Thursday, January 27, 2022

macOS 12.3 Beta

Juli Clover:

The iPadOS 15.4 and macOS Monterey 12.3 betas that Apple released today introduce support for Universal Control, the long-awaited feature that’s designed to allow multiple Macs and iPads to be controlled with a single mouse and keyboard.

Federico Viticci:

Holy wow Universal Control is incredible.

This is me moving between a MacBook Pro, an iPad mini, and an iPad Pro using just the MacBook trackpad and keyboard. It’s aware of position, lets you drag files, and supports iPadOS gestures.

The hype was real and it all just works 🤯

Federico Viticci:

Fortunately, you can use both Universal Control and Hot Corners at the same time: just drag the iPad display a bit higher in the configuration UI. In this case, I can use the bottom left Hot Corner just fine.

• • •


Python 2.7 was removed from macOS in this update. Developers should use Python 3 or an alternative language instead.

Rich Trouton:

Apple has not included a Python 3 runtime with macOS Monterey, so the removal of Python 2.7 from macOS 12.3 and later will mean that Apple is no longer shipping a Python runtime as part of macOS.


It ships with /usr/bin/python3 - which is a stub - that the first time you run it, it will GUI prompt you to install Xcode or Developer Tools

Jeff Johnson:

There’s no distinction anymore between major and minor OS updates. Apple seems happy to not only add but also remove features in minor updates.

Stability and compatibility be damned.

• • •

Joe Rossignol:

Dropbox today announced that users who update to macOS 12.3 once that software version becomes available may temporarily encounter issues with opening online-only files in some third-party apps on their Mac.


Dropbox did not provide any further details, but Microsoft recently said macOS 12.2 will be the last version that supports its own cloud storage service OneDrive’s current online-only files implementation.

Jeff Johnson:

What’s coming is simply that Apple is removing the special exemptions for the old deprecated kernel extensions of Dropbox and Microsoft, thus forcing them to switch to the File Provider API, which already exists. There’s nothing new coming.


The system manages the local copies and mediates between the user and the file provider. So there’s a loss of direct 3rd party control, and any bugs in the system are practically impossible to work around.

Stephen Hackett:

I can easily see Apple saying something vague about security and moving on without a real explanation for moving to take features away from users of other cloud services than its own.


Update (2022-01-31): Nick Heer:

They will instead be required to use Apple’s File Provider extension, originally created for iOS’ Files app and integrated into MacOS since Catalina. It is a change that Apple has been hinting at for about a year.

The only third-party cloud storage provider I use is OneDrive, which I have to use for work, so I was hopeful this framework would help Microsoft improve the performance of its sync client without requiring too much adaptation on my part.

I was exactly wrong.


The new version of OneDrive no longer has a global preference for retaining a local copy of all files. Deleting a file now makes it vanish entirely after confirming this action — the file is no longer moved into MacOS’ Trash, nor is it in the OneDrive Recycle Bin on the web. It is simply gone. I do not know if these are choices Microsoft made or if they are side effects of the File Provider transition, but they are regressions nevertheless, and appear to only affect the MacOS client. And, as a user, I have virtually no control over these changes. It is no longer limited to specific software or specific vendors — updates that are interruptive are now everywhere. It makes using the tools for my job a never-ending process of relearning with few rewards.

Also, as a slap in the face, the OneDrive for Mac client still sometimes idles at 90% CPU consumption, and records around 200% while syncing some files. Neither MacOS nor OneDrive is a beta version, yet everything I use seems to behave as though I am testing it.

• • •


Despite this being a point release, there are a few breaking changes.

But to generalise, you’ll want to check all your scripts and packages for occurrences of python -c , /usr/bin/python or /usr/bin/env python.


Whilst macOS Catalinas release notes state that Ruby and Perl will not be included in future macOS in the same sentence as Python, there doesn’t appear to be any public timeline around their removal, but could be macOS 12.4!

Dr. Drang:

This will make it harder to share Shortcuts and Keyboard Maestro macros that call out to Python, as you won’t know if the sharee has it installed. That prompt to install Xcode tools is going to scare off a lot of users.

Howard Oakley:

Universal installers for the official Python Software Foundation distribution are available from here. If you want to make a relocatable Python framework containing PyObjC, then this GitHub should provide a good solution.

• • •

Joe Rossignol:

Apple today updated its macOS 12.3 beta release notes to warn macOS Catalina users about a potential boot loop issue when installing the macOS 12.3 or macOS 11.6.4 betas on a separate APFS volume with FileVault enabled.

Update (2022-02-16): Dave Nanian:

Under macOS 12.3 beta, on Apple silicon, ‘asr’ calls ‘bless’ with bad options and fails.


Apple’s mandatory tool, calling another mandatory Apple tool.

Saagar Jha:

The latest macOS beta appears to have a new XProtect written in Swift and it has the terrifying behavior of launching an app with a default icon into your dock at random times of day that disappears half a second later, then making MRTv3 take up CPU for the next minute or so

Update (2022-03-07): Kandji:

And yet the imminent removal of Python 2.7—macOS 12.3 is expected to ship sometime this spring—still demands attention from Apple admins. Here’s what it could mean to you and what you can do to prepare.

Dave Nanian:

[As] I tweeted some time ago, Monterey 12.3, all the way to B4, breaks ‘asr’ which fails to complete due to bless errors on Apple Silicon.

6 Comments RSS · Twitter

Holy wow Universal Control is incredible.

It does look fairly smooth from demos I’ve seen. Drag & drop of an image file from a Mac to an iPad running Notes, and having that image file become an inline rendered picture, with little delay, is quite nice.

I hope it’s reliable when it ships. (It’s still marked as “beta”, and I imagine they won’t remove that label until 13.0 or so.) Apple’s Continuity features have, for me, a bit of a spotty history there. Gotten better, but far from perfect, and frustrating every time they fail (because there’s little actionable information as to why they fail).

So this is basically Apple’s take on Synergy, Mouse without Borders, etc. Unlike those, it can support the iPad.

I can’t help but wonder: if not for iPadOS’s security restrictions, would someone have done something like this by now? Clunkier than Apple, but years earlier? Probably.

There’s no distinction anymore between major and minor OS updates. Apple seems happy to not only add but also remove features in minor updates.

Especially since it seems to be… unforced? Why remove it now (a security issue that nobody can be bothered to fix any more, perhaps)? Why not with 12.0 or 13.0?

I can easily see Apple saying something vague about security and moving on without a real explanation for moving to take features away from users of other cloud services than its own.

OK, but in this case, they were granted exemptions for a while, and there’s a new way of doing it.

That said, it sounds like that new way hasn’t been particularly stable for all too long?

@Sören My understanding is that the new way is less flexible and still unreliable, but I guess we’ll see.

The definition of minor release is that you don't deprecate entire subsystems so that people's systems keep working. Somehow this whole attitude of "ship now and fix bugs later over the internet" thing is getting out of hand.

A TeX Live Utility user mentioned last night that Apple was removing Python in 12.3, and I thought nothing of it…until just now learning that they're incrementing the formerly major dot version as a minor version. Wow.

I have pretty low expectations of Apple these days, but never imagined they'd remove Python in a minor release. My code will work with either 2.x or 3.x, but users don't expect to install Python before running it (and I haven't yet figured out how to build a fat binary of the Python framework and bundle it, or had time to rewrite all my code in Obj-C).

"That said, it sounds like that new way hasn’t been particularly stable for all too long?"

Its not just that, but its terrible and there are features being lost. I don't know what I'm going to do. For now, not upgrade to MacOS 12.

Just discovered that Handoff doesn't work with VoiceOver's screen curtain feature enabled. I do hope they fix that, and soon; definitely looking forward to being able to remote-control my headless Mini from my iMac.

As to the file provider changes, well if you can put up with not having any insight into file transfer progress, I suppose you could always use rclone to sync into the file system. Would not be the same experience obviously but the crucial loss of native file sync would be done away with, albeit, at the slow pace of many APIs. It's a shitty move really, specially given iCloud Drive's clear first-party advantage on both iOS and macOS.

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