Tuesday, January 28, 2020

macOS 10.15.3


The macOS Catalina 10.15.3 update improves the stability, reliability, and security of your Mac, and is recommended for all users.

  • Optimizes gamma handling of low gray levels on Pro Display XDR for SDR workflows when using macOS
  • Improves multi-stream video editing performance for HEVC and H.264-encoded 4K video on the MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2019)

The security notes are here. The combo update is here, but the Download button currently downloads the macOS 10.15.2 file.

There’s nothing about it in Apple’s release notes, but from what I’ve heard macOS 10.15.3 fixes the bug where large numbers of messages stored “On My Mac” could be deleted when updating to Catalina or rebuilding Mail’s database. It does not fix the bugs where moving messages between mailboxes (via drag and drop, rules, or AppleScript) can delete them, duplicate them, or simply not move them at all.


Update (2020-01-31): Mr. Macintosh:

The macOS Catalina 10.15.3 Update is only about two days old and is already receiving mixed reviews.

Update (2020-02-04): Howard Oakley:

Your mileage may vary, of course, and there are some irritating effects which can mar this update for some.

Howard Oakley (Hacker News):

We’re now past Catalina’s midpoint: with four versions already released, there’s only three more to go before we prepare for the first release of 10.16. That’s a stark fact, that we’re now at the point where the more cautious should consider whether they’ll run 10.15.


The upshot is that there are going to be many Mac users who simply can’t risk upgrading to Catalina, and will be stuck running High Sierra, whose support is expected to end later this year, or Mojave, whose support should expire in just over 18 months. Apple needs to reconsider whether its current support policy is realistic if there’s a growing number of users of currently-sold Macs who are stuck running older versions of macOS in the future.


For many users, the drawbacks in Catalina are largely the result of Apple becoming over-extended: Catalina runs best on Macs with hardware specifications that Apple marketing isn’t yet prepared to make the baseline for models such as the iMac.

Lloyd Chambers:

Photoshop benchmarks are consistently a little slower to a lot slower (15%).

I always follow a strict procedure/protocol to get consistent repeatable results and there can be no mistake about this downgraded performance.

Because there are two changes (macOS and Photoshop), I don’t know if macOS is to blame, or Photoshop, or both.

See also: philux.

Lloyd Chambers:

Today, I received a new 28-core Mac Pro and it fails to be able to update to 10.15.3 repeatedly as part of the Migration Assistant process, WiFi or Ethernet. It never succeeeded so I did “skip” and updated separely. There seems to be ZERO quality control in place.

I also learned today that it is IMPOSSIBLE to uninstall some kernel extensions with 10.15.3.

Update (2020-02-06): Jon Alper:

Running the 10.5.3 Updater bricked my 16 Core Mac Pro (black screen w/back light). Then in recovery mode it triggered activation lock and then couldn’t find a user when attempting a reboot. The ultimate cure was a Recovery Mode OS install whereupon users/data & config welre back.

See also: Siri Stores Encrypted E-mails in Plain Text.

16 Comments RSS · Twitter

I had three users who updated to 10.15.3, and found that 1Password now crashes on launch on all three machines.

My macbook pro 2019 16" has had its performance halved with the 10.15.3 update.

With 10.15.2 & below, the macbook pro 2019 16" was constantly freezing & force restarting when doing intensive tasks:

A lot of users suspect there has been a bad batch from apple, and instead of issuing these high paying customers with replacements, they have applied a performance throttle to the faulty batch.

My bottom of the line macbook 2016 13" and mid range iMac 2015 27" now outperform my macbook pro 2019 16" rendering the exact same projects. This is daylight robbery.

@philux I’m seeing about a 4% slowdown with Xcode.

> My bottom of the line macbook 2016 13" and mid range iMac 2015 27" now outperform my macbook pro 2019 16" rendering the exact same projects. This is daylight robbery.

All three are on 10.15.3?

Back on Mojave, the Safari update won't install because "Spotlight is using the SafariQuickLookPreview extension", then 'helpfully' tells me to close said extension. I guess for anyone who doesn't know how to use Activity Monitor to quit services like Spotlight, they'd just be stuck until a reboot occurs and Spotlight no longer has the QuickLook extension open?

I have yet to upgrade to Catalina due to the Mail bugs. I cannot believe we are 3 versions in and it still has issues.

Haven't noticed much updating my 2019 MacBook Air to 10.15.3. Although so far not impressed with Catalina overall and honestly feels way more sluggish than when I ran say Snow Leopard on a older MacBook Air. Maybe this is more about the CPU in these new MacBook Air's? I have noticed that it takes longer for Mail app to close then it did in prior release. I feel like maybe Apple doesn't care so much about Mac OS as it once did? Or its simply gotten so bloated with features that it has become a nightmare to keep running well.

Sören Nils Kuklau

The 2018+ MacBook Air has a fairly weak CPU indeed. It scores roughly the same as the 2015 top-end model, so it's not a regression, but it does mean there's been no CPU boost in half a decade. (Although the GPU and SSD have improved, IIRC.)

If you care about performance at all, the Pro at $200 more is a much, much better deal.

@JohnIL, unfortunately I think it's general bloat of the newer operating systems.

I dusted off an old 2010 MacBook Pro running Snow Leopard a few weeks ago, Core 2 Duo with 8GB RAM and a 5400rpm spinning hard drive, not impressive from a specs standpoint whatsoever, but I swear every user interaction is instant, immediate, the whole experience feels so much faster than this 2018 hardware. Sort of amazing, also very disappointing.

So can anyone confirm that the Apple Mail data loss is still happening in 10.15.3? I had read that it was fixed when it was in beta but now I'm seeing conflicting reports. I need to get on Catalina soon and I was holding off upgrading because of this bug...


@John Yes, at least one Mail bug was fixed, but I have multiple reports of data loss still happening with macOS 10.15.3.

Michael, you wrote:

> I have multiple reports of data loss still happening with macOS 10.15.3.

Please could you give more details?
And are POP accounts also concerned?

Regarding moving messages between mailboxes:
Would it be safe to only use the menu commands "Message > Move to > ..." for this?
Thank you!

@R There are more details in this post. For example, moving messages between two POP mailboxes via the “Move to” command is not safe.

Oh yes, thanks!

My experience is terrible. My computer which is old (late 2013) worked perfectly when upgrading to Catalina, and then to the first 10.15.1 update, then, when updating to 10.15.2 it started to fail every now and then. It seemed to be more common when using an external display, when awaking from sleep, when cpu usage was high (e.g. playing chess or programming while streaming a movie to the Apple TV for my kids) or when accessing disk (saving long files, accessing time machine, e.g. to delete an old backup, etc) but it was "just" once or twice a day. However, when I upgraded to 10.15.3, it was just crazy and it freezes every 30 min to 2hours. Sometimes with no activity at all in the computer (may be some spotlight/time-machine in the background. So crazy it was that I decided to carry out a clean installation, which I did and everything was even worst. Just surfing the web produced long (over 30min freezes) and most of them ended by crashing the computer. Finally discovered that tweaking around the configuration reduced a bit the situation and let me have "JUST" 3-4 freezes crashes a day: deactivating in the system preferences - energy saver everything related to letting any component sleep and avoiding automatic graphic switching (full time in high performance graphics, contrary to what I thought, seemed to minimise chances to crash).
Summary: I am completely lost and wagering for a 10.15.4 update that solves all these annoyances. BTW, if anyone out there has some trustable solution I can try it will be very welcome.

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