Thursday, February 13, 2020

macOS 10.15.3 Update Doesn’t Create APFS Snapshot

Mr. Macintosh:

Something happened in the latest set of Apple updates released on January 28th. The Automatic Backup Snapshots are no longer working!!! At first, I thought it only happened on the 10.15.3 Combo update. I then checked the 2020-001 Security Update on High Sierra and it’s not working either!

I found this out while I was writing another article on Catalina Logs. I built a 10.15.2 device and updated it to 10.15.3. I booted to recovery to restore the from the automatic snapshot only to find that it was missing!


I am not totally sure what’s going on here, if I had to guess this a bug. I wanted to let you know about this. The last thing you want to do is rely on that automatic backup snapshot only to find out it was never created.

Plus, the installer apparently purges any snapshots that you made manually.


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And yet tech bloggers are screaming “Catalina is great” “you’ll be left behind” “russian roulette for users who don’t upgrade and here I am, FINALLY THINKING that Mojave is “finally baked and ready for prime time” and don’t talk to me about Catalina for another year or maybe even two.

Are you sure? Perhaps I misunderstand the problem, but `tmutil listlocalsnapshots /` seems to show snapshots from the last two days.

@Andrew Did you update to macOS 10.15.3 in the last 2 days?

@Michael, never mind — I misread/misunderstood the issue (from your title it seemed as is it *never* created any snapshots, rather than the ore-update ones. Feel free to delete my comment. Apologies.

Andrew Jaffe, not a problem! Most users don’t even know about this feature. The ones who do will be disappointed when the need it only to find out the snapshot isn’t there!

I had my faith dinged somewhat when I started Time Machine while in yesterday to retrieve a message I deleted last month, and Mail simply crashed as soon as the Time Machine had dragged itself onto my screen. By the looks of a quick Google I'm not the only person experiencing that one under Catalina, either. Strikes me that the backup software should be among the most reliable provided with an OS, if it is provided...

Sören Nils Kuklau

>And yet tech bloggers are screaming “Catalina is great” “you’ll be left behind”

They are? I haven't seen any of that, and I've instead seen plenty of "hold back on updating".

@Matt Unfortunately, Mail has been crashing during Time Machine restores since the Catalina betas last summer.

@Leo M: Which tech bloggers?

As Sören writes, I haven't seen that either. The tech bloggers that Jason Snell interviewed for the Six Colors report card weren't exactly screaming “Catalina is great”:

Then there was macOS Catalina and other technologies rolled out at Apple’s 2019 developer conference, which were met with a lot of skepticism.

Marco Arment said, “The hardware is much better than the software.” Rob Griffiths said, “I think the new hardware has been really good… Catalina, on the other hand, is a mess.”

Charles Arthur said, “Catalina and Catalyst are really uninspiring.” Steven Troughton-Smith said, “Apple fumbled the start of their next major platform transition with Catalyst and SwiftUI with a poorly documented, barely-ready rushed debut for both technologies.” Stephen Hackett said, “Apple needs to be clearer about what it thinks the future of Mac applications should be. Mac Catalyst and SwiftUI feel like they were on separate, parallel and secret paths within the company, just to end up crossing the line into the public at the same time at WWDC 2019.”

Glenn Fleishman said, “Catalina was a disastrous release.” John Siracusa said, “Apple has not done a good job communicating the benefits of Catalina, an update that… comes with more pitfalls than the average macOS update.” Joe Kissell said, “Catalina was, and continues to be, a real downer in terms of missing features, bugs, and overall quality.” Andrew Laurence said, “For the first time in my career, this IT professional warns users away from the new macOS, and took action to prevent users from installing it.”

Catalina’s modified approach to security specifically came under fire.

Stephen Hackett said, “I can’t help but worry about Apple’s on-going tightening of the screws when it comes to macOS and the apps that run atop my OS of choice.” Benjamin Mayo said, “Catalina’s privacy features were not fully designed and make for a pretty terrible first boot experience on updating to the new OS.”

John Gruber said, “Catalina clearly bends too far in the direction of security. By design, it’s just too inconvenient… why in the world is the desktop treated as some sort of sensitive location?… There should be a single switch for expert users to toggle to effectively say ‘I trust all of the software on my Mac.’… I don’t know a single expert Mac user who is not seriously annoyed by the heavy-handed security design of Catalina… I genuinely fear for the future of the Mac as a platform for serious computer users…. Not one thing about Mac software got better in 2019 and everything that did change made it worse.”

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