Wednesday, May 27, 2020

macOS 10.15.5

Apple (TidBITS, MacRumors, Hacker News, Mr. Macintosh, Howard Oakley):

macOS Catalina 10.15.5 introduces battery health management in the Energy Saver settings for notebooks, an option to control automatic prominence of video tiles on Group FaceTime calls, and controls to fine-tune the built-in calibration of your Pro Display XDR. The update also improves the stability, reliability, and security of your Mac.

The update went smoothly for me on the MacBook Pro. I’m still using Mojave on my iMac. Alas, the update does not fix the remaining data loss issue with Apple Mail. Mail’s version number is unchanged since macOS 10.15.4.

Mr. Macintosh:

NOTE!!! on the softwareupdate --ignore flag change.

Major new releases of macOS are no longer hidden when using the softwareupdate command with the --ignore flag

****This change also affects macOS Mojave and macOS High Sierra after installing Security Update 2020-003.****

Adding a Catalina nag in a security update is not very nice.

Jeff Johnson:

Apple’s support article seems to be not entirely accurate. It’s true that the Software Update preference pane now refuses to ignore the Catalina update on Mojave. Nonetheless, softwareupdate itself does continue to ignore it! Fortunately, then, there’s still a way to make the red badges go away. We don’t need no stinkin’ badges!

The key is to avoid opening the Software Update preference pane. It’s fine to open System Preferences though. If you happened to open the preference pane after installing the Security Update 2020-003, you can just repeat the above steps, and the badge will still go away.


It may be a bummer to have to check and install everything from the command line, but it’s preferable to a permanent red stain on your Dock, isn’t it?

Mr. Macintosh:

I have received 3 different reports that the 10.15.5 Update is still changing the ComputerName & HostName back to default

The last update that I’ve received from Apple said that this issue will NOT be fixed until macOS 10.16

Mike Bombich:

Early last week we discovered an APFS filesystem bug in a beta of macOS 10.15.5. The technical details of the bug are laid out below, but the short version is that we’re no longer able to use our own file copier to establish an initial bootable backup of a macOS Catalina System volume.


The chflags() system call can no longer set the SF_FIRMLINK flag on a folder on an APFS volume. Rather than fail with an error code that we would have detected, it fails silently – it exits with a success exit status, but silently fails to set the special flag. That’s a bug in the APFS filesystem implementation of chflags – if a system call doesn’t do what you ask it to do, it’s supposed to return an error code, not success. That’s a fairly nasty bug too. Apple preaches that you should always check your error codes, and we do – religiously. This bug slipped past us for who knows how long because the system call exits with a success error code.

Tim Schmitz:

Please fix the recurrent kernel panics during sleep on my 16” MBP 🤞🤞🤞


Update (2020-05-28): Eric Slivka (tweet):

Apple is making it more difficult for users to ignore available software updates and remain on their current operating system versions.

Thomas Tempelmann:

Also, it’s pointless that Apple now reminds me even on an old Mac that can’t run Catalina that I should upgrade to 10.15! That’s what the ignore option was meant to solve. When I use Terminal to say “I don’t need this reminder” it should be clear I understand the risk.

Jeff Johnson:

It turns out there’s a simple way to disable the Dock badge for System Preferences.

This doesn’t solve any other problems, however, such as Catalina showing up in the Software Update preference pane.

Tim Hardwick:

An Apple File System bug has been discovered in macOS 10.15.5 Catalina that can prevent users from making a bootable clone of their system drive[…]

Stephen Hackett:

If it’s a bug, I have questions about what sort of change could impact this toward the end of an OS’ active development, and if it’s a change, it should have been documented when it first shipped in the beta.

Dave Nanian:

The new [asr] feature basically didn’t work until Catalina’s final beta. And even when it started working, while fast, it dealt with failures...poorly.


In this case, Apple has broken the ability to make new firmlinks. It’s utterly unclear why they broke this capability, but they did. And that makes new and erased SuperDuper! backups unbootable.

It sounds like the developers of the major Mac cloning utilities both reported the bug during macOS 10.15.5’s beta period, but Apple decided to ship anyway. Just like the Mail data loss bugs that were reported during the macOS 10.15.0 beta.

Update (2020-06-01): See also: Hacker News.

Colin Cornaby:

After 10.15.5, my Ultrafine 5k is not always waking up with my computer. I haven’t had this setup long, but my understanding was this was fixed in 10.15.4, and I didn’t see it in 10.15.4.

Not a great really expensive workstation experience.


Update (2020-06-03): Howard Oakley:

I continue to get frantic messages and comments from many who can’t get Time Machine to make any backups at all, and the latest update doesn’t appear to have brought any relief. For many, upgrading to 10.15 is still too much of a gamble. When they realise how immature the replacement apps for iTunes are, even more users get cold feet.

Update (2020-06-05): Mr. Macintosh:

Initially, users reported the 10.15.5 Beta 3 update fixed the Wake from Sleep KP issue. Now, I’m being flooded by users saying the 10.15.5 update did NOT fix the issue

12 Comments RSS · Twitter

Adding a Catalina nag in a security update is not very nice.

What can we extrapolate from this move?

I had to remove System Preferences from the Dock on my Mojave system at work, because I couldn't stand that update badge. If the latest update does that to High Sierra, maybe I'll just avoid it on my home system too. There's no way I'm installing Mac OS Vista and trading QuickTime and older applications for even more annoying security theater.

This update was terrible (I went from 10.15.4) -- it took 30 minutes (!) and after it finished, a process called accountsd had my MBP running at 100% CPU and fans at full speed for over 5 minutes. There were no apps running and no internet activity (but it was connected to super fast WiFi). I could barely even use it, as this out of control process made navigating the OS / apps super sluggish. I finally followed some advice I found online, rebooted into Safe Mode, turned my Mail accounts of and on in System Preferences, then rebooted again. Seems fine now. I've never had an experience like this after doing a minor point update of OS X -- usually it goes unnoticeably smoothly.

Sad to see its still bug. But its hard to stay on Mojave when Xcode 11.4+ requires Catalina.

I just tried EagleFiler, and I think that'll at least protect my mail. (And its an awesome archive app otherwise. Should've gotten it long ago)

I don't have any other apps that I shouldn't be able to continue to use, so I guess I'll take the pludge.

@vintner They're probably not happy that Catalina adoption is lower. Perhaps the first step in macOS moving to a service update model, like Windows.

Damiano Galassi

I think StatCounter is less accurate than NetMarketShare.

I’d like to join in on complaining about minor updates introducing serious bugs and kernel panics. I still use Mojave regularly on a 2018 Mac Mini. It’s been very reliable, at least until I installed Security Update 2020-002. The Mini now regularly kernel panics whenever it goes to sleep, several times each day.

The problem is apparently somehow triggered by using Safari, if this discussion is accurate:

I know mistakes are unavoidable, but it sure seems like there’s been a lot of quality issues with macOS lately.

Ben Kennedy

My Mini (running 10.14.6) has been kernel panicking a lot while asleep lately too. Glad (?) to know I'm not alone. Nonetheless, this is unacceptable.

What can we extrapolate from this move?

Not that much, is my guess.

Why is it introduced in a security update? Because that’s the only kind of update Mojave still receives. Maybe Apple should’ve made it a separate kind of update, but historically, it’s always been this way — after the next major release, there are no more minor releases, and instead only security updates.

Why is there a nag at all? That I’m not so sure about. It’ll probably be years until they remove compatibility for pre-Catalina services (e.g. the old Reminders iCloud version), so online services probably isn’t the reason.

They’re probably not happy that Catalina adoption is lower.

Which, if true, should make their QA concerned, but I don’t see a good argument on why they would force the update on users. They didn’t have to before.

Perhaps the first step in macOS moving to a service update model, like Windows.

But Windows still gives updates to multiple old versions. Regular customers get updates for versions 2004, 1909, 1903, and 1809 (the last of which until November 2020), i.e. for roughly two years. Enterprise customers get updates for 1803 and 1709, even. Long-term servicing enterprise customers even still get updates for the original 2015 Windows 10, until October, and extended support until October 2025. That’s the one that used to be the default and that they want to move way from, but their new model is still more generous than Apple’s.

Also, it’s pointless that Apple now reminds me even on an old Mac that can’t run Catalina that I should upgrade to 10.15!

This, if true, is of course dumb.

Sorry, not adopting Crapalina. Kinda glad I never became a “serious developer” because if I did.... nevermind.

Is everyone enjoying Tim Cook bury macOS? Do you honestly think Apple cares about macOS at this point?

Scott Forstall was “ousted” for FAR LESS.

INB4 all Michael has to deal with “that comment is not fair” replies. Sorry Michael.

I do increasingly worry that Craig Federighi isn't striking the right balance between feature set and quality. I don't think Tim has much of anything to do with it, beyond perhaps wanting to unreasaonably limit the software engineering budget.

They've overextended themselves in breadth (macOS iOS iPadOS tvOS watchOS audioOS bridgeOS allTheOSes), most of which are on an annual cycle, and it's probably time to change that. Change the cycle, kill some stuff, decrease the feature pace, whatever it is.

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