Author: John Kirn (page 1 of 60)

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.

32-bit Mac app support ending soon?

At the 2017 WWDC Apple made the vague statement that High Sierra would be the “last version of macOS to run 32-bit apps without compromise”.  This doesn’t implicitly state that macOS 10.14 won’t run 32-bit apps, but it could be interrupted that way.  It is also possible that macOS 10.14 will have some sort of limited 32-bit emulation, or just that the 32-bit Carbon framework will no longer get security updates.

This topic resurfaced recently, when Apple included a new 32-bit warning feature with the macOS 10.13.4 update.  Now whenever you launch a 32-bit app, a message is displayed saying that “[App name] is not optimized for your Mac.  This app needs to be updated by its developer to improve compatibility.”

A lot of Mac users are still running older 32-bit apps Including Microsoft Office 2011 and older versions of Adobe apps (InDesign CS 6, Illustrator CS5, Acrobat Pro X).  QuickTime 7 and Quicken 2007 are also a 32-bit app.  Now is the time to upgrade or transition to alternative 64-bit apps.

To run a report on a Mac to see how many 32-bit apps are installed, click the Apple and select About this Mac, then press the System Report button.  Next click on Applications along the left (under the Software section), and wait for the results.   In the list of applications displayed, check the “64-Bit (Intel) tab” to the far right.   Anything listed as “No” is 32-bit.

UPDATE: Apple clarified this at the 2018 WWDC… Mac OS 10.14 Mojave will be the last macOS release to support 32-bit,

EtreCheck 4 changes

One of my favorite Mac troubleshooting tools is EtreCheck, and EtreCheck 4 was released last February.  This update comes some fairly major changes, including:

  • EtreCheck 4 no longer open source (free/donationware)
    • You can run EtreCheck up to five times on a single Mac workstation for free in trial mode
    • To run EtreCheck more than five times on a single Mac workstation, a license must be purchased
    • This license costs $20 (for use in the US region), and can be installed on up to three Mac workstations
    • You can deactivate copies of EthreCheck and move a license from one Mac to another
  • EtreCheck 4 has an updated user interface
    • Items are broken down by section along the left
    • To get back to the old school output (like previous versions of EtreCheck) scroll down to the bottom of the list along the left and select Report
  • EtreCheck 4 doesn’t allow you to take screenshots of the app
    • This makes it challenging for documenting how to use EtreCheck

Secure Boot restricts what the iMac Pro can boot from

The iMac Pro has a new feature called Secure Boot, that I’m presuming will be added to future Mac models as they are released.

Secure Boot makes sure that the startup disk is “a legitimate, trusted Mac operating system or Microsoft Windows operating system”.  Secure Boot can also prevent the Mac from booting from an external drive.

The setting for Secure Boot can only be changed while booted into Recovery mode, by clicking on Utilities, and selecting Startup Security Utility.

By default Secure Boot is set to “Full Security”, which restrict the Mac from only booting from its primary startup volume and Apple recovery volumes.  The “Disallow booting from external media” choice is also set by default.  Options include:

The Secure Boot feature is something that all Mac support professionals need to know about, because changes the game when it comes to booting from external service drives or cloned volumes.

Even if an iMac Pro has Secure Boot set to “No Security”, it can’t boot from a NetBoot, NetInstall, or NetRestore image.  Apple confirms that in this support article.  Rumor has it that the forthcoming macOS 10.13.4 update will remove this restriction, allowing Mac Pros to boot from network images.  It should be noted however that Apple is now saying that network imaging can only be used to re-install the OS, and that upgrading the OS via a network image isn’t recommend or supported.

Mac Server app won’t be serving much soon

Last October I reported that Apple Server app 5.4 removes the option to setup network file shares (yes, you read right, a server app that can’t provide basic file sharing).  They also removed FTP sharing, Caching server, Time Machine backup server, and Xcode Server from the Server app.

Apple recently announced that even more services will be retired from the forthcoming Server app update, due in Spring 2018.  They have posted a support article titled “Prepare for changes to macOS Server”, listing the following services that will be depreciated:

  • Calendar
  • Contacts
  • DHCP
  • DNS
  • Mail
  • Messages
  • NetInstall
  • VPN
  • Websites
  • Wiki

Unlike file sharing, Apple claims that if you already have an existing Server app setup with these services already enabled, the service will continue to work after the Spring 2018 update.  For new installs the services will be hidden, an Apple warns that these depreciated services will be completely removed in a future release.

So you may ask yourself, what good is a Server app that can’t provide any server features?  Apple’s answer is “macOS Server is changing to focus more on management of computers, devices, and storage on your network”.  My answer is they are fully committed to removing themselves from this segment of the Enterprise market.  Instead of retiring the Server app and improving their Configurator app, they’ve decided to rip out all the “server” bits but leave the name confusing the same.

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