Archive for February 8, 2021

Monday, February 8, 2021

Check Free Space Before Updating to Big Sur

Mr. Macintosh:

The macOS Big Sur upgrade is not checking for available HD space. The upgrade will run out of space and fail. Even worse, if FV2 encryption is enabled, you will be locked out of your data!


This isn’t the first time I’ve reported on update issues that could cause data loss. The 2019-001 Security update issue was close to this one. If you installed the 2019-001 Security Update and the Mac was encrypted, the user could be locked out.


If you have a T2 Mac, you will not be able to get into macOS recovery because your password will not work. This problem further complicates recovery efforts.


I feel for anyone who had this issue over the past 3 months. Almost every single situation ended up with an erase and reinstall losing all data.

The problem only seems to affect updating to Big Sur, not updating from macOS 11.1 to 11.2.


Update (2021-02-19): Adam Engst:

If you or someone you know ends up in the Boot Recovery Assistant loop after attempting to upgrade to Big Sur, there are various workarounds, depending on whether or not your Mac has a T2 chip and whether or not you have enabled FileVault.

Filipe Espósito:

Apple has finally fixed the issue with a new build of macOS Big Sur 11.2.1, which properly checks if the disk has the required space before starting the upgrade process.

Intel’s M1 Benchmarks

Joe Rossignol:

Nearly three months after the launch of Apple’s rave-reviewed M1 Macs, Intel has fired back, but there are some asterisks involved.

In a slideshow shared by PCWorld this week, Intel highlighted what PCWorld described as “carefully crafted” benchmarks in an attempt to prove that laptops with the latest 11th Generation Core processors are superior to those with Apple’s custom-designed M1 chip.

Andrew E. Freedman (Hacker News, Slashdot):

Intel claims the 11th-Gen system, an internal whitebox with an Intel Core i7-1185G7 and 16GB of RAM, is 30% faster overall in Chrome and faster in every Office task. This largely goes against what we saw in our 13-inch MacBook Pro with M1 review, where benchmarks showed M1 to be largely on the same level, if not better.


Intel also claims that the i7-1185G7 is six times faster than M1 on AI-tools from Topaz Labs and Adobe Premiere, Photoshop and Lightroom functions.


In battery life, Intel switched to an Intel Core i7-1165G7 notebook, the Acer Swift 5, rather than sticking with the Core i7-1185G7 in the whitebook it used for performance testing. It also tested a MacBook Air. They ran Netflix streams and tabs and found the MacBook Air came ahead with a six-minute difference.

Jason Snell:

Inconsistent test platforms, shifting arguments, omitted data, and the not-so-faint whiff of desperation.


Update (2021-02-19): Juli Clover:

In ads shared on Twitter, Intel has been highlighting the shortcomings of Apple's M1 Mac lineup. An ad this week, for example, points out the gaming capabilities of Intel chips. Intel mentions Rocket League, a game that is not available on Apple's platform.

Filipe Espósito (tweet):

The new campaign has been running on Twitter and other websites claiming that there are some tasks that only Windows PCs can do. In one of the new ads, Intel says that “only a PC offers tablet mode, touch screen and stylus capabilities in a single device,” which is similar to what Microsoft does in Surface ads.

Another ad in the campaign is even more aggressive by claiming that Macs are not ideal for engineers and games, as Windows has a broader catalog of software and games than macOS.

iPhone’s Adult Content Filter Blocks Anything “Asian”

Victoria Song (via Hacker News):

Enabling Apple’s “Limit Adult Websites” filter in the iOS Screen Time setting will block users from seeing any Google search results for “Asian” in any browser on their iPhone.


The search result exclusion was initially reported by the Independent, but Gizmodo was also able to independently confirm that enabling the filter means any search tangentially related to “Asian” (i.e., Asian-American, Asian food, Southeast Asian, Asian restaurants near me, etc) will return a message reading “You cannot browse this page at ‘’ because it is restricted,” or, “The URL was blocked by a content filter.”


Shen also told the Independent that he had filed a report to Apple in December 2019 pointing out the issue, but that he never received a response.

I was surprised to find that it really does seem to be blocking based on the keyword being in the URL. Google and Bing searches failed for me, as did viewing various Wikipedia pages.

Update (2021-04-07): Matt Binder (via Hacker News):

Mashable has confirmed that in the latest iOS 14.5 Beta, the adult content filter no longer blocks web searches containing the word “Asian.”

Call Recorder Succumbs to Apple Silicon


Call Recorder for Skype is not compatible with Apple’s M1 Macs. […] Call Recorder for Skype will not be updated for compatibility with M1 Macs.

Jason Snell:

Over the past year, nearly every Skype update has broken compatibility with Call Recorder, requiring Ecamm to issue repeated updates and even change how the app behaves so that it automatically reinstalls itself after Skype kicks it out.

John Gruber:

With the exception of unusual episodes recorded with my guest(s) in person, I’ve recorded every episode of The Talk Show using Call Recorder. It does one thing and does it well, and I love the option to record all Skype calls automatically.

Stephen Hackett:

Call Recorder not surviving the Apple silicon transition is a real bummer, as it was the easiest way to record but local audio and audio from a Skype call, all automatically.

Jason Snell:

In fact, if I’m being honest, Call Recorder hasn’t been my primary audio-recording tool for years. That distinction goes to Audio Hijack, which works with any app (not just Skype). But I have kept Call Recorder running for every Skype call I make, sometimes as my primary recorder, more often as a backup.

There’s a broader issue here, though. We rely on tools, and we build whole workflows around those tools. Remove the core tool from the bricolage of software, hardware, and mental calculation that forms a computer workflow, and you might end up never noticing—or the whole thing might collapse like a wobbly Jenga tower.

David Sparks:

I can’t recall Audio Hijack ever failing me. Nevertheless, I really felt good knowing I had that Skype Call Recorder backup. With its demise, I can make a backup of me alone using QuickTime, but it’s really not the same. I’m not capturing the entire call. I’ve been talking to other podcasters about this dilemma and the collective wisdom seems to be leaning toward moving the entire recording process over to Zoom.

Nick Heer:

I wish software were more durable over the long term, but that comes with its own baggage. That has long been the wrench in the spokes of Microsoft’s bicycle: some companies depend on software written when I was learning to walk.

On an individual level, we have to be okay with adaptation, but it is hard.