MacInTouch Amazon link...

macOS 10.15 Catalina

Channels
Apple, News
Since Apple introduced LaunchPad, I have encountered exactly two people who use it.
Well, I guess I'm number three. I find it's more convenient than dragging lots of apps to the Dock, putting aliases on the desktop or wandering through the Applications folder. I launch most stuff via Launchpad, reserving the Dock only for apps that I often want to use as a drop-target (e.g. Emacs) or those that display badges I want to see (e.g. App Store or Messages)

I do take the time to organize my Launchpad, much like I do on my phone - putting everything on one screen, grouped into folders. On my laptop, I used the four-finger-pinch gesture to bring it up. On my desktop, I've remapped the F15 key to bring it up, which I never type by mistake. (I have my keyboards configured so the F-keys generate F-events, so I have to type Fn-F4 to bring up Launchpad with Apple's default keystroke)
 


Since Apple introduced LaunchPad, I have encountered exactly two people who use it.
I used to use the Dock and Finder for launching apps on my MacBook Pros and rarely used a mouse. But, almost two years ago my thumb got infected such that the mummy-like bandaging (including my hand) forced me to use different methods. Launchpad to the rescue, and the search box is convenient for those seldom-used apps and utilities in folders. Occasionally, I use Siri. Trackpad gestures requiring the thumb forced me back to using a mouse.
 


Well, I guess I'm number three.
For me, it is Spotlight for the win. I have never used Launchpad, and I only use the dock occasionally to open the Trash. I don't even know what programs are in my dock.

One annoying issue is that Spotlight won't always prioritize apps on your boot volume, and every once in a while I will accidentally launch something on my connected clone volume. That is rare these days, and I think the Spotlight algorithm must "learn" which app you prefer. For instance, a Spotlight search for iTunes always brings up the (apparently abandoned) iTunes 12.6.5 version in my home directory and not the up to date version in the Applications folder.
 


I use Launchpad all the time, but I never click on the icons, nor have I even tried to arrange them. I make the gesture to bring up the Launchpad screen and type the name of what I want. It works really well and feels faster than Cmd-Space to bring up Spotlight, which also starts searching for anything matching the name.
 


Thank you, MichaelJ, for that tip. I have been using Alfred to call up apps – a simple keystroke to toggle Alfred, start typing the name of the app, and either choose the app from the list or just hit Return if the app I want is at the top. But now I see that Launchpad essentially works the same way. Cool! I shall start using it as well... now I have lost count of how many of us use Launchpad....
 


I have always appreciated utilities that save me keystrokes and are easy to configure. My go-to launcher for frequently-accessed apps, frequently-accessed files, and frequently-accessed folders is the free & powerful HotKey:
‎HotKey App

I typically use the Control key and a letter or number to fire up or switch to an app, like Control M for Apple Mail and Control C for Google Chrome. This is lightning-fast with no extra typing and I never have to use a mouse or trackpad in the process.
 


Well, I guess I'm number three. I find it's more convenient than dragging lots of apps to the Dock, putting aliases on the desktop or wandering through the Applications folder. I launch most stuff via Launchpad, reserving the Dock only for apps that I often want to use as a drop-target (e.g. Emacs) or those that display badges I want to see (e.g. App Store or Messages)
I do take the time to organize my Launchpad, much like I do on my phone - putting everything on one screen, grouped into folders. On my laptop, I used the four-finger-pinch gesture to bring it up. On my desktop, I've remapped the F15 key to bring it up, which I never type by mistake. (I have my keyboards configured so the F-keys generate F-events, so I have to type Fn-F4 to bring up Launchpad with Apple's default keystroke)
I use much the same criteria for the dock, then I go to Devontech's XMenu, the closest I've found to the original Mac apple menu.
 



The 10.15.3 Combo update disk image file is correct now on Apple's downloads website!
If you would rather have the 10.15.3 installer, rather than just the updater, go to the App Store and look for macOS Catalina. It will let you download (and install) version 10.15.3. If you simply want to keep the copy, quit the installer and then put the file away.
 



The latest Catalina update, 10.15.3, has fixed my Mail.app issues with disappearing messages on move, as well as the Delete/Undo problems. There was no mention of any Mail.app changes in this update. I'm really relieved that this is fixed, as managing my email has been like walking in a mine field.
Yes, but they still haven't fixed the flagged items bugs, which continue to show unused flagged categories, as well as changing item counts.
 



I have always appreciated utilities that save me keystrokes and are easy to configure. My go-to launcher for frequently-accessed apps, frequently-accessed files, and frequently-accessed folders is the free & powerful ‎HotKey App.I typically use the Control key and a letter or number to fire up or switch to an app, like Control M for Apple Mail and Control C for Google Chrome. This is lightning-fast with no extra typing and I never have to use a mouse or trackpad in the process.
I used the insanely useful QuicKeys for application launches (among other things) before OS X. I’m now using Automator to set up application launches via key commands.

There is one quirk that keeps this from being a simple and perfect solution, which is that at startup, for some reason, those key combos don’t work. You have to go to the Finder menu and access Services; the menu of file launch keys then appears, and after that it all works. I came across a question about this behavior in Apple’s user discussions and, predictably, no one had any answers.

I recall being excited about Automator at the Tiger launch event at my local Apple Store. Seems like yet another useful tool that Apple has neglected. (I also recall the Apple store being an exciting place and the Tiger launch being an exciting event. I miss the days when a new Mac OS version was not a source of dread.)
 



Since folks seem to be interested in various launchers, I'll mention the venerable Quicksilver. It's a free, open source app, and it apparently still works fine on Catalina. (I'm currently running it on Sierra and Mojave.) It's one of the first things I install on my personal machines.
 


Yesterday I upgraded my 2012 MacBook Pro Retina from Mojave to Catalina. While poking around, I noticed that the Applications folder has two copies of TurboTax Deluxe 2017. Also, the Adobe Photoshop CS6 folder contains TurboTax Deluxe 2017 and 2018.

I understand that the Applications folder is not really as it appears, but this is ridiculous. I won't try to fix anything until I understand what is going on. I haven't noticed anything else weird but will keep looking.
 


Yesterday I upgraded my 2012 MacBook Pro Retina from Mojave to Catalina. While poking around, I noticed that the Applications folder has two copies of TurboTax Deluxe 2017. Also, the Adobe Photoshop CS6 folder contains TurboTax Deluxe 2017 and 2018.
After more looking, the TurboTax 2017 in the Photoshop folder is an older version. One of the TurboTax 2017 apps in Applications is an alias of the file in the Photoshop folder. The other TurboTax in Applications is apparently the latest. Similarly, the Photoshop folder TurboTax is an older version. I also found an older version of Firefox in the Photoshop folder.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Apple's latest update has broken an important Time Machine snapshot safety mechanism:
Mr. Macintosh said:
10.15.3 Combo & Security Updates are not Creating Backup Snapshots
The APFS Update Automatic Snapshot was a new option offered when Apple released APFS in macOS 10.13 High Sierra. If you were worried about something going wrong after installing a macOS Combo or Security update, you could always fall back to a backup taken right before the update. The process was automatic and was performed by the Combo Update and Security Update Installer. To restore, all you needed to do is, boot to the recovery partition and restore to a tmutil localsnapshot / right before the update....

Something happened in the latest set of Apple updates released on January 28th. The Automatic Backup Snapshots are no longer working!!! At first, I thought it only happened on the 10.15.3 Combo update. I then checked the 2020-001 Security Update on High Sierra and it’s not working either!
And that's not the only Time Machine problem in Catalina....
Eclectic Light Co. said:
Time Machine in Catalina 10.15.3 has serious bugs
If you’re intending to rely on Time Machine backups in macOS 10.15.3, you might want to use an alternative as well. I can now confirm that making the first full backup using Time Machine can take so long that it may not be feasible, and that some users are also experiencing failure to restore from an existing backup.
#applequality
 



Finder was so glitchy after the macOS 10.15.4 update that I did a network recovery. Download started quickly but slowed to a crawl an hour in: 14 hours remaining. I don't know if this was Apple-specific or general network overload due to coronavirus. I let it run overnight and woke up to a login screen the next morning.

It's not fully functional (I've got a Mac Mini + eGPU, which still has issues at boot) but much better than it was following the delta update. Still seeing some crashing apps (Music and Firefox) but limited to once or twice a day. Surprisingly, power cycling only the eGPU recovers from a black screen app crash.

Totally unrelated, but my 2017 iPad Pro (12.9") died one day prior to the latest iPadOS release (half of the screen looks like an oil slick). Guess I can't blame the update for that...!
 


Does anyone know what I can use for steps to revert back to macOS 10.15.3 (besides a Time Machine reversion)?

There are two issues with macOS 10.15.4 that are going to require users to go back to macOS [10.15.3]:

1. kernel panics with large numbers of drives (16, but can affect as few as 12 connected)​
2. Finder hangs when copying a large quantity of data to volumes. I think this may be limited to SoftRAID volumes, and more testing is needed, but the symptom is: copy a couple hundred GB of data to a RAID 5 volume, and the Finder hangs hard.​

I need to write up some instructions, but restoring from Time Machine is not my favorite advice for this!

Thanks!
 



FWIW, I also was getting crashes after updating to macOS 10.5.4. I'd get a screen freeze with loss of cursor. To recover, I had to do a hard shutdown then power back up. I did send the auto-diagnostic msg. to Apple, so hopefully that will help them to resolve.

Since I was using Safari during most crashes, I decided to stop using that and am now using Firefox. So far, have been running for about 3 days crash-free.

Mac Pro (late 2013).
 


macOS 10.15.4 is stable here and fixes the "Update Keychain password" bug with Active Directory accounts that has been around in almost every version since macOS 10.14.4.

So far I haven't seen any of the crashing/freezing mentioned by others, but I don't use SoftRAID or large numbers of external drives. Have been testing the public beta 5 & 6 on a Mac Mini - upgraded to the final, and the final on a 2018 MacBook Pro 15"

I have had some Finder lockups accessing SMB shares over VPN - this is an area that Apple really needs to work on. On the LAN they are fine. It's not just macOS 10.15 - we have MacBooks running macOS 10.12.6 through to 10.15.4, and it affects all of them - worse on low bandwidth internet.

More details: over VPN without a bunch of changes put into a nsmb.conf file it leads to frequent lockups of the Finder (biggest one likely being the encryption "signing_required=no", but also changing a defaults to not write/read DS_Store files, and turning off icon previews wherever the user can).
 


macOS 10.15.4 is stable here.
Same here – stable install on my iMac. I have 3 external drives attached.

One small glitch I've seen occasionally (rarely) since the install: The "disappearance" of the Finder desktop... which is remedied by a trip to the Apple menu for "Recent" items and choosing Finder. The desktop instantly returns (not "rebuild," but instant).

I'm not seeing this on my laptop, however, so I suspect it has something to do with my iMac setup.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
There are more reported problems with macOS 10.15.4, these involving SSH:
The Register said:
Apple's latest macOS Catalina update mysteriously borks SSH for some unlucky fans. What could be the cause?
... The issue that Hall reported has been noted by others. A post two days ago on Apple's discussion forum complains, "After that update I am no longer able to open a SSH connection to a port greater than 8192 using server name (instead of IP)." And three discussion participants claim they too have experienced the same issue.

One of these individuals, posting under the user name "webdeck," filed a bug port in Open Radar, a public iOS and macOS bug reporting site created by developer Tim Burks because Apple hides its Radar bug reporting system from the public.

The bug report reads, "/usr/bin/ssh in macos 10.15.4 hangs if used with the -p flag to specify an alternate port and used with a hostname. This was not present in macOS 10.15.3."

There's reason to believe, however, that not all those using SSH to connect to ports greater than 8192 using a host name have experienced problems.
 




I decided to make the leap to Catalina a couple of days ago, from Mojave. No real problems so far, except with Time Machine. The first Time Machine backup since the update is ridiculous, asking to back up 55.92 GB, while first spending some ludicrous number of hours "freeing space" on the backup volume. With three different backup volumes (one on an AirPort Time Capsule, the other two on external disks, which are plugged in on alternate days), it will take nearly a week to get the backups going properly, which makes me nervous!

I haven't dug through the previous messages thoroughly, but is this a common experience? I can't imagine that the update really changed that many files, so I might try to dig in and find what files are actually being backed up.
 


I decided to make the leap to Catalina a couple of days ago, from Mojave. No real problems so far, except with Time Machine. The first Time Machine backup since the update is ridiculous, asking to back up 55.92 GB, while first spending some ludicrous number of hours "freeing space" on the backup volume. ...
Our esteemed colleague Howard Oakley has several post about Time Machine issues in Catalina:
 


Thanks for those. My problem is different to what he describes. It's not an initial backup, just the first after the jump to Catalina. The first one to a USB3 disk, was painful enough, but the second one, to the Time Capsule, is ridiculous, at about 60 hours so far, with it telling me another six hours to go (but it said 16 hours to go about 14 hours ago...). Still one USB3 disk to back up to, so I might try tracing it with Ulbow.
 


Thanks for those. My problem is different to what he describes. It's not an initial backup, just the first after the jump to Catalina. The first one to a USB3 disk, was painful enough, but the second one, to the Time Capsule, is ridiculous, at about 60 hours so far, with it telling me another six hours to go (but it said 16 hours to go about 14 hours ago...). Still one USB3 disk to back up to, so I might try tracing it with Ulbow.
Have you tried disabling the throttling of low-priority I/O? That can make a tremendous difference in Time Machine and FileVault encryption tasks.
 





With three different backup volumes (one on an AirPort Time Capsule, the other two on external disks, which are plugged in on alternate days), it will take nearly a week to get the backups going properly, which makes me nervous!
Once you complete those backups, you might want to think about introducing a second backup method to your workflow. Diversification is good for risk management. Plus, as we've discussed here in the past, Time Machine operates in a convoluted way that greatly affects its stability and reliability.

I personally use Time Machine for hourly backups and Carbon Copy Cloner for (usually, depending on when major OS, application, or personal file updates occur) weekly backups.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
... I personally use Time Machine for hourly backups and Carbon Copy Cloner for (usually, depending on when major OS, application, or personal file updates occur) weekly backups.
Carbon Copy Cloner also works well for more frequent backups, and its SafetyNet feature offers Time Machine-like version archiving. (Plus it has a saner user interface than Time Macnine.)

For cloud backups, Arq Backup seems very good. It can also do local backups (but I haven't tried that, since Carbon Copy Cloner works so well).
 


Another Carbon Copy Cloner benefit: APFS is handled well - just format all hard drive CCC backup target volumes as JHFS+ of the correct total size, and CCC will automatically reformat each target volume with all the necessary APFS containers and volumes to match the source volume. This includes the multiple boot/data volume split introduced with Catalina.,,,
 


MacRumors said:
Some Users Experiencing System Crashes on macOS 10.15.4, Especially During Large File Transfers
A sizeable number of Mac users are experiencing occasional system crashes after updating to macOS Catalina version 10.15.4, released a few weeks ago. ... Other users on macOS 10.15.4 have experienced crashes after waking their Mac from sleep, with affected systems suffering a kernel panic and rebooting to the Apple logo, according to comments shared on the Apple Support Communities, MacRumors Forums, Reddit, and Twitter.

#applequality
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Mark James already noted severe macOS 10.15.4 bugs here last month, and as the MacRumors article discusses, SoftRAID and their customers confirm the bugs in SoftRAID support forum posts.
SoftRAID said:
Kernel Panics in Catalina 10.15.4...
There is a serious issue with 10.15.4.
It shows up in different scenarios, even on Apple disks but is more likely when there are lots of IO threads. We think it is a threading issue. So while SoftRAID volumes are hit the hardest (its now hard to copy more than 30GB of data at a time), all systems are impacted by this.

In our bug report to Apple, we used a method to reproduce the problem with ONLY Apple formatted disks. Takes longer to reproduce, but that is more likely to get a faster fix to the user base.

I hope Apple will get a 10.15.5 out quickly to fix this. Except for downgrading with a previously downloaded installed, it is very hard. (Time Machine is broken where "Snapshots" were not working, so the magic "go back" is not working)

As far as I know, there is no way to download a fresh 10.15.x, except .4.

If you can go back to 10.15.3, I recommend it, but it is difficult.

Other things are broken also, such as Time Machine, ssh have introduced bugs.
I also posted previously about more macOS 10.15.4 crashing bugs.

#applequality
 


Amazon disclaimer:
As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Latest posts