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With the apparent final releases for Mojave before Catalina, I updated one our macOS Sierra Mac Minis to Mojave, installed the latest updates, then disabled SIP and used AppDelete to remove most of Apple's pre-installed software. If you've not read my previous posts about doing that, the core operating system works fine, possibly better, without that overhead which we don't use on our work machines.
George, are you able to turn SIP back on after deleting the pre-installed apps? Or does that cause an issue with the OS not being seen as "complete"?

And have you tried this on a T2 equipped system? If so, what's your experience been like? Thanks.
 



George, are you able to turn SIP back on after deleting the pre-installed apps? Or does that cause an issue with the OS not being seen as "complete"?
SIP re-enabled without any issue or complaint.

The applications I remove are not part of the operating system, but applications provided with macOS.

The only issue I've ever seen: In a prior version of the OS it was possible to remove Spotlight (but it's now firmly welded in). Immediately after I did, Little Snitch reported:

“SubmitDiagInfo” wants to connect to radarsubmissions.apple.com

I had checked all the clicks to opt out of sending diagnostic info to Apple....

Sorry, forgot to mention, don't have a T2 Mac. The ones I've been setting up are the lowest version of the 2014 Minis.

#security #privacy
 


SIP re-enabled without any issue or complaint. The applications I remove are not part of the operating system, but applications provided with macOS. The only issue I've ever seen: In a prior version of the OS it was possible to remove Spotlight (but it's now firmly welded in). Immediately after I did, Little Snitch reported:
“SubmitDiagInfo” wants to connect to radarsubmissions.apple.com
I had checked all the clicks to opt out of sending diagnostic info to Apple....
Sorry, forgot to mention, don't have a T2 Mac. The ones I've been setting up are the lowest version of the 2014 Minis.
Thanks for the info.

I will hopefully have a chance to test on a T2 Mini sometime in the next week and let everyone know how that progresses.

I hadn't realized that disabling SIP would allow one to clean out the cruft that's not needed.
 


With some OS versions, you can boot from a different drive to get rid of “required” apps, such as Chess, or Photo Booth, on the drive you normally use. You will be asked for your admin password but after entering that, you can delete them. System updates may be wonky, though, as in not quite correctly restoring the missing apps. So you will have to remove them again after an update.

Can’t imagine this will work with a locked down OS, if the fluff apps are kept on the untouchable system container.
 


System updates may be wonky, though, as in not quite correctly restoring the missing apps. So you will have to remove them again after an update.
Can’t imagine this will work with a locked down OS, if the fluff apps are kept on the untouchable system container.
You're right, [macOS] version updates will restore the deleted applications, which is why my practice was to wait until what seemed the final version (e.g., Mojave 10.14.6), set up, then prune a system. Usually it could remain that way, with only security updates, for a couple of years. Since Apple's versions often tick (flaky) tock (fixes), I usually skipped the tock cycle (e.g., High Sierra) and stayed on Sierra until the final version of Mojave.

I've mentioned before that I use AppDelete to clean up the Macs. It does a better job than I can of finding the related pieces of applications stashed around the drive.

I think it was on Yosemite that I removed Spotlight, not with AppDelete but with terminal commands. It's no longer possible to remove Spotlight, and even turning it off leaves processes including telemetry running. My surmise is that Catalina will put all Apple's pre-installed software similarly beyond reach.
 


I have an "obsolete" late 2009 white polycarbonate MacBook (6,1). It is currently running macOS 10.12.6 quite happily. macOS 10.13 is apparently supported on this machine. I am looking for opinions on whether it is worth updating to 10.13 or whether 10.12 is more stable and the machine should be left as is (the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" strategy).

I believe that macOS 10.12 is no longer getting security updates from Apple. Not sure about 10.13. It currently runs well. I am just using it as a spare computer for listening to iTunes and web browsing.

#applesecurity
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
I have an "obsolete" late 2009 white polycarbonate MacBook (6,1). It is currently running macOS 10.12.6 quite happily. macOS 10.13 is apparently supported on this machine. I am looking for opinions on whether it is worth updating to 10.13 or whether 10.12 is more stable and the machine should be left as is (the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" strategy). I believe that macOS 10.12 is no longer getting security updates from Apple. Not sure about 10.13. It currently runs well. I am just using it as a spare computer for listening to iTunes and web browsing.
You can run the latest version of Firefox on macOS 10.12 for up-to-date security. Unpatched vulnerabilities in macOS could theoretically lead to problems, but I haven't heard of that happening (and I scan security reports constantly).

I wouldn't update to macOS 10.13 without trying it out first on a clone drive - probably an external SSD (even if you're stuck at USB 2 speeds – FireWire might be better, if it's an option).

Also, APFS can really hurt hard drive performance, so if you do decide to update to macOS 10.13, you might want to do it by cloning it into an HFS+ partition (if you're not using an SSD).

Personally, I'd probably stick with macOS 10.12, unless you have a lot of time to spare (or consider a switch to Linux...). And, if there's nothing critical on the system, just make a good backup and set it aside, then you can wipe the system clean and restore if you encounter malware or other problems.
 


I have an early 2009 white MacBook. It runs High Sierra reasonably well, though for that model a patch is needed. High Sierra is pretty much unusable on any machine with a hard disk drive, and on my 2009 MacBook I needed to max out the memory (6GB) before it was us able.

Upgrading your 2009 MacBook to an SSD can be very cheap, potentially less than $30 if you only need a smallish drive, but you may have additional cost if you have 4 GB or less memory.
 


You can run the latest version of Firefox on macOS 10.12 for up-to-date security. Unpatched vulnerabilities in macOS could theoretically lead to problems, but I haven't heard of that happening (and I scan security reports constantly).

I wouldn't update to macOS 10.13 without trying it out first on a clone drive - probably an external SSD (even if you're stuck at USB 2 speeds – FireWire might be better, if it's an option).

Also, APFS can really hurt hard drive performance, so if you do decide to update to macOS 10.13, you might want to do it by cloning it into an HFS+ partition (if you're not using an SSD).

Personally, I'd probably stick with macOS 10.12, unless you have a lot of time to spare (or consider a switch to Linux...). And, if there's nothing critical on the system, just make a good backup and set it aside, then you can wipe the system clean and restore if you encounter malware or other problems.
Thank you for the advice. I think I will stick with macOS Sierra as you suggest. I replaced the hard drive with an SSD and maxed out the RAM five years ago, so it is actually pretty fast for such an old machine. I also have a 13" MacBook Pro from the same era but it is capped at OS X 10.11 for some reason (despite having the same 2.26Ghz Core 2 Duo "Penryn" CPU). I am not interested in hacks to upgrade the OS. It also has an SSD and maxed out RAM. It now belongs to my 11-year-old who is quite happy with it.
 


From what I've read, I'm still leery of putting 10.13 on this machine.
Not sure what you have been reading, but I and everyone I know who upgraded to High Sierra found it to be much more reliable and stable. Also note that Sierra has been abandoned by Apple and is no longer receiving Security Updates.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Not sure what you have been reading, but I and everyone I know who upgraded to High Sierra found it to be much more reliable and stable. Also note that Sierra has been abandoned by Apple and is no longer receiving Security Updates.
What stability problems in macOS Sierra did you and the people you know experience that High Sierra fixed?

You may remember how High Sierra had shockingly bad security failures, among other problems. But maybe those have all been fixed in the most recent release.

It's unclear to me, though, if High Sierra's transitional and problematic APFS implementation has been updated to a more robust and current APFS version somehow (via stealth firmware updates, perhaps?), or if decent APFS support requires an update to macOS Mojave or Catalina.

Also unclear to me is how introducing a completely new file system, graphics system, kernel extension design and more is supposed to help stability and reliability.

#applequality #highsierra
 


It's unclear to me, though, if High Sierra's transitional and problematic APFS implementation has been updated to a more robust and current APFS version somehow (via stealth firmware updates, perhaps?), or if decent APFS support requires an update to macOS Mojave or Catalina.
I've had this same unanswered question for quite some time. In my opinion, High Sierra (which introduced APFS) is nothing more than a stepping stone to Mojave. My upgrade path is Sierra -> Mojave.
 


I have an early 2009 white MacBook. It runs High Sierra reasonably well, though for that model a patch is needed. High Sierra is pretty much unusable on any machine with a hard disk drive, and on my 2009 MacBook I needed to max out the memory (6GB) before it was us able. Upgrading your 2009 MacBook to an SSD can be very cheap, potentially less than $30 if you only need a smallish drive, but you may have additional cost if you have 4 GB or less memory.
We have a late 2009 white polycarbonate MacBook, and installed a 500GB SSD and 8 gigs of RAM, and High Sierra runs quite well on this model. I would recommend upgrading your hardware as such, because High Sierra still receives updates from Apple, and you benefit from the additional features of a newer macOS. Although this model of MacBook is heavier than the current razor thin ones, I enjoy using this one quite a bit, and it’s quite capable of current software.
 


It's unclear to me, though, if High Sierra's transitional and problematic APFS implementation has been updated to a more robust and current APFS version somehow (via stealth firmware updates, perhaps?), or if decent APFS support requires an update to macOS Mojave or Catalina.
This is a critical question for me as well. My Macs can theoretically run High Sierra, but Mojave is not supported on them.

I've been avoiding High Sierra, mostly because of its half-baked APFS implementation. If Apple managed to port a stable APFS to it, then I would consider upgrading my MacBook Air.

My Mini, with two hard drives, however, will only get upgraded if it can be done without converting the volumes. I seem to remember that High Sierra won't convert a hard drive or Fusion drive, but I don't know if I want to take a chance on that.
 



I am using High Sierra running on HFS+, being wary of its APFS. Working fine for me.
Skipped High Sierra and moved to Mojave when it reached v6. Only pain points were paying for upgrades to Little Snitch and Carbon Copy Cloner, and that misleading Apple 32-bit nag:
"App" is not optimized for your Mac.
The App needs to be updated by its developer to improve compatibility.
As you, being wary of Mojave and APFS conversion, I did a nuke and pave on one Mac running Sierra, my logic being the conversion process from HFS+ was less likely to bork than on a drive filled with programs and data. After the install succeeded, I added our software, then used Carbon Copy Cloner to replicate the install for other systems. With data on Synologies at home and work, there are not many local data files on any of the updated Macs.

Since I've noticed no issues on any of the replicated Macs, and they're used regularly, I can't identify any problems APFS has caused (me). I do like Apple's implementation of the dark mode in Mojave.

(Reading back through for clarity) we boot all our Minis from external SSDs rather than their internal drives.
 



Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Thank you for the advice. I think I will stick with macOS Sierra as you suggest. I replaced the hard drive with an SSD and maxed out the RAM five years ago, so it is actually pretty fast for such an old machine.
The two reasons to consider High Sierra in your situation would be Apple security updates and support for apps that require macOS 10.13 or later. I'm seeing more and more of those, unfortunately. But once you decide to move beyond macOS 10.12, the big question is whether to go to 10.13 (possibly keeping with HFS+ instead of APFS) or on to Mojave, which may or may not be more stable than the final macOS 10.13 version. (It has more security mechanisms.)

(Of course, macOS 10.15 is a radical change from all previous versions, if you use any 32-bit software or media or older hardware.)
 


The two reasons to consider High Sierra in your situation would be Apple security updates and support for apps that require macOS 10.13 or later. I'm seeing more and more of those, unfortunately. But once you decide to move beyond macOS 10.12, the big question is whether to go to 10.13 (possibly keeping with HFS+ instead of APFS) or on to Mojave, which may or may not be more stable than the final macOS 10.13 version. (It has more security mechanisms.)

(Of course, macOS 10.15 is a radical change from all previous versions, if you use any 32-bit software or media or older hardware.)
Good advice, Ric. If I recall correctly, I believe I did transition to APFS when I installed the SSD drive on the Late 2009 MacBook -- this white polycarbonate model maxes out with High Sierra. Everything running well with macOS 10.13.6 ... after maxing the RAM out to 8 gigs.
 


I'm thinking of migrating from Sierra to High Sierra. My computer has a spinning disk, so I want to stay with HFS+. When you install High Sierra on to a spinning disk, will it convert it to APFS? If so, is there a way to prevent that and keep the disk as HFS+? Also, are there any problems running Adobe Creative Suite 6 on High Sierra?
 


I'm thinking of migrating from Sierra to High Sierra. My computer has a spinning disk, so I want to stay with HFS+. When you install High Sierra on to a spinning disk, will it convert it to APFS? If so, is there a way to prevent that and keep the disk as HFS+? Also, are there any problems running Adobe Creative Suite 6 on High Sierra?
Tom, I do know that when you install High Sierra onto a blank hard drive for the first time you have the option between choosing HFS+ or APFS. This holds true and the same for an SSD drive. [See below –MacInTouch]

Since I did not go this route, I’m not sure what you will see when upgrading or using a combo installer for High Sierra. Of course, no matter what, do a full backup of your hard drive before taking the next step.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Tom, I do know that when you install High Sierra onto a blank hard drive for the first time you have the option between choosing HFS+ or APFS. This holds true and the same for an SSD drive.
Are you sure about that? I haven't done a High Sierra install from scratch for quite a while, but I did an Internet Recovery on a 2018 MacBook Pro the other day and got High Sierra* with no offer of an HFS+ option.

(*Yes, High Sierra on a 2018 MacBook Pro with T2 subsystem. I was surprised it didn't install Mojave, but I did request the original macOS version by using Command-Option-R, and it apparently shipped originally with macOS 10.13.6.)
 



Do not forget Collin's Mojave Patcher which works on many different, otherwise too old Macs. Use an SSD and 8GB+ RAM and you'll be surprised how well your old Mac will keep going.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Tom, I do know that when you install High Sierra onto a blank hard drive for the first time you have the option between choosing HFS+ or APFS. This holds true and the same for an SSD drive. Since I did not go this route, I’m not sure what you will see when upgrading or using a combo installer for High Sierra. Of course, no matter what, do a full backup of your hard drive before taking the next step.
I think you may be confused. Here's a clear explanation of what actually happens:
Ars Technica said:
macOS 10.13 High Sierra: The Ars Technica review
... Of course, the High Sierra installer does do one major thing that the Sierra installer didn’t do. Behind the scenes, it converts your boot partition from the longstanding HFS+ filesystem to the new APFS.
... If you’re performing an upgrade install, the filesystem conversion happens automatically but only to your boot volume—separate HFS+ or Boot Camp partitions on your internal drive plus any external drives you’ve connected remain untouched—and only if your Mac uses an SSD.
Here's what Apple itself says*:
Apple Support said:
How to erase a disk for Mac
Disk Utility in macOS High Sierra or later can erase most disks and volumes for Mac using either the newer APFS (Apple File System) format or the older Mac OS Extended format, and it automatically chooses a compatible format for you.
That "compatible format" is APFS for an SSD in High Sierra. In Mojave and above, it's APFS for Fusion drives and hard drives, too (which is a performance disaster for hard drives).
Wikipedia said:
macOS Mojave
When Mojave is installed, it will convert solid-state drives (SSDs), hard disk drives (HDDs), and Fusion Drives, from HFS Plus to APFS.

*Apple has updated this document for Catalina, talking about more confusions there involving tricks that make separate volumes appear as one.
 


This is a critical question for me as well. My Macs can theoretically run High Sierra, but Mojave is not supported on them. I've been avoiding High Sierra, mostly because of its half-baked APFS implementation. If Apple managed to port a stable APFS to it, then I would consider upgrading my MacBook Air. My Mini, with two hard drives, however, will only get upgraded if it can be done without converting the volumes. I seem to remember that High Sierra won't convert a hard drive or Fusion drive, but I don't know if I want to take a chance on that.
I migrated my 2011 iMac 27-inch to High Sierra over a year ago. Have had no issues on this production machine running primarily Adobe Creative Cloud applications for print and web production. I just let the installer do what it wanted to do with regard to converting to APFS.

This machine may have originally held fusion drives, but I now use it working from the SSD and backing up to the hard drive. Don't need a large volume, as project files reside on the server.

Can't upgrade to Mojave, so I'll stay on High Sierra until it's no longer supported.
 


That "compatible format" is APFS for an SSD in High Sierra. In Mojave and above, it's APFS for Fusion drives and hard drives, too (which is a performance disaster for hard drives).
This is the thing that bothers me still. I am not opposed to moving up to Mojave from Sierra, if only for the security it offers, but I've got a hard drive in this iMac and definitely don't want to make it slower. I'm really on the fence about this. Other than security patches (or the lack therefore now), Sierra is fast and stable and offers pretty much all I need.
 


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