11 January 2014

Open thread on OS X Mavericks

The newest operating system is now available (free) from Apple.  I'm always reluctant to be an early adopter of new software, so I'll create this post as a place for readers to leave informed observations, biases, recommendations, and experiences with the system in the Comments.


  1. I upgraded on my late-2007 model Powerbook. It seems to run much slower at times now, although because I don't use it regularly, I can't be completely sure it's because of the new operating system. But if you have an older machine, I would recommend looking carefully into these things before you upgrade.

  2. Upgraded my 2012 MacBook Air and have found much to like. It's far better at managing RAM systemwide, and Safari in particular is hugely improved regarding memory leakage. Safari also sandboxes the tabs, so that if one crashes, the whole program no longer goes down with it. This has the added advantage of keeping the infamous Flash memory drain down to a minimum, so I've actually reinstalled Flash on my computer after a two-year hiatus.

    I really, really like Mission Control, and have happily adapted to keeping certain apps on certain desktops, while having others appear on all desktops. It's very handy. Multiple monitor handling has also been dramatically improved regarding full-screen usage. (There are other bugs, though.)

    Power management is also improved, with any minimized or hidden app going into hibernation; thus the battery life (which was already impressive) is lengthened.

    Lots of folks love the tabs in Finder, but I've been using Path Finder for years, so that's not a plus for me. I do appreciate the in-message Find function in Mail, though.

    Negatives: Quick Look isn't always quick anymore. In fact it sometimes brings up the spinning beach ball -- a major regression and bug that needs to be fixed ASAP.

    When you're using multiple monitors, the dock isn't always consistent about where it pops up. Ditto with dragging files to the desktop -- sometimes they don't stay on the desktop you chose. (Apparently this was a problem in Mountain Lion, and for some folks Mavericks actually fixed it. For others Mavericks introduced it.)

    Some folks find scrolling to be a bit sticky now. (I haven't, but it's been reported.)

    On laptops, pressing the power button by mistake (when you meant to hit Delete or turn the volume up) instantly puts the computer to sleep. No more dialogue box asking if you want to Sleep/Restart/Shut Down, that you can simply dismiss with a click. I've no idea why they changed that, and it's not a big deal, but is definitely a pain when you're typing away and suddenly your screen goes black.

    Mail stopped playing nicely with Gmail, which caused some issues for Gmail users, but has been fixed in an update.

    Overall I've found Mavericks to be an excellent upgrade and I would not go back. I still miss Snow Leopard, though, both for its incredible stability and its colors. When oh when will the color come back to our OS?

  3. I upgraded three computers to 10.9.1 (latest version of Mavericks). I wish I hadn't. Our computers are all only a couple years old, but now the OS locks up frequently, and the Apple applications are all slower and often crash. Frequent frustration, and so far I haven't noticed a single advantage. As an aside: The last couple versions of Safari haven't worked with your blog comment thingie. I type and the comment disappears when I hit enter. I needed to leave this comment using Google Chrome.

  4. Mavericks (10.9) was actually released in October. This is an upgrade, 10.9.1. So good news! You won't be an early adopter. As Fletcher observes, Mavericks is meant to improve operations and speed of any computer that can run it. Anyone experiencing difficulties after upgrading should look into it. That's not the usual experience.

  5. Those of you finding frequent hangs -- are you using any Adobe apps? Mavericks seems to have worsened a couple problems I've noted prior to the upgrade. InDesign practically never quits cleanly -- you have to do a force quit. Illustrator and Photoshop take forever to quit, but usually don't require the force quit. Dreamweaver takes for-bleeping-ever to launch. (ID, AI, and PS only take forever...) Don't really know, but I suspect the Adobe products spend a lot of time phoning home for authentication. They also require a Javascript run-time installation.

    Both my desktop and laptop are at the older end of the machines that support Mavericks, so a new machine might not experience quite so long a lag.

  6. Working great for me. The best part is that it actually makes your old computer faster. The main reason is due to the use of compressed memory. It rarely hits the Disk for virtual memory any more. It also makes more use of the GPU. So it adds some life to your old computer. I dislike the look. It's a triumph of minimalism over intuition. It drained the contract out of the finder panels, made buttons.indistinguishable from icons, and generally made everything more boring and plain looking. it's an over reaction to skeumorphism. But I've found I hardly am bother by this after a few months.
    It was also the least painful upgrade i've done. quick and no disasters. put it on three machines of different processors and vintage. The older they were the more noticeable the speed improvement.

    Apple fixed the gmail problem in mail.app-- works fine now.

    I'm wondering why I cant post your comments anymore when I use Chrome browser. Safari works.

  7. I have an iMac, so the famous battery life doesn't matter to me. For me, Mavericks has been awful. Lots of lags in finder and quicklook. And, frankly, this fancy new fusion drive is bullsh*t, too. It's no faster than my old 2011 iMac.
    "I tell ya, things weren't like this when Steve was running the show."

  8. I have an older 2008 model which due to an unfortunate drop a year ago has developed issues of its own.

    If you have a newer Mac, definitely upgrade to Mavericks. There is a much improved memory management system as noted above and I find overall I like many of the little things it does. Also, I noted that my computer runs cooler, indicating that Mavericks does indeed run far more efficiently than earlier versions of OS X.

    However, I suspect Mavericks tends to tax the older Macs resulting in annoying lags in some programs, most notably Safari and the Finder.

    I do not like the new iWorks programs. More specifically, I don't like the new Pages v5. They removed features and behaviors I relied on very heavily as a writer. This was done mainly to bring the iOS version and the desktop version of Pages to parity, with the suggestion that missing features would return with the next big update. But losing some of those tools and behaviors put a serious crimp in my work. Apple recognized that this would be an issue, so even when you update, the old iWorks programs will still be available to you.

    Because everyone always has different configurations of software running, hardware installed, etc., it's rather difficult for everyone to have the same experience. But overall, I think Mavericks is a good upgrade.

  9. I upgraded a few weeks ago - not the early adopter sort either. I am not happy. Finder hangs. I get a spinning ball every time. Most things seem slower. There is a bug with youtube and other programs that play sound. You have to plug headphones into the jack to "reboot" whatever is hanging up. Works but is a pain. I have to do this maybe every other day.

    I am on a 2 year old Imac.

  10. I am commenting again (I am the anonymous guy that upgraded 3 computers). Stan, please: Before you upgrade, go to the app store and read some of the hundreds of ratings and comments for Mavericks there. Lots of people are fine with the upgrade, but almost as many (like me) regret it. I have wiped my HD and re-installed the OS from scratch to try to fix the problems. I have run utilities. I am not a computer neophyte. I just don't think Mavericks is quite ready yet. If things are working for you fine, I suggest that you wait.

  11. I have a six year old Mac, 2.4GHz, Duo with 2GB SDRAM. Mavericks has slowed down everything. Login, logout, Pages Safari, etc. I suspect this OS version may need a quad core machine to perform well. Wishing I didn't upgrade.

  12. I have a 2010 Macbook Pro. I've noticed that since upgrading I get a daily lockups. Most seem to be related to waking up after sleep. Within a minute or two the system will freeze up and require a power on reboot.

  13. I have a 2008 version iMac, sounds like the machine commenter Rick has. Upgraded to Maverics a few weeks ago. I've had a few problems but nothing major. Seems like issues might be very app dependent. My biggest problem right away was that all email I had in folder in Mail disappeared. After a few days I figured out how to recover them from Time Machine. My biggest on going problem is that Epson doesn't seem to have a driver for my Epson CX6000 printer/scanner. I can use Image Capture for scanning but it's not really as good as Epson Scan, but I can't print at all. There are two wireless printers that I never tried to use before, both work just fine.

    I use Photoshop Elements a lot. I was having some problem with it spontaneously crashing, which seems to have gotten worse.

    I haven't noticed any difference in speed. Tabs in Finder seems worthless to me but I haven't spent much time on it.

    I generally use the Firefox browser which doesn't seem any worse. Microsoft Office 2011 doesn't seem any slower. Filemaker Pro 9 doesn't seem any different.

    I generally keep the machine running all the time but the few times I rebooted it seemed faster.

  14. I upgraded my wife's hackintosh to Mavericks during the blizzard in January. I had no problems with it. I don't use it myself, but she says she notices essentially no difference.


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