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OS X 10.10 Yosemite: The Ars Technica Review (arstechnica.com)
405 points by Braasch on Oct 16, 2014 | hide | past | favorite | 225 comments

None of these reiews answer the one question I always want answered; will this cause my MBP to crash more often than 10.8.5? I have all the features I need, I want fewer GPU panics.

I know these reviewers cannot answer this question, I just want to point out that it's the only relevant question for me. Given Apple's track record, this release will most likely cause my MBP to crash more often, but I want data on that. I want a review to actually explore this angle as opposed to simply talking about features that honestly mean nothing to me.

Yes, I've never had OS X crash as often as Mavericks. And some of the crashes are completely repeatable.

For example, open a lot of windows (20 terminal windows, 5-6 projects in Sublime, a bunch of browser windows used to test apps), turn on mission control and it just crashes every single time. I haven't done more test to figure the exact number of windows until it crashes but I know that it does for my workflow.

Admittedly, I tend to have more windows opened than most people, but then again that's what I have 16GB for.

I've also noticed that while expose was always smooth, mission control just doesn't work for me. If it doesn't crash it's dog slow, especially if it switches from integrated GPU to dedicated GPU just when I open it.

There are and have been real GPU HW bugs that this could be triggering. I just had my main logic board replaced twice due to these with a similar trigger.

Have you tested your RAM? I had a similar situation where I had upgraded my memory and everything worked fine until I went to play Quake3. Also running Linux was miserable while Windows seemed to work ok. I finally figured out it was a bad stick of RAM and it save a lot of frustration.

If it's that reproducible, it would probably be good to file a bug report with Apple.

20 terminal windows? Is there any reason you are not using screen/tmux?

Presumably because that doesn't cause the crash. It's a crash reproduction, not a workflow recommendation.

Eh, why bother when iTerm2 gives me the same splitting and tab features :)

I used to have the same question, but having a remote tmux session that persists forever has turned out to be awesome.

A remote session doesn't help when you're trying to run commands on your local system.

I helps me, because I always fat-finger Command-W close tab instead of Alt-W copy region to selection in Emacs, and it closes my tab. I can get it back when I run Emacs under screen!

iTerm2's Tmux integration (native tabs and panes backed by a tmux session) lets you have your cake and eat it too it's my standard dev flow for remote or local work. Just add -CC when firing up tmux within iTerm2.

Doubt you're going to see much about crashing since I presume that most MBP owners, like myself, never experience crashes.

Mine crashes a lot. Usually after I send it to sleep when I go home. Next time when I wake it up, it starts up from crashed state. It might have something to do with some app I installed but I didn't spend time to figure that out yet.

Don't blame the app, blame the OS, the OS is suppose to insulate the app, it's not MSDOS, unless of course it runs as root then all bets are off.

VMWare installs kernel extentions. I'm pretty sure you can blame an app that deliberately messes with the OS internals.

I went through a few of these. At least once the GPU burned up when it failed to go to sleep after disconnecting from my thunderbolt display and putting in my laptop bag for 18h.

I think I went through two MBPr 15" machines before I got one that didn't have the problem. I still think it's possible some software I had was triggering it initially, but once it happened a few times, even a clean install with nothing on it could trigger it. Was very frustrating.

VMWare 6 seems to be the cause of some of mine. I resolved it by making sure it's suspended prior to system sleep.

I wonder if the most recent VMWare version would help.

Interesting you got yours to work (VMWare 6) - mine's never worked since I upgraded to 6. $50 upgrade down the drain, no workable support, no one can reproduce it or track down an issue from my logs. :(

It helped a little but still crashes for me. I have the same issues with VMWare latest version.

Does suspending the VM help you?

Sorry to reply to my own message, but I just found this [1] where the recommendation is:

"I managed to fix this by going to the Virtual Machine Settings, clicking Advanced, and then checking the "Pass power status to VM" checkbox."

Haven't tested extensively, but I haven't had a crash in the past day.

[1] https://communities.vmware.com/thread/467919

Thanks! I will try this and let you know.

I have to quit VMWare Fusion or run the risk of spontaneous reboots while it's asleep.

It does. No crashes if VM is not running.

I've had this problem with Mavericks on a 2010 MBP. I "fixed" it by switching the hibernation mode sleep (hibernatemode 0), suspend-to-disk and suspend-to-ram would kernel panic every time.

I already mentioned it elsewhere, but I wonder if both parent and gp have a case of bad RAM.

I had the exact same problem on an iMac. I've noticed, that it happened, when I've left my Wacom Cintiq "on" overnight, while designating it as a second monitor.

I have that on one of my machines but not the other. This is the only situation I remember either of them crashing in, though.

You're not alone in this exact behavior.

Lucky you. I've owned two, they both crashed, far more often than a top-tier OS should. It usually happened when playing video, and it was usually the GPU. That said, my Air has not crashed once since I purchased it last December.

Varies heavily on generation. Some are inherently faulty. E.g. lots of late 2008 mbp had got bad gpus, I had motherboard replaced for mine for free.

> since I presume that most MBP owners, like myself, never experience crashes.

Stop presuming, get facts. OSX Mavericks is known for its crashing problems.

Example: http://venturebeat.com/2013/10/25/apples-new-os-x-mavericks-...

I have an early 2011 15" MBP with an SSD and a regular hard drive in the optical bay with maxed out RAM. I have had maybe one crash in the past year.

The only issue I have is with the trackpad going out from time to time but a quick reboot fixes the problem.

I have been using the Yosemite beta and it has been pretty horrible. Constant visual glitches in Photoshop CS6, crashes with display glitches in Sublime Text and really long pauses anytime I try to save a simple document for the first time. e.g., save a new 100KB JPG in Photoshop? 1 min or more. Save a 100MB+ PSD that's already been saved? Instant.

Would've happily avoided the beta but the only way to screen record directly from an iOS device and the Apple-recommended way to create preview videos for the app store involved Yosemite and iOS8.

I've been using Yosemite since the early betas and it's been great for me. I don't use Photoshop, and I can certainly believe that Adobe might be doing nasty things, but all the apps I do use have been fine.

> really long pauses anytime I try to save a simple document for the first time

Is that actually what's happening, or is it a really long pause when trying to show the open/save dialog? I have a couple of NAS volumes mounted, and if I run an app with a Recent Documents entry that lives on one of the volumes, and the NAS is asleep, then the app will often pause when trying to populate the Recent Documents list. This normally happens during open/save. Previous versions of OS X did it too, though I feel like Yosemite might trigger it a bit more often for some reason.

I've seen this behaviour, too. Could it be worse in Yosemite if you have iCloud Drive enabled? Of course, Apple ought to listen to their own advice of "never do I/O on the main thread" but then they don't bother with sandboxing their own App Store apps, either.

I haven't tried iCloud Drive, though that should not be related as, assuming it works anything like iDisk did, it would keep the drive local and sync changes back and forth, rather than doing direct network loading/saving.

As for I/O, last time I checked, the Recent Documents list is actually being loaded on a background thread, but the main thread is where the UI for it has to be populated. Normally the list would be loaded before the main thread goes to access it, but when the load is blocked by e.g. my NAS waking up, the main thread ends up waiting on a semaphore.

It is rather unfortunate, since nothing I'm doing actually needs to see the recent documents list. And if you're going to say that the main thread should be able to simply indicate that it's still loading, and refresh the list when the load finishes, then I completely agree. But I would not be surprised to find that the relevant code here is many years old, possibly written in C, with no maintainers, and not having been touched in those many years, so there's probably little chance of it being fixed :/

No, really long time to save after actually hitting the Save button. Something to do with creating a new file maybe?

On Friday when I went to reboot, after coming back up it spun overnight without finishing the boot. That started a process which took three days to get Internet Recovery working, restore from Time Machine and then upgrade to Yosemite and finally ditch that awful beta. Absolute waste of time and when I could least afford it.

The long saving times and visual glitches have disappeared with the full Yosemite by the way. Phew!

Photoshop CS6? Well that's not surprising. Adobe abandoned that and it isn't even supported on 10.9. Why are you surprised that there are problems on 10.10? You can hardly blame Yosemite for that.

n=1 of course, but I've been using the beta on a 2013 Macbook Pro for a couple months now with no problems besides Safari crashing more often than usual. No issues with Photoshop and performance generally seems better than Mavericks.

Same here, on a 2012 Air. Performance is great but I've noticed a couple Safari crashes/freezes. Finder crashed once I think. Also had trouble with Dark Mode+Reduce Transparency, but those are just beta issues and since GM1 the only issue has been the weird black corners of the volume popup.

I wish they would support even older hardware, my 2008 mac mini is just crying for an update.

10 year backward compatibility crippled MS. I'm not sure where the line is, but 6 years seems pretty old too.

iOS8 has made my 4S nearly unusable. Wish I had waited to install it.

At least iOS 8 has fixed a few critical security issues (which is doubly important if you use 2FA anywhere, or iCloud Keychain Sync). 10.9 will still receive a few years worth of security fixes.

I use gfxCardStatus ( https://gfx.io/ ) to avoid the GPU panics. I have to set my MBP to use the integrated Intel graphics and avoid using my nVidia discrete GPU. Yes, it would be nice if my OS didn't cause GPU panics (even if it's actually a bug with the GPU).

The only way I can keep my MBP retina happy when using it with an external Thunderbolt display is:

1) before plugging into display, open lid and wait for login screen to appear

2) before unplugging display, open lid and wait for laptop screen to turn on (normally I keep my laptop closed when connected to the display)

If I deviate from this the laptop crashes or goes into some odd state.

I do EXACTLY this to avoid my laptop acting weird when I take it home/bring it to work.

I've had this same problem on more than one Macbook at work.

I was experiencing the GPU panics as well and it turned out to be a hardware issue. Did it only happen when you were using the NVidia GPU and not when using the on-board?

I have this issue (MBP early 2011).

Is it risky to upgrade to Yosemite? When starting up cold, I sometimes have to force-shutdown the computer 30+ times before it will get past the Apple logo screen without going grey or black. I'm not sure if such a major software update is a good idea given the circumstances.

This is so common on the early 2011 MBP (I have one too, and experienced it - Apple replaced my logic board with their $300 flat-fee repair depot option) people have made a website for it:



Lawyers Researching Possible Class Action Lawsuit Over 2011 MacBook Pro Graphics Issues


I'm saddened that Apple has forced the hand of their customers to push for this lawsuit.

Apple should have issued a recall and replacement program for this early 2011 MacBook Pro GPU defect a long while ago and now it's come to this.

I don't think Steve Jobs would call the impending lawsuit bad luck, he'd call it bad karma.

Glad I'm not the only one. It's not nearly as bad as my 2007 on 10.6.8 though.

I had this problem, went to the genius bar and was quickly offered to replace the defective component for free in under a week, if I remember correctly.

It's still much too long to go without a computer, but it's worth it when you realise you've been coding for three hours and haven't lost a single line of code to a crash.

That being said, before I got the part replaced, upgrading to... was it snow leopard? the latest version of OS X, anyway, increased the frequency of the issue by rather a lot. So, possibly, hold off on your update?

Thanks for the anecdotal evidence. Were you covered by Apple Care or just got lucky?

A little bit of both: my warrantee had long expired, but there was an extension for this very specific issue, since I believe it affects 100% of macbook pros from that series.

I've looked into this a bit more and it looks like my comment is entirely unhelpful: mine is a mid-2010 MBP, so while our issues look similar, they probably are not. Sorry about that, I should have checked before.

I think I have the exact same problem with my 2010 MBP. How long ago did you get it replaced?

If it's indeed the same issue, I think you're out of luck, at least for the free part. Here's the Apple ticket about it: http://support.apple.com/kb/TS4088

This explicitly states that your warrantee for this very specific issue is extended to 3 years after date of purchase. I doubt you purchased a 2010 MBP in 2012...

Still, if this looks like what you're experiencing, get a genius bar appointment. It's free, and they have an automated diagnostic system that detects this specific issue (and others). If it's the same one, you might be able to talk yourself into a free replacement.

Bummer. Thanks for following up, though.

I had a GPU hardware problem too. When in I upgraded a few years ago to a beta at wwdc, it became quite unstable. Finally got Apple to replace the motherboard. Not sure why an upgrade would cause the problem, though.

Had this happen shortly after AppleCare lapsed, went with the $300 depot repair to swap out the motherboard. Sucks, but it fixed it (the GPU was dying in my case, I believe).

I have a mid-2012 rMBP. I had terrible crashing problems - twice a day. Worse than any PC I ever had.

I had to take it in. And pay $550. Even though it's clearly a common problem, if not a design problem, something similar. Go check out the big apple support log on the problem.

I lost two weeks of productivity, because they failed to fix it the first time (it got worse).

If you have GPU panics, and you don't get your hardware fixed, you get what you deserve. Sorry for that. It's hard to get to a repair center or genius place? Sorry for that too.

Nothing to do with 10.10.

I've installed 10.10. It's running nicely.

What should you expect? Look through Ars' list. The changes are updates to the on-board apps - none of which I use (message center? no. Mail? no. etc). There are additional internal APIs for IOS tooling - good for the long term, nothing for now.

Mavericks was an important release. It treats multiple screens in a sensible way - finally addressing a weakness inherent in macs since '85. There has always been the Special Screen with real estate taken by the menu bar, no matter how many screens you have, you drag the cursor back to that screen over and over.

10.10 is not Mavericks.

In 10.10, you'll see some newer, cleaner fonts and icons, that's it.

Pay $550? Why? Apple will do any repair for like $399 (or at least they used to) so long as you didn't mind it being sent out. I guess maybe that answers my question if you needed it back immediately. :)

For future reference, if they botched it the first time, you should call Apple corporate and yell. They messed something up in a repair for my work laptop once and it took one phone call to get a new one immediately. I had to make it clear that it was their fault and I had to have it for work and school, but they were super accommodating (and the new one worked like a charm).

I was crashing multiple times a day with GPU stacks in the crash log while viewing or editing video. It turned out to be memory with incompatible speed -- swapped out, no crashes since.

you probably put bad memory in it. That's the usual reason. You need to read the specs carefully when buying cheap RAM

Every time I am intrigued by Apple's UI design I get taken back to reality by threads like these. Thank you.

FYI, there are OS distributions that do not crash. My sound card sometimes doesn't survive a hibernation but that's a known hardware fault. Not that a OS level crash would lead to any data loss.

> FYI, there are OS distributions that do not crash.

Yes, I have heard that LepriconSoft's UnicornOS runs quite well on the Hypothetica-9000 processor but everything else has the same real-world problems with faulty hardware and drivers.

You might have a stable setup but that's also true of well over 99% of Mac users – they just also don't tend to go on forums and say “Yeap, everything's still fine here!”.

I'd say LepriconSoft's UnicornOS is actually Windows 8.1, as strange/infuriating as that's going to sound to many HN readers.

I used Xubuntu or Fedora (dev), Windows 7 (Office), and OS X (XCode) for hours every day for years. I had two self-built machines running Linux, a laptop and a self-built machine running Win 7, and OS X running on a Mac Mini and later a MBA.

Since then, I've also had another desktop and a laptop running Win 7 and Win 8 (though enough coworkers use GDocs now that I've stopped using Windows at all).

Both Linux distros and all OS X versions (from Snow Leopard to Mavericks) have crashed countless times on me. How much they crashed has varied a lot between setups.

Windows hasn't crashed for me (or any of my friends or relatives for whom I'm their IT guy) since Vista came out. It's also never crashed on my old Mac Mini, which is my HTPC setup now.

Whatever you think about the finished products or companies behind them, it's really just a matter of testing and incentives. Windows 8 was tested for 1.2 billion hours before it was released, for example. Microsoft can do things slowly, but when they release something, it has to be rock-solid for their enterprise customers.

OS X, for Apple, isn't a moneymaker and its stability/security obviously isn't much of a priority. They didn't even give it a significant design refresh in years. That's how little they care about it.

The latest version of Ubuntu's desktop edition will ship with at least one head-slapping, show-stopping bug, even though it has a company backing it.

Windows 7+ does seem to be quite stable – Microsoft has obviously put in time improving the OS to be more resilient and, more importantly, pressuring vendors to write better drivers.

That said, in my experience that means it's caught up with OS X. I've had maybe one kernel panic in years and that was caused by a VMware driver bug. This has been true for most people I know.

The only people I know who have problems are either the ones who install a ton of low-level extensions (Windows or Mac) or a couple of Linux laptop users faced with the option of either having really slow GL performance or using indifferently maintained binary blob drivers.

I was actually talking about LepriconSoft's Slackware Linux :)

But your argument holds, stable, well tested, non-fancy software is the way to go regarding stability.

Yes my OS might be boring and my Desktop UI looks like 1999 but I can say in good faith that my system never crashed on me.

Serious Question: I know that since Vista, Windows can handle graphics driver and sound card driver crashes by restarting the driver.[1] That often leads to the program to crash too, if its using 3d graphics for example, but it does not require a restart of the whole system. Does Mac OS have something similar too?

[1] http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/images/device/wddm_timeout.gif

I don't believe so but since neither has crashed for me in years I haven't looked into it. You definitely can restart Bluetooth, which I've needed to do a handful of times when playing audio.

I'm from the Unix world. What is a "driver crash" ?

FWIW, I have rarely if ever seen OS X crash. I'm unsure what that would even look like. Are we talking about kernel panics? A single built-in app crashing while you using it? Every app suddenly closing?

So a kernel panic. Do people seriously see those often? I could count on one hand the number of times Mavericks panicked.

Usually, when I've seen a kernel panic in the past 5-10 years it's due to poor third-party hardware or drivers. I know someone who has an external sound mixer and plugging/unplugging the USB gives a 50/50 chance of a kernel panic.

Around two months ago, I switched from running 10.8.5 on my main machine to running the 10.10 betas full time and I've not had a single panic. (Late 2012 iMac 27"). However, If I were you I'd still wait for 10.10.1 though, just to be on the safe side.

I installed it on my iMac 27" from 2009. It does not boot now and goes into a panic. I haven't had much time to mess with it but there are no other partitions and it just does not load.

Its also weird because I have no media now. I have the discs it came with somewhere but that will also be Lion 10.7? Or possibly Snow Leopard. The re-install is going to be a bitch for me. UGH!

If you have a friend with a Mac they ought to be able to make you a bootable USB stick which you can use to install the OS - there are instructions online for Mavericks & I's guess that you can do the same thing with Yosemite.

You should be getting zero crashes before your upgrade. How many crashes are you seeing? What are you doing near the crash?

I started experiencing GPU panics on rMBP in the past week as well, I guess NVidia or related circuits have some issues. I switched it off using gfxcardstatus and now it's stable running on Intel HD only. Try to do the same - if it stops crashing, your discrete GPU might be damaged.

I had the same issue with my mid-2010 MBP. They actually had a recall, but I was late to it! I'm somewhat disappointed that this issue still persists in some later models. gfxcardstatus helped a little in my situation, but the problem got so bad that I literally could not used the computer. $3K down the drain :(

Me too. I suspect Chrome to be involved, if only because they had this problem back in 2012 as well, around the time the rMBP came out.

I noticed Chrome crashing whenever I was in the Chrome store too many time. The 'graphics error happened' message after the crash was another clue. So I turned off native graphics acceleration in Chrome's setting and it's not crashed since then.

Yeah, I hate posting "I think it's such and such" without looking at logs, but realistically, very few apps are trying to be their own OS.

MBP retina 1st generation. Latest GM is better than 10.9 (don't really remember 10.8 crashes though) regarding crashes. Initial betas were bad (2-3 reboots a day) now latest GM seed seems quite stable. Haven't rebooted in days (except to update the OS)

It's humiliating to admit, but my rMBP crashes so much more often than cheapest Dell desktop with Windows 7 at work. Actually I doubt that it ever crashed.

Some of the issues were resolved by removing Soundflower as it was conflicting with VLC. But they still do happen.

Anybody know where to find release dates for driver updates and things like that?

How often does your MBP crash?

I'm not the OP, but my (new) MBP crashes twice a month when surfing or coding (Sublime, Typescript, Node).

It crashes daily if I use Parallels and regularly when using Spotify.

That's not normal at all. Try and run a hardware diagnostic test, or try and see if you can find the logs in Console.app

That's highly unusual. You should ask yourself what peripherals/kernel extensions/weird software you have installed that maybe contributing to this. And I would definitely bring it in to Apple for service if the answer is "none."

I would take it back.

My previous MBP went ~2 years of very heavy use without a single crash, and my 2012 MBA has only crashed once, right after I installed google hangout stuff.

For what it's worth, I've seen Sublime mentioned in relation to crashes a couple times now.

That does not excuse it. A text editor should not take down an OS.

That's just because people here are using it 8 hours a day.

anything show up in

kextstat | grep -iv apple

These days I use VMWare, but I've got co-workers with Parallels installed and all day everyday they have random kernel panics and crashes. Uninstall Parallels and most likely all of that stuff will go away...

I had an issue similar to this that was related to a hardware problem with the GPU. I took it into the apple store and they ended up replacing the logic board.

I don't ever remember the last time my MB Air crashed. I run Mavericks (10.9.5) + Windows 7 (parallels)

edit: Mid 2012 Air, 2GHz i7, 8GB ram

It's ridiculous how many people report crashes in this thread; my friends have issues with every update of OSX, because every time MATLAB stops working. At this point I wonder how any developer can consider OSX a serious platform for anything else than XCode.

u r so hi tech

What's missing here for me is some kind of performance evaluation. If I upgrade my 2011 MBA from Mavericks to Yosemite, should I expect any change in performance, for better or worse? Did the power management change in any significant way?

Apple's mobile OSs have a way of obsoleting older hardware. I'm curious to know if their desktop OSs are trending that way as well, or if they're making performance gains instead.

I've had serious performance issues with Yosemite. For one, dragging around windows became extremely janky; this appears to be caused by the transparency (and the limitations of my first-generation Retina MBP), as the option to disable it fixes the jank. For another, opening a new tab in Safari started lagging about a full second before I could start typing in the address bar, which is a ridiculous amount of time compared to the previous version or competition. I was able to fix this by disabling Top Sites, but while I don't actually use Top Sites much, I never had to disable it before, and most users won't know to do that, making it a serious regression. (Chrome actually takes quite a while to load its equivalent - I don't know whether it's for the same reason or not - but it does it asynchronously, so I can start typing in the address bar almost immediately.)

On top of that, there are serious performance issues with the built-in Japanese IME, although I'm not completely sure how much of this is new, and I experienced a bug where WindowServer would randomly start hogging CPU, which may or may not be related to said IME.

Given all these problems, I'm surprised that the general consensus seems to be that the performance is good. But maybe I'm somehow a special case. (The Safari issue is the most egregious - is it that many OS X users don't use Safari in the first place?)

I'd love to try and get to the bottom of the Safari performance issues you're seeing. My email address is in my profile, please drop me a line if you wouldn't mind.


Did you just update last night? I was getting janky/bad performance and a lot of glitches immediately after updating, but it smoothed out (presumably due to Spotlight indexing).

My post was based mainly on experience throughout the public betas, including the last beta which is supposed to be almost identical to the final release.

I've had some pretty bad performance with the demo, too. It seems to be much better (but not perfect) now with the official release. I'm not really sure why.

In using the beta, I haven't noticed any actual performance/battery difference between the two. Honestly, when I first installed it the first thing I noticed was the lack of sound when changing the volume.

It's still there, but now you hold shift+vol up/down to hear the feedback. This is in contrast to earlier OS X versions, where holding down shift will mute the audio feedback.

Heh, me too - you can turn it back on in System Preferences though. It's a new sound effect.

Do you know exactly where? I couldn't find it.

I don’t have Yosemite, but in Mavericks, you can change it in System Preferences > Sound > Sound Effects, by checking the checkbox “Play feedback when volume is changed”.

There might be a small battery time reduction because these new vibrancy effects will cause a bit more cpu consumption than Mavericks. It's probably negligible though.

Yosemite is completely unusable without Reduce Transparency on IMO.

Unusable in terms of performance?

That's a very small part of it. I just hate the new look in some places, like the color-changing Safari toolbar, and it's just useless and annoying to me. Maybe 'completely unusable' was a bit of an exaggeration…YMMV.

Mavericks added performance and battery life, but as far as I'm aware there isn't a focus for that on Yosemite - the work having been done in Mavericks.

Apple has a pretty poor track record in recent years on perf. Especially with iOS updates. If Yosemite didn't focus on perf then it seems likely to have gone down and older machines will suffer. Thats not necessarily wrong but it is important to understand before you dive in.

> Apple has a pretty poor track record in recent years on perf

Apple has a bigger problem where they're popular enough that every release has a ton of people who post subjective problem reports but rarely provide repeatable benchmarks or failures. They're definitely not perfect but if you see a report which doesn't have a specific test with the exact steps needed to duplicate it, it's wise to assume it's an urban legend.

I have experienced it first hand with both MacBooks and iPhones. That's enough to make me hesitate to click upgrade. It's certainly anecdotal but it's my anecdote that I would be a fool to not take under consideration. You should treat my story with more salt. Anecdotally a lot of people have experi need what I have and are also hesitant to update based on their own personal anecdotes. Take it as you will.

The other thing people need to remember is that our perceived experience is notoriously suggestible if you don't take efforts to correct for it. If you expect a new OS release to be slower, you're more likely to experience it as slower – and that first reboot will likely "confirm" it because every persistent cache has been invalidated, one-time upgrade tasks are running, all of the app updates which blocked on a major OS version requirement are installing in the background, etc. Very few people will take the time to measure before and after multiple times to know whether there's something objectively different.

It'd be educational if someone like Apple or Microsoft shipped an update which changed only the version number and then recorded feedback, particularly since there would be e.g. some percentage of people who had something like a recent hardware problem which they hadn't noticed and assumed was caused by the update.

I don't know that that's been the case on OSX though — since 10.0 the story has consistently been that each release is as fast or faster, albeit more memory hungry.

I'm sure I'm missing one but I can't remember any OSX release being associated with performance complaints.

Without quantitative metrics, the responsiveness is just way better than Mavericks. With Mavericks I just felt like I was waiting for it all the time, even on a maxed out laptop with SSD.

With Yosemite, even my 3 year old iMac is doing way better.

Safari has always been slow for me until this release.

The trade off is that I really hate the way Yosemite looks but I can live with the tradeoff.

Note: all my machines have 12 GB or 16GB of ram

Mavericks is very buggy (locking w/ multiple monitors; finder bugs). I'd wait for at least update 2.

Oh, and the .0 release will, if the pattern holds, have shit perf in some common situations. I presume because apple doesn't test for that.

Somebody asked in another thread about Yosemite's new Hypervisor:

"Hypervisor (Hypervisor.framework). The Hypervisor framework allows virtualization vendors to build virtualization solutions on top of OS X without needing to deploy third-party kernel extensions (KEXTs). Included is a lightweight hypervisor that enables virtualization of the host CPUs."

Any news on if anyone is actually using this yet? Stability matters a lot more to me than raw performance in VMs, so I'd be very keen to know if Parallels/Fusion/VirtualBox have adopted this--assuming that it would actually improve stability or, if not, what the pros/cons are for using Apple's own Hypervisor over a third party's.


Not many details on this yet but there shouldn't be any major drawbacks since third party kexts can still be used to support legacy / multi-platform VMs or supplement Hypervisor.kext in other ways. I doubt Apple would have bothered doing this unless they had a mountain of OSX crash logs / power consumption data that suggested they could do better. It's clearly in their best interest to sell stable computers that get great battery life so I expect they will do a good job here. Users don't switch between VM platforms often enough to know which one offers the best stability / power efficiency so there's less of an incentive for companies like VMWare or Parallels to make them a top priority.

I would love to see a basic solution built on this - my major use case is headless Debian machines so the constant development of windows features in parallels and VMware are pretty pointless for me.

I would guess this is a way to allow a VM app to be distributed via the existing App Store rules

Off topic from the review but handy since people were talking about crashing:

Learned a cool trick tonight: Yosemite was taking a while to install, so I did some googling and learned you can see the installer's log by typing CMD-L during the install process.

I ran across the cmd-l tip earlier this afternoon in this article: "Faster Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite Upgrades for Developers" (https://jimlindley.com/blog/yosemite-upgrade-homebrew-tips/).

If any of you are thinking of upgrading and use Homebrew, it sounds like it would be in your best interest to have a look. I'm holding off on upgrading until I see some early-adopter reports, but I'll certainly be following these steps when I'm ready to take the plunge.

So I guess this is a coincidental validation of MacPorts' decision to install under /opt and leave /usr/local for manually-compiled stuff.

Thanks for that. Mines been stuck saying "About a minute remaining" but sure enough cmd+L shows it's moving all my homebrew files.

protip: delete /usr/local/Cellars and posibbly LiveTex before upgrade OSX.

I'm curious, why should I delete /usr/local/Cellars?

The reason that Yosemite/Mavericks stall for a long time (although they inform users wrongly that there would be few minutes left, causing panic) is due to the copying and moving things in /usr/local/. If you have a huge /usr/local, it will take hours. Chances are you will need to remove /usr/local/Cellars and reinstall home-brew anyway. So, removing it first will save you some time.

Yup, ran into that experience myself. Viewing the log helped me see the install hadn't busted, because it also gave me the beach ball of doom around the same time. Everything was alright in the end.

I can confirm this. The installer is currently (very slowly) copying /Library/Ruby/Gems. "About a minute remaining" for ~30 mins so far.

I really don't like the new design. The dock bar looks weird to name one thing, also the new buttons, bars and the window design is just ugly and plain (it feels like a Linux flavour trying to look like OS X designed by someone's neighbour's kid) - don't let me even mention the folder icons. Photoshop stalled once but that's the only quirck I've had in the past 2 weeks of using the beta so that's not too bad. Design wise however, I don't feel like this is a good replacement. Have to admit that iOS 7 did grow on me and I felt the same about that back then but I don't think the same will happen in this case.

I feel the exact same way about iOS 7 growing on me but Yosemite not. This is the first Apple upgrade for a while that I'm going to hold off on...

I recently found this: # snow leopard theme for 10.9 Mavericks http://rhubarb-leaf.deviantart.com/art/SnowLeopard-theme-v2-...

I hope something like this is possible on Yosemite at some point in the future.

The dock is more or less identical to the surprisingly ugly (especially on the iPad) dock on iOS 7/8. At least Yosemite offers the "dark" option, which is a considerable improvement.

Meanwhile several Linux desktops have actually incorporated design teams and are starting to look quite beautiful. Never thought I'd see the day where it's prettier than OS X, but today may be that day.

Current KDE is very nice. I've yet to see the incoming Plasma 5 - it'll be included in Kubuntu 14.10.

If you want to do a fresh install, you can create a USB install drive: http://arstechnica.com/apple/2014/10/how-to-make-your-own-bo...

"...If Retina desktop Macs still haven’t been announced by the time you read this, Apple had better hurry up."

Near the bottom of page 3, just thought it was funny considering today's 5K iMac announcement.

Anyone know how to turn off the Macbook pro screen with the lid open while using external monitors? On Mavericks this worked just fine:


Now no dice... anyone know a way to keep the screen off with the lid open?

To execute in Terminal:

sudo nvram boot-args="iog=0x0"

To undo in Terminal:

sudo nvram -d boot-args

Once you type it into terminal I believe you need to enter your password. I then restart my machine. Now the TRICK is to either restart your machine with the lid already closed (hit restart then slam the lid!) OR turn the machine on for the first time (then quickly slam the lid!) once you are past the login screen you can open the lid.

Can't you just turn the brightness down to zero?

Yes, but it's not the same as turning the display off. The GPU is still outputting signal to the Macbook Pro screen.

Wow, I hadn't considered that. It might explain why I get terrible battery life when playing movies on a TV over HDMI with the screen "turned off" by dimming it down to zero. Thanks for the hint.

Along with the battery suck, it also generates more heat as the GPU has to output 2 signals.

what the.. why? The screen is unusable without the backlight.

Perhaps latency? Suppose it takes 0.5-1 second to switch between "Off" and "Lowest brightness" when turning On/Off the GPU, that could create a bad experience when every other brightness change is instantaneous. Though it is a great power optimization idea, if the (unknown to me) downsides aren't too bad!

The upgrade to Mavericks totally borked my Displaylink adapter that I use to plug an extra monitor in. After some updates its finally stable but still not great. I'm afraid to upgrade again because who knows what will happen.

Was it the Displaylink<->Dual-DVI adapter? Ugh, that was broken for quite a few versions for 2011ish-era devices as soon as Mavericks came out. It took them a few versions to actually fix that up, almost as if they hadn't noticed it was broken.

I'm tempted to try a test install separate from my regular install after getting burned on that last time.

I recently bought a DVI to USB adapter so that I could plug a second monitor into my 2012 MBA. It wasnt until I actually set it up that I learned of all the trouble. I wouldnt say the set up I have now is perfect but it is workable.

I'd hate to upgrade to Yosemite and have everything go to hell though. Is it possible to downgrade if I have problems?

If your on Maverics you should be Ok not upgrading for a while. I used one of those adapter with snow leopard on a mac book up to this spring (upgrading compatability being questionable). It finally became clear that enough software needed a new OS that I got a newer machine.

Mavericks beachballs on a way faster machine more often than it ever did on snow leopard. I miss that os.

I have a Displayport<-->DVI adapter and that thing never works as intended.

Sometimes it won't detect the screen, so I have to unplug and plug it back again. If the screen is off the Macbook thinks there's still a second screen...

They really botched that thing.

I'm tempted to build a little Arduino thing that measures the current to see if it's active and power cycle it. I ended up plugging it into a little USB extension cable so that I could easily plus and unplug it to reset it -- most of the time this will fix the display. It seems to be sleep mode that really messes it up.

I actually read this all the way through... Quality writing.

I'll check it out, but in his past reviews, I've had the impression that the author really likes showing off his background knowledge of all things Apple. A lot of the text is irrelevant to the review, and therefore shouldn't be there. Also, the endless, endless links. He really needs to learn when something should be linked and when it shouldn't -- it really affects the reading experience on the web. You're constantly alternating between black and orange text, and being tempted to hover over them to see "what does this one go to?"

His attention to detail is great, though, no doubt about that.

The background knowledge of things Apple is one of the selling points of these reviews. Siracusa writes for people who really want to nerd out on arcana. My impression is that he sees these reviews as documenting Apple design history, and not just "should I upgrade" guides. It's fine not to like it, but it's a weird thing to criticize him for doing.

That's a really good way of putting it; I hadn't thought of it that way before. Fair enough! :)

He stated in the past that you shouldn't care about the links except if you don't understand something. I've been reading his reviews for the fourth or fifth time now, and skipping the links never bothered me.

Also, there's other very good straight to the point reviews. John Siracusa's review is not supposed to be a TLDR laundry list of changes, there's no point in being trapped in the reviewed product and forget the things that led to it.

The links are rather the points, as is the background info. If that’s not for you that’s great, no problem, but really, you seem to fundamentally misunderstand why people like this.

You comment made me laugh and 'ahhhhh!' at the same time. It now makes sense. He's totally into Apple and hasn't been elsewhere.

A few of the things he talks about regarding the UI changes are already on Windows, but he talks as if they're a new invention. While he might be talking to a 100% Apple audience, I think it makes him look silly that he doesn't mention they're not Apple-original features.

Eg. windows that are semi translucent with the background blurred came with either Vista or 7. That annoying animated focus circle is in Office 2013.

John Siracusa is certainly aware of Windows, at least visually. The only reason for you to suggest pointing out any little thing that's not "Apple-original" is out of some sort of pointless OS defensiveness. Aero Glass was a simple blurred translucency, while the translucency in Yosemite is a more complex filter and has two content modes, behind-window and within-window. But I don't see what comparing the two accomplishes, honestly.

Pretty sure he actually talked about this in regards to Vista specifically on the latest episode of ATP

I think making an assumption that Siracusa doesn't know what's happening in the world of other OS', or hasn't been elsewhere, might be a bit off.

>background knowledge of all things Apple

Not a Hypercritical or ATP listener, huh?

the orange links are irritating and distracting (back to old-fashioned footnotes?). But you can read this in Safari's Reader mode, which sets the links to a moderate blue. Or you can download the book in iBooks - the links start off in orange but then are quickly switched to very dark blue. The orange is presumably just the ArsTechnica branding.

See the "Think fast" section. He just seems to go on and on, and whatever point he has doesn't seem to be... worth it.


Negative way to put it: "written for the stereotypical Apple hipster"

Positive way to put it: "written with the indie Mac dev community in mind"

These guys have been in the game for a long time and have an emotional attachment to the development of the Mac platform.

Still reading, but I too appreciate this long, extensive review that probably took weeks to write.

I tried it yesterday and for the first time I downgraded my Mac back to the previous version. I think Yosemite wasn't made for my 2009 MacBook Pro. It works w/o a problem but the font is really hard to read, in the sense it is an exhausting experience.

What is funny about Yosemite, many dialog boxes remind me of KDE.

Very informative review, particularly the part regarding Swift towards the end, although I did feel like he was going over the changes in a perfunctory manner as opposed to the Mavericks review.

Anyway, it did help me know what to expect in Yosemite so thanks John.

I also discovered the "purple" full screen button from yesteryear - I much prefer that to the fullscreen arrows in Mavericks, and dislike the new default "FULLSCREEN" behaviour of the zoom button. Fullscreen makes the menubar and all that sits in it (MenuMeters, clock etc) useless. On a laptop, the indicator about the battery is kind of important to me, and I don't find the clock distracting or require it to be removed in order to help me read text on other parts of the screen. I think it is a foolish move.

I'm on a 2013 MBP and I upgraded to Yosemite yesterday. It was a textbook upgrade for me - zero hassle and everything works just as it should (so far anyway). A couple of quirks I've noticed vs. Mavericks is that a) the animations seem to stutter sometimes - I almost never had that with Mavericks. Perhaps since this is 10.10.0 that's to be expected but hope they fix that to buttery smooth in the performance update down the road. The other thing is RAM usage seems to have gone up significantly. I used to average around 2-3 GB used out of 8GB and now I find 5GB used - I haven't installed any additional software or tweaked any configuration settings - this is purely a Mavericks --> Yosemite in-place upgrade. Its still early hours so I've yet to explore the system fully, but apart from these 2 things it seems fairly solid so far. Contrary to the other comments, I don't quite seem to mind the full screen mechanics, although I would not have minded a '+' button and more discernible buttons in general.

I find that Spotlight tends to do a complete reindex after an OS update, so that may be the cause of your increased resource usage.

I saw a lot of glitches immediately after updating, but am getting buttery smooth performance now, so this is worth keeping in mind.

Interesting, thanks. I guess I'll monitor this over the next day or two.

Probably real smooth due to the widespread beta and Yosemite being almost entirely visual tweaks and better integration with iOS devices. Those things shouldn't cause trouble.

Apple seems to have given up on core upgrades addressing performance, the ancient filesystem, and needs of power users after 10.6. And there’s still stuff that I could do on a NeXT in the early ‘90s that OS X can’t do.

What sort of things do you miss? Never got to use NeXT so purely from a 'seeing what I'm missing' point of view.

I hope developers make good use of the changes to the title bar. It completely breaks the flow of the design of a lot of apps, and kills precious vertical space on my 13-inch MBP. A keyboard shortcut to toggle the menu bar would've been nice too. Neither of those would be big issues if it weren't for the slow, eye-melting, completely superfluous fullscreen animations though.

I can accept almost all of the UI changes but these horrible blue folders.

As someone else suggested, they seriously look like something out of an old version of KDE.

Ouch, that's an insult. That blue is vile. But ooh, straighter lines and softer shadows - very noticable (!)

The folders are almost blinding to look at with the brightness all the way up.

I find the new Spotlight to be quite painful. Apple again, makes design choices not based on improving the quality but just because they feel they need to keep changing things.

They've done two things wrong with Spotlight. By moving it down from the top of the screen, that immediately reduces the number of results that can be seen. Then if that wasn't enough they further limit the quantity of visible results by not allowing results to flow to the bottom of the screen. A double whammy if you will.

I can live with a slightly slower experience (yes, my indexing is done) but reducing the result count for absolutely no good reason is unacceptable.

And yes, I know I can scroll down.

Edit: Oh and while I'm complaining, please tell me which one is selected: http://i.imgur.com/Szj3Yag.png

I can't wait for the 'flat' fad to be over.

Even though it feels very fad-ish because it's been used as a buzzword/bandwagon, I don't feel like it's actually a fad.

My view is that that digital design has matured to the point where designers no longer feel they have to wow users with lots of effects and visual flourishes, allowing for a more purpose driven design. My hope/opinion is that is here to stay.

As ericd says, a lot of those little flourishes actually aid human perception and cognition. Yes, we don't need giant flashy effects or lots of animation, but that doesn't mean that the most functional design is the most minimal.

Also, it's kind've ironic that you can now have a 5k display to show off your flat, monochrome circles...

This. Shadows (fake 3D), textures, colors, and other elements may seem like a gimmick, but they are fundamentally crucial in visual cognition of the UI. What's sad is that so much UI design is driven by meaningless trends instead of more precise research data on how well UI elements work.

Are they actually crucial, though? There was a ton of gnashing of teeth about iOS 7 (and other "flat" designs) but one rarely hears those anymore… and it's not at all clear to me that less-savvy users are having more trouble operating their devices than they did a couple of years ago. In fact, it seems just the opposite, that these devices have steadily continued to integrate themselves into people's lives more than ever before. Come to think of it, it seems that the gnashing of teeth has shifted to that (these screens that we spend our lives staring at!) over the last year or two.

I'm sure there have been at least some regressions in some aspects of some user performance measurements, but it seems really clear at this point that it hasn't been a catastrophe… or even a significant problem.

It takes me significantly longer to identify control elements under the new design bible, especially the un-bordered text "buttons". Smart phones are taking off despite this, not because of it - it's because of the massive new capabilities they afford people.

>It takes me significantly longer to identify control elements under the new design bible.< xCode buttons are a problem for me.

Maybe not 'crucial', but definitely helpful and important.

Also, it's a bit much suggesting that it's flat design that's what's responsible for smartphone uptake. If that was the case, then hell, it was skeuomorphism that exploded the market in the first place.

well you get things like Google's Material design that have things like depth perception and strong color contrast.

It's not like we're abandoning everything, it's more about discovering new ways of doing things and then mix and matching until we get to something useful and coherent.

We HAD something useful and coherent.

A lot of those flourishes were actually design affordances, though, visually denoting certain functions and making things more intuitive. Not a fan of the super-flat design trend.

As you say super flat might not be great, but all the designs preceding the current trend where extremely harsh on the visuals.

From windows XP to 7, the windows default themes and colors where disturbingly flashy and "in your face". OSX was more bland but aqua was still kitch and unneedingly strippy. iOS6 app's ultra textured or "realistic" interfaces were the peak of that trend IMO.

In the real world, not everyone likes kids playroom colors, nor grandma's 60s style wallpaper, nor steam punky design, nor green-blue metalic robot parts. Personally I like MUJI style clean and clear design, and I feel like it took that much time to have a core of people to value cleanness and simplicity in computer UI design as well.

Oh, I definitely agree, XP's playskool-esque design was way over the top, and OS X's excessive animations/reflections/etc. are obnoxious. It does seem to be getting better in that regard. I like most of Bootstrap's choices, and those seem to be diffusing out.

Meh... I'm actually a fan of XP's design, although I can't tell how much of that is actual aesthetic appreciation and how much just nostalgia. Colors are nice, yet the interface as a whole was actually less flashy than its successors, as the last pre-GPU-compositing Windows, making for a solid whole. But I also liked Aero's glossiness, which I'm happy to see somewhat reflected in Yosemite - nor did I ever have an issue with OS X, although iOS 6 was a bit much for my taste. (On the other hand, I also like iOS 7. The only design I seriously don't like is Google's, for reasons I'll elaborate on the off-chance anyone cares.)

OS X isn't flat. There is still shading and drop shadows. They just turned down the gloss from 11 to something less overbearing. When the UI gets chromed to the hilt like iOS6 or older OS X versions, it becomes a distraction from the app/content.

Me too. Take a look at Time Machine. As the author said, Time Machine made "backups fun, so people will want to do it". I think the time vortex background helps in achieving that. And they removed it.

http://cdn.arstechnica.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/time-m... | http://cdn.arstechnica.net/reviews/os/mac-os-x-10-5.media/ti...

The vortex gave some hype to backup 10 years ago. Was it enough to make backup widespread? Interestingly: no - backup is still under 50% among Mac users. And for those did use TM, it made the thing slower.

So moving on, cloud looks like a safer approach to backup because no friction. Yes, data security, etc. From a public service POV, though, for 99% people out there, I bet the trade off is hugely favorable to cloud stockage vs local disk failure.

So now - is iCloud drive sexy enough to want to use it? Actually that's more like the problem, it's definitely not.

I'd have to agree - maybe it's different when you use it, but based on the screenshots, the UI seems like a step backward.

I am not a mac user. (but own pretty much every other Apple product)

One of the things that has always turned me off from OSX is how it looks. I must say Yosemite is the first mac OS that actually looks appealing to me.

Upgrading now: 5.16 gigs. Hah! This is going to take all night. Looks like everyone's downloading it at the same time.

I was quite impressed by 10.10 from the Keynote a few weeks ago, and I'm looking forward to experiencing some of that. No iPhone so can't enjoy that level of integration, but perhaps my iPad will be happier.

Meanwhile I have a Nexus 5 on order, and I'm debugging problems with my Linux PC's new motherboard. Certainly Linux on a roll-your-own hardware platform is a different world from the slick, smooth Apple experience. I like both for what they can do but the Apple is becoming my go-to front end while the Linux machine is becoming more of a server and back-end tool.

Took around half an hour to download for me a couple of hours ago. (I'm in Australia, and one of the few blessed with a 'decent' internet connection)

I downloaded and installed in about 3 hours but the download kept "failing" and had to be manually resumed from the App Store.

Just a personal note.

I really don't need the grays/white/blacks of past operating systems. The initial setting for my quick bar just looks horrid, little icons on a dark gray background.

Everything looks so 16bit. I understand it bleeds through the background color, I would just prefer to have no background on the dock and have the icons float

Does anyone know if Mail app now supports "cloud" search for Gmail? i.e. you don't need to download ALL your Gmail to local machine to be able to search. My SSD is quickly getting filled up and this is becoming one huge pain point.

Have they improved the Mac App Store updates yet? It shocks the mind to think that forcing users to re-download entire apps rather than just the stuff that's changed is apparently a hard problem to solve for Apple.

On my 2013 Macbook pro the wifi seems to be exceptionally slow after upgrading to Yosemite. Seeing speeds < 600K after the upgrade. Usually see ~6 MBps.

I really hope it has dark theme as I imagined it to be, since current light-grey really distracts me when programming in dark theme editor/terminal.

Mavericks is not an obscure surfing destination.

Anyone who isn't a surfer and lives outside of CA likely hasn't heard of it. It's obscure.

I, a guy from Mexico, never heard of it before. I did hear about Yosemite though.

Absolutely ugly and tasteless design. Default theme is hideous black bold font on white background, large swaths of white everywhere. Dark theme is just inconsistent. Window titlebars are pale whitish, with black menu bar with white font on it.

Dock, is 2d until you roll over it, then icons pop out of it and it looks like it is 3d.

This is it, Apple is the new Microsoft. Frankly, and I can't believe I would ever be saying something like this but Windows 7 now looks better and more consistent.

My camera on my 2013 Retina Macbook Pro doesn't work post-upgrade, FYI.

Just installed it. It freed 7GB on my Macbook Air's flash drive. Nice!

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