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If I plug the dock into the MacBook Pro from a "cold" boot (I come into the office in the morning, plug the OWC dock in and turn on the MacBook Pro from a power-off state), I have to use the MacBook Pro display to select the user to log in - i.e. nothing will show up on the external monitor until some seconds after I select the user to log in.

I can often reboot without touching the MacBook Pro again (i.e. everything still works on the external display), but sometimes the booting process seems stuck and nothing shows up on the external display nor on the MacBook Pro if I open the lid. But I know it's on, because I can hear the fan going. I end up having to do a hard shutdown (hold down power for a few seconds) and then boot up again as if I'm doing it for the first time in the morning (i.e. I have to use the MacBook Pro display to log in, and I can't use the external display until after I do that).

Does anyone else have a similar setup? I'm chalking the "cold boot" issue to security... so is that normal that you can't use an external monitor right off the bat? I remember the old days where I'd plug my monitor and USB hub into my MacBook Pro with the lid closed, and everything would start up and just *work*. But is this the new normal?
When I took my 2018 MacBook Pro into Apple for a broken screen last month, the genius told me these recent computers will not recognize an external monitor until some account logs in. When I got it back, my tests confirmed that. I found that after the external monitor started working, it kept working, accounts logged in or not, until the system was powered down. (I don't think a reboot powers down the computer.) I considered setting up an account that always automatically logs in but has no permissions to do anything at all.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
If I plug the dock into the MacBook Pro from a "cold" boot (I come into the office in the morning, plug the OWC dock in and turn on the MacBook Pro from a power-off state), I have to use the MacBook Pro display to select the user to log in - i.e. nothing will show up on the external monitor until some seconds after I select the user to log in.
When I took my 2018 MacBook Pro into Apple for a broken screen last month, the genius told me these recent computers will not recognize an external monitor until some account logs in. When I got it back, my tests confirmed that.
I see the same behavior on a 2015 MacBook Pro running macOS 10.12.6 Sierra with an external Viewsonic VP2770 display connected via DisplayPort (i.e. a Mini DisplayPort-DisplayPort cable attached to the MacBook Pro's Thunderbolt 2 port):
  1. Power on while the MacBook Pro is connected to a power adapter.
  2. External screen is black. MacBook Pro screen shows user/password prompt for unlocking FileVault boot volume.
  3. Enter password.
  4. Both internal and external displays go black but flash various things as they proceed to:
  5. user/password login prompt displayed on both screens
I can close the MacBook Pro display during this startup routine or afterwards without affecting the external display. And, if I reboot after logging in (without powering down) while the MacBook Pro display is closed, the external display continues to work.

So, this issue doesn't appear to be dependent on either macOS Mojave or T2-based Macs.
 


If I plug the dock into the MacBook Pro from a "cold" boot (I come into the office in the morning, plug the OWC dock in and turn on the MacBook Pro from a power-off state), I have to use the MacBook Pro display to select the user to log in - i.e. nothing will show up on the external monitor until some seconds after I select the user to log in.
Is your external monitor 4K, and are you using FileVault? This is a well-known, but undocumented problem. The FileVault software cannot drive the monitor, so the screen is blank. The workaround is to login "blind." If you only have one user, just type the password. If you have more than one user, type the first character of the login you want to use, then Return, then the password.
 


Is your external monitor 4K, and are you using FileVault? This is a well-known, but undocumented problem. The FileVault software cannot drive the monitor, so the screen is blank. The workaround is to login "blind." If you only have one user, just type the password. If you have more than one user, type the first character of the login you want to use, then Return, then the password.
Well that kind of stinks, but thanks for the workaround!
 


When I took my 2018 MacBook Pro into Apple for a broken screen last month, the genius told me these recent computers will not recognize an external monitor until some account logs in. When I got it back, my tests confirmed that. I found that after the external monitor started working, it kept working, accounts logged in or not, until the system was powered down. (I don't think a reboot powers down the computer.) I considered setting up an account that always automatically logs in but has no permissions to do anything at all.
So it's a "feature", not a bug... got it. Thanks for confirming!
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Regarding blank screens at startup with FileVault, I just installed macOS Mojave, and startup goes like this on a 2017 iMac 5K with no external screen:
  1. reboot computer
  2. get FileVault password prompt
  3. boot begins with background picture and progress bar
  4. screen goes black midway through startup
  5. shortly afterwards, the progress bar appears on the black screen
  6. after a while the background picture re-appears with a username/login prompt
 


Regarding blank screens at startup with FileVault, I just installed macOS Mojave, and startup goes like this on a 2017 iMac 5K with no external screen:
  1. reboot computer
  2. get FileVault password prompt
  3. boot begins with background picture and progress bar
  4. screen goes black midway through startup
  5. shortly afterwards, the progress bar appears on the black screen
  6. after a while the background picture re-appears with a username/login prompt
Perhaps you have not used the Security control panel to allow one or more users to unlock the boot volume at login time, so you need to unlock the boot volume before logging it. It can be a one-step process:

Log on with an administrator account and go to System Preferences, Security & Privacy, FileVault. Click Enable Users next to the warning “Some users are not able to unlock the disk.”
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Perhaps you have not used the Security control panel to allow one or more users to unlock the boot volume at login time, so you need to unlock the boot volume before logging it. It can be a one-step process...
Yes, that is, in fact, the case. On a vanilla Mojave installation with a single admin user, the first authentication prompt authenticates both FileVault and the user login account, and the blank screen is not displayed — the desktop background persists through the startup process.

This obnoxiously confusing new problem is not present in macOS Sierra (or HFS+) but is at least documented by Bombich Software, though apparently not by Apple.
Carbon Copy Cloner FAQ said:
Frequently Asked Questions about encrypting the backup volume
APFS volumes that contain an installation of macOS will each have a unique "secure access token". Access to this token allows users to do things like unlock the volume (e.g. if FileVault is enabled) and to change startup security settings. Because this token is volume-specific, it can't be copied to another volume; it has to be regenerated. In addition to this Secure Token, APFS volumes also have a list of users or keys that are "bound" to the volume. These "cryptographic users" are defined within the volume metadata, not within any particular file on the volume. As a result, these bound cryptographic users cannot be modified by CCC nor transferred from one volume to another. This cryptographic user list is proprietary to Apple; only Apple tools can modify the list, and only Apple tools can generate a SecureToken.

... If you can boot your Mac from the backup, but you're seeing a stall during startup, you can resolve that matter by decrypting the volume as indicated above, or by creating a new user account that has a Secure Access Token. Only the macOS Setup Assistant has the ability to create the first secure access token, so follow these steps while booted from the volume you're trying to repair...

Working with FileVault Encryption
... If your backup volume is an SSD, and if you delete files from the SSD prior to enabling encryption, then the SSD may automatically move the not-yet-encrypted underlying blocks out of rotation (for wear leveling), and those data could be recoverable by experts. Likewise, if the conversion process fails for any reason, then the data on that disk is potentially recoverable. If either of these scenarios is not acceptable, then we recommend that you exclude any sensitive data from the initial backup task. Don't exclude your whole home folder...

T2-based Macs can't boot from encrypted HFS+ volumes
Our testing has confirmed that Macs with Apple's T2 controller chip cannot boot from an encrypted, "Mac OS Extended"-formatted, external volume. Booting from an external volume works fine in general, but if your external disk is formatted using Apple's legacy HFS+, "Mac OS Extended" format, enabling FileVault on that volume will render it non-bootable, producing an error message like this on startup:

A software update is required to use this startup disk. You can update now or select another startup disk.

Spoiler alert: The "Update" option does not work. This may be a bug in the firmware of the T2 Macs, or it may be a limitation that Apple does not intend to address. In either case, if you want to encrypt your external, bootable backup of a T2-based Mac, we recommend formatting that backup volume as APFS.
In addition to the other issues involved, Apple's confusing new procedures/demands also reduce security.
Log on with an administrator account and go to System Preferences, Security & Privacy, FileVault. Click Enable Users next to the warning “Some users are not able to unlock the disk.”
Interestingly, this is not working on my current Mojave system. Clicking the button does nothing.

#apfs #boot #filevault #token #secureaccesstoken #security
 


When I took my 2018 MacBook Pro into Apple for a broken screen last month, the genius told me these recent computers will not recognize an external monitor until some account logs in. When I got it back, my tests confirmed that.
That's not my experience with my 2018 MacBook Pro running macOS 10.13.6. I have a 4K LG monitor connected via DisplayPort to a CalDigit TS3+ dock. From power off, I can press the power button then close the MacBook Pro, the Apple logo appears on the external monitor, I see the progress bar, and I get the login screen to unlock FileVault. At this point the resolution is 1080p, but once I'm logged in the monitor is recognized as 4K.
 


Apple's panel is probably close to the IPS tech in the Asus ProArt PA32UCX 4K HDR Mini LED Professional Monitor.
That's a very interesting 4K UHD alternative to Apple's 6K display and is apparently priced at $3999, complete with an adjustable stand (and VESA support).
I am kind of curious if Asus had this one in the pipeline all along and moved it up or was just testing the waters with the UCX before this UCG. The UCX is just about to go into pre-order status (shipping this month).
The Verge said:
Asus takes on Apple’s Pro Display with its new ProArt monitor
Asus has unveiled a new ProArt display, a top-spec monitor that’s designed for professional users. The company claims that the PA32UCG is the world’s first professional 4K display that supports a combination of a maximum brightness of 1600 nits and a 120Hz variable refresh rate. These specs, alongside a variety of HDR support, put the display into direct competition with Apple, which announced its own display for professional users, the Pro Display XDR, earlier this year.
... Asus didn’t announce any pricing at its conference at IFA 2019, but it said that it plans to ship the ProArt Display PA32UCG in the first quarter of next year.
So they are announcing something with "better' specs right when starting to take orders for another that was previewed back in Jan 2019. The price will probably be higher, since this new one does 1,000 nits sustained and a higher refresh rate. However, the timing is just a little odd.

Apple is in for some competition. If their whole market strategy is primarily to point at the $10-20K reference models and say "we're more affordable", then they have some problems (though Asus isn't pitching it as a reference monitor replacement but for high-end gaming, but Apple won't be on as isolated of an 'island.")
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
So they are announcing something with "better' specs right when starting to take orders for another that was previewed back in Jan 2019.
I just received this update from B&H:
B&H Photo Video said:
You are receiving this message because you asked to be notified when the ASUS 32" ProArt PA32UCX 4K HDR Mini LED Professional Monitor (B&H # ASPA32UCX) becomes available. We advised you then that we would send you interim updates. We regret the item remains unavailable.

We will continue to update you on the status of this item via email every 2 weeks until it becomes available to you.
 




Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Note that all the 32" Asus ProArt monitors are 4K (3840 x 2160) and thus have only 138 ppi,
If my math and Wikipedia's are correct, the ProArt PA32UCX has 54 pixels/cm. vs. 86 pixels/cm. for Apple's 4K, 5K and 6K displays. I'm not sure how dramatic that difference will look in real life.
ASUS said:
ProArt PA32UCX: Specifications

Panel Size: Wide Screen 32” (81.28cm) 16:9
Panel Type : IPS
True Resolution : 3840x2160
Display Viewing Area(HxV) : 708.48 x 308.52 mm
Display Surface : Non-glare
Pixel Pitch : 0.1845 mm
Brightness : 600 cd/㎡ (Typical)/1200 cd/㎡ (Peak)
Contrast Ratio : 1000 :1 (Typical)/1000000 :1 (HDR)
ASUS Smart Contrast Ratio (ASCR) : 100000000:1
Viewing Angle (CR≧10) : 178°(H)/178°(V)
Response Time : 5ms (Gray to Gray)
Display Colors : 1073.7M (10bit)
Flicker free
LCD ZBD Warranty :
Yes
HDR (High Dynamic Range) Support : Yes (HDR-10 /HLG (Hybrid Log Gamma)/Dolby Vision)
Dynamically Local Dimming : Yes, 1152 Zones
...
Then, of course, there's Dell's UltraSharp 32 8K display (UP3218K) with much smaller pixels and higher resolution vs. Apple's 6K display (and priced much lower at $3899.99, complete with adjustable stand and anti-reflective hard coating).
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
I stumbled on an apparently easy solution to the Mojave wake-from-sleep issue. I have a late 2018 Mac Mini, which has had the issue for several months. The most recent macOS updates (current through 10.14.6 Supplemental) subjectively reduced the problem, but it still continued occasionally, at least once a day (particularly when first waking the computer in the morning). The only immediate solution was unplugging the HDMI connection to the monitor, then plugging it back in again.

Finally, in frustration on a hunch, I unchecked two options in Energy Saver Preferences: "Put hard disks to sleep when possible" and "Enable Power Nap." In the 10 days since I did that (I've kept a log), I have not had a single wake from sleep problem. The other three options are still checked (they involve waking; I turned off the two that involved sleeping). FWIW.
Thanks for letting us know about that!

Another issue I encountered recently - but on an Intel NUC running Linux, rather than on a Mac - was with an LG 4K display (27UK650) and "HDMI ULTRA HD Deep Color" mode, set inside the monitor itself via its own controls/firmware. Things were a mess until I disabled that and some other options (Game Adjust/FreeSync etc.).
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Here's more about the new Asus display:
DPReview said:
Asus takes on Apple's Pro Display XDR with new 1600-nit HDR ProArt Display
Asus has shown a series of new ProArt products at the IFA show in Berlin including what it describes as ‘the world’s first HDR 1600 and 120Hz variable-refresh rate professional display.’ The ProArt Display PA32UCG is a 32in monitor with 4K UHD resolution and a 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio, and is aimed at those who need absolute color accuracy in standard and high dynamic range modes. The display is compatible with the Dolby Vision, Hybrid Log-Gamma and HDR10 HDR standards and uses over 1000 mini LED back lights to produce a maximum brightness of 1,600 nits.

This Asus display could be out before Apple's Pro Display XDR goes on sale. Both displays are 32in and offer a maximum brightness of 1600 nits, HDR and 10-bit color, but Apple's model has 6K resolution whereas this one is limited to 4K. The Asus ProArt Display, however, has a faster refresh rate than Apple's 60Hz - and is likely to cost less. A stand is also included with Asus' monitor.
A lower-end Thunderbolt 3 model is already available at $1499 with a bunch of the same features:
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
This very high-level 4K display, which may compete with Apple's unreleased and much more expensive "XDR" display, finally became available, but supplies may be very limited:

  • 32-Inch 4K HDR (3840 x 2160) Professional display with Thunderbolt 3 x2, DisplayPort 1.2, USB 3.0 x2, HDMI 2.0B x3 inputs and 3W stereo speakers
  • True 10-bit color depth and quantum-dot technology provides 99% DCI-P3, 99.5% Adobe RGB, and 100% sRGB, 89% rec. 2020 color space for exceptional Color fidelity
  • Asus SMART HDR technology supports multiple HDR formats including HDR-10, Dolby Vision, and HLG
  • Asus Eye Care technology with certified low Blue light and flicker-free technology paired with ergonomic tilt, swivel, pivot and height adjustment stand
  • Thunderbolt 3 USB-C supports data transfers at up to 40 Gaps, and Power delivery provides up to 60W of power to external devices
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Meanwhile, Dell announced another high-end monitor, at a third the price of Apple's XDR display, but it won't ship until January 2020:
Dell blog said:
Dell Brings the Ultimate Screen Performance to AdobeMax
Dell is excited to introduce the Dell UltraSharp 27 4K PremierColor Monitor (UP2720Q) – the world’s first 27-inch 4K monitor with a built-in colorimeter and Thunderbolt 3 connectivity for content creators who require color-critical performance.

... The Dell UltraSharp 27 4K PremierColor Monitor offers 100% Adobe RGB, 98% DCI-P3 and 80% BT2020, providing a wide range of color reproduction across different color space standards.

... The built-in colorimeter helps users stay productive and get work done faster with quick and easy calibration – on-demand or scheduled after hours for consistent and optimized color performance every time. Users will also experience a more efficient workflow with a responsive built-in colorimeter that maintains consistency from production to delivery. The UltraSharp 27 4K PremierColor is a CalMAN® Ready monitor and works seamlessly with CalMAN® color calibration software (sold separately) to perform a variety of tasks, including calibration with a built-in or external colorimeter.

... The high contrast ratio and low dark luminance offer impressive contrasts and deep blacks. Any unwanted glare and reflection on the monitor from sunlight or overhead lights can be reduced using the easy-to-attach shading hood.

... This performance-packed monitor offers Thunderbolt 3 with speed up to 40Gbps – the fastest and most versatile connectivity with two Thunderbolt 3 ports, and can charge up to 90W to a connected notebook while simultaneously transferring video and data signals.

... The Dell UltraSharp 27 4K PremierColor Monitor will be available Jan. 15, 2020 worldwide starting at $1,999.99.
 


Meanwhile, Dell announced another high-end monitor, at a third the price of Apple's XDR display, but it won't ship until January 2020:
Unless the spec sheet (along with other reports I've read) has an error, keep in mind it's nothing close to HDR on the Dell. "Brightness 250 cd/m2 (typical)"

The Asus ProArt PA32UCX you mentioned above, however, has tremendous potential. I hope to be playing with one next week.
 



Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Here's some useful information (with test images) for anyone considering using a TV as a computer display:
Rtings.com said:
Chroma Subsampling
4:4:4 vs 4:2:2 vs 4:2:0
...
When does it matter?
Subsampling Visual Impact
PC4:4:4Major
Movies4:2:0None
Video Games4:4:4Minor
Sports4:2:0None
TV Shows4:2:0None

Artifacts from chroma subsampling are at their most noticeable with text atop a flat color. The impact is far less visible in videos and photos. This matters when connecting your TV to a computer, as you don't want your text to be blurry to the point of being unreadable.
 


Apple promised the new Mac Pro would be available in the fall of 2019. Fall technically runs from September 23 to December 22 this calendar year. Buried in today's MacBook Pro announcement was the following tidbit at the very end, almost as an afterthought.
For what it's worth, noticed yesterday that the Apple Pro Display XDR is mentioned in a Photos > Preferences help page.
Apple Support said:
Change preferences in Photos on Mac
HDR
If an Apple Pro Display XDR is connected to your Mac, the HDR checkbox appears and is selected to show the full dynamic range of your photos (when the Photos window appears on the display).
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
For what it's worth, noticed yesterday that the Apple Pro Display XDR is mentioned in a Photos > Preferences help page.
Apple Support said:
Change preferences in Photos on Mac
HDR
If an Apple Pro Display XDR is connected to your Mac, the HDR checkbox appears and is selected to show the full dynamic range of your photos (when the Photos window appears on the display).
They probably got that from iOS (e.g. for iPhone X):
iPhone Settings > Photos said:
View Full HDR [Off/On]
Automatically adjust the display to show the complete dynamic range of photos.
 


I’m in the market for a new display for my 2018 MacBook Pro 15”, and would like to purchase through Ric’s Amazon link to help the site during this 2019 Black Friday sales week. Even after chasing many of the links in this thread, I’m still overwhelmed with the options, and listings on Amazon aren’t always clear on ports, etc.

I’d love suggestions, preferably from those who own whatever model they recommend, for a 27-32” 4K or better display (prefer a taller ratio over super-widescreen). I’d like to do away with the mess of adapters I currently have - so something that will plug directly into my MacBook Pro’s USB-C port, with at least one USB-C and one USB-A port on the display. Don’t want built in speakers or microphone. Ability to power the laptop isn’t critical. Would like to spend under $700 or so. A design language that complements the laptop is important, too - this display with replace an Apple Cinema 30” that I love, but that has to go back to my employer when I retire at the end of the year.

Thanks for sharing your suggestions and experiences.
 


I’m in the market for a new display for my 2018 MacBook Pro 15”, and would like to purchase through Ric’s Amazon link to help the site during this 2019 Black Friday sales week...
As noted above, I've found this to be very acceptable:

ViewSonic VP3268-4K PRO 32" 4K Monitor with 100% sRGB Rec 709, HDR10, 14-bit 3D LUT, Color Calibration for Photography and Graphic Design

It's a bit over your $700 desired limit, but I still like it. Styling is simple black. The Amazon link given here shows it well enough, and includes Ric's Amazon link.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
As noted above, I've found this to be very acceptable:
It's a bit over your $700 desired limit, but I still like it. Styling is simple black. The Amazon link given here shows it well enough, and includes Ric's Amazon link.
There’s a 27-inch 4K version there currently at $504. I’m also very pleased with my 2K version.
 



Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Can anyone comment on how the ViewSonics stack up against a wide-gamut monitor that covers 98–100% Adobe RGB?
Color on my old 2K Viewsonic VP2770 has been excellent (including comparisons with the wide-gamut 2017 iMac 5K), and newer ones should be even better. Here's a new 4K model with 99% Adobe RGB, if that's what you need:


A little higher up the price ladder, BenQ looks tempting:

 


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