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macOS 10.15 Catalina

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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.
 


There are more reported problems with macOS 10.15.4, these involving SSH:
Weird - I do use SSH frequently, but on default ports almost exclusively. 8192 is a strange number to hit an issue with - not even a roll-over on a 16-bit integer.
 



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
 


Software update to macOS 10.15.4 caused an obscure fault with Safari, whereby video streaming via Apple TV resulted in the picture completely blacked out (sound OK). Fault confirmed when another browser worked fine.

Only remedy for Safari is a complete re-installation from recovery drive. Just as well we are all in lockdown where I am... <smile>
 


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.
I have a decent backup strategy in place. I use Time Machine for incremental backup, and daily full backups with SuperDuper (rotated between two external disks). I haven't done a full backup since moving to Catalina, as I wanted to make sure everything was working before burning my bridges. As it seems OK, I plan on a full backup today.

Anyway, what really puzzled me was why Time Machine wanted to back up 55.92 GB after only applying the update to Catalina. It would seem to be backing up an awful lot of non-essential things. Maybe I need to revisit my exclusions list in the light of Catalina changes to the file structure.
 


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.,,,
Agreed. However, advice for those familiar with the pre-snapshot [pre-APFS] SafetyNet feature: If you're using a spinning backup drive formatted with APFS but haven't turned on Snapshot support (which I think is actually a CCC recommendation for spinning drives), SafetyNet is still there keeping track of deleted files in the available space, but it's not straightforward to find and search. You have to use the CCC app to reveal the Data volume in the Finder (right-click the volume in the CCC sidebar), then use a utility like EasyFind to search for the files you want from the SafetyNet folders - Finder "Find" doesn't seem to find anything on that volume.
 


Software update to macOS 10.15.4 caused an obscure fault with Safari, whereby video streaming via Apple TV resulted in the picture completely blacked out (sound OK). Fault confirmed when another browser worked fine.
Only remedy for Safari is a complete re-installation from recovery drive. Just as well we are all in lockdown where I am... <smile>
I have run into this a few times on macOS 10.14.6 after last week's security and Safari 13.1 updates.
 


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