With macOS 10.12 Sierra due out sometime this month, some will no doubt be wondering whether their current mac will make the cut.
First thing you’ll need to know is your model identifier. If you’re using DetectX or FastTasks 2, it’s displayed at the top of the Profile log. In FastTasks 2, you can also find it in the menu under ‘Model Overview’.
If you’re not using either of those, you can get your model identifier from > About This Mac > System Report… Look for ‘Model Identifier’ under the Hardware Overview section.
Barring any unlikely last minute changes from Apple, here’s the full list of models that are supported:
To find out which model of mac you’ve got, hold down the option key on your keyboard and select
> About This Mac
Check the ‘Model Identifier’ against this list:
Of course, just because your machine’s listed, it doesn’t mean it will necessary meet all the specifications, so be sure to check the tech specs too.
A problem that seems to be affecting quite a few users after the Mountain Lion upgrade is loss of sound in iTunes, QuickTime and other apps. Some people are reporting that the Volume control is greyed out or won’t move.
The resolution here is to quit and resart the coreaudio process. To do so:
1. Open Activity Monitor.app (Applications > Utilities > Activity Monitor.app)
2. Select ‘All Processes’ from the drop down menu next to the search bar (called ‘Filter:’) and type in ‘coreaudio’.
3. Select the process name and click the ‘Quit Process’ button at the top. Chose ‘Quit’ or ‘Force Quit’ from the resulting dialogue box.
The coreaudio process will automatically restart itself (if you look closely at the PID number in Activity Monitor you’ll notice it changes after you hit ‘Quit’) and your sound problems should be solved. However, if you find that this procedure only partially solves the problem or doesn’t work for you, also try this:
4. Open Terminal.app (Applications/Utilities/Terminal.app) and copy/paste this command into the Terminal window
then press ‘return’ on your keyboard.
5. Restart your mac and test.
6. Still not working? Check your audio configuration here:
/Applications/Utilities/Audio MIDI Setup.app.
Make sure the window has the title Audio Devices, and click ‘Built in Output’ in the sidebar. Are any of the boxes under ‘Mute’ in the main panel checked? If so, uncheck them. Is the format set to 44100.0hz? If not, change it so that it is.
Hope this helps!
UPDATE: Please also see How To Troubleshoot Your Mac with FT2.
There can be various reasons why your Mac starts running slowly. Some of these can be app-related – especially if you are making multiple changes in programs that have autosave enabled. Other problems could be due to running processor-heavy apps that need more RAM than you’ve presently got. Before you dash off to Crucial to check out your RAM upgrade options, here’s a few basics to run through:
1. Applications > Utilities > Disk Utility.app
How old is your HDD drive? Click on the top-most hard disk icon in the left column and check the S.M.A.R.T status at the bottom right of the window. Does it say ‘verified’? If it says anything else, back up all your important data and start thinking about buying a new hard disk. If the S.M.A.R.T status is verified, have a look at how much space you’ve got left. A nearly-full disk will slow you down. Generally, it is recommended that you have at least 10% free, but I’d work on getting that closer to 25% for optimum performance. If you have less than that, think about what can be archived onto a backup disk (or two..), such as photos, movies, and even your songs.
2. Applications > Utilities > Activity Monitor.app
What’s using all the CPU time? Is it something you need to be running? Select any obviously unnecessary resource hogs and hit ‘Quit Process’.
3. > System Preferences > Users & Groups
How many apps are in your ‘Login Items’? Remove anything that is not absolutely necessary at start up time.
4. Have you downloaded MacKeeper or other Anti-virus software?
If so, remove it.
5. How recently did you upgrade to Lion and are you using Time Machine?
If you’ve only recently upgraded in the last day or so, or turned your Mac off not long after upgrading, perhaps Spotlight is still indexing (indicated by a dot in the middle of the ‘spyglass’, top right of your screen) or TM is still updating (indicated by the TM indicator spinning in the menubar). Either or these will eventually finish and return your system to (about) normal, but you should let your system run (leaving it in ‘Sleep’ mode will do the trick) for at least 24 hours if you’ve only just upgraded.
6. Did you repair system permissions after upgrading?
Even though the Lion installer should fix system permissions after an upgrade, if you then added any other 3-rd party apps or restore something from Time Machine, repairing permissions is always a good idea. Doing so is harmless, and rules out permissions as a possible factor of poor performance. Do Step 4 here. Unless any are indicted in red type, don’t panic about the permissions errors that come up in the ‘details’ window – many of these can be safely ignored.
7. Clear out your caches
Caches, in general, help to speed your computer up. However, if you’re a heavy internet browser and you’ve never cleared your caches or your history (I mean like in several months), then this is worth doing from time to time. You can clean out Internet caches in Safari or Firefox by choosing Safari > Empty Cache or Firefox > Tools > Clear Recent History > Everything. Your computer has other caches that can usefully be cleared out periodically, too: use OnyX to do so.
8. Is the system slow with just one particular program or while trying to open some particular window?
A couple of things could be going on here. If its your browser, try killing some of those extensions/add-ons – every one of them slows you down just that little bit, and many slow you down a lot. Another possibility is a corrupt ‘plist’ or preference file associated with a particular app. Curing this is a bit more tricky and requires knowing your way around the hidden Library folder. If you think this is your problem, leave a comment below to get further instructions.
featured picture Speedo ©2011 Phil Stokes
why is my mac running so hot?
FastTasks – download the free OS X utility app from Applehelpwriter
Nearly three months since the initial public release of OS X Lion 10.7 and a couple of updates later (we’re currently at Release 10.7.2) a lot of upgraders are reporting problems to Apple Support Communities. These problems could be avoided or their severity reduced if people upgraded in the right way.
There’s a wrong way? Oh yes…the Apple way is to encourage you to click on the App Store, click on Lion, pay your money, sit back and watch as everything falls into place without barely a finger lifted from the user. That’s great — when it works, but as noted, a lot of people are finding that all sorts of things are going wrong from software incompatibility to hardware incompatibility and sometimes (like in my own case) just plain user incompatibility (yes, some of us — and it could be you too! — are just not that thrilled with the reduced configurability and usability of Lion compared to Snow Leopard, even when it works as intended). There’s also some reported problems even with Apple’s own products: Time Machine, Time Capsule and Spotlight are all being reported as having problems for some users.
But much of this need not give you a headache, put your computer out of action or require a call to Apple Support if you follow the golden rules to doing any major OS upgrade.
Golden Rule No. 1: Check the compatibility of your key software tools.
Why do I need to do this?
Lion does not support a lot of older technologies such as Rosetta and PowerPC apps. If you make heavy use of these programs in your daily use, you’re going to need to upgrade those too or continue to run Snow Leopard on an external disk.
Golden Rule No. 2: Buy an external disk and clone your current system to it.
Why do I need to do this?
Without a doubt, this is the most important thing you should do before upgrading. What cloning means is that if anything goes wrong with the install, if it doesn’t work, or it isn’t to your taste, you can simply boot back into your old system within minutes (no longer than it takes to restart the computer, in fact). Your clone is your insurance, a fail-safe against the unexpected. Don’t even think about hitting that App store upgrade till you have your clone in the bag.
Or what? Simply put, if you don’t make a clone of your system, you’re going to have to live with any problems until you can work out a way to either solve them (and some issues haven’t even been resolved yet) or revert back to your previous OS the hard way, with the potential of data loss.
Although cloning your system will cost you the price of an external USB or Firewire hard disk, it’s an investment you should not overlook. Even if your upgrade goes well, keep the clone for a month or so till you’re sure everything works fine. Once you’re happy, you can use that disk to clone your Lion OS regularly as an incremental backup (like Time Machine only more configurable and less erratic!).
Golden Rule No.3: Make sure you have a bootable DVD or USB recovery disk.
Why do I need to do this?
Unlike every other proprietary OS upgrade ever, Lion is downloaded from the internet and does not come with an install disk. Does it matter? Well, yes. Sometimes Lion doesn’t install properly for a number of different reasons and sometimes your system just goes belly-up. Now you may have heard that Lion comes with its own recovery partition, but that assumes that the recovery partition installs properly, and it relies on having an internet connection. Re-downloading the installer takes a lot longer than simply copying it the first time and making a bootable Lion recovery disk in case of emergency.
Golden Rule No.4: Do a clean install to your internal disk.
Why do I need to do this?
A clean install basically means two things: you wipe the history of the disk you’re going to use for your new OS, and you don’t import any settings from your previous OS. This should ensure that the OS installs exactly as it was designed, without being infected with any hidden or unknown problems from your previous OS install.
Golden Rule No. 5: Use the clone to add manually the stuff you use everyday, and as-and-when you need it for other stuff.
Why do I need to do this?
Using the auto-upgrade, Time Machine or Disk Migration features have been known to introduce problems such as corrupted files and permissions that Snow Leopard ignored for some reason or other but which Lion won’t tolerate, and/or files and settings which are just plain incompatible with Lion. Trying to find out what is causing your system problems is a gruelling process if you just import everything en masse. On the other hand, if you import things manually over time, it’ll be both a lot easier to figure out which change caused the problem but also — using your clone — to roll your system back if needs be.
Let us know your upgrade stories in the Comments below. Was it just one-click to happiness or a whole world of pain? 😉
It’s been over 10 days since the jury went out to weigh up the evidence for and against Mac’s new operating system, 10.7 (OS X Lion). With Apple announcing a million downloads in the first 24 hours, there’s been no shortage of heated debate across the blogosphere and discussion boards (this thread runs to 60 pages and counting! Also see this witty and perceptive post about one user’s frustrations with the upgrade).
So it appears that some love it, others hate it, many are merely sanguine about the whole experience. A number of people are reporting trying it and reverting back to Snow Leopard with brow-mopping relief. My guess, though, is that the vast majority of Snow Leopard users are patiently waiting till a few updates have been released and all the early bugs ironed out.
It’s worth remembering the options: even if you buy Lion now to take advantage of the $30 opening price, you don’t have to install it now. You could buy it and leave the installer app in your Apps folder till the updates get released. Nor do you have to install it over the top of your existing installation. You could install Lion on an external disc instead, or move your Snow Leopard to an external disc and have Lion on your internal disc. Either of those options will allow you to play around with it and switch over fully when you’re truly ready. Don’t forget you can check out whether your existing software will work with Lion.
I have to say though, after ten days, 10.7 is starting to grow on me, and I think the external drive with Snow Leopard sitting on it is going to be gathering dust in a cupboard from now on. That’s not to say I’m thrilled with all that Lion has to offer. It’s a mixed bag, so sit back and let me read the court’s judgement in full. 🙂
The Good, …
— yes, I have unwillingly been converted. The four-finger screen swipe (left/right to change screen, up/down for Spaces and Expose, respectively) is addictive, and now I don’t think I could live without it. The truth is I could never get along with Spaces or Expose in Snow Leopard anyway, but Mission Control really does sort of force itself upon you. I do miss the App Switcher that is no longer available via the trackpad (Cmd-Tab still invokes it). There are free 3rd Party programs that you can get to add it back into the trackpad, but my experience is they are awkward at best.
— this is an app I use a lot and I love what they’ve done to it. Preview’s enhancements are one of the most undersold changes in all the talk about Lion. It’s always been ahead of Adobe Reader to my mind, but it did have shortcomings, particularly with adding and placing comments neatly and readably. The new Preview has tidied that up nicely, with the comment markers placeable with much finer precision and clear, neat lines indicating which comment each belongs to. The full screen feature also looks great and makes reading a pleasure.
— is growing on me. Switch it back to Classic view for a tidier interface, but there’s still lots of nice things about it. The animated display when you double-click to open a message is very neat (note: you won’t see the animation if you’ve got your IMAP account settings set to ‘Don’t keep copies of any messages’ in Mail Preferences | Advanced).
the Bad, …
Well, overall, the worst thing about Lion is that most of the good things are really cosmetic. There’s not a lot of new things you can do with Lion, and what there are, I don’t like much, particularly the triumvirate of data guardians otherwise known as
Resume, Autosave and Versions
— Apple has gone to extraordinary lengths to ensure every keystroke, every page, every file you ever open is remembered somewhere (and often in multiple somewheres) on your internal drive and your backup drives. It’s worth noting that not all of these are places the average user can either find or remove. This is something that not everyone is thrilled about, and certainly it’s raised a few eyebrows among the security-conscious. If I were a Chinese blogger, I’m not sure I’d want to update to Lion (you think the Chinese don’t buy Macs? Oh,please!). Another thing worth noting about the Evil Trinity is that Apple has also made them extremely difficult to turn off. Resume, despite what you might be reading elsewhere, cannot be turned off by default (or at least no one’s found a way to do it yet).
However, with all these things, it’s not so much that you can’t beat them, but that you have to work around them. Adjusting your workflow to avoid Resume, Autosave and Versions is certainly possible, but something some may rightly begrudge paying $30 to have to do (in which case, that external backup of Snow Leopard I mentioned above is your friend!). I’ve already written about Resume, and I hope to post workarounds for Versions and Autosave in the near future (sign up for the RSS feed).
The only other ‘bad’ thing I have to say about 10.7 is LaunchPad. This is the iPad look-alike-finger-swiping app display (known as ‘springboard’ on the iPad). A complete waste of time: literally, it’ll take you forever to organise it, and even then it’s a very slow way to find anything but your most familiar apps. There have always been much faster and more efficient ways to get to both your most-oft used apps (the Dock) and those you only occasionally fire up (Finder).
…and the Ugly.
It’s not often that Apple do ugly, but its been universally acknowledged that the designs for iCal, Address Book and Photo Booth are a real eyesore. Fortunately, it’s easy to get rid of them with a bit of mucking about.
So should you upgrade or not? Well, why make it a black-and-white decision when you could have the best of both worlds? If you have a spare drive hanging around, whip it out, pay your $30 and take Lion for a test-drive. If it’s not for you right now, just put it away till the updates smooth it out and the time is right regarding compatibility. After all, if you’ve invested heavily in Apple products or have a lot of legacy material, then it’s probably only a matter of time before you give in and let the Lion tame you, too!