Archive for October 12, 2019

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Waiting to Update to Catalina

As a developer, there are a bunch of new APIs that I want to be able to use. And, of course, I’ve been using it for a few months on a couple of auxiliary Macs for testing. But as a user, I see very little to tempt me to upgrade anytime soon. As ATP put it, there’s not enough carrot and too much stick, not to mention early bugs.

Dieter Bohn:

At the risk of being an I-told-you-so kind of person, I’m just going to repeat what I said in the Catalina review again. You probably depend on your Mac or PC for “real work,” and so updating on day one could threaten that real work — literally threaten your livelihood. It’s better to wait and see how things shake out, to let other people experience the problems and report them.

Telling people not to upgrade to the new OS for a few weeks used to be so common that it sounds weird to emphasize it so much. But somewhere in the past decade the yearly updates for both iOS (and, to a lesser extent, Android) lulled us into a false sense of complacency.

Adam Engst:

Nevertheless, for most people, we recommend delaying your upgrade for a while for a variety of reasons[…]

Jason Snell:

If there’s a must-have app that only runs on Catalina, or you want to use Voice Control or Screen Time or Find My or Apple Arcade, and all your go-to software checks out, then by all means, make the jump to Catalina. (I’ve been using it for the last month with only a few minor app incompatibilities that I expect to be resolved as updates roll out alongside the new release.) But if you can wait, you should. Let other people discover the early bugs and suffer the app incompatibilities. Catalina will still be there for you when you’re ready for it.

Mike Rundle:

It’s blowing my mind how many folks are upgrading to Catalina immediately. Unless you absolutely need to upgrade for development testing, macOS releases have been buggy as hell in recent years. I always wait 6+ months just to be safe 👻

John Voorhees:

A lot of the cautionary advice about upgrading to Catalina conflates the risk of installing the new version of macOS with the risk of relying on unmaintained 32-bit apps. Not doing the former doesn’t eliminate the risk of the later.

Robert Hammen (Rich Trouton):

Want to block macOS Catalina from showing up in Software Update preferences on macOS Mojave? sudo /usr/sbin/softwareupdate --ignore "macOS Catalina" prevents it from appearing!

Jeff Johnson:

I temporarily removed the Dock badge with defaults delete AttentionPrefBundleIDs, but then it came back after checking again. :-(

When you’re ready to update:

sudo /usr/sbin/softwareupdate --reset-ignored should do the trick

You can create a bootable install disk using DropDMG.

Glenn Fleishman:

But maybe you’d like to hedge your bets. In the past, you’d need to partition your startup drive, which could turn into a lot of effort, or get an external drive—preferably SSD—and install and boot from that.


The way this works to your advantage with Catalina is that if you have enough spare in your main container to handle Catalina—a few tens of gigabytes, but preferably more—you use Disk Utility to add a value into your main container, then install Catalina into that volume. You can then use the Startup Disk preference pane to swap among your volumes without involving an external drive at all.

This can continue to be useful after Catalina is released if you want to keep a Mojave volume active for 32-bit apps that no longer run in Catalina.


Update (2019-10-13): Rob Griffiths:

(Note: You may have to restart the Dock for the red dot to vanish; you can do that with killall Dock in Terminal.)

I decided to tackle this by creating a launchd agent—which is just the technical name for scheduled tasks in macOS’ Unix core.

Peter Maurer:

As a user, Catalina is the worst macOS update I’ve ever seen. Worse than 10.7, worse than 10.10.

It’s unfortunate that it also happens to be the first macOS update that Apple pushes this aggressively.

Please slow down.

Update (2019-10-15): Bombich Software:

If you’re thinking about upgrading a Mac that you depend on for productivity, maybe wait a few weeks for the dust to settle. And of course, make a CCC bootable backup before you make the upgrade[…]

Update (2020-06-01): Howard Oakley:

Now’s the time that those who’ve been cautious, and let the early adopters find all the bugs in Catalina, consider whether to upgrade. Is it safe to go ahead, in readiness for macOS 10.16, or are there still showstoppers which will make you regret it?

With Catalina, there can’t be a clear answer.

Howard Oakley:

From the outset, Apple’s abandonment of 32-bit support was inevitably going to leave many users unable to upgrade, unless 10.15 had included some form of compatibility mode. Another change which was bound to cause problems was the enforcement of hardening and notarization. Only last week I looked at buying the superb graphing and analysis software Igor Pro, which I last used many years ago. Because it supports extensions containing executable code, it remains essentially incompatible with Catalina. I’ve also been contacted by a developer of another major software system which has similar problems with app extensions, who’s still struggling to meet hardening and notarization requirements.

See also: macOS 10.15.5.