Tuesday, January 18, 2022

BackLog 1.0

Matthias Gansrigler (tweet):

It’s complicated, or at least cumbersome, to get logs that predate you clicking “Start streaming” in Console.app – Apple’s recommendation for it is to create an entire system diagnostics report and look for files in there. Madness.

I wanted a quick and easy way to, for example, get all log entries from all processes that happened from boot time to 5 minutes after.


Numerous times I’ve had to deal with obscure app-sandbox or keychain access issues in Yoink, and having to tell customers to please open Console, filter for Yoink, and then (hopefully) reproduce the issue is just bad UX.

Now, I can send them this app with a backlog:// link, with a time range pre-defined, and all they have to do is copy-paste the results into a response to my mail. And best of all – they don’t have to reproduce anything, the logs already contain all the info I need from the last time the issue occurred.

BackLog is free.


7 Comments RSS · Twitter

Ugh. Catalina and up. No Mojave version.

@Martin Yeah, OSLogStore requires 10.15.

Honest question - what was the benefit provided by the new logging system in Sierra that justified so many regressions? I've found it to be nigh-unusable for any kind of troubleshooting ever since the unified logging system was implemented.

@Joshua It’s caused massive problems, for users and developers. However, there’s also a big benefit, which is that apps and the system are able to log a lot more information, without hurting performance (much) or filling up the disk when no one is actually viewing those logs. So there’s a greater chance that the log will contain the detailed information that you need. However, currently, it’s not easy to sort through.

Many thanks. Besides BackLog, other applications to check logs and troubleshoot the Mac are:

TinkerTool System

The best one, hands down, is TinkerTool System.

Besides Apple's Console, of course.

@ Joshua: on paper, the new logging system is much nicer. Very efficient, multiple log levels, various taxonomies (subsystem, category, etc.), ability to see other devices' logs.

In practice, some of that doesn't work reliably (though it's gotten better), and there's a sheer firehose of information*, with little guidance on how to filter it. Console does offer a search fields, but you kind of have to guess (and/or look at existing logs) to figure out which subsystems, processes, and categories even exist, much less which ones could be conducive to figuring out a problem.

*) and, as logs are wont to do, a lot of that information is in the "is this a bug in Apple's code? is it a hardware problem? should I worry?" non-actionable camp.

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