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I also got an M1 Max. The chip is amazing. Compile times are a lot faster than on the 6 core Intel Mac mini I had before.

But at this point it's really held back by Apple's software.

Anything related to Apple ID and iCloud regularly hangs 30-60 seconds, showing a spinner with no progress indicator whatsoever.

Apps randomly take 20 seconds to launch, maybe because of [1]?

The Open/Save dialog taking 30 seconds to show.

ControlCenter using 8GB of RAM to show a few sliders (I hope they fix that bug soon).

The scanning feature in Preview is so unreliable that I started using my Windows machine for scanning something on my HP all-in-one.

Some of those problems may be issues with 3rd party software (drivers), and others are just things that slipped through QA, and will hopefully be fixed in an update.

But some of the issues are structural issues, where Apple has made questionable decisions that means issues can never be fixed.

Eg. designing a security architecture that requires synchronously checking a binary signature during app startup with a web service is bound to cause performance issues.

Or the design of the XPC system, which uses asynchronous message passing between services that are implicitly launched on demand sounds nice in theory, but it has been the source of so many bugs, causing temporary or permanent app hangs that are impossible to debug. The system was introduced in macOS 10.7 (!) and it still doesn't work reliably! At this point I've lost hope it will ever work properly.

[1]: https://sigpipe.macromates.com/2020/macos-catalina-slow-by-d...




You're not alone. my m1 mac mini is better, but i still see random beach balls, though the duration is less than on the intel mbp.

For anyone saying "I never see this" or "something's wrong with your system" - I've seen these sorts of problems, in some capacity or another, over ... 12 years, multiple macbooks and imacs, multiple OS versions, multiple internet providers, from various parts of the world. I think the folks saying "never affects me" simply do not notice this stuff. I don't know how/why you can't notice stuff like this, but I've been present where I've noticed people getting beach balls, I've pointed it out, and was told "oh, didn't see that". Not saying every single person is missing every single instance 100%, but I've no doubt this interrupts peoples' flow different from mine.

If I've paid $4k for a laptop and click a button, I don't expect to wait for... 1-2 seconds, then see a beach ball, then wait.... then wait some more... before a button click is recognized. It's better today than last year, and the year before, but... wtf... it's still there.


Hardware used to get faster more quickly than software got slower, so you could make forward progress by upgrading hardware. Then it seemed about the same, so following a hardware upgrade things would be about as fast as they had been when my previous hardware was new several years prior.

Now we seem to be at a point where the software is getting slower more quickly than the hardware is getting faster, so that following a hardware upgrade everything is a bit slower than it was following the prior upgrade.

Software sucks, and hardware is amazing.


Frequent random beachballs made me switch from FF to Chrome ~10 years ago. Somewhat-less-frequent random beachballs made me switch to Safari.

Not that I never see them, but that cut them to under 5% the rate I'd been seeing them. Xcode still does it pretty reliably, but luckily I don't work in that much. Now if I see them it's usually because WhatsApp or Slack have gone insane, which they do every few weeks. Or some web app. Point is, there's usually one thing going nuts that causes it, it's not just a constant feature of my desktop even under light-ish load.

Some heavier stuff, like Android Studio with the Emulator running, might still beachball quite a bit. Dunno, been out of Android development for quite a while. I'm sure there are some workflows that still have the problem. The browser thing kept them from being a common feature of my personal experience, though.


"If I've paid $4k for a laptop and click a button, I don't expect to wait for... 1-2 seconds, then see a beach ball,"

Is this even possible? I don't think a 50k computer can guarantee no wait on software. How would any hardware prevent excessive software utilization?


Apple's entire USP is vertical integration. The fact that Linux is significantly more responsive than Mac on the same hardware is an embarrassment to Apple.


The beachballing in Contacts has been driving me crazy for almost two years now. I have 7,413 cards in Contacts and even went so far as to completely delete my address book and reimport it from VCF. There is very clearly some synchronous dependency on iCloud. Turning Wi-Fi off is the only way I can use Contacts without it beachballing.


Are you running any 3rd party kernel extensions, if so which ones? (E.g. littlesnitch, FUSE, etc....).

I've got an M1 and M1 Pro and I've never seen anything like this, macOS in general has some long standing software bugs around the performance of apps like Music and Preview that I've seen hit on the M1 processor but they seem to make less of an impact to the usability compared to the Intel processors.


I'm not running any kernel extensions on this Mac, the first iCloud related hang happened during the setup process before I installed anything at all.


I avoid iCloud problems by not using iCloud. Seems to be a lot more trouble than it’s worth!


Maybe you have DNS issues? It's always DNS, so they say.

XPC is not asynchronous; that's up to the individual caller. The synchronous methods are easier to debug for sure.


> XPC is not asynchronous

It's been some time since I dug into the internals of XPC, but my assumption was that the underlying protocol is asynchronous, and if you do sync calls the wrappers just do the waiting for you.

The problem is that it has a tendency to get stuck in some rare cases, where services just don't reply for some reason. Then the sync calls are the worst -- the UI of the app is completely frozen and there's nothing you can do except restart the app. If the problem is with an Apple service (like Apple ID) then the only way to fix it is to restart the Mac and hope it doesn't happen again.


XPC sync is not in fact async underneath in recent macOS versions. It’s a severe performance pessimization to use async in many cases, because sync propagates thread priority and async often can’t.

You don’t seem to have a full grip on the reasons for the intermittent hangs you’re experiencing. Can I suggest two things?

1 Grab a sysdiagnose during one of the hangs and file a feedback report with Apple

2 Use the `sample` command line tool to see what’s actually hanging a particular process for yourself


Yeah, I've recently done exactly this for one of the hangs. Unfortunately Apple was extremely unhelpful, it took a few back-and-forths with DTS to get a response from someone who even bothered to actually read my bug report. (I just got a few generic replies "please submit an Xcode project" first). But even then they just kept asking me for a way to reproduce the issue, which I couldn't, since it happened on a customers machine, and disappeared after a restart. Even though the issue was reported multiple times over a couple of months by various customers, it took me a lot of time to actually get a usable sample from a customer. But apparently even a sample of the process showing exactly where Apple's frameworks are hanging isn't enough for them to start investigating.

I try to report all of the issues I see to Apple, but at some point there's nothing I can do except complain that Apple's frameworks are buggy.

The biggest problem with these bugs is that customers always seem to think it's an app bug, and there's nothing the app developer can do except hope that Apple fixes the issue. One early sandbox bug took Apple about 3 years to fix. To be honest I don't even know if they fixed it, it was never mentioned in a changelist, it's just that I stopped getting reports of the issue at some point.


> 2 Use the `sample` command line tool to see what’s actually hanging a particular process for yourself

Don't use "sample" if the issue could be multi-process or in the kernel, use "spindump".


> XPC sync is not in fact async underneath

That's interesting! I thought XPC was a wrapper around async mach messages. Do you have any pointers where I can learn more about this?


When you get to kernel land it is "something async plus a wait"; there's no other way for it to be when the remote task is on a different core.

But it's a special wait that the scheduler and other systems know how to benefit from using vouchers/turnstiles/etc. If you look at spindump output you should see it.


My M1 Pro has none of these problems. I would try a fresh install.


Yes, this is the classic solution to problems with Mac (and Windows): reformat and start over from scratch.


If software is the issue, can't you run Linux on it?


I'm a Mac app developer, I'm stuck with Xcode.

But it's not all or nothing. For example I've started using Syncthing instead of iCloud Drive for some use cases and that works surprisingly well (Syncthing isn't without flaws either, but at least it shows exactly what it's doing making it a lot easier to debug).


AFAIR if you have Mac, you are legally allowed to run MacOS in VM on that computer.


Running macOS in a VM is okay for testing purposes, but in my experience it's not a great experience for productive work. There are a lot of graphics glitches because macOS assumes that you have hardware graphics acceleration, but no VM that I know supports that for macOS guests.


I'm not sure why a VM was supposed to help your situation but in regards to GPU in a VM Parallels can provide paravirtualized GPU to enable acceleration for macOS (metal), Windows (DX 9/10/11), and Linux (Virgil) guests.


It doesn't help at all on notebooks which of course are the subject of this discussion, or even nearly any Apple hardware at all at this point. But FWIW on systems that can support multiple GPUs using PCIe passthrough to a macOS Guest VM will make it perform very well. Of course legally that means only the now highly mediocre multi-year old price-unchanged Mac Pro. But running a hackintosh virtualized can work quite nicely. While very unlikely, perhaps this will become an officially possible option again someday if Apple ever does another expandable system.


Does anyone really think that running Linux on custom Apple hardware is actually going to make things _better_?


I have an M1 Air and can’t wait to install Linux on it. Backed marcan’s efforts and counting days until I go back to Linux again.


Same here. My M1 Air is good, and I use it for light purposes, but once Asahi becomes viable, OMG.


I don't know how it holds with the current M1s but I was much happier with Linux than macOS under my 2014 MBP, everything was incredibly much snappier.


It certainly rescued my a1502 from the trash bin.


The issue is that Linux isn’t running well enough on the apple silicon to be a viable option (yet).


Was playing around with it just this weekend. It's... not there yet. It will be, but it's a work in progress.

You could run it today if you wanted to, but there are a bunch of things that are missing.


Meh, every OS has its problems. The issues I have had with Linux have been consistently more annoying than those I have had with MacOS. I'm sure it's the opposite for some people.


>The Open/Save dialog taking 30 seconds to show.

This is _infuriating_ as a user. There is no possible good reason for this.


I wonder if he has nfs shares or if he’s running a pihole or similar. Apple may be expecting certain things in his configuration that are timing out.

I’ve never experienced any of these issues (multiple macs in various profiles).


I use multiple Macs, plus several iOS devices, behind a pihole, with iCloud. Never seen this. IIRC I do just use the default block lists, or something pretty close, though.


I'm on a slower setup and don't encounter this at all. You may want to get Apple to replace your laptop.


Interesting. For what it's worth, I've never had any of these issues on my Intel-based MacBooks (I've been using them since 2007).


That sounds terrible, but none of that is happening on mine.

The only slowness I’ve noticed has been related to the beta private relay


Chiming in to say I've also got an M1 Max. I was running High Sierra until I got my M1 with Monterey. Holy heck! If you've been updating gradually, maybe you didn't notice. But woweee stability is a train-wreck now.

Issues I've reported via Feedback Assistant:

1. Issue waking external displays. Typically 10+ seconds to wake my HDMI display, Thunderbolt is faster, but still a bit slow.

Slow wake of external displays might sound like a minor issue, and it is. What's not a minor issue is having all my windows slammed on top of each other on the Macbook's built-in display every time I wake from sleep.

2. No scaling for external non-4K monitors. I've got a 1440p 144Hz display, my options are tiny text, pixelated large text (decreased resolution) or install a third-party work around (https://github.com/waydabber/BetterDummy). The third-party work around breaks screen recording. Seems there's another bug in macOS where you can't use display mirroring and record screen at once - it crashes the screen capture tool.

3. Unresponsive Finder. Sometimes I can't drag and drop files. The rest of the UI works, but you cannot click and drag. No idea why.

4. Black screen (with cursor only) after wake from sleep. Think this is somehow related to clamshell mode, as I believe it enabled briefly when I plugged external displays in before opening the lid. Had to hard reset.

5. Audio popping. System wide. Interestingly there's no category for reporting sound issues in Feedback Assistant. Pretty crazy when you think about modern Apple's origins. Seems this is a pretty wide-spread issue. Theories I've seen have been related to Rosetta. However, I can confirm that arm64 binaries (e.g. Firefox) do occasionally lead to popping, but it may be that Intel binaries are running at the same time. It comes and goes. It's almost certainly a driver issue, doesn't sound like bad speakers, sounds like corrupt buffers.

Issues I haven't reported:

1. Text boxes not being responsive. As in, you can't click in them. I don't know if this is somehow related to the Finder issue. It may well be app specific, hence why I haven't reported it. However, I've observed it in Firefox and Jetbrains products.

2. Garbled rendering, particularly around fonts. Again, might be app specific. Main culprit is Slack. Restarting the app doesn't fix it, rebooting does though.

There's probably more that I'm forgetting. Honestly, this is a bit depressing. The M1 is a beast. If I worked on Apple's hardware team I'd be pretty peeved, because they've achieved something amazing and cruddy software is compromising the entire experience.


>Anything related to Apple ID and iCloud regularly hangs 30-60 seconds, showing a spinner with no progress indicator whatsoever.

On Safari that happens when you have lots of Bookmarks, History, Open Tabs etc.


I have an M1 MacBook Air and the Open/Save dialog opens in less than a second. I think your system has a defect.


My mother-in-laws m1 macbook air exhibits the same issue, and she hasn't installed anything but apple's own software on it.

Not every time, mind you. Only about once in 50 times. Sometimes she goes for weeks without it. Sometimes it happens several times in a day.

My 2016 imac has some weird issues as well, like not supporting some of my keyboards when I use a nonstandard layout file (swedish dvorak)- even though they work just fine with apples own keyboards.

Apple has some issues with quality control. Things have gotten steadily worse since 10.5, even though I do enjoy the new features.

Not just weird things like the one above, but basic things like standard shortcuts not working when you have Swedish layout. Now I cant remember which one it was, but it was something that should do a common thing, but instead brought up the "search in the help files" instead.

I have been bitten by it every time I use a new mac or do a fresh install.


These issues are intermittent and only happen sometimes. My system is not broken, it's a design defect/tradeoff in macOS sandbox. I've seen it on at least 5 different Macs on a lot of different versions of macOS. It's been an issue ever since they use a separate process to show the dialog.


I don't know if your system has a defect, but I've used many, many Macs over fifteen years on all released versions of macOS, and I've never once encountered the issues you're raising.


I think it's probably something between Mojave and Big Sur based on my recent upgrades. Sandbox is as good of an explanation as any.


It sounds like you may have a undiagnosed local networking issue. I’ve been using Macs since 1991 and the last time I had the sort of issue you’re talking about was classic macOS, where AppleTalk would literally hang the entire OS when it went into the weeds.


Network issues, diagnosed or not, should not affect the performance of local UI operations. "Don't perform I/O on the UI thread" has been a maxim for decades.


This is intermittent and has been an issue since Catalina (on x86) and occurs on my (fresh install, no migration, nothing weird) M1 mini on occasion.




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