Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Remaining Issues New in Catalina

After staying on Mojave for an extra year due to the large number of issues with Catalina, I started using it on my main Mac with macOS 10.15.7. This post lists some of the problems I’ve run into that were not present in Mojave. These are user-facing bugs, not including the API bugs that I filed around the time Catalina was released. These are very unlikely to be fixed at this point, and it’s extra work to develop on Catalina and test on Big Sur, so I plan to upgrade to Big Sur soon. Xcode 12.5 will require it, but I’m hoping that a new version of SuperDuper will be released first.


Update (2021-02-19): See also: Reddit.

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“ Syncing my iPhone over Wi-Fi never completes and can’t be canceled. The chasing arrows continue spinning even if I power off my iPhone.”

I get this on Mojave, FYI.

Honestly, how does Federighi still have a job at Apple?

And are any of these bugs @mjtsai mentioned fixed in Big Sur or is it another buggy mess like Catalina?

@Martin: According to the Six Colors report card, a lot of reviewers think Big Sur is better.

But I'm sure there are a lot of us who were bitten by upgrading to Catalina, and no matter how much we hear that Big Sur is better, we're not going to try to solve our upgrade problems by upgrading again. At least, not any time soon.

I too experienced the Finder stuck on iOS WiFi syncing mostly in Catalina but also earlier in Big Sur, but probably not after 11.1 or certainly 11.2. It is amazing because there is no GUI way to solve it. Even trying to log-out is confounded. You pretty much have to go into Activity Monitor and force-quit any process that starts with AMP. (or be recklessly daring and do a wildcard killall in terminal!) And then very quickly log-out before the nonsense starts over again.

Interestingly, I have the Mail search bug on iOS only. I search for a string, it shows a few relevant “Top Hits” results... but then I click on the “Search for [term]” which is supposed to show all relevant matches and it then says “No results found”. WTF happened to the Top Hits? I have not found any reliable way to reproduce it either.

To mitigate the Finder/iOS sync issues use iMazing.

I sync 3 iPads and an iPhone 8 over iMazing WiFi with no issues.

The only thing I use “Finder sync” for is syncing playlist songs to iPhone and *only* via USB.

Apple’s iTunes and now Finder sync are a joke TBQH. Once you use iMazing you’ll understand this.

ARD transfers seem to be much better than “Screen Sharing” but Apple stopped updating ARD. They show the update in the MAS but then it errors that Big Sur is required.

That “update” has been taunting me since Nov.17th and won’t go away.

Catalina reminds me of Windows Vista, the problem I’m hearing is that if you want to “restore” an M1 mac it practically requires an older Mac with Catalina.

So any Apple people out there reading this, you’d better put some (more) time into Catalina if you expect it to be a mid-term restore and dev tool for the new shiny.

And yes given the whole “exempt Apple network traffic” fiasco that was “fixed” in 11.2 I’m also wondering why Federighi is still employed.

Ben G: I've never found "Top Hits" to be anything but useless. What's the point of two sets of search results, stacked on top of each other? I would love to have a way to disable that mess.

Yeah, I'd agree that you should just move to Big Sur. Catalina is the operating system update that does not exist--that never existed.

The bigger issue IMNSHO is Apple's complete disregard of QA, and the change of the Mac as a platform away from the consistent, powerful and reliable OS we probably all fell in love with to the "vertical" and poorly-implemented companion OS to desktop hardware that brings the functionality of iOS devices to desktop form factors (with existing power-user functionality essentially vestigial). Everywhere I go now, the exaltation is all for the M1 hardware, not the platform. But, of course, you've heard this all before, so I'll stop now before I start.

FWIW the iTunes Wi-Fi sync issue exists on Mojave as well, but of course you can just quit iTunes and restart it. The issue with Catalina and BS is it's way harder to get things going again.

Major blocker for BS remains for me the whole Books audiobooks issue. I really am going to have to sort something out for that as moving my library to my internal drive just isn't an option I'm prepared to accept.

@Sebby: It seems there is a workaround to avoid storing (audio)books on the internal drive. According to this comment on Kirkville, you can store them wherever you want and then drag them onto the iPhone's window in the Finder to copy them on. A bit of a manual process, but one option (the other would be playing around with symlinks to see if you can get something working):


@Jolin yeah I think that's probably what I'll have to do assuming I'm still using the Books app. A pain in the arse, and I can no longer rely on my existing workflow for stripping DRM from Audible books and then auto-adding them to my library, search for a book in the window of the Books app, or organise my collection nicely in the filesystem on my NAS. Also unlike ebooks, the (expensive, but tolerable) option of using iCloud isn't available. All perfectly shitty, and it makes me very despondent to know that, at least as of right now, iTunes for Windows is not similarly afflicted. The other options are fragile (symlinks not working reliably, abandoned alternative apps, trying to use the Music app really not being very workable for large collections of single-file audiobooks, etc). Audiobook listeners are not well-served by the iTunes breakup.

If your Mac has become very unstable after upgrading to Catalina, it might be because you are using (the otherwise great tool) BlockBlock:

After upgrading to Catalina, my Mac mini would freeze/panic reliably unless I rebooted it every few days. I then saw reports about BlockBlock causing kernel memory leaks and was able to confirm (using `sudo zprint`) my Mac mini was indeed leaking memory in "kalloc.128", as others had observed.

Once I had removed BlockBlock from that Mac, those leaks stopped and Catalina is now as stable on my mini, as Mojave was before. I only reboot it for security updates and it currently has an uptime of 34 days.

@NSSynapse Good to know. The only kext I have installed is Little Snitch.

Mojave is the most reliable OSX version since Snow Leopard, absolute no need to upgrade when everything works (to me) flawlessly.

In fact I’d love to run it on recent hardware

@iMojito Be careful updating even within macOS 10.14. A security update for Mojave that’s currently in beta introduces a serious bug in Mail (FB8990618).

@NSSynapse Thank you very much for that tip about BlockBlock. I never would have suspected BB, Patrick's tools are quite top notch.

Can't move to BS and don't plan to in the near term, as far as I'm concerned Apple seems to be focusing on M1 Macs and I'm just not comfortable putting more money into a "new" OS and "new" (untested, certainly not by Apple QA) hardware.

There are just too many dealbreakers at this point, the big one for me being no ability to clone or boot from external drives.

> Various apps can’t open open/save panels due to XPC errors. Other times, the panels do open but take 30 seconds to do so.

I had this for several years on 10.14 (and earlier I think). It was one of the main reasons I did a clean update to Big Sur (my first clean update in over a decade). That solved it.

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