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macOS 10.15 Catalina

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If you bought and use Carbon Copy Cloner, you might want to look here:
If that doesn't answer your question, Bombich Software stands ready to help, as they note in their blog (and let us know what you figure out).
It seems as though macOS Catalina won't boot through FireWire connections, so I had to use USB. This worked, and I got a clean install of macOS Catalina to boot from an OWC 6G SSD external USB drive.

However, when I try to look at the main Catalina SSD on my 2012 MacBook Pro, it only shows me the 3rd-party applications and not the Apple applications. So, Time Machine, Preview, Mail apps, etc are not visible from my external SSD. It appears as though Apple is demanding that you not remove unwanted applications that they install on your Catalina update. Really strange, in my opinion..
 



I've successfully re-converted my iTunes library in Catalina. Both the Music and TV apps now have all the songs, movies, etc. and all artwork, including custom, is showing as it should. I'd be happy to share what I came up with if there's any interest.
 



... when I try to look at the main Catalina SSD on my 2012 MacBook Pro, it only shows me the 3rd-party applications and not the Apple applications. So, Time Machine, Preview, Mail apps, etc are not visible from my external SSD. It appears as though Apple is demanding that you not remove unwanted applications that they install on your Catalina update. Really strange, in my opinion..
In the new macOS Catalina, you cannot see the Apple apps in the main Applications folder when you are looking for them from an external drive. However, when you open the system folder, you can see another Applications folder where the Apple apps are hidden away. There you can pull any of the Apple apps you don't want to the trash and, with your admin password, throw them away.

It's been quite a long journey into night to figure out what I needed to know to simply move forward with my new macOS Catalina.....
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
It's been quite a long journey into night to figure out what I needed to know to simply move forward with my new macOS Catalina....
It sounds like you might find this helpful...
Eclectic Light Co. said:
macOS Catalina Boot Volume Layout revised for 10.15 release
Following detailed exploration of the boot volume layout of macOS 10.15 Catalina, as is installed, I’m delighted to provide updated roadmaps to the System and Data volumes in the boot Volume Group.

Please read my previous account for further details about this new arrangement. That now includes these latest roadmaps, and if you want a copy of the original versions, based on late beta releases, I have left those links in that article too.
 


I've successfully re-converted my iTunes library in Catalina. Both the Music and TV apps now have all the songs, movies, etc. and all artwork, including custom, is showing as it should. I'd be happy to share what I came up with if there's any interest.
I, for one, would like to know!
 



Two additional discoveries with Catalina:

- I discovered that ClamXAV was using a lot of processor capacity and memory, and I think this was mainly because I hadn't responded to a window re adding it to the list of apps that need full disk access.​
- There's something going wrong with Music and/or bluetooth. I've had quite a few problems using my AirPods and also found at one point that Music thought it was connected to a bluetooth speaker that it had been connected to the day before. I've also seen the speaker logo in the menu bar go grey and then back to normal in a cycle (something crashing and restarting?).​
 


Attempted a clean install of Catalina from a USB thumb drive on a 2018 Mac Mini.

I went to macOS Recovery to enable booting from the external USB thumb drive. I was asked for the admin password. I entered my admin password and it is not accepted. There is only one user account, and it is an admin account.

Have no idea how to fix this; any assistance is appreciated.
 



Observations about Finder Sync:
  • There's little to no feedback on what's happening while syncing - no status bar in the Finder window showing what's going on, just the mini-icon to the right of the device name in the sidebar (spinning arrows, pie chart that fills as things copy, Quit button that I haven't had success with, and Eject button). In my initial syncing experiences, after the pie fills up, the rotating arrows go on a long time, which I think corresponds to "Waiting for Items to Copy" in iTunes sync. I have a 256GB phone and an older, slower iPad Mini, and my experience with that is to just be patient; however, it's easier to be patient if you have a message telling you what's going on.

  • Possibly a peculiarity with my listening habits, but I have a lot of rotating content (radio shows downloaded daily) that I wish to listen to in more or less chronological order. In iTunes Sync, this was accomplished by appending a date to the beginning of the song name, e.g., "19-10-14 Episode 1" and then sorting the playlist by name. iTunes Sync seemed to sort songs on the device by how they were sorted in iTunes (by Song, Album, PlayCount, etc.). Finder Sync does not appear to respect that. It appears to sync songs in the order that they're sorted in the Songs list rather than the individual playlists. I haven't tested this, but I expect if I sort songs by name, then sync, then re-sort as they were before, I'll achieve the desired sort order for the playlist I use the most – more awkward than Finder Sync just respecting the sort order for my playlists in the first place, as iTunes Sync did.

  • With those exceptions, the mechanisms for Finder Sync (settings, execution, etc.) are a welcome change. I think it makes sense for sync to be device-centric, and the Finder is where devices are managed.
 


Re-convert your iTunes library in Catalina
(I wrote this up offline, since I knew it would take a while. Sorry about the lack of screenshots etc., but it should still make sense.)

We've got a fairly large amount of media, about five terabytes, that I didn't want to lose, so a few years ago, I duplicated the one iTunes library we had and put each copy on its own external drive. They are set up very similarly, but when I recently upgraded to Catalina, my wife's iTunes library was successfully imported into the new Music and TV apps, while mine did not.

There are two main folders associated with iTunes: the "iTunes" folder, usually located in the user's "Music" folder (but it doesn't have to be) and the "iTunes Media" folder (I believe this was originally called "iTunes Music"), located within the "iTunes" folder, by default.

My iTunes folder, again located in my Music folder, looks like this:

[Folder] Album Artwork​
[File] iTunes Library Extras.itdb​
[File] iTunes Library Genius.itdb​
[File] iTunes Library.itl​
[File] iTunes Library.xml​
[Alias] iTunes Media ----> points to "iTunes Media" folder on external drive​
[Folder] Previous iTunes Libraries​

The "iTunes Media" alias was originally a folder, but your system drive soon runs out of room as you add movies and whatnot, so that got moved to a large external drive. I kept the iTunes folder on my system drive, so that it would get backed up by Time Machine. I suspect that a lot of people whose libraries got munged with Catalina did pretty much the same thing.

My wife's library is set up exactly the same, except that her iTunes library was in /Users/Shared, so I could access it without having to log into her account. Obviously, Catalina's conversion makes assumptions about items in your Music folder that aren't necessarily valid.

So, anyway, the fix is to start out with a good "iTunes" folder, but instead of pointing to your "iTunes Media" folder with an alias, use a symbolic link.

Delete the alias if it's still there.

Open Terminal and type

ln -s

with a space after the "s".

Next, find your "iTunes Media" folder in a Finder window and drag it to the Terminal window, which will insert the location with the correct syntax.

Next, type another space.

Finally, drag your "iTunes" folder into Terminal and hit Return.

You should end up with something that looks similar to:

ln -s /Volumes/YourExternalDrive/iTunes\ Media /Users/yourname/Music/iTunes

and you should have the symlink in your "iTunes" folder. It will look just like an alias with the little arrow on the left. You should be able to click on this and see the contents of "iTunes Media".

Now you'll have to run the conversion again, once for "Music" and once for "TV". I didn't do anything with podcasts yet, but I'd guess it would be the same.

1. Inside your "Music" folder, delete the "Music" folder previously made by the conversion. If you're converting videos, then delete the "TV" folder inside your "Movies" folder. Not really required, but cleaner.

2. Start "Music" (or "TV") while holding the "Option" key. It will ask what library you want to use. Point it to your "iTunes Library.itl" file inside of "iTunes". If you get a complaint, as I did, that another device is using that library, turn off or unplug your network, then log out and back in again and go back to step 1.

3. You won't get a lot of feedback, but eventually you'll see your library appear. It will have a lot of generic icons, but just let it sit for a while (five or ten minutes). Now quit the app, restart it, and you should see all of your files with the correct artwork.

4. You could leave it at that, but if you go to Preferences > Files, you'll see that the app is using your symlink to point to the "iTunes Media" folder. You can try changing it, but it won't work until you delete the symlink. It will look as though it's taking the new location, but it reverts back to the symlink when you look again. So, trash the symlink, hit "Change", point it to the "iTunes Media" folder, and you're good to go.

When you change file location, you'll be asked whether the files should be moved, links updated, or something like that. Answer "yes" to everything. The files will stay where they are, just the links to them will be updated.

Your "iTunes Media" folder should gain a few additional directories:
"Automatically Add to Music"​
"Automatically Add to TV"​
"Downloads-Music"​
"Downloads-TV"​

(You'd likely get the same for Podcasts, but again, I haven't messed with those yet.)

Another thing I've found is that iTunes still runs fine from a Parallels VM running Mojave (and probably most other versions of OS X). I configured it to not organize the library or copy files or anything like that. All I want is for the .itl and .xml files to get updated. iTunes connects up just fine with Family Sharing. As with the Apple TV, Music and TV don't need to be running. Do be aware that the XML file will be pointing to /Volumes/Shared Folders/YourExternalDrive/iTunes Media, since that's the mount point for the VM.

I hope this helps somebody.
 


I don't understand the purpose of the System/Data volume split in Catalina. How does this improve security over that provided by System Integrity Protection (SIP)?
Think of "Data" as "writable" and / [the "root" directory] as read-only (which it is). Apple claims it's so nothing can "accidentally" overwrite your core OS components, but I suspect it's also meant as a defense against stealthy malware.
 



Observations about Finder Sync:
  • Possibly a peculiarity with my listening habits, but I have a lot of rotating content (radio shows downloaded daily) that I wish to listen to in more or less chronological order. In iTunes Sync, this was accomplished by appending a date to the beginning of the song name, e.g., "19-10-14 Episode 1" and then sorting the playlist by name. iTunes Sync seemed to sort songs on the device by how they were sorted in iTunes (by Song, Album, PlayCount, etc.). Finder Sync does not appear to respect that. It appears to sync songs in the order that they're sorted in the Songs list rather than the individual playlists. I haven't tested this, but I expect if I sort songs by name, then sync, then re-sort as they were before, I'll achieve the desired sort order for the playlist I use the most – more awkward than Finder Sync just respecting the sort order for my playlists in the first place, as iTunes Sync did.
I tested the theory, and while there may be other permutations, it appears correct. Finder Sync appears to apply the same sort order to Playlists on the device as exists in Songs, regardless of what you have applied in the Catalina Music app.

To solve my peculiar situation, I temporarily changed the Songs sort in Music, synced, then changed the Songs sort order back to what I had originally.
 


We had a local cable outage that was just fixed (Xfinity, a.k.a. Comcast, FYI). You would be surprised at the stuff that does not work in Catalina without a good Internet connection. Everything that depends on your Apple ID is kaput.

It would be nice if there were a simple "Home Access" that let you use your local stuff without the impediment of all this damn security.
 



You would be surprised at the stuff that does not work in Catalina without a good Internet connection. Everything that depends on your Apple ID is kaput.
I've set up our Macs, all on Sierra or Mojave, to be as agnostic as possible of Apple ID and iCloud. Should be obvious we're not using iCloud for Mail or paid apps from Apple's store. Have gone further and used Little Snitch to block all "regular" Apple connections (telemetry). That means it's necessary to disable those settings to get security updates.

The computers work fine, but we're using Firefox and NeoOffice, not Apple applications.

Has the need for an Apple ID been more deeply embedded into Catalina itself, or are you referring to applications that phone home to Apple for linked data, DRM verification, and other telemetry, and won't run without live connections?

(Sounds like Chromebooks?)
 



Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Apple's behind-the-scenes security apparatus gets more complicated in Catalina, apparently:
Eclectic Light Co. said:
Apple has added a new security database to Catalina, bringing 3 updates
Before macOS 10.15 Catalina, we knew of two Gatekeeper databases, both stored in /var/db:
  • gkopaque.bundle, which contains quite a substantial database in gkopaque.db within its resources, which is usually updated quite frequently;
  • gke.bundle, which contains the single resource gke.auth, which had in the past been presumed to be disk-related, and changed very seldom.
Since beta releases of Catalina, many have noticed the addition of a new database file gk.db to the resources in gke.bundle, which has already been updated twice since its appearance. It has gone from version 7.2, the same as in Mojave, to 7.6 in the release version of 10.15, and last week Apple pushed an update named Gatekeeper Compatibility Data 1.0 which brought it to version 8.0.

In contrast, the previously active gkopaque.bundle has remained at version 181 over the same period.

The presumption in the past has been that the gkopaque.db database in gkopaque.bundle contains a blacklist of developer certificate information, including revocations, used when Gatekeeper performs its first run checks on executable software.

If that’s the role of the gkopaque.bundle, the new role of gke.bundle might relate to notarization tickets, but at the moment that is pure speculation. ...
#security
 


Two clients ordered their new iMacs (CTO with 512GB SSDs) a few days before Apple released Catalina. They shipped from Shanghai last week. One of the Macs has arrived and I'll know tomorrow whether it managed to ship out before Catalina was foisted onto the drive. I'm keeping my fingers crossed...
 


I've set up our Macs, all on Sierra or Mojave, to be as agnostic as possible of Apple ID and iCloud. Should be obvious we're not using iCloud for Mail or paid apps from Apple's store. Have gone further and used Little Snitch to block all "regular" Apple connections (telemetry). That means it's necessary to disable those settings to get security updates. The computers work fine, but we're using Firefox and NeoOffice, not Apple applications. Has the need for an Apple ID been more deeply embedded into Catalina itself, or are you referring to applications that phone home to Apple for linked data, DRM verification, and other telemetry, and won't run without live connections?
I think it is a function of Catalina itself. I simply don't remember such grief before. I want to really like Catalina, as I love the Apple Watch integration, but permissions are giving me massive grief, as is trying to get Time Machine to work normally on my Synology NAS – problems I did not have with Mojave.
 


It sounds like you might find this helpful...
So the author of Eclectic Light Co. kind of summed up the roadmaps of the new OS Catalina perfectly.

I appreciate that the new roadmaps can be very confusing, so I will attempt to explain them a bit more clearly. I have found nothing written as well as I explained it for the simple layman who wants to back up macOS Catlina to an external drive. FireWire will not mount, so you have to use USB or Thunderbolt. An external drive booted with macOS Catalina will not see the Apple apps in the main Applications folder on your Mac [internal drive]. You will have to go into the system folder, where you will find them in another Applications folder hidden there. You can remove them by dragging them to the Trash and with admin privilege (password), you can remove them.

To me, this is very important news for people wanting to back-up macOS Catalina (which is advised before any updates are done on any Mac) and for people (like myself) who want to remove unwanted Apple apps.
 


I think it is a function of Catalina itself. I simply don't remember such grief before. I want to really like Catalina, as I love the Apple Watch integration, but permissions are giving me massive grief, as is trying to get Time Machine to work normally on my Synology NAS – problems I did not have with Mojave.
By coincidence today, our Netgear Nighthawk router at work had a firmware update ready to install. I have it set to only update manually. Netgear has been pushing users to enable automatic updating. Not a bad idea, per se, as, unlike Apple's system that provided notification when an AirPort had an update to install, the Netgears just sit there, and there's no Ric and MacInTouch of Netgear to provide alerts.

So if you'd had automatic updates enabled, and they had self-applied, here are the "enhancements" Netgear sent your router:
Netgear Support said:
R7000 Firmware Version 1.0.9.88
Please note that starting with this firmware release (V1.0.9.88), iTunesServer, Kwilt Photosharing, Time Machine Backup, TiVo support for media sharing, and the Downloader feature (which was in beta) are no longer supported. If you want to continue using these features, do not update the firmware.
What's stunning is this explanation for why Netgear did this:
Netgear Community said:
Re: R7000 FW Version 1.0.9.88
In order to bring you new, highly requested features, such as smart parental controls and advanced cyber-threat protection...
What's not mentioned is the smart parental controls and advanced cyber-threat protection are part of the cloud-based package of services called Netgear Armor that's $70 a year.

Looping back to your problem connecting Catalina to your Synology to run Time Machine, so long as your Mac connects through your router to the Synology, which supports Time Machine, the changes Netgear made by dropping direct router support for Time Machine shouldn't affect the Synology.

That's shouldn't.

I recently mentioned that I've had little success connecting our Synologies at work over SAMBA (Linux adaptation of Windows SMB) or over Linux-native NFS. With both Macs and Linux on the network, AFP has worked fine. I know AFP is being deprecated and understand Apple has moved to SMB v.2, but as this Carbon Copy Cloner post states about connecting to SMB volumes, that's a work in progress:
Carbon Copy Cloner 5 Knowledge Base said:
macOS Catalina Known Issues
We have received several reports that macOS is unable to create disk images on SMB volumes hosted by various NAS devices (e.g. FreeNAS device, Western Digital MyCloud Home and QNAP).
Here's one more that's related:
S Brown said:
WD Discovery 3.4.89 and macOS 10.15 Catalina Support
WD Discovery version 3.4.89 does not support macOS 10.15 Catalina.
We are working to release a new version of WD Discovery that will support macOS 10.15. Unfortunately, we cannot provide an exact date as to when the version of WD Discovery that supports macOS 10.15 Catalina will be released
(Sorry if this post seems to ramble around. At least it should give a sense of the many "moving parts" in play, and that it may be your router, your NAS, or Catalina that's the source of problems. Or a mix of the three...)
 


1) I found that the music files were still there in my music/iTunes/iTunes Music folder (though for some reason this folder had a generic icon, not a folder icon).
2) I then identified that my most recent 'iTunes library' file in the iTunes folder did not have .itl at the end so wasn't identified as a library folder by Music - I added .itl
3) I started Music with the option key held down, clicked on 'choose library', then selected this 'itl' file; it will then ask you where to save the library (it'll give you Music or Music 1 etc). Then it will create this new folder, and inside it will be a new 'Music Library.musiclibrary' file - and in my case, nothing else. All the actual music files are still in my 'iTunes' folder
Absolutely right about this... my generic icon "iTunes Music" "folder" seems to continue to contain all my 12,000 tracks plus podcast,s ringtones, movies, TV shows (which appear in the TV app), audiobooks, etc. still in their own folders. The iTunes Library.itl (I have the suffix) remains untouched by recent additions, and the Album Artwork folder remains untouched there.

The "Music" folder contains one "Music Library" file (about 100 MB). The "TV" folder (in the Users/~/Movies/ location) contains a small "TV Library". There's no "Podcasts" subfolder.

I always have extreme doubts about the readiness of software when such inconsistencies are still present, particularly when the main reorganisational intention, namely to remove iTunes completely, leaves the entire previous iTunes folder structure untouched, if slightly altered.

Clearly there's a whole bunch more work to be done to clean all this up....
 



... But I do see one really annoying minor bug - all my .webloc files have only generic, white icons. And if I do Get Info on these files, I can't change the "Open with" app. ...
That's not a bug; it's a feature since at least Sierra. By design, macOS now opens a .webloc file using the Default web browser [which can be chosen] in System Preferences > General.
 


I just upgraded to Catalina today. I used Carbon Copy Cloner Version 5.1.10 (5778) to back up my macOS 10.15 to an external drive. However, the drive will not mount as a start-up drive. It is acting like a "read only" drive. This is different from every other upgrade I've ever done, and I need an external mountable drive. Do you have any ideas?...
I was doing something similar, but Ibacking up to a disk image on my NAS server. Carbon Copy Cloner 5.1.11 had issues (wouldn't complete a backup without multiple forced restarts), but Carbon Copy Cloner 5.1.12 had no issues with the backup or the restore.
 



Once up and running with Catalina, I noticed all three machines had a badge on System Prefs requiring me to update my Apple ID settings. On all machines having completed this step, the machines got stuck in an endless loop of entering the ID, waiting 30 seconds or so then asking again.
I had the same issue on one of two computers. Logging out of the cloud and logging back in fixed the loop.
 



In the new macOS Catalina, you cannot see the Apple apps in the main Applications folder when you are looking for them from an external drive. However, when you open the system folder, you can see another Applications folder where the Apple apps are hidden away. There you can pull any of the Apple apps you don't want to the trash and, with your admin password, throw them away.
I don't think I understand this because it seems too easy, so I'm breaking it down into parts.
  1. Boot from external Catalina drive
  2. While booted from the external drive, open the System folder (the new folder in Catalina to which only Apple has write privileges?)
  3. Find in there a second "Applications" folder with Apple's apps
  4. Simply drag Apple apps (e.g., Maps)that the user doesn't want to the Trash, and delete using Admin password.
At the end, the pruned Catalina system could be cloned and shared to other Macs?
 


I've set up our Macs, all on Sierra or Mojave, to be as agnostic as possible of Apple ID and iCloud. Should be obvious we're not using iCloud for Mail or paid apps from Apple's store. Have gone further and used Little Snitch to block all "regular" Apple connections (telemetry). That means it's necessary to disable those settings to get security updates.
The computers work fine, but we're using Firefox and NeoOffice, not Apple applications.
Has the need for an Apple ID been more deeply embedded into Catalina itself, or are you referring to applications that phone home to Apple for linked data, DRM verification, and other telemetry, and won't run without live connections?
It is certainly more persistent about Notifications and other nagging to login to iCloud, etc. If you are not logged into iCloud there is a permanent badge on System Preferences in the Dock. I now have
Code:
defaults write com.apple.systempreferences AttentionPrefBundleIDs 0;killall Dock
in my Scripts menu.
:-{
 



Objective Development posted an interesting blog entry:
which explains why you'd better not run any installer that updates or installs a kernel extension until the Catalina bug is fixed.

The article explains the conundrum: the kernel is on the read-only volume, so how can kextcache update it?

I suspect this is the answer to how any installer will be able to update the System volume. It appears that launchd is allowed to remount the volume as read/write during shutdown, after all other processes have ended.

#applequality
 


1) With nearly 12,000 photos...Activity Monitor reports constant up to 100% CPU usage of com.apple.MediaLibraryService and photoanalysisd. This has happened to many people on previous macOS versions, so I am assuming this is standard, but it seems to take a long time.
I don't have a solution to your issue but it reinforces my resolve to stay with Sierra. I have a script that disables almost 60 system agents and daemons I do not need, including photoanalysisd. I have a feeling I won't be able to do that in Catalina, since system files are locked down?
 


I have a Deleted Users folder that contains 6 GB worth of stuff I cannot delete. Error message says needed by system, etc. I have tried all the simple Terminal tricks, but nothing will delete this damn folder. Anybody have suggestions?
 


1) With nearly 12,000 photos...Activity Monitor reports constant up to 100% CPU usage of com.apple.MediaLibraryService and photoanalysisd. This has happened to many people on previous macOS versions, so I am assuming this is standard, but it seems to take a long time.
One of the updates to Mojave fixed the problem with Activity Monitor.

Since I still had some 32-bit Adobe and Microsoft apps, I deleted them. Then to be sure, I ran EasyFind for "Adobe" and "Microsoft" - amazing how many extras are not needed. Hard to get rid of some, but I probably deleted over 200-300 extra files.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
And he covers critical Apple Mail bugs that wipe out customers' emails (which can be even more of a horror show with IMAP and confusing issues with the lack of local email storage).
 


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