Apple fixes hidden '/Users' folder bug introduced in OS X 10.9.3 with iTunes update

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited May 2014
Apple on Friday released a minor version update to its iTunes content management software for Mac, bringing a fix for the recently discovered bug introduced in OS X Mavericks 10.9.3 that inadvertently hides the "/Users" folder.



Apple's iTunes 11.2.1 carries the same release notes as version iTunes 11.2, which was released on Thursday alongside the latest OS X Mavericks 10.9.3 maintenance update.

Not listed among the modifications, version 11.2.1 contains a fix for a bug discovered in the Mac operating system that hides the system's "/Users" folder at the top level of an affected machine's hard drive.

The issue is easily solved with the routine Terminal command sudo chflags nohidden /Users, while a less permanent fix can be had by using the following method:
  • Open a Finder window and select the "Go" menu, then choose "Go to Folder"
  • Once the dialog appears, type "/Users" (without quotes) and click the "Go" button
  • Control-click on the "/Users" folder and select "Make Alias"
In either case, the new iTunes 11.2.1 release appears to patch the bug for users experiencing the issue. The latest iTunes version can be downloaded for free via Software Update. No restart is required for the change to occur, suggesting the update automatically modifies the sudo command.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 29
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 2,488member

    /Users is still hidden after this update on my server. Rebooting afterward had no apparent effect either.

     

    So I downloaded the .dmg from Apple and "manually" installed a second time. That fixed it.

  • Reply 2 of 29
    How absolutely intriguing that Apple could turn around a bug fix within 24 hours of the initial release of iTunes 11.2! This tells me two things. First, the bug was an easy fix. Second, Apple is clearly committed to iTunes and Mac OS X functioning as they should. And while this is gratifying, I must admit my frustration with Apple not fixing bugs like the memory leak in Aperture 3.5.1 that have persisted for months. We're talking about an issue critical to the workflow of many photography professionals. Many have left Aperture because this bug triggers kernel panics and crashes. And we haven't heard a word from Apple, notwithstanding extensive threads in Apple's support forum. I guess it's all a matter of what Apple considers a priority.
  • Reply 3 of 29
    mpantonempantone Posts: 1,429member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post



    The issue is easily solved with the routine Terminal command sudo chflags nohidden /Users, while a less permanent fix can be had by using the following method:

     

    • Open a Finder window and select the "Go" menu, then choose "Go to Folder"

    • Once the dialog appears, type "/Users" (without quotes) and click the "Go" button

    • Control-click on the "/Users" folder and select "Make Alias"


    Yet again AI gets this wrong.

     

    The chflags workaround is removed at every reboot.

     

    The alias/symlink workaround is persistent through reboots.

     

    It is best if AI readers do not read this site for technical information, but simply for rumors and gossip.

  • Reply 4 of 29
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 7,311member

    I can confirm that the iTunes 11.2.1 update fixes the /Users and /Users/Shared folders issue. Both are now visible again. 

  • Reply 5 of 29
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 7,311member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by mpantone View Post

     

    Yet again AI gets this wrong.

     

    The chflags workaround is removed at every reboot.

     

    The alias/symlink workaround is persistent through reboots.

     

    It is best if AI readers do not read this site for technical information, but simply for rumors and gossip.


     

    What’s the point? The just released update to iTunes fixes the issue.

  • Reply 6 of 29
    mpantonempantone Posts: 1,429member

    Without a doubt, there will be a handful of readers who insist on not installing iTunes 11.2.1.

     

    ;)

     

    In any case, if this update had not been released, AI's advice would still have remained inaccurate.

     

    The point is that AI is not a valid source for technical information. It's no longer an issue because Apple fixed it, not because AI was able to identify a workaround.

  • Reply 7 of 29
    philboogiephilboogie Posts: 7,458member
    cpsro wrote: »
    /Users is still hidden after this update on my server.

    Do the release notes say this update is for client or server software?

    defraserii wrote: »
    How absolutely intriguing that Apple could turn around a bug fix within 24 hours of the initial release of iTunes 11.2! This tells me two things. First, the bug was an easy fix. Second, Apple is clearly committed to iTunes and Mac OS X functioning as they should. And while this is gratifying, I must admit my frustration with Apple not fixing bugs like the memory leak in Aperture 3.5.1 that have persisted for months. We're talking about an issue critical to the workflow of many photography professionals. Many have left Aperture because this bug triggers kernel panics and crashes. And we haven't heard a word from Apple, notwithstanding extensive threads in Apple's support forum. I guess it's all a matter of what Apple considers a priority.

    Huh? First you commend Apple on releasing an update to this bug through iTunes but then make remarks on a supposedly memory leak issue in Aperture. While I don't have this issue myself on my Mac I wonder what could be the cause of your hardware/software suffering. Are you using 'stock Apple stuff', ie no 3rd party plugins installed, or 3rd party RAM?
    mpantone wrote: »
    It is best if AI readers do not read this site for technical information, but simply for rumors and gossip.

    Only a fool would go to a rumour site to get technical info from and apply that to their setup because it was 'stated as fact'. But you're not a fool are you. This site never proclaimed to be a 'valid source for technical information', but you knew this before posting, right?
  • Reply 8 of 29
    mjtomlinmjtomlin Posts: 2,011member

    The /Users folder issues are all cleared up on my system after the update!

     

    That was a fairly quick fix from Apple.

  • Reply 9 of 29

    I'm not sure what is so befuddling about what I said. Yes, I commended Apple for responding quickly to the iTunes bug. But I also wished they were equally responsive about a major bug in one of their pro apps that impacts how many of us professional photographers (and long time Aperture users) make our living. As to your "supposed memory leak," it is apparent you're not an Aperture user, of if you are, the environment in which you use it differs from the many photographers who have taken to the Apple Support Forum to ask Apple to fix it. You don't have to shed your skepticism; go look for yourself. 

     

    Let's be clear about something. I am not new to Macs, and I am not new to Aperture. I've been using Aperture since version 1, and Macs  since 2002. I have had extensive conversations with Aperture engineers at Apple and have provided them extensive crash logs and system reports. And no, the kernel panics are not caused by third party hardware or software. As incredulous as it may seem, there are bugs that Apple often has to iron out in applications. 

     

    iTunes is obviously important to Apple, so they made haste in fixing a bug. I am merely pointing out that those of us who have been waiting for several months for them to fix a bug on an application we bought and depend on professionally, would like Apple to be just as aggressive in fixing that bug. It has been several months. 

  • Reply 10 of 29
    philboogiephilboogie Posts: 7,458member
    defraserii wrote: »
    ^ post

    But is it a bug? These memory leak articles have been here since v3 was release in 2010 (one, two three four). I know people perceive Apple as not giving Aperture 'any love' because they haven't released any updates (which is a different discussion altogether as they have consistently updated the software for free, but no 'v4' version) but I haven't seen any memory leaks at my end.

    Sometimes/often this can be the result of 3rd party memory sticks, hence my question on that. I read that plugins can be the cause of this as well.

    I'm sorry if I came across as being skeptic, or negative or something, in no way was that my intention. Maybe you would like to add the fix memory leak issue in this 'v4 Wish List' thread I created here:
    http://forums.appleinsider.com/t/179038/aperture-wish-list-aperturex-aperture-v4
  • Reply 11 of 29
    mpantone wrote: »
    Yet again AI gets this wrong.

    The chflags workaround is removed at every reboot.

    The alias/symlink workaround is persistent through reboots.

    It is best if AI readers do not read this site for technical information, but simply for rumors and gossip.
    Here's a chflags workaround that persists across reboots. Just copy this into a .plist file and put it in your LaunchDaemons folder (with the correct permissions). This one's to show the ~/Library folder, but you can adapt it to show any folder that Apple decides to hide.
    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
    <!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC "-//Apple//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN" "http://www.apple.com/DTDs/PropertyList-1.0.dtd">;
    <plist version="1.0">
    <dict>
    	<key>Label</key>
    	<string>com.putwhateveryouwanthere.showlibrary</string>
    	<key>ProgramArguments</key>
    	<array>
    		<string>/usr/bin/chflags</string>
    		<string>nohidden</string>
    		<string>/Users/***put your username here***/Library</string>
    	</array>
    	<key>RunAtLoad</key>
    	<true/>
    </dict>
    </plist>
    
  • Reply 12 of 29
    nkhmnkhm Posts: 928member
    Less than 24 hours and fixed, yet people still won't just say 'well done' - this is software, there are always going to be bugs. The beta testing is intense, apple are improving the beta testing by further opening the route to becoming a beta tester for more users.

    On the aperture issue - On aperture 3.5.1 here - 20 installs of it in the office, across various macs old and new - zero issues - there must be something specific to your machine - conflict somewhere, third party RAM etc. etc. I would very much like to see a new version however.
    While I feel your pain, this article is about apple fixing something incredibly quickly, and they should be commended for it.
  • Reply 13 of 29
    lorin schultzlorin schultz Posts: 2,744member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by PhilBoogie View Post

     
    Only a fool would go to a rumour site to get technical info from and apply that to their setup because it was 'stated as fact'.


     

    Well then I'm as foolish as a monkey in a minefield. I thought anyone writing such an article would have taken a moment to verify that what they ?+C / ?+V would actually work.

     

    Journalism according to its traditional definition is truly dead.

  • Reply 14 of 29
    philboogiephilboogie Posts: 7,458member
    QFT. There's indeed too much rehashing what others have already stated on the Internet.

    And no, I don't think you're foolish.
  • Reply 15 of 29
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 7,311member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by nkhm View Post



    Less than 24 hours and fixed, yet people still won't just say 'well done' - this is software, there are always going to be bugs. The beta testing is intense, apple are improving the beta testing by further opening the route to becoming a beta tester for more users.



    On the aperture issue - On aperture 3.5.1 here - 20 installs of it in the office, across various macs old and new - zero issues - there must be something specific to your machine - conflict somewhere, third party RAM etc. etc. I would very much like to see a new version however.

    While I feel your pain, this article is about apple fixing something incredibly quickly, and they should be commended for it.

     

    This always happens. This totally minor glitch caused a firestorm of people running around with their hair on fire. The so-called power users instantly began issuing terminal commands from on high then arguing as to who’s terminal command is better. In the Apple discussions forums the obligatory “Steve is dead, Apple’s QA has goner down the tubes, this is horrible!” ranting and raving started almost immediately.

     

    Then of course we have the ‘adders on’ who are miffed that this issue got fixed but THEIR issue still remains after ‘months.’ The fact that, as you point out, the vast majority of users are not experiencing the issue they obsess over doesn’t persuade them to investigate further or try something else. Nope, they continue to sit on their dead asses waiting for Apple to do something even though nothing needs to be done.

     

    I’m also wondering what’s happening to those users who applied all those terminal commands, automator scripts, voodoo incantations to ‘fix’ this piddly bug? Is the iTuners update going to choke on their modifications? Will they scream bloody murder at Apple if it does?

  • Reply 16 of 29
    neilmneilm Posts: 638member
    What would be more interesting would be to know why the /Users bug affected some people and not others (and perhaps why iTunes would ever set a not visible flag for that folder).

    FWIW my Mac was not affected by the bug, but I'm not sure I would have noticed if it had been. Unless one uses the Shared folder I can't think of a reason to access the /Users folder.
  • Reply 17 of 29
    rafagonrafagon Posts: 5member

    The fix works as advertised. Thank you, appleinsider.  BTW, if the fix hasn't worked for you, be certain to restart your machine or kill the Finder process for the fix to kick in.

  • Reply 18 of 29
    dempsondempson Posts: 57member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by NeilM View Post



    What would be more interesting would be to know why the /Users bug affected some people and not others (and perhaps why iTunes would ever set a not visible flag for that folder).



    FWIW my Mac was not affected by the bug, but I'm not sure I would have noticed if it had been. Unless one uses the Shared folder I can't think of a reason to access the /Users folder.

    I haven't seen anyone reporting exactly how iTunes 11.2 caused this, but the reason for why it only affected some people is known.

     

    The bug only affects Macs which have iTunes 11.2 installed, and which have the "Find my Mac" feature of iCloud enabled. With this combination, each time you restart the computer, something causes the hidden flag to be set for /Users and /Users/Shared, and also messes up the permissions on those folders. It has been observed to occur on OS X 10.9.2 and 10.9.3, but I wasn't able to repeat it on OS X 10.8.5, which suggests it only happens if the Mac is running Mavericks.

     

    Prior to Apple fixing the bug in iTunes 11.2.1, the workaround was to disable Find my Mac and manually fix the hidden flag and permissions of those folders (or used Repair Disk Permissions in Disk Utility).

     

    The symptoms suggest that one of the system-level components installed by iTunes (which was running on each startup or login) was manipulating visibility and/or permissions for some files inside /Users/Shared, and due to a bug it accidentally modified the hidden flag and permissions of the parent folders as well.

     

    I had a look inside the iTunes installer using Pacifist and noticed that it included a script which was manipulating permissions and hiding "/Users/Shared/SC Info" and "/Users/Shared/adi". That particular script would have only run at the point iTunes was installed, so doesn't explain the recurring problem. Best clue I've found: the "/Users/Shared/adi" folder is probably related to "/System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/CoreADI.framework", and that framework was the only component I could find which had a different size between the iTunes 11.2 and 11.2.1 installers, making it the most likely suspect for the bug. I have no idea what this framework does as it isn't documented, but it appears to be related to the iTunes Store, App Store and/or iBookStore.

     

    The dependency on Find my Mac to trigger the bug is still a mystery.

  • Reply 19 of 29
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member

    I never test beta software but this bug probably indicates that either the beta OS X did not contain the beta iTunes or else there are not enough people doing beta testing either in the community or at Apple. A hidden /Users folder should be pretty obvious. It sure got noticed quickly after the general release.

  • Reply 20 of 29
    darklitedarklite Posts: 229member

    The Mac App Store asks me to close Xcode before it installs the iTunes 11.2.1 update. Anyone have the faintest idea why?

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