back to article So. Should I upgrade to macOS High Sierra?

Apple releases a systems nerd nirvana today, a new OS that’s packed with more profound and interesting under-the-hood technology features than Apple has released for years. But should you rush out and upgrade to macOS 10.13 High Sierra? Well, certainly not, if you want to maintain a set of working peripherals. And emphatically …

  1. Semtex451 Silver badge
    Windows

    Good thing everyones accustomed to being a Beta tester these days.

    ...or is it?

    1. unwarranted triumphalism

      So they've broken everything. But they've made it slightly shinier, that's nice.

      Why not try using a computer designed for grown-ups instead?

      1. JDX Gold badge

        The whole point is the haven't made it shinier but focused on the internal stuff.

        Why not try reading the article instead?

        1. unwarranted triumphalism

          Read the article?

          I didn't even finish reading the headline.

    2. DougS Silver badge

      Already pretty well tested

      The iOS 10.3 update earlier this year converted everyone's iPhone to APFS, so with north of a half billion successful conversions I think Apple is more than ready for doing it on the Mac.

      1. TVU

        Re: Already pretty well tested

        "The iOS 10.3 update earlier this year converted everyone's iPhone to APFS, so with north of a half billion successful conversions I think Apple is more than ready for doing it on the Mac".

        ^ That APFS file system is a welcome and much needed modern replacement for the old HFS/HFS+ file system which really was long in the tooth. It now just needs to be rolled out for conventional Mac hard disk drives as well.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Good thing everyones accustomed to being a Beta tester these days.

      If Microsoft went about testing and updating the way Apple did, Microsoft Vista would have never been released. I know that's very annoying to Redmond fans, but that's a simple fact.

      With a full new release it is always worth being cautious, but in general I have had very few problems upgrading for the years I've been using both iOS and macos. I am more cautious with this update because it changes something VERY fundamental to the system, but in general I am not regretting my switch to macos from Windows, also because it's easier to make a Mac talk to a Linux box than a Windows machine.

  2. James O'Shea

    FAT32, what's that?

    Apparently the release version of 10.13 has a problem with copying files larger than 2 GB to FAT32 volumes. That's 'the release version', as apparently the betas didn't have this problem, and '2 GB', not the FAT32 limit of 4 GB.

    There is much screaming over on the Apple 'help' forum.

    1. wolfetone Silver badge

      Re: FAT32, what's that?

      "There is much screaming over on the Apple 'help' forum."

      Sir, you are confusing passionate users for screaming hamsters.

      1. James O'Shea

        Re: FAT32, what's that?

        I like hamsters. My nieces used to have hamsters. My brother's ex sometimes came around (it should be noted that she didn't get custody, and _her parents sided with my brother_...) and occasionally a particular one would escape its cage and bite her. I called the hamster Tribble, as she was obviously a Klingon, probably the third Duras sister. (I repeat, her parents sided with my brother. Why he ever married her was beyond me.) My brother told me to not say that near the girls. Pity.

    2. Overcharged Aussie

      Re: FAT32, what's that?

      Understood, I always wait for the 10.x.3 or 10.x.4 release anyway, gives them a chance to fix the bugs they introduced fixing the bugs in the initial release. Certainly worked for me with Mavericks, Yosemite, El Capitain and Sierra.

      1. SlippySlope

        Re: FAT32, what's that?

        That was my mistake this time...I usually await the 2nd or 3rd bug fix before adopting a new release but this time I went for the 1st release of the “Final”...big mistake. The cursor on my MBA (recent) became uncontrolable (it was like playing a video game) to the point that I couldn’t even get to my TM backups to do a restore to 10.12.6. The nearest Apple Store is 50 miles away so I took it to a local “authorized” Apple dealer and had them do a clean install. It made the cursor better but did not resolve the issue. Apple has now released the “supplemental” 10.13 install and I was hoping it would fix it. No such luck. So, I’ve pulled out an older MacBook and I’ve resorted to using my iPad Pro (which is pretty good with the keyboard...in fact, that’s what I’m doing this post with).

        I should have read this article before I went with the 10.13 Final release...would have saved me a lot of frustrating moments.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    HEVC isn't that tough

    The old i5-5200U (Broadwell) in the laptop I'm using right now can decode it perfectly well - as can my (much less powerful) Samsung TV for that matter! OK, the Gen 1 FireTV has a problem with it, but MacOS needs Skylake for this? Really?

    1. Keef

      Re: HEVC isn't that tough

      Maybe it's the encoding that needs the grunt not the decoding?

      MPEG is asymmetric in that the encoding is many times more intensive than the decoding, perhaps HEVC shares this trait.

      1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

        Re: HEVC isn't that tough

        Maybe it's the encoding that needs the grunt not the decoding?

        MPEG is asymmetric in that the encoding is many times more intensive than the decoding, perhaps HEVC shares this trait.

        Yes, this is the case and much more so as well. Real time, or preferably considerably better than real time if you're into any kind of video work, needs a lot of capable grunt on the CPU/GPU front. The general guideline is that HEVC (H.265) requires 10x the computer compared to H.264 encoding.

    2. Jon 37

      Re: HEVC isn't that tough

      In addition to what @Keef said, note that your TV will be using dedicated hardware to decode HEVC, it won't be trying to do the decode on a general-purpose CPU or GPU. (More accurately, the TV has a single chip that has some CPU cores, hardware decoders for both MPEG2 and HEVC, the GPU, video scalers and blenders, and some other useful hardware blocks. This is cheaper than a chip with a really powerful general-purpose CPU that has to do everything in software).

      More modern desktop PC GPUs tend to have hardware decoders for HEVC, too, and sometimes hardware encoders.

  4. Korev Silver badge

    Backup server?

    You now nominate a Mac as a Time Machine backup server for other Macs on the LAN.

    Good luck trying to buy a home Mac with enough storage* to do this for a reasonable number of devices

    *ie without having discs and their cables hanging around all over the place.

    1. John Robson Silver badge

      Re: Backup server?

      Mac mini with an external tower... Seems perfectly reasonable to me.

      I must look at whether there is a time machine docker container available...

      Ooh - yes, there are several. That's me sorted then (just need to decide on one)

      HP Microserver, SSD for a base OS, now have three large HDDs, will add a fourth at some point. Going to use clusterFS and snapRAID on those...

      Then everything gets containerised away to make life far easier than it would otherwise be...

      1. DougMac

        Re: Backup server?

        > Mac mini with an external tower... Seems perfectly reasonable to me.

        FreeNAS mini would be an all-in-one. Works awesome for TimeMachine backups.

        Or roll it out on your own hardware.

        1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          Re: Backup server?

          FreeNAS mini would be an all-in-one. Works awesome for TimeMachine backups.

          As do QNAP NAS units.

          There is one bug that bit me - if you have an AD-joined Mac (like my home MacBook Pro - and yes, I have an AD domain at home. Doesn't everyone?) and your home directory on the Mac is marked as a mobile directory then the TouchID preference pane won't load.

          Which mean, in the final stage of setup, you'll get prompted for your login in order to unlock TouchID and that login will fail every. single. time. And there is no option to skip, so the install will fail.

          And, looking at the logs on my domain servers, the login doesn't even get presented to the Windows servers to authenticate.

          All of which means that a 'nuke from orbit and go back to the Carbon Copy Clone copy that I did just before the upgrade[1]'. Then unjoin the machine from AD and re-run the upgrade. Which worked this time. Then register your fingerprints, rejoin to the domain (at which point the TouchID preference pane no longer loads again) and await the update to fix the issue.

          I'm sure there are more creative fixes that you can play about with in order to force the TouchID pref pane to load but I haven't had the time to play.

      2. katrinab Silver badge

        Re: Backup server?

        HP Microserver, you can get a previous year model for about £200

        Put a USB stick in the internal USB port for the base os

        You have 4 bays for hard drives, and you can put a 5th in the optical drive bay

        Put FreeBSD on it + Netatalk

        Change a few configuration settings

        You have a fully working Time Machine

        This will take about 10 minutes from taking machine out the box if you know what you are doing, or maybe 30 minutes if you don't know what you are doing, but have previous experience with Linux+Samba or similar.

    2. Joe Gurman

      Re: Backup server?

      Now you’re getting down to individual tastes. I’d rather have a single, slender Thunderbolt 3 cable connecting my very thin desktop to a compact, quiet.RAID box than a hulking mess of a PC enclosure with a slew of disk slots. De gustibus non disputandum erat.

      1. John Robson Silver badge

        Re: Backup server?

        "I’d rather have a single, slender Thunderbolt 3 cable connecting my very thin desktop to a compact, quiet.RAID box"

        I'd even run with a USB3 cable (and do actually for the Mac mini)... The data on there isn't 'hot', so USB3 works fine for the 5 drives...

  5. chivo243 Silver badge
    Meh

    1. I will wait for a few point releases to even test the waters.

    2. I still have a 1tb TimeCrapsule, backs up the 3 macbooks no problem.

    3. I've managed to build up 12+tb storage in the house, I don't care about smaller formats for pix and vids at this time.*

    4. Bottom line, nothing to see in this update.

    *Glad to see development of this in any case.

    1. DougMac

      > 2. I still have a 1tb TimeCrapsule, backs up the 3 macbooks no problem.

      Wow, yours still works? I had all 4 of mine die on me.

      Several got repaired under known issues. Others I didn't bother to fight them and replaced it with another solution, because Apple just doesn't care about anything released more than 6 months ago.

      1. Overcharged Aussie

        >Wow, yours still works? I had all 4 of mine die on me.

        Good point, I avoided the problem by just connecting a USB or Thunderbolt drive to the system and let it do it's thing. On my home system just use a USB Drive, at work use a USB and a Thunderbolt drive and let it auto swap. I've had to recover/upgrade several times and this has always worked for me.

        I also Sync my MacBook to my iMac and use CCC to backup document/working material on a regular schedule to NAS/File Server. One can never have too many backups. Sometimes my colleagues laugh at me but all of them at some point have come sheepishly into my office asking for a copy of something that has accidentally been lost somehow.

  6. Alan Bourke

    So it's like Windows then

    ... wait until big patch 1 at the earliest.

    1. DJV Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: So it's like Windows then

      Nah, I'd say it's more like Windows used to be when the arrival of Service Pack 1 fixed the "stupids" in the vanilla .0 release and didn't introduce too many new bugs.

      Nowadays, with the Windows 10 update style of "take it or, oh wait... no, your only choice is to take it and if it breaks your computer, tough" bollocks, we dream of having properly tested* service packs and .1 releases.

      * Well, sometimes they were fully tested...

  7. 45RPM Silver badge

    No problems so far…

    …well other than Webex integration in Outlook causing Outlook to crash, but Webex was never the best written bit of software. Other than that though, I’m very happy with High Sierra (especially since they didn’t observe the silly superstition of ignoring 13).

    That said, your mileage may vary - and the advice not to install immediately (wait for 10.13.1) seems wise.

  8. Dan 55 Silver badge

    New file systems are a rare treat

    Unfortunately this one doesn't have checksumming. How did the geniuses at Apple manage to miss that?

    I guess they think there's no need because of iDevices and SSD. Mac OS playing second fiddle yet again.

    Back to ZFS then.

    1. ThomH Silver badge

      Re: New file systems are a rare treat

      They didn't miss it, since they've offered an argument against it. It's just not a very convincing argument. Per Apple, since SSDs contain ECC error correction they were unable to create a statistically significant number of errors over the service lifetime of any of their machines.

      Except that, you know, they then thought checksumming was worth it for file metadata. And apparently are unaware that external drives exist?

      But 'missing it' isn't quite right.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No problem, it's still UNIX

    https://www.opengroup.org/openbrand/register/apple.htm

  10. hellwig Silver badge

    1 nanosecond?

    Oh surely this is just fluff? Who's computer is that accurate (accurate as in relation to standard time, not in ability to measure nanoseconds)? I'm sure the high-performance computing world will jump all over Apple's proprietary file system any day now.

    1. Jon 37

      Re: 1 nanosecond?

      The issue is with programs like "make" that compare timestamps. They do things like "compile X.c to X.o if X.c is newer than X,o, then link X.o to get X if X.o is newer than X". If timestamps aren't precise enough then everything ends up with the same timestamp.

      Yes, nanoseconds are probably too precise (there's only 2 or 3 clock cycles per nanosecond) but being too precise doesn't cause a problem. The old precision of 1 second is definitely not precise enough and can cause problems. FAT has the same problems, it has 2 second precision.

    2. Mike 16 Silver badge

      Re: 1 nanosecond?

      1 nanosecond precision does not imply 1 nanosecond accuracy, as those of us who got marked down for having unjustifiably more significant digits in out lab results knew. See also: laughing at Spock's reporting of probabilities.

      IIRC IBM's System 360 (1965) specified a higher resolution than the clock speed of any model at the announcement. Each model added the appropriate number of "ticks" for each actual timer update.

      As previously mentioned, "make" really wants precise time-stamps. Also accurate ones. A build cluster with large NetApp storage array was the bane of my existence some years back. I always wonder if some of the problem being that NetApp were the only folks I knew to keep "Spread Spectrum Clock" enabled in the BIOS after passing RFI tests.

  11. RegHandle0010

    Of course

    Done already.

  12. tekHedd

    Already?

    High Sierra? I'm still waiting for confirmation that my software will work on 10.12.

    1. tekHedd

      Re: Already?

      ...and I waited too long. Now that 10.13 is out, I can't get 10.12. So, I'm stuck on 10.11 for another 6-12 months. This deal is getting worse all the time.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: Already?

        Perhaps you can download it from the link given here and make a bootable installer from it using the createinstallmedia command?

      2. Ashk'El

        Re: Already?

        Here's a little tip for the future:

        When you want to keep the option of installing a macOS version later, but don't want to upgrade right now, that's very easily achieved.

        Just go to the App Store and click to get the new OS. It'll start downloading the installer pack, but you don't actually need to install it. Just don't let it install, delete the 'Install macOS' app from /Applications once the download has finished if you want.

        The important part is adding it to your App Store account while it's the one being offered.

        Then you can forever more download the installer pack from your Purchased screen as and when you might want to actually install the thing.

        Obviously, it's too late to do this for Sierra now, but this is the method.

  13. DesktopGuy

    Upgraded yesterday - no major issues so far

    I upgraded yesterday.

    This is mainly because my design clients will often click on ANY link from Apple for an update/upgrade!

    Personally I would like to wait at least a fortnight but it's not an option.

    Using VirtualBox to run OS X 10.11 and 10.12 support of older software and works very well - much better than parallels with Windows 7.

    For a filesytem cleanup, opted to create a USB boot disk using the built-in createinstallmedia.

    Time Machine backup, boot of USB disk and format disk as AFPS, install 10.13, use Migration Assistant built into installer to restore home folders and Applications.

    Then test, test, test…

    There are a few things on Apple that there is no functional equivalent on Windows.

    1. Target Disk Mode - been using this since OS 9 with SCSI devices.

    Allowed you to mount another Mac as a local disk - great for running disk/volume repairs etc…

    Fun fact is once another mac is mounted locally as a disk, you can actually reboot your Mac off the other Mac's disk!

    2. Migration Assistant - been around for quite a few years.

    Great for doing a clean install and then bringing back home folder and Applications without alot of the cruft that accumulates with multiple OS upgrades over the years.

    It is especially good at bringing back installed software and keeping all the licensing intact.

    3. ASR (Apple Software Restore) - perfect for imaging and deploying OS X using monolithic images which has been around for at least a decade.

    Since OS X does not need licensing - (only needs a valid Mac to install onto) it makes creating deployment images a cake walk .

    No sysprep to deal with - build a new image and it will boot and deploy on ALL apple hardware that supports the new system which is invariably the last 7 years' models.

    There are a lot of gripes - especially on the higher end for video production, 40Gb networking, zero server hardware, crappy RAID, dealing with resource forks of old Mac PS fonts (still!!!)

    Overall - I can't, in good conscience charge for weekly/monthly maintenance like all my Windows tech contacts - the machines are simply too reliable and don't break down enough!

    I do bulk billing instead so clients can per pay for their support and use as issues actually crop up.

    1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: Upgraded yesterday - no major issues so far

      only needs a valid Mac to install onto

      Or a small kext that can convince MacOS that it's running on Apple hardware.

      *Cough* Allegedly.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    so how does this new FL compare to NTFS or EXT4

  15. stu 4

    time machine

    using a mac as time machine server for other macs has always worked fine - you just need osx server for 20 quid. I use my macmini as my media server, entertainment system and backup server for the 5 macs in the household.

  16. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    WebP fail

    HEIF is all well and good but it's impact in the real world will be limited. Apple could have done its users a bigger favour by including support for the WebP format for bitmaps in Safari. When it comes to photos and videos on the interwebs Apple is a much smaller player than Google. Using HEIF with HEVC for bitmaps is unlikely to take off because, unlike WebP, HEVC is encumbered which will dramatically limit the spread of applications that can create the files.

  17. Robert Morgan

    No Info on the External GPU Support?

    I'm surprised nothing has been mentioned about the external GPU support added in High Sierra. You can now spend ~£300 on an external case with a 350w PSU, PCI-E Slot and a Thunderbolt 3 Adapter. You plonk a proper GPU in there (Nvidia or AMD/ATI) and suddenly you've proper graphics grunt on a mac again (something none of the current machines really have). It even works with bootcamp/windows and can be used with convertors so a TB1/TB2 Mac can still have an eGPU to increase graphics grunt without upgrading. Lots of the creative/video types are looking at this for the video encoding grunt.

  18. johnny_quattro

    Oh dear

    Revert back? My goodness goodness...

    1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: Oh dear

      Revert back? My goodness goodness...

      Easy enough to do if you have a tiny bit of forethought..

  19. NOTiFY

    No issues whatsoever

    I've upgraded and have experienced no problems whatsoever.

    There again I'm not a creative type.

    I use it for Java/EE/Scala development, IntelliJ IDEA-EAP, MySQL, JBoss WildFly 10.1.0. MongoDB.

    I do use CCleaner and Dr. Cleaner every five minutes to empty Caches etc. Upgrade everything the moment it's released/

  20. NOTiFY

    No issues whatsoever

    I've upgraded and have experienced no problems whatsoever. There again I'm not a creative type.

    I use it for Java/EE/Scala development, IntelliJ IDEA-EAP, MySQL, JBoss WildFly 10.1.0. MongoDB.

    I do use CCleaner and Dr. Cleaner every five minutes to empty Caches etc. I upgrade everything the moment it's released.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Never trust an Apple upgrade.

    I didn't upgrade to 10.12, but a couple days ago that became necessary as I needed to install a later version of XCode. But 10.12 was no longer available (anywhere) so I took a punt on 10.13. This of course broke my VPN and Elixir/Erlang dev env, so I checked out the options for rolling back to Sierra. None. The only option was to obtain another Mac and use the High Sierra mac as a table mat.

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