Archive for March 12, 2024

Tuesday, March 12, 2024

Mac Stuck in Recovery After Login

After writing on my report card that all my Apple hardware was working reliably, I’ve now started having what may be hardware trouble with my 2019 Intel MacBook Pro. Sometimes, whether I’m using it or it’s just sitting there, it will let out the sneeze sound and kernel panic. This Mac has always done that, but it used to be rare and seemingly without consequences..

Now, I’ve had multiple instances where the SSV was reported as damaged and so I had to reinstall macOS.

Other times, after entering my password at the login screen, instead of logging me in it will go to Recovery. Once that happens, future boots on that same partition will keep going to Recovery. I can only log in using a different partition. The kernel panic logs show a variety of problems, from “possible memory corruption” to “panicked task” to possible Touch Bar issues, and the active processes range from WiFiAgent to WebKit.

Reinstalling macOS does fix this login problem, but it takes a long time, and eventually the problem comes back. Oddly, I’ve also found that a safe boot also temporarily fixes the problem. This was surprising to me because:

But the safe boot does allow the Mac to boot, though (until I reinstall macOS) logging in will continue to fail unless I do a safe boot every time. As I said, the login items seemed innocuous, but after manually unchecking all of them in System Settings I could then boot the Mac without safe mode. I haven’t yet bothered to bisect and figure out which login item is triggering the problem, which at root I believe to be a hardware issue.

With this workaround in place, the MacBook Pro seems to still be usable for testing the Intel versions of my apps, but I no longer really trust it as a backup Mac.

Unfortunately, it’s now gotten to the point where I have to do a safe boot every time, even with all the login items disabled. And it won’t install the macOS 14.4 update. Either with Software Update or a manually downloaded installer package, will report the update as damaged. I suspect there’s some sort of internal SSD damage, which is a shame because that’s not easily serviceable. It does work fine with semi-clean macOS installations on an external SSD, so my next step is to get a larger external SSD and make a clone.


Update (2024-03-26): The Mac seems to work properly now that I’ve switched to booting from an external SSD. In order to get that clone set up, I needed to run the macOS installer while booted from a different external SSD. Otherwise, installing macOS on the external SSD would keep failing, seemingly because it was trying to update the recovery partition on the malfunctioning internal SSD.

Microsoft Ending Windows Subsystem for Android

Microsoft (via Hacker News, 9to5Mac):

Microsoft is ending support for the Windows Subsystem for Android™️ (WSA). As a result, the Amazon Appstore on Windows and all applications and games dependent on WSA will no longer be supported beginning March 5, 2025.

Steve Troughton-Smith:

Never depend on Microsoft for anything.

Alan Miller:

This seems like the nichest of niche products since Microsoft no longer even has Android devices of its own and most Android installs run on a different cpu architecture than most Windows installs.

Michael Love:

Glad I didn’t waste time supporting the Amazon AppStore for this. (meanwhile the case for a dedicated Windows port grows)

Also maybe helps to explain Apple’s lack of enthusiasm for Catalyst, since I assume they’re seeing some of the same apathy towards blown-up-mobile-apps-on-desktop that led Microsoft to make this decision.


Features Lost Across Versions of macOS

Michael Schmitt:

Article Do You Use It? How TidBITS Readers Install macOS Updates - TidBITS says that “Some people even wait until Apple announces or even releases the next macOS version, under the theory that it somehow isn’t fully baked until then.”. I wait until the next major release, but not under that theory.

It used to be one reason to wait was that macOS updates have become so time consuming that I’d wait until there were just the faster security updates left. But now with the sealed system volume even the security updates are a pain.

So that leaves my primary reason: I used to look forward to classic Mac and OS X updates. That ended with OS X Lion. I think every OS X/macOS version since Snow Leopard has been worse than the one before. So, I put off the pain of lost functionality as long as possible.

You think I’m joking? Just look at what we’ve lost in each upgrade since OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard[…]

I think this is a bit harsh because each version brings improvements, too. I’m more sore about the bugs than most of the lost features. But I don’t think I’ve ever seen them laid out like this before. It’s quite a list.