New SMC reset procedure for Macs with T2

The SMC reset process has changed on Macs that have an Apple T2 chip, including iMac Pros and 2018 MacBook Pros.  Apple has posted this new SMC reset process for these models:

  • Choose Apple menu > Shut Down.
  • After your Mac shuts down, press and hold its power button for 8 seconds.
  • Release the power button, then wait a few seconds.
  • Press the power button again to turn on your Mac.

Free APFS to HFS+ converter tool

I was surprised to learn that Paragon Software released a free APFS to HFS+ Converter app.  As the name would indicate, this app claims to be able to take a drive formatted as APFS and convert it to HFS+.  This is an interesting tool, and could be helpful to those who upgraded to High Sierra, had their SSD boot drive automatically converted to APFS, and this has caused some sort of problem (like not being able to host network Time Machine backups).  I’m betting this tool will only be useful for macOS 10.13, as it would appear Mojave will require APFS, but it’s worth knowing about none the less.

FileVault recovery key already set fix

If you try to turn on FileVault, and get an erroneous warning stating “A recovery key has been set by your company, school or institution”, delete these two files and reboot:

  • /Library/Keychains/FileVaultMaster.cer
  • /Library/Keychains/FileVaultMaster.keychain

This can be caused if you used Apple Migration Assistant in the past to move over data from an older Mac, and that Mac had FileVault turned on and back off again.

No cost keyboard repair program

Likely in response to several class-action lawsuits and a recall petition, Apple has created a new Keyboard Service Program for MacBook and MacBook Pro.  This free program is for models with Apple’s ultra-thin butterfly keyboard design, to address problems with keys feeling “sticky”… i.e. keys not responding in a consistent manner, including characters repeating unexpectedly or not appearing.

To have a keyboard repaired at no cost under this program, the Mac must be taken to an Apple store or Apple Authorized Service Provider.  Models covered are:

  • MacBook (Retina, 12-­inch, Early 2015)
  • MacBook (Retina, 12­-inch, Early 2016)
  • MacBook (Retina, 12-­inch, 2017)
  • MacBook Pro (13­-inch, 2016, Two Thunderbolt 3 Ports)
  • MacBook Pro (13-­inch, 2017, Two Thunderbolt 3 Ports)
  • MacBook Pro (13-­inch, 2016, Four Thunderbolt 3 Ports)
  • MacBook Pro (13-­inch, 2017, Four Thunderbolt 3 Ports)
  • MacBook Pro (15-­inch, 2016)
  • MacBook Pro (15-­inch, 2017)

Apple has been criticized for the design of the keyboard used in these Macs, which allows debris to easily get under the keys.  They introduced a new keyboard design in the 2018 MacBook Pros (released this month), that includes a thin layer of silicon that sits above the butterfly mechanism.  Unfortunately this repair program does not include this new design, and repaired keyboards used the same parts as the original.

I personally have been using a Macbook Pro (15-­inch, 2017) since last January, and my keyboard has not experienced this “sticky” issue.  I can however tell you that my keyboard is noticeably nosier than any other Mac I’ve owned.  When I’m in a room of all Windows laptop users, I frequently get made fun of because my typing is so loud.  Apple’s new keyboard design has been reported as being much quieter because of the added silicon layer.

Mojave is brining Software Update back

Mac OS 10.8 and older had a system preference pane named Software Update, and that’s where you would go to view/apply updates from Apple.  This included things like operating system patches and security updates.

Apple removed the Software Update system preference pane in Mac OS 10.9, and replaced it with one named App Store.  This was linked to the Mac App Store app, and applying Apple updates confusingly could not be done directly in the system preference pane.

Mac OS 10.14 will be bringing back the Software Update system preference pane, and removing the dependence on the Mac App Store app.  I’m guessing this is because Apple is completely overhauling the Mac App Store’s look and feel, and the confusing Apple Updates section never really seemed to fit.

Like it or not, here APFS comes

It is likely that Mojave will automatically force the conversion all types of boot volumes to APFS, including Fusion drives and hard disk drives (HDD).  Although things could change, this is the behavior being reported with the Mojave beta 1 release.

High Sierra was originally supposed to convert SSD and Fusion drives to APFS, but at the last-minute Apple decided to only force convert SSD drives.  One can only assume this was because of instability reported during beta testing.

Mojave will run 32-bit apps

Mac OS 10.14 Mojave will be the last macOS release to support 32-bit apps, including 32-bit only frameworks such as QuickTime, Java 1.6, and Carbon.  Apple announced at 2018 WWDC that future macOS releases will be 64-bit only.

This somewhat clarifies Apple’s earlier vague statement that High Sierra would be the “last version of macOS to run 32-bit apps without compromise”.  Apparently Apple decided to give developers another year to get their apps updated to 64-bit.

Mojave drops support for older Macs

The hardware requirements for Mojave will be more restrictive than compared to High Sierra, primary because Mojave offers more powerful graphic capabilities via the Metal 2 framework.  Details are still being worked out, but don’t expect Mojave to run on most 2009-2011 Macs that High Sierra supported.

Good bye mountains, hello desert

Apple announced at the 2018 WWDC that Mac OS 10.14, due out this Fall, will be named Mojave.  This macOS release adds support for new frameworks like HomeKit and Metal 2, and offers some nice (but not revolutionary) new features including: Dark mode, Gallery View, and Desktop stacks.

Since 2013 all macOS releases have been free to Mac owners, and named after landmarks in California.  Initially it looked like Apple was sticking to a mountain theme with 10.9 Mavericks, 10.10 Yosemite, 10.11 El Capitan, 10.12 Sierra, and 10.13 High Sierra.  Craig Federighi, Apple’s head of software engineering, hinted at WWDC that 10.14 Mojave’s dark mode was inspired by the beauty of the Mojave desert at night.  While I’m sure that story was born in the marketing department, let’s hope Apple steers clear of Death Valley for their next macOS release name!

R.I.P. AirPort

Apple has discontinued their AirPort line of WiFi routers, including the AirPort Epress, AirPort Extreme, and AirPort Time Capsule.  Once in-stock product is sold no more will be manufactured.

To fill the void, Apple has posted a support article to help customers with choosing a Wi-Fi router to use with Apple devices.

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