mostly after a reboot of both the mac and the airport express. And, ironically, once when I wanted to listen to music through headphones, and it played on the airport express instead.

My current solution is to play music from an old iphone 6s, sharing music from the Mac. But it often loses its authorization to share music from the mac, so I have to restart the app and reconnect. This takes time, as it seems to need to download all the metadata from my music library each time. Also, sometimes the volume drops to zero and cannot be moved. This is cured by switching output to the iphone speakers and back to airplay. Not at all a great experience. So now I am looking for a non-apple way to play music at home. Most likely a raspberry pi or something like that.

Seeing the same problem with my M1 Air and Airport. It works from boot until the first time I put the computer to sleep.

Please consider filing a bug report with Apple via Feedback Assistant referencing my feedback FB9723470. Maybe they can figure something out from the logs.

I’ve noticed the cursor on M1 goes really laggy and buggy when you drain the battery to 0% (so it hibernates-ish) and then plug the laptop back in (waking it).

For me it happens when I have >2GB of swap, pretty consistently, which also coincides with when I have Civ 6 running or tons of tabs open.

I have it pretty consistently when playing games. It’s hugely frustrating.

I'm on Mojave, but I've had the same symptom for audio happen to me but just using wired headphones, and `sudo killall -9 coreaudiod` fixes it.

I remember that being a solution to fixing AirPlay woes at least 8 years ago

I’ve had these audio issues at least since I got my AirPods Pro around 18 months ago. This might be worse in Monterey, it just isn’t new.

I've been away from MacOS for about 10 years. Big Sur now. Kinda hate it. I keep accidentally invoking extra layers of UI everywhere. That's fine I guess.

But what I ran into that I LOVE is making EVERY app full-screen, pretending there is no desktop or window management, and just swiping right/left among them.

I wish there was a way to smooth out the UX so that this feels first-class and I stop accidentally breaking this illusion at times.

Honestly sounds like you might want an iPad.

I recently got one to use as a secondary display just for Slack /Discord/etc, but after connecting a trackpad & keyboard I totally fell in love. It's a very simplistic environment, but it's actually quite nice as an alternative to the full-blown macOS.

People say this, and then when you say “sure but one of my full screen apps is VS Code and another one is the Terminal, how do I get that on an iPad?” they go “Honestly sounds like you might want a Mac.”

I really hate how Apple shaped a whole new ecosystem that made it specially hard to run open source and unixy stuff.

It feels like the Disney moment where a company thriving from an abundant shared resource turns around to poison the well to keep their lead.

I love my iPad but really wish that’s not the future waiting for us.

You can get some stuff running on an iPad using iSH [0], but compatibility is iffy and performance even moreso. At one point, I tried bringing a RPi4 along with me to act as a mobile dev server (it'd serve an instance of VSCode over ethernet via a USB-C/ethernet adapter on the iPad, and the iPad would share its Wifi connection to the RPi), but it was clunky to bring two devices with me. Nowadays, I use Blink Shell [1] as a mosh terminal to a remote dev server.

[0]: https://ish.app [1]: https://blink.sh

Vs code with terminal in codespaces via a browser is most impressive.

I still prefer local, but I was blown awat

You can also connect iPad to your Mac as a second display, and put terminal there :)

There is now a web version of vscode and you can ssh into your environment.

Hmm. Not a crazy idea. simplification is appealing to me. But I’m guessing it’s still not really a computer? Can I get iterm2 with bash and vscode and rust?

> Can I get iterm2 with bash and vscode and rust?

Not really. The best dev experience I have with the iPad is using Blink to mosh into (the mobility mosh offers over SSH is key for me) a server, which lets me run whatever I want on it. But if you're developing GUI applications, it's not really that great.

You can use something like Working Copy for git and Textastic for editing programs on the iPad, but it's not really a proper IDE (even a light IDE) just a syntax aware editor. If I'm not using emacs on the server, I use those for my code editing purposes.

You can run VS Code in the browser: https://code.visualstudio.com/blogs/2021/10/20/vscode-dev

One of their listed use-cases is exactly this:

> Develop on your iPad. You can upload/download files (and even store them in the cloud using the Files app), as well as open repositories remotely with the built-in GitHub Repositories extension.

> For example, the terminal and debugger are not available, which makes sense since you can't compile, run, and debug a Rust or Go application within the browser sandbox

Direct quote

Ugh, that's pretty limiting. I wasn't aware of that.

Perhaps one of the self-hosted VS Code solutions out there would work?

Have you found a consistent way to get color schemes working for vim/tmux when running over mosh?

Haven’t tried mosh in a while but this was my biggest gripe, over what is otherwise an amazing mobile experience.

Honestly sounds like you might want a tiling window manager

Most of the time a workspace only has a single app in it and when I want a terminal side-by-side it's just one button press away.

I think window management in Mac leaves much to be desired (hot key and snapping floating windows). But associate fullscreeen window/split with a new workspace is actually one thing it does right. I installed an addon on Gnome just to emulate that.

Split is kind of useless with an ultrawide monitor though, I wish it was 3 columns

If you're looking for a good OSX window manager, Yabai [1] is excellent. If you're willing and allowed too you can get greater control by disabling SIP. However even with system integrity enabled (which bars access to certain WindowServer APIs - space control, removing shadows, multi-monitor integrations) Yabai functions great.

It uses a messaging passing API to interface with a local service, so it's completely programmable and can be integrated with something like skhd [2]

1: https://github.com/koekeishiya/yabai

2: https://github.com/koekeishiya/skhd

My skhdrc setup: https://pastebin.com/5GT8yiGK

Amethyst is another option, but doesn't require disabling SIP: https://github.com/ianyh/Amethyst. Does require accessibility permissions though.

> binary space partitioning

instant put off

seriously why is this a thing? Who looks at their messy desktop and think to themselves: "man it would be nice to have all of this organized... with binary partitioning algorithm"?

I tried amethyst as well as i3 on linux, gave up on tilling. I prefer to do it myself according to the need at the time. Just need hot keys.

Look into Rectangle if you just want the snapping resize ability or BetterSnapTool as a more advanced utility. In BetterSnapTool you can define custom snap areas and associate just specific apps with them, specifying window sizes and positioning per snap area. I’ve tried binary tilers and it only really works on text heavy workloads for me.

hey forgot to say thanks for the recommendation and I'm giving yabai another try. I think just ignore the binary stuff it's pretty neat and mouse-friendly. One downside is there is no indicator on menubar.

Your config is a great starting point

One free option for Mac: https://rectangleapp.com/

Ooh! Now all I need is a replacement for Better Touch Tool.* Anyone know of anything?

* which I use almost exclusively as open/close new tabs in Safari and Finder with the top right and left corners of the trackpad respectively; plus three-finger-swipe left/right gestures to move between tabs

Forewarning that there are loads of apps that the hotkeys just don’t work on. FaceTime, Steam, etc. I’m not sure why, generally the issues get closed with, “this is limitation of macOS,” but Spectacle didn’t have the same issues

Ooh I am liking some of the things this has over ShiftIt. Discover a new one of these window managers every few months.

I use it, not the point though, should be built-in.

I don't think expecting Apple to implement every single pet feature of every single power user is something that is reasonable.

Aranging windows is not a "power user feature". It's a basic thing that all other desktop OSes have. If you think hotkeys are "power user" things then replace them with gestures. Mac has none.

They actually do have windows splits, it's just unfortunate that they force a workspace onto them.

If anything workspace is a power user feature. Many including myself rarely use it. I could not if I wanted to because it looks so stupid on an ultrawide monitor.

To me the fact that 2 basic things: window snap and window switch hot keys (dont tell me you can switch apps, then swicth windows, it's retarded), don't exist, and I need at least 2 other apps to make my computer bearable, is ridiculous.

It's luckly that the apps happen to be free no thanks to Apple.

You’re mad that Apple didn’t design their operating system around your personal preferences. Personally, I’m accustomed to the way the Apple does things and personally feel the Windows way of doing do things very annoying to use (I end up needing to use Windows a few times per week). So I guess we cancel each other out :) Linux desktops have every feature under the sun but they have so many other problems I find them utterly unusable. That is why I use Mac, perhaps you would be better suited with a different platform if it annoys you so much. Sounds like you just prefer the Windows workflow ergonomic to me.

Also, FYI, you can split left and right on mac by hovering over full-screen button while holding the option key: https://imgur.com/a/VNSQR8l

It's not a hotkey, but it gets the job done.

No that's not the case, linux and windows both seem to have the basic set of features right.

I think each OS has the part they do right. Windows has the taskbar, Linux has the customization, Mac has spotlight and full screen spaces.

Many of us are forced to use a Mac at work btw.

What app do you use to get a normal alt+tab on mac?

It's literally called AltTab


I'm using Hammerspoon to implement manual tiling and pretend to have old Spaces (spaces arranged in a grid with instant transitions), but it's not my favorite thing ever.

But they can support like two features for every single power user: hotkeys for managing windows and snapping to windows when you push it against the border.

but...why? just install Rectangle and forget about it why does it matter so much if it's "built-in" or not..? It's like complaining that Apple doesn't make Alfred built in because you don't like Spotlight.

In all seriousness, there is an app for macOS window management. https://apps.apple.com/us/app/bettersnaptool/id417375580?mt=...

What Gnome extension was that? Sounds interesting, so I'd like to give it a try.


Install ShiftIt - customisable shortcut keys for almost all window layout options.

>I wish there was a way to smooth out the UX so that this feels first-class and I stop accidentally breaking this illusion at times.

This is probably not what you meant by "smooth out the UX", but I like to enable "reduce motion" under System Preferences -> Accessibility -> Display. It means when you move between apps, the sideways pan is replaced by a fade, which is nice if you do this a lot.

I have been using Macs daily for a decade. Big Sur is a big reversion in usability. Easily the worst MacOS update I can recall. The UI is a lot clunkier and slower and just harder to make sense of. They will throw it all out in 2-4 years and start over, that's about how long the UI stays stable.

I think the obsession with making everything white, with no clear distinction between window contents and window chrome makes it quite confusing. I'm hoping they revert this. Not everything has to be flat.

Yeah, modern UX designers need to come down out of the clouds and pay attention to how people actually do work. It isn't just Apple either. Mozilla is doing the same thing with Firefox. The entire industry seems to have their heads screwed on backwards. Second to HR they are the people I trust the least.

I can recall either maverick or yosemite (the ones after 10.7) but yeah, recently I had a chance to “use” big sur and it deserves that name.

Funny, I hate that aspect

Behold why UIs get super bloated over time. Users can want entirely different things. =)

Same. I never use spaces or apps in fullscreen (except when watching videos).

I find it way easier to do CMD + TAB to switch between apps, than having to switch between spaces until I get to where I want to be.

I use full screen when I am working just in the MacBook and no other screens attached. It’s simpler to swipe between desktops. It’s annoying when I use my external monitors.

Multiple desktops/spaces, with my mainstay apps each assigned to one desktop, fullscreened with BetterSnapTool, and helper apps like notes, terminal, calendar & mail assigned to all desktops then just swap between apps/spaces either by pressing the dock icon, by four-finger swipe (very quick if switching between adjacent spaces), or four-finger swipe up to open app expose and switch between apps or spaces. I love this setup, and whenever I'm forced to use Windows, I'm incredibly frustrated by its comparably terrible window & desktop management

cmd+tab does search across spaces though, doesn't it?

For me, it depends whether I’m using a laptop or proper size monitor.

I've always enjoyed the spaces feature. Tried to get into it as my main way of interacting with apps, but it never fully stuck. That might be because I'm often using preview windows and everything is chaos.

I never used it until I started working at a job where I find myself juggling multiple tickets at once on the regular. Now I make a Space for each ticket (browser window with the ticket and branch open, editor opened to the project directory, etc), and when I context-switch my computer context-switches with me. It's been great

I’ll open a second desktop if I need to look up something in a new browser window, but have work open and windows arranged a certain way.

iPadOS 15 handles full screen apps so much better than macOS. I hope Apple eventually ports the iPads full screen multitasking model to the Mac (while also keeping regular windowed multitasking, of course)

If any apple product managers are reading this, the biggest thing holding MacOS back is that it global searches when you search a folder. I know there's a config setting for it, but dammit I want the default to be local file name search and full text search should be an off-by-default option, and search the whole hard drive should be a different also off by default option.

This is the _biggest_ thing holding MacOS back?

Reboot for an upgrade happens by holding a spin lock until it overheats and reboots. This happens every time on multiple computers so I think it's intentional(?) but the crash reports are pretty wild.

No official package manager.

The Macbook cases ground through the user when they're on an insulated surface (there is no ground pin on the Macbook power adapters).

Audio crackles when the machine grounds through the user. Makes speakers hum.

I guess some of these are hardware issues.

They are grounded if you use the "power adapter extension cable" (not shipped with the unit): https://www.apple.com/ca/shop/product/MK122LL/A/power-adapte...

Why don't Apple offer grounded duckheads? For that matter, why haven't any third parties made grounded duckheads? This has been irritating me for the past decade or more.

The ground connection, where available, occurs through the metal stud which the duckhead slides into. Correct me if I'm wrong, but even the UK (Type G) duckhead doesn't connect ground even though the physical ground pin is mandatory.

I know that most DC adapters are unearthed, but my lived experience is that you can often feel electrovibration in the aluminium Macbook chassis when ungrounded and it goes away when the Apple DC adapter is grounded.

It's not just your experience. When using the Apple-supplied charger, the surface of the macbook feels slightly fuzzy, and even delivers minor shocks.

getting zapped by ~50/100v (depending on what voltage your country uses) through the x rated capacitor, at a very low current. I don't use macbooks, but tried very hard to find a usb charger that actually has a ground prong for the same reason, and they seem to straight up not exist.

It's also weird to me, since they have exposed metal and a transformer winding shorting could lead to passing through line voltage to the usb port/your phone chassis. So how does it count as double insulated?

I'm so glad you mentioned this. I thought it was just me!

The UK/Ireland 3 prong duckhead is grounded. I have no idea why third parties haven't produced grounded versions, other than the obvious (no demand and anyone who cares has a solution, use the extension cable).

[1] https://www.amazon.com/Replacement-Adapter-Duckhead-Universa...

It is most certainly not. The ground is done over the round pin that slides into the duckhead. If you check the rail where the pin slides in, it's all plastic.

The extension cable is the only one that's grounded.

They used to, in Australia at least. I can't remember if it came with my iBook G4 or one of the Intels soon afterward, but out of the box I got both a two-prong stub that attaches directly to the brick and a ~1.5m cable that goes to a three-prong plug. I sold the original laptop long ago but kept the old grounded cable all the way up to my current work MBP. Personally the buzzing drives me nuts.

The first time I noticed it I was a bit worried about it all. I had a volt stick from work (a safety device to identify live wiring) and surprisingly it illuminated when I brought it near the metal chassis of my macbook. Some further tests with an oscilloscope showed that it was floating a good couple of hundred volts, but the capacitance was so low that the energy payload was never going to do any harm to a human. I don't care, I still just ground the thing.

The no-longer-standard extension cable is properly grounded, the duckhead (what you called a "stub") has never been. This is the case in all countries including Australia, where I live.

It’s kind of interesting that it’s not a code requirement. I presume that the power charger is double insulated, hence the option for 2 prongs, but the laptops sure aren’t double insulated.

I feel so stupid that I was chasing down audio hum issues for a while and even though I knew it was ground related I didn’t even clue in to use the 3 prong adapter.

This is Emporers new clothes territory. How can a >2k EUR machine ground through the user unless they purchase extra add-ons. I don't know why there's not a class action law suit on this.

It doesn't seem like a big deal to me. I never noticed any issues when using the ungrounded adapter. I think it is pretty conventional for most modern electronics to use a floating ground.

> Reboot for an upgrade happens by holding a spin lock until it overheats and reboots. This happens every time on multiple computers so I think it's intentional(?) but the crash reports are pretty wild.

That's a watchdog kernel panic (maybe). Shouldn't be seeing that unless you have misbehaving NFS mounts or something.

Yes, it's a watchdog kernel panic which takes place after the fans spin up. No NFS mounts here.

I have them happen too (for no particularly discernible reason)

Well, you can always set up a coredump server and report it with Feedback Assistant…

I do this dutifully with each reboot.

I’m not sure if you’re describing the same issue I had, but whenever my MBP (15”, 2018) would restart during an update (and sometimes just a regular restart), I would get the progress bar after entering my password. The fans would then spin up, the machine would get ridiculously hot, and the machine would restart. It was an endless loop.

Usually, I was able to get it to complete whatever it was trying to do and log me in by holding it directly in front of my air conditioning unit (this was as ridiculous as it sounds), but a few weeks ago even that didn’t work. I had to completely wipe the machine and reinstall macOS. It’s been fine so far.

I just had a similar endless loop on update (Catalina to Big Sur) last week. Apple guided me to do a T2 firmware update which bricked the machine. Sent it in for service.

Logic board was replaced "under warranty" (it's a 3 year old machine with no Apple Care!).

> The Macbook cases ground through the user when they're on an insulated surface (there is no ground pin on the Macbook power adapters).

Oooh, I had fun with this one on an airplane. Kept getting shocks to my funny bone.

Woah is that why it feels like my MacBook is humming sometimes when I touch it? Wondered this for years.

Yes! I've been wondering what was up with that since forever! Weird that they say the power adapter doesn't have a ground pin though because the one of my 2019 MBP does in Switzerland.

Not sure how the charger looks in Switzerland, but if it's modular (you can swap the plug), does it have a third connection where it attaches to the brick? The ones in UK have 3 prongs but only 2 connections.

> No official package manager.

That's the app store. It just needs to be extended to deliver a wider range of things like CLIs or system extensions.

What do you want from an ‘official’ package manager?

For one, it would at least solve the issue of MacOS' coreutils being perpetually outdated. Secondly, it would be a nice way for developers to skip the burning dumpster fire otherwise known as the App Store when distributing basic apps, without having to download untrusted third-party software.

As for specific features, I'd really like to see a list of all the different MacOS components so I can remove the things I don't care about (iMessages, Photos, Facetime, etc.) like I can do on all my Linux boxes. It would be nice to have integration with MacOS' various distribution formats too, and while we're asking I'd love to see a declarative approach like NixOS, that would really put MacOS head-and-shoulders above your average Linux distro.

How would a official package manager solve packages being out of date? Apple has a means to deliver those updates already. If they had an interest in doing so, they'd update them. So it stands to reason it would be up to the community to deal with this, as it does now.

A real uninstall capability would be a basic starting point.

You aren’t the person I asked. From your previous comments, it’s obvious that you want MacOS to be more like Linux. I was curious if there are other reasons someone might have.

Annoint brew. It feels like a total hack that you need an open source project which gets meagre funding (I tishinkbthey donate some hardware) is the only way to get a >2k machine to be useful for development.

Not the person above, but I just want it to be official/blessed. Same as with winget vs chocolatey. Same as with netflix vs torrents. I want one and only one main place to look. The other options might be "better" in some aspect, but being standard/official/"the one" is a huge benefit.

Every other OS, be it windows, android, ios, linux, *bsd,... has a package manager included. Mac is the only hold out.

It may sound insignificant, but quality-of-life issues like these feel incredibly frustrating, and build the feeling that your computer is working against you, rather than with you (or at the very least at cross purposes to you). Friction is a big deal. It doesn't feel like your tool when it keeps doing things you don't want it to do.

It was exactly this issue that made me finally dump Gnome.


For those who are wondering what the config setting is:

Finder -> Preferences -> Advanced -> When performing search: Search the current folder

Thank you.

Thank You. This really should be the default settings.

Thank you

Thank you

If this is the biggest thing holding their operating system back, Apple must be doing okay.

Almost everything else I do in an application, so the most I interact with the OS is when I clumsily look around for a file. I've started using fzf (you can install it with brew) and open but I shouldn't have to. QOL would be on par with Windows and Linux if not for this type of issue.

I dunno if this is “the biggest thing” but I will concur that it is really annoying. I almost always want to search for a file name, somewhere in the folder I’m looking at or it’s sub folders. I wish I could change the default to be that.

Finder Preferences → Advanced → When performing search: Search the Current Folder.

oh awesome, thanks! Now if only there was a way to also make it default to searching for filenames instead of text contents.

That feature exists as well. Press ⌃⇧⌘F in the Finder to activate File > “Find by Name…”.

You could even swap the key bindings to make it the default, by going to System Preferences → Keyboard → Shortcuts → App Shortcuts.

I do this to swap the shortcuts Reply and Reply All in Mail.app as well, so that I always reply everyone when pressing ⌘R.

See https://support.apple.com/en-gb/guide/mac-help/mchlp2271/mac

I didn’t know this was a feature. No matter how many modifier keys I press with the File menu open, “Find” never changes to “Find by name”. (Searching the menu options through the Help menu does find the function, though.) Wonder why? (Edit: Never mind, BetterTouchTool was blocking it somehow!)

What any the fact that Spotlight is terrible at finding files and is now just trying to be a bad version of Google?

seriously, why is spotlight still so bad at finding files?

I recently found Go-to-file[0], which is suspiciously obscure, but actually very good. It's a Spotlight-like search bar with fuzzy finding capabilities and it's a godsend after fighting with Spotlight for years.

[0] https://www.soma-zone.com/GoToFile/

Oh you don't want every search to find every python bytecode file on your whole system every time?

the one that does my head in is you can search for a file with spotlight but then the only thing you can do with the result is open it; you can't see what folder it's in or open the folder.

Hit command-return to open the folder the file is in.

This is a macOS pattern, by the way - other (good) search apps, like Alfred, maintain this behavior when searching for files. Very useful to remember

you can't see what folder it's in

Hold down Command (or maybe Option), and it shows you the full file path in the bottom of the preview pane.

and unfortunately cuts the path off when it is too long, as happens far too often for me

Press tab to bring up the preview pane in spotlight, then holding CMD brings up the folder it's in near the bottom. CMD+double click opens it in it's enclosing folder.

In finder,

View > Show Status Bar

You can click on any of the folders to go there.

In spotlight, cmd click on the file to show it in the finder.

I also prefer search by folder as default and always have to look for that Finder setting to flip. We already have Command–Space bar for quick access to global search.

type name:nameoffileIwant or just start typing and press down arrow then enter to select and search the Name matches:blah blah option that appears usually straight away.

Meh. It’s only slightly annoying. It global searches by default but all you have to do is click your folder name at the top of the search

On my previous macbook it was a showstopper because it would lock the machine up returning thousands of irrelevant files.

it's really confusing because in Mail the default is the opposite... oh well, first world problems! (plus I'm not a Mac user)

Yeh? Just opened a folder in Finder and clicked search in the window - it defaulted to searching that folder.

I personally prefer the global search, I think the consistent behavior is good.

but it's not consistent with Mail for example :/

Are you sure it's not .DS_Store?

I've .gitignore'd it and never looked back.

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