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Archive for the ‘macOS Tips’ Category

by Tom Nelson

Dashboard, the secondary desktop introduced with OS X Tiger, is gone, vamoosed, kaput; it’s an ex-desktop. With the advent of macOS Mojave, the Dashboard and all of those productive widgets are gone. Such is the penalty paid for progress. Or is it?

If you’re a fan of Dashboard and all of its funky widgets, such as weather, an assortment of clocks, a calendar, local movie listings, stocks, and whatever else you may have loaded into the Dashboard environment, the good news is that the Dashboard isn’t really gone, Mojave just turned it off by default.

Now, having Dashboard disabled by default may be an indication of what is in store for Dashboard down the road. Dashboard widgets, those mini applications, haven’t seen a lot of activity from developers in quite a while, and most of the widgets can be replaced with apps from the Mac App Store. And if rumors are to be believed, some iOS apps, beyond those included with Mojave, may in the future make the jump to macOS. In that case, the Dashboard environment may just not make a lot of sense anymore. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy it for now.

Enabling the Dashboard
It’s an easy process to turn Dashboard back on:

Use the Mission Control preference pane to enable Dashboard, as well as to select what mode it will operate in. Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

Launch System Preferences by clicking or tapping its icon in the Dock, or selecting System Preferences from the Apple menu.

Select the Mission Control preference pane.

Locate the dropdown menu next to the Dashboard text.

Use the dropdown menu to select one of the following:

  • Off: The default state for Mojave. The Dashboard is turned off and can’t be used.
  • As Space: The Dashboard environment is treated as a separate desktop space. You can switch into and out of the Dashboard space using the Spaces bar, keyboard shortcuts, or gestures.
  • As Overlay: This is the classic method of displaying the Dashboard, as an overlay above your normal desktop.

Make your selection from the dropdown menu.

You can now quit the System Preferences.

Accessing the Dashboard
There are a number of ways to access the Dashboard, though the most common is to use the F12 or the Fn + F12 keys (depending on the keyboard type you’re using). Pressing the F12 key will either display the Dashboard as a space that slides into place, replacing the current desktop or other active space, or as an overlay on top of the current desktop.

There are additional ways to access the Dashboard once you have turned the feature on:

Launch the Mission Control preference pane, as you did earlier.

In the Keyboard and Mouse Shortcuts section, you can assign keystrokes or mouse buttons to perform specific tasks. Look for the Show Dashboard text. Next to the text are two dropdown menus; the first can be used to assign any of the function keys, F1 through F19 (your keyboard may not have all 19 function keys). You can also use the Shift, Control, or Command keys in combination with the function keys to create up to 57 possible key combinations to access the Dashboard.

If you would prefer to use your mouse, the second dropdown menu to the right allows you to select from up to seven different mouse buttons to use to access the Dashboard environment.

Hot Corners allows you to access the Dashboard by moving the cursor into the designated corner. Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

Hot Corners are another way to access the Dashboard. With this method, simply moving the cursor to one of the corners of your display can cause the Dashboard to appear. To set up Hot Corners, click the Hot Corners button in the Mission Control preference pane. In the sheet that drops down, select the dropdown menu that corresponds to the display corner you wish to use, and then select Dashboard from the dropdown menu’s list of options.

You can also use the Dock to work with Dashboard. Click or tap the Dashboard icon in the Dock to go directly to the Dashboard. Chances are there’s no Dashboard icon in your Dock under Mojave, but it’s easy to put it back. In the Finder, open the Applications folder, and then drag the Dashboard app to the Dock.

Prefer to use gestures? That’s possible as well:

  • Dashboard enabled as a space: You can use the standard two-finger swipe left or right to move between spaces.
  • Dashboard set as an overlay: You can use a three-finger swipe up to open Mission control, and then select the Dashboard from the Spaces bar.

Quit Dashboard
To quit the Dashboard and return to the desktop:

  • Press the Escape key.
  • Press the arrow icon in the bottom right corner of the Dashboard.
  • When Dashboard is used as an overlay, click or tap in any empty space of the Dashboard.

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by Tom Nelson

macOS Mojave has a lot going for it: plenty of new features, new security and privacy safeguards, even new apps, such as News and Home. Even with all the new capabilities, some of you may find yourselves wishing for one of the previous versions of the Mac operating system.

Perhaps Mojave is performing poorly on your system, even after trying some of the tips in: Is Mojave Slowing Your Mac Down? This is How You Can Speed It Up. Or maybe a favorite or mission-critical app hasn’t been updated yet for Mojave, and you need to downgrade the OS to be able to keep running an older app.

No matter the reason, you can downgrade from macOS 10.14 and revert to an earlier version by following the steps below.

How to Downgrade From macOS Mojave
The downgrade process begins with backing up your current system. This is to ensure that, should something go wrong during the downgrade process, you can recover your data and be back where you started. You’ll also need the backup because the downgrade process includes erasing your Mac’s startup drive. If you need to restore some of your documents and files to your Mac after you downgrade, the backup may be your only place to find them. To make accessing those backup files as easy as possible, I recommend creating a clone of your startup drive. It’s also possible to use Time Machine, but no matter which method you use, be sure you have a backup before proceeding.

Downgrading just to run a specific app? Using a virtual machine, such as Parallels, may be an alternative. Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

Before we start the downgrade process, consider these alternatives:

  • If you’re downgrading because you need a specific app that doesn’t run well under Mojave, you may be able to install an older version of the macOS on a separate drive or partition. This will allow you to keep Mojave and switch between the OS versions as needed.
  • Another alternative is to use a virtualization app, such as Parallels, to run an earlier version of the macOS in. Once again, this will let you run earlier apps that you may need without having to go through the downgrade process.

If you decide that downgrading is what you need to do, we’re going to show you three basic ways to accomplish the task:

  • Use a downloaded Mac OS installer for the Mac version you wish to revert to.
  • Use Time Machine to revert to an older version of the OS.
  • Use Apple’s recovery service to reinstall the original version of the Mac OS that shipped with your Mac.

The method you choose is up to you, based on your needs and the availability of an installer for the operating system you wish to return to.

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by Tom Nelson

After installing macOS Mojave, does your Mac feel a bit sluggish? Perhaps it’s taking longer to boot, taking longer to save or open files, and launching apps seems to take more time than it used to. Or perhaps your Mac is just experiencing an overall listlessness.

No matter what type of slowdown you’re experiencing, there’s a good chance one of these tips will help get your Mac back on its feet and running the way you remember.

If you’re experiencing slow startups after installing macOS Mojave, you may find one of the tips below will get you back up to speed.

Of course, your Mac may just be at its performance limit. Each new version of the macOS seems to need just a bit more processing, graphics, or disk performance than the last one. To cover that possibility, I’ll include a few upgrade tips that can help you get your Mac back into tip-top shape.

Before you start, make sure you have a recent backup. Some of these tips involve removing files or performing actions that can result in data being removed.

Startup Time Seems Slow
Have you noticed that after installing Mojave, the time it takes for your Mac to start up seems to have taken a nosedive? Surprisingly, this isn’t all that unusual and happens to a small percentage of users after a major macOS upgrade.

There are multiple possible causes, and we’ll look at how to fix them. The problems and fixes are in no particular order, and you don’t need to do every one, but it also won’t hurt to start with the first one and work your way through.

Login Items: Sometimes called the Startup List, this is a list of apps or services that will start up automatically when you log into your Mac. Apps can add items to the list when they’re installed, or you can manually add apps or services you use all the time to the list.

What can happen is the new OS no longer supports one or more items in the list. This results in a delay when you log in as each item tries to launch and then times out. Or the app could still work but takes a long time to launch. The fix is to clean out old unsupported apps and services from the Login Items list.

Removing old or unsupported Login Items can help fix slow startup issues. Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

You can find instructions on removing items from the list in the Rocket Yard Guide: macOS 101: What Mojave Broke and How to Fix It.

Reset SMC, NVRAM: The SMC (System Management Controller) takes care of a number of basic functions, including controlling fan speed, power, and a good deal more. During startup, an SMC that is misbehaving or has corrupt information can delay the startup process.

Likewise, the NVRAM (non-volatile random-access memory), which stores configuration information, such as mouse or trackpad settings, keyboard settings, which disk is the startup disk, and a bit more, can slow down the startup process if the stored data is incorrect.

You can reset both the SMC and NVRAM using the Rocket Yard Guide: How to Reset NVRAM, PRAM, SMC on your Mac.

Safe Mode: Safe Mode is primarily a diagnostic startup mode that prevents most third-party items from loading. But it also verifies and repairs, if needed, any issues with the startup drive. In addition, Safe Mode will delete all font caches, kernel caches, and system caches, which are likely candidates for startup slowdowns.

Just starting up in Safe Mode can fix many common slowdown issues. To find out how to use Safe Mode, read: Safe Mode & Single-User Mode: What They Are, How to Use Them.

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by Tom Nelson

Having issues with Mojave? Seems like it’s a rite of passage to install a new version of the macOS, and then uncover issues we didn’t see in the beta version.

With macOS Mojave, we appear to be seeing a smaller crop of issues than we saw in our previous “what broke” guides:

That may be due to a more rigorous beta cycle, or maybe we just haven’t had enough time to uncover all the possible problems. Either way, here’s our newest guide to what broke and how to fix it in macOS Mojave.

SMS Messages Not Delivered
If you use the Messages app on the Mac to send SMS messages, you may notice a strange timeout error occurring when you send an SMS message to a non-Apple device.

Once you send such a message, you may see a “Not Delivered” error message. While the error message is a bit vexing, it gets stranger. Turns out your message was sent, and likely received, without any problems.

Logging out and back into iCloud may correct the SMS delivery error. Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

If that was the extent of the issue, you could probably live with it and wait for a fix in one of the subsequent Mojave updates. But as you may have guessed, there’s one more problem associated with the Not Delivered error. Once you see the Not Delivered error message, the recipient will not be able to send you any responses.

At the time of this writing, there’s no fix available for the issue that always works. But I can list a few things that some people have reported as a cure, although just as many said the cure didn’t help them. Since there’s no official fix, this, then, is a best shot approach:

  • Sign out and sign back into Messages: Works for some people, but in most cases, the problem eventually returns.
  • Sign out of iCloud and sign back in: The idea here is to force your Mac’s data to re-sync with all of your other devices via iCloud. If you give this fix a try, be sure to save the iCloud data locally on your Mac, just to ensure you don’t lose any information. You’ll be presented with the option to save the iCloud data locally when you sign out.
  • Stop sending SMS messages to non-Apple devices: This works, but it may be difficult to get all your Android-using friends to switch to Apple.

The SMS error appears to be very erratic, with many people not experiencing the problem at all, yet there’s more than a handful of users who have reported the issue. If you’ve seen this problem, let us know by using the comments section, below.

Weird Fonts
No, not a new set of fonts for the Mac, but fonts you’ve been using for ages now looking weird in Mojave. The usual sign for weird fonts is a bit of blurring or softness along the edges, even the straight horizontal or vertical lines of a letter.

The blurring is seen most often on non-Retina Macs. The cause is Mojave disabling sub-pixel antialiasing, an older font rendering technique that helped fonts appear smoother and less jagged on most displays.

You could solve the problem by upgrading to a Mac with a Retina display, or you can try the following fix:

You may not be afflicted with the problem if you upgraded to Mojave from an earlier OS that had font smoothing enabled. Even then, some users have mentioned the weird fonts even though they upgraded. No matter what the actual sequence of events is needed to disable sub-pixel font rendering, you can turn the feature back on with this simple two-step process:

Launch System Preferences by clicking or tapping the System Preferences icon in the Dock, or selecting System Preferences from the Apple menu.

Select the General preference pane from the System Preferences window.

At the bottom of the General preference pane, make sure there’s a checkmark in the “Use LCD font smoothing when available” box. (It may say “Use font smoothing when available,” depending on the type of display you’re using.)

Use Terminal to enable sub-pixel font smoothing if you are experiencing weird looking fonts. Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

Even if the font-smoothing box was already checked, you need to continue on to the second part of the fix: using Terminal to force font rendering to be enabled:

Launch Terminal, located at /Applications/Utilities.

At the Terminal prompt, enter the following:

defaults write -g CGFontRenderingFontSmoothingDisabled -bool NO

Press enter or return on your keyboard.

You can quit Terminal and close the System Preferences window if it’s still open.

For the change to take effect, you need to restart your Mac.

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by Tom Nelson

macOS Mojave has a number of security and privacy enhancements that can help make using your Mac a simpler, safer, and more secure experience. Apple made changes to Safari, as well as expanded Gatekeeper and SIP services provided by the macOS.

Automatic Strong Passwords with Safari
Safari can automatically create strong 20-character passwords for you when you’re setting up a new service or account. Safari will populate the password and password confirmation field for you, though you can accept or reject the supplied password. The account password will be stored in Safari, and synced with your other Apple devices using iCloud. As long as you remain within the Apple environment (macOS, iOS, watchOS, tvOS), you can access all of your account passwords using just your Apple ID password.

Strong passwords can be automatically generated and inserted into password fields when you sign up for a new service. Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

To use Automatic Strong Passwords, launch Safari and browse to a website for which you would like to create a login account.

1) When you come to the password field, click or tap once in the field.

2) Safari will display a key icon in the far right edge of the password field.

3) Click or tap the key icon.

4) In the menu that appears, select Suggest New Password.

5) A strong password will be generated.

6) You can click or tap in the password field, and select Use Strong Password, or Don’t Use.

Of course, to make the strong passwords easy to use, Safari can also auto fill login fields when needed:

1) Launch Safari and select Preferences from the Safari menu.

2) Select the Passwords item from the Safari preferences toolbar.

3) Place or remove the checkmark from the item labeled AutoFill user names and passwords.

Safari Password Reuse
Apple can’t put an end to password reuse, the practice of using the same password, or weak variants of a common password, over and over across multiple sites and services. Reusing passwords can be a disaster waiting to happen. Should someone gain access to one of your accounts, they’re going to try that same password with any other account or service they think you’re using.

As you can imagine, the results wouldn’t be very pretty if you’re reusing your passwords.

Safari can audit your website passwords and point out when you reuse a password multiple times. Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

Safari in macOS Mojave won’t prevent you from reusing passwords on multiple websites, but it can warn you when you do:

Launch Safari, and then select Preferences from the Safari menu item.

In the Safari preferences window, select the Passwords item in the toolbar.

Enter the password for the current user in order to unlock the Safari passwords.

The passwords that Safari has remembered for you will be displayed. If any passwords are being reused, Safari will mark them with a yellow warning placard.

Clicking or tapping one of the warning symbols will display details about the warning, including where the password is being reused, and a link to the current site, so you can quickly go there and change the password.

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by Tom Nelson

When you’re ready to install macOS Mojave, you’ll need to choose between two different install methods. The default is an upgrade install, which will update the version of the Mac operating system currently on your startup drive to macOS Mojave, while retaining your user data, apps, and other assorted information you may have stored on your Mac.

The second option is a clean install. This method completely erases all of the data on the startup volume and replaces it with the macOS Mojave operating system. When the clean install is complete, you’ll have a pristine startup drive, reminiscent of when you first got your Mac.

We’re going to show you both install methods, although we’ve combined them, since most of the steps are the same.

Preparing for Mojave
Before you begin installing Mojave, there are a few things to do to ensure your Mac and you are ready for the new operating system. Start by reviewing these guides to make the process an easy one: Mac 101: How to Get Ready for macOS Mojave

And while it’s unlikely you’ll encounter any problems while installing, this Rocket Yard Guide may help you solve a problem, should one occur: Mac Installation Errors You May Encounter and How to Fix Them

The App Store
The macOS Mojave installer is available from the App Store. You can find instructions for downloading the installer, as well as information about which Macs are able to run Mojave, plus some tips on common problems and how to avoid them, in the Rocket Yard Guide: How to Download macOS Mojave and Avoid Common Problems

The above guide also contains information on creating a bootable macOS Mojave installer. You’ll need the bootable installer if you intend to perform a clean install on the startup disk. You won’t need a bootable installer if you’ll be performing a clean install on a non-startup disk.

Even if you don’t need the bootable installer, it’s a good idea to create one, as a way to archive the installer as well as to make installing macOS Mojave on multiple Macs an easier process.

At this point, you’ve acquired the macOS Mojave installer from the App Store, and are almost ready to perform a clean or upgrade install. Before you proceed, be sure you have an up-to-date backup of your Mac.

If you’re ready to begin the install, I’ve broken the process into two sections: an Upgrade Install and a Clean Install.

Clean Install Preparation
Performing a clean install on your startup disk requires a few extra steps, including starting up from the bootable installer you made earlier, and completely erasing your startup drive. It goes without saying, but I’m going to say it anyway:

WarningThis process will completely erase your startup drive, causing all data stored on the disk to be lost.

Insert the USB bootable flash drive you made earlier into your Mac, and make sure it successfully mounts.

Restart the Mac while holding down the Option key. Keep the Option key depressed until you see the boot manager appear, displaying icons for all the disks you can start up from.

Select the USB bootable flash drive from the icons, and then press the return key on the keyboard.

When performing a clean install, use the Disk Utility option to erase the startup drive, and the Install macOS item to install Mojave on the empty startup drive. Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

Your Mac will start from the bootable installer. The startup process can take a bit longer than usual, depending on how fast the USB device is. Eventually, you’ll see the macOS Utilities screen.

Select the Disk Utility option, then click or tap the Continue button.

Disk Utility will launch. Make sure you select the correct volume in the sidebar. If you’re performing a clean install, the usual name for the startup disk is Macintosh HD, though it may be different if you’ve customized the startup drive name, or are performing a clean install on a different volume. You can use the instructions in How to Use macOS Sierra Disk Utility to Partition, Erase Drives for erasing a drive.

Using Disk Utility to erase a macOS High Sierra startup drive in preparation for a clean install of Mojave. Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

When you’re finished with Disk Utility, select Quit Disk Utility from the Disk Utility window.

From the macOS Utility screen, select Install macOS, then click or tap the Continue button.

From here until the system setup process, the installer for upgrade or clean works the same.

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by Tom Nelson

One of the first steps in installing macOS Mojave is acquiring the Mojave installer from the App Store. While this is generally an easy process, it can have a few twists and turns that can leave you frustrated.

In this guide, we take a look at:

  • How to download the macOS Mojave installer
  • Problems you may encounter, including how to convert from beta testing to using the release version
  • Other issues you may experience

Before you start downloading, you should check to see if your Mac is able to run Mojave. You will find all the information you need in the Rocket Yard Guide: How to Get Ready for macOS Mojave.

How to Download Mojave

The Mac App Store is the primary host for macOS Mojave, and it’s likely that the new OS will be prominently displayed under the Featured tab. But finding the macOS Mojave tile at the top of the Mac App Store window isn’t guaranteed, especially immediately after Mojave is launched or down the road, when the release of macOS Mojave is yesterday’s news.

You’re much more likely to find macOS Mojave listed in the Quick Links area of the Featured section, either with its own link to the download page, or by using the Apps Made by Apple link. And of course, you can always use the App Store’s Search field if Mojave isn’t showing up in the expected places.

To find macOS Mojave, launch the Mac App Store by selecting the App Store icon in the Dock, or by selecting it from the /Applications folder.

The App Store window will open. Click or tap the Featured button in the toolbar if it isn’t already highlighted.

There’s a good chance that macOS Mojave will be the featured item, displaying prominently at the top of the window. You may also see a button labeled Download directly on the tile; if so, clicking or tapping the button will start the download process.

If you don’t see the download link on the tile featuring macOS Mojave, click or tap the tile to bring up the description page. You’ll find the Download button near the top left. Click or tap the button to start the download process.

When the downloading process is complete, a file called Install macOS Mojave will be present in your /Applications folder. The Mojave installer will also automatically start up once the download is completed. At this point, we suggest you quit the installer in order to perform some housekeeping chores before you start the installation of macOS Mojave.

macOS Mojave may be the featured item, showing up as soon as you launch the App Store. Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

How to Download From the New Mac App Store

If you’ve been testing the Mojave beta on your Mac, you’ve probably already discovered the Mac App Store has undergone a substantial update. If you haven’t peeked at the Mac App Store lately, go ahead and launch it, just to get your feet wet.

Because you’re already running macOS Mojave (in the beta form), you won’t see the new OS as a download option in the new Mac App Store. Instead, you’ll be able to update your beta copy to the Gold Master (GM) version using System Preferences. We’ll touch on how to download the GM version in a bit, but first a bit more about the new App Store.

The App Store interface may have changed in macOS Mojave, but the sidebar and its categories are very easy to work with. Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

The new App Store uses a two-pane interface, with a sidebar on the left and a larger pane on the right. The sidebar contains seven primary categories into which all apps in the store are sorted. When a new macOS version becomes available, you’ll see it promoted in the Discover category. This also happens to be the default category that’s displayed when you launch the App Store.

When you see an app such as a new version of macOS displayed, you can click or tap on its tile to bring up the description page. The Download button has been replaced with one that either shows the price for the app or, if it’s a free app such as the macOS, displays the word Get. Clicking or tapping the price button will change the button text to Buy App; clicking or tapping the Get button will change the button text to Install.

You’ll need to click or tap the Buy App or Install button to start the download process.

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by Tom Nelson

The summer is drawing to a close, which means macOS Mojave is about to be released. It may also mean a few other things, but we’re going to concentrate on the release of Mojave and what you’ll need to do to your Mac to get it ready for the new operating system from Apple.

Mojave has a number of new features that you may be excited to try out, but it also has quite a few upgrades under the hood, which mean it’s especially important to ensure your Mac and its software are ready for macOS Mojave.

Upgrading to macOS Mojave

For this article, we’re going to concentrate on steps you should take to ensure your Mac is capable of running macOS Mojave, as well as make sure there are no hidden issues that could adversely impact installing or using the new operating system. We won’t be looking at the various ways you can install Mojave; we’ll cover that in the weeks ahead. So, let’s start by checking if your Mac is compatible.

Check Hardware Compatibility with macOS Mojave

The first step is to check to see if your Mac meets the minimum guidelines for running macOS Mojave. You can find details in OWC’s Complete List of Mojave Compatible Macs.

The main takeaway from the compatibility list is that Apple has dropped support for most Macs older than 2012. The main exception is 2010 and 2012 Mac Pro models that have Metal-capable graphics cards. The original graphics cards offered with the early Mac Pros weren’t Metal compatible, but it’s possible to upgrade the graphics card with a new Metal-compatible model.

Apple recommends the following Metal-compatible cards:

  • MSI Gaming Radeon RX 560
  • Sapphire Radeon PULSE RX 580

But there are a number of other graphics cards available that will work with your Mac Pro and support Metal:

  • AMD: Radeon HD 7000 and HD 8000, as well as the 200, 400 and 500 series of cards.
  • NVIDIA: Most GeForce 600, 700 and 800 series.

XFX AMD Radeon RX 580 GTS is one of the Metal-capable graphics cards you can use with a 2010-2012 Mac Pro.

One issue you may encounter with a new Metal-capable graphics card is that it likely won’t contain a Mac-compatible boot ROM on the card. Without the boot ROM that supports the Mac, the graphics card won’t be initialized until after the Mac loads the graphics drivers. This can prevent boot up information from being displayed, including running firmware updates (should any become available) or using boot options that require any type of interaction.

To overcome the boot ROM issue, you can either attempt to locate a graphics card with an Apple boot ROM or keep the original graphics card installed and connected to a second monitor.

One last note on Metal graphics cards: AMD models come with Apple graphics drivers built in, while NVIDIA models do not. This means you’ll need to download and install the Mac graphics drivers from the NVIDIA website before the card will work correctly.

You may also need to update NVIDIA drivers before you upgrade to any new version of the macOS, such as Mojave.

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by Tom Nelson

With every new release of the Mac operating system, there always seems to be a few installation errors that are encountered by enough people to make us wonder how the OS managed to get through the beta process. The answer can usually be attributed to the difference in the relatively small number of beta users versus the large number of users downloading and installing a new official release of the macOS. When all those new users start to install the OS, the sheer number of Mac hardware, peripherals, and software makes it very likely that some bug that managed to sneak through the beta process will rear its ugly head in the release version.

No matter which version of the macOS you’re installing, including 10.14 Mojave, there’s a slight chance you may run into one of the problems in this guide.

In this guide, we’re going to look at some of the installation problems that tend to occur with new releases of the Mac operating system. With any luck, you may be able to either correct the issue, allowing you to finish the installation, or prevent the issue from occurring in the first place.

Installation Issues Commonly Seen with macOS
Before we get too far along, I want to point out the obvious: don’t install a new version of the Mac operating system without having a current backup. Some of the installation issues we’re going to mention can cause loss of data. Having a Time Machine backup or a clone of your current system can be a lifesaver. If you don’t have a backup system in place, I highly recommend investing in one before you install a new version of macOS.

You can find a large number of external enclosures, drives, and SSDs, as well as a portable and easily-carried-with-you Envoy Pro EX high performance USB 3 or Thunderbolt bus-powered SSD storage.

With the backup recommendation out of the way, let’s get started with the error messages.

Could Not Write Installation Information to Disk
This message usually shows up as a sheet that drops down from the macOS or OS X installer shortly after you start the install process. It may seem odd but the usual cause is a corrupt installer, and simply deleting the installer app and downloading a new copy will likely fix the issue. The error message seems to occur most often when the Mac installer is downloaded from a third-party site. This is a good reason to download the official copy from the Mac App Store, or join the free public beta program if you want to try out a new version of the Mac OS early.

You can use Disk Utility to repair common boot drive errors that may be keeping you from successfully finishing an installation. Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

Other possible causes include a damaged boot drive. Try using Disk Utility’s First Aid capabilities to test and repair your disk, as outlined in: First Aid: Verify and Repair HFS+, APFS Drives with Disk Utility.

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by Tom Nelson

Originally introduced with OS X El Capitan, System Integrity Protection, usually referred to as SIP, is a security feature built into the Mac operating system that’s designed to protect most system locations, system processes, and Kernel extensions from being written to, modified, or replaced.

SIP and related security protections in the Mac operating system have undergone changes with each release of the OS, but the basics of how the SIP system works have remained the same, including how SIP can be enabled, disabled, and have its current status checked on.

Rootless, More or Less
OS X El Capitan was the first version of the Mac operating system to incorporate SIP, as well as the idea that the Mac operating system was now rootless; that is, there was no longer a root account, the all-powerful primary account that had access to almost the entire system. But it turns out the concept of the Mac being rootless was more of a security marketing gimmick than actual fact. There was still a root account; the difference is that when enabled, SIP poses additional restrictions on the root account, walling off certain portions of the system from access by an account with root level privileges.

The additional isolation of system components from accounts with root privileges helps to prevent malware from being able to gain access to the system, where it could embed itself and take advantage of all of the system services running on a Mac.

System Integrity Protection (SIP)
While “rootless” was mostly marketing, SIP actually hardened the Mac by preventing modifications to the following locations:

  • /System
  • /usr
  • /bin
  • /sbin
  • All apps preinstalled by Apple

The exceptions to the rule are apps or processes that have been signed by Apple and have special entitlement to write to system files. This includes Apple installers and Apple software update services.

SIP is effective at stopping system locations from being written to by third-party apps and services. Only Apple-signed system processes can write to system locations.

System processes can’t be attached to. This prevents code injection or runtime attachment to system processes, techniques often used by malware to force privileged processes to run the malware code.

Kernel extensions must be signed with an Apple Developer ID that specifically allows for signed Kext (kernel extensions) certificates. This can prevent kernel extensions from being replaced or modified by malware, as well as prevent new unsigned kernel extensions from being installed.

Read more on Rocket Yard, The MacSales.com Blog

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