Early macOS Big Sur adopters running into teething issues

Posted:
in macOS edited November 2020
The release of macOS Big Sur has been problematic for Mac users in a number of ways, launch issues that Apple is probably already working to fix in upcoming operating system updates.




Despite the best efforts of development teams in improving software in lengthy beta tests before the release of a major version, problems almost always creep through to the final release. The story is the same for macOS Big Sur, a major update that Apple is not only making sure works properly across both Macs with Intel processors and those using the M1, but also one that introduces changes and new features.

Initial reports surrounding the release have dealt with bigger issues, such as the troubled launch and the privacy-related scrutiny that followed. However, posts to the Apple Support Communities indicates there's many other smaller issues with Big Sur that need to be addressed.

As with any initial release of an Apple operating system, the company is likely to introduce fixes and patches in future software updates to rectify the complaints. In some cases, the problems may seemingly fix themselves in a later update, without any confirmation from Apple that a fix took place.

What follows is a partial list of issues that appear in the support forum less than a week after release.

Bricked older MacBook Pro models

Some users are discovering the update to macOS Big Sur is failing on the 13-inch MacBook Pro, specifically covering the late 2013 and mid 2014 models. Attempts to update can get stuck and result in a permanent black screen.

Typical attempts to restart the MacBook, including using Internet Recovery or booting to Safe Mode, are either unavailable or do not work in such cases.

Apple has yet to officially comment on it publicly, but at least one user claims the issue has been escalated to engineering teams.

Apple Watch connectivity

An issue with the way the Mac communicates with the Apple Watch has been found, with users complaining the Apple Watch Series 6 is no longer being recognized. One user reports enduring constant disconnections in the macOS update just before Big Sur's release, with the major update likely to have made the fatal blow.

Other users have the same issue, but between an iMac running Big Sur and an Apple Watch Series 5, with macOS no longer using the presence of the Apple Watch to automatically authenticate the user.

Mail

The Mail app has a wide variety of issues, including how attempts to use IMAP times out at login, with the problem being server agnostic. Outgoing mail has also failed for some, possibly under the same authentication issues.

Mail search also fails, with lengthy search times and truncated results accompanied by complete failures to bring up results at all. Attempts to rebuild the database and redownloading messages once again didn't fix the problem for one user.

Other Mail complaints include the app using 100% CPU when running, the loss of all "Trash" mail and the subsequent complete loss of deleted emails, and a missing attachment paperclip icon.

Menu and Interface

Some users are discovering the upgrade to Big Sur has resulted in an issue with the main Menu Bar, in that it is solid black in color. For one user, it remains the same regardless of changing between light and dark modes, as well as restarts.

Another discovered that all of the windows have lost their transparency, with each appearing as just white or grey. Replies suggested that the "Reduce Transparency" option in the Accessibility System Preferences menu may have been switched on by accident, though not necessarily an action performed by the user directly.

Smart Keys

One user complained that their YubiKey nano 5 they used for smart card logins in macOS Catalina was working for several months, but hit intermittent problems with the Big Sur upgrades. Attempts to perform actions requiring root privileges brings up the usual PIN entry dialog, but the dialog box hangs after the PIN is entered.

The issue only affected root privilege actions via the GUI, as the same dialog for terminal prompts works fine, as well as for logging in to macOS itself.

Screensavers

Some users are complaining about the Classic Screen Saver not working, regardless of whether the user's own photographs are used or Apple's collection. For one user, selecting images in the screensaver's menu will load the first set of images only, and not other sets.

Messages

For the messaging system, one user warns Messages asks for them to log in, then will load for 20 seconds before quitting and bringing the same log-in prompt again. Others complain that both FaceTime and Messages have stopped working entirely after the update, or is generally slow and unresponsive.

The keyboard shortcut to quick-delete messages, Option-Command-K, isn't working.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 54
    Adobe After Effects is whacked. They’ve had a year to test, and day-one there’s numerous issues...so much that quite a few content creators are DOA.
    dysamoriaGrayeagle
  • Reply 2 of 54
    „There was a problem connecting to the server ...” via afp
  • Reply 3 of 54
    sphericspheric Posts: 2,092member
    AniMill said:
    Adobe After Effects is whacked. They’ve had a year to test, and day-one there’s numerous issues...so much that quite a few content creators are DOA.
    There are “content creators” who upgrade their OS main work machine without ensuring that their primary tools are certified for the update? 

    Are they new in the business? 
    fastasleepRayz2016tyler82michelb76avon b7
  • Reply 4 of 54
    dewmedewme Posts: 3,807member
    Several apps show as Update available in App Store, but when I click on Update, nothing happens. 
    pulseimagesGrayeagle
  • Reply 5 of 54
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,254administrator
    dewme said:
    Several apps show as Update available in App Store, but when I click on Update, nothing happens. 
    We're finding that this means that there is a sub-point update after an initial Big Sur or Apple Silicon update. Closing and re-opening Software Update and letting it do its thing for a few minutes should clear this up.
    dysamoriaGrayeagletyler82
  • Reply 6 of 54
    dewmedewme Posts: 3,807member
    dewme said:
    Several apps show as Update available in App Store, but when I click on Update, nothing happens. 
    We're finding that this means that there is a sub-point update after an initial Big Sur or Apple Silicon update. Closing and re-opening Software Update and letting it do its thing for a few minutes should clear this up.
    I’ve tried that, tried rebooting, tried logging out then logging back in to my App Store account, tried downloading an app I previously purchased that was not on the machine, etc. Nothing makes a difference. Nothing strange looking in Activity Monitor in terms of CPU or memory use. I’ll keep trying other things.
    Grayeagletyler82WarrenBuffduckhphilboogie
  • Reply 7 of 54
    I have used it since it was released with none of the problems described. I find it an absolute delight. 
    MacPropulseimagesNaiyasGrayeaglePetrolDavephilboogie
  • Reply 8 of 54
    jabohnjabohn Posts: 561member
    „There was a problem connecting to the server ...” via afp
    AFP is gone from Big Sur. It has been deprecated for over 6 years (since macOS 10.9) and Big Sur has finally removed it entirely.
    edited November 2020 dysamoriaNaiyasfastasleepGrayeagleRayz2016tyler82
  • Reply 9 of 54
    spheric said:
    AniMill said:

    There are “content creators” who upgrade their OS main work machine without ensuring that their primary tools are certified for the update? 

    Are they new in the business? 
    Shouldn’t apple to do enough testing to make sure their latest and greatest major OS release is safe enough and good enough?

    My 2019 16” MBP just ran out of power while hook up to the stock 96W charger. The MBP only get 2-7W from the charger. The battery only got 1% battery left. I am not sure if it is a new feature or it is a tiny minor bug. 
    pulseimagesdysamoriaGrayeagle
  • Reply 10 of 54
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,254administrator
    viclauyyc said:
    spheric said:
    AniMill said:

    There are “content creators” who upgrade their OS main work machine without ensuring that their primary tools are certified for the update? 

    Are they new in the business? 
    Shouldn’t apple to do enough testing to make sure their latest and greatest major OS release is safe enough and good enough?

    My 2019 16” MBP just ran out of power while hook up to the stock 96W charger. The MBP only get 2-7W from the charger. The battery only got 1% battery left. I am not sure if it is a new feature or it is a tiny minor bug. 
    Assuming the power adapter isn't hosed on a hardware level, resetting the PMU should do the trick.
    pulseimagesGrayeagletyler82
  • Reply 11 of 54
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,254administrator

    dewme said:
    dewme said:
    Several apps show as Update available in App Store, but when I click on Update, nothing happens. 
    We're finding that this means that there is a sub-point update after an initial Big Sur or Apple Silicon update. Closing and re-opening Software Update and letting it do its thing for a few minutes should clear this up.
    I’ve tried that, tried rebooting, tried logging out then logging back in to my App Store account, tried downloading an app I previously purchased that was not on the machine, etc. Nothing makes a difference. Nothing strange looking in Activity Monitor in terms of CPU or memory use. I’ll keep trying other things.
    Huh. We haven't seen this one in our patrols, then. Let me know how it goes.
    edited November 2020
  • Reply 12 of 54
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,379member
    I have used it since it was released with none of the problems described. I find it an absolute delight. 
    Same here on a variety of Macs.  I made Bootable backups using Carbon Copy Cloner of every Mac (Thank you Mike Bombich for being up to the task as always, even with a bootable Big Sur ability in the latest beta).  Of course, had I not had backups all hell would have broken loose I am sure.
    bikerdudemwhiteGrayeaglephilboogie
  • Reply 13 of 54
    FortiClient VPN doesn't work.
    Grayeagle
  • Reply 14 of 54
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 2,314member
    Python is broken too, third party modules link against libraries that no longer exist on disk and fail to start. Apple knew about this before the Big Sur developer betas, they submitted a patch to the Python repo which was subsequently merged, but then Apple shipped an old unpatched version of Python with Big Sur. A common use case is Python with pyserial to communicate with various third party peripherals, and that's broken completely without manually installing a newer version of Python.
    dysamoria
  • Reply 15 of 54
    ivanhivanh Posts: 578member
    older versions of virtualbox don’t work at all. newer version crashed Linux vms and windows cm. just go nowhere.
    Grayeagle
  • Reply 16 of 54
    I'm having trouble even downloading the 12GB file. I must have started it over 10 times. every time it finishes and I click update now it start downloading again.

    Maybe its a blessing in disguise as its a 2013 13" MBP Retina.
    Grayeaglebandits1
  • Reply 17 of 54
    Huh. Look at all the surprise on my face...

    ...same as when tech culture-indoctrinated geeks defend this all as normal and perfectly acceptable business practice...
    razorpitmuthuk_vanalingamprismatics
  • Reply 18 of 54
    I was hesitant to update early. But so far all is well, and I like the new look and feel. One slight graphical glitch with Focusrite interface software, but functioning fine - which is the important thing. MS office works fine - but wish MS fixed support for shared mailboxes in Outlook so I can use the new version with updated interface! I noticed that the calculator has been removed as a right panel ‘widget’ - I like to have it handy, hopefully they will add it back.
  • Reply 19 of 54
    dewmedewme Posts: 3,807member

    dewme said:
    dewme said:
    Several apps show as Update available in App Store, but when I click on Update, nothing happens. 
    We're finding that this means that there is a sub-point update after an initial Big Sur or Apple Silicon update. Closing and re-opening Software Update and letting it do its thing for a few minutes should clear this up.
    I’ve tried that, tried rebooting, tried logging out then logging back in to my App Store account, tried downloading an app I previously purchased that was not on the machine, etc. Nothing makes a difference. Nothing strange looking in Activity Monitor in terms of CPU or memory use. I’ll keep trying other things.
    Huh. We haven't seen this one in our patrols, then. Let me know how it goes.
    When I click on Subscriptions: Manage via Apple ID / Media and Purchases I get the error "Cannot Connect to App Store" so something is hosed with the App Store recognizing my Apple ID at the point where it actually tries to download content.
  • Reply 20 of 54
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,254administrator
    dewme said:

    dewme said:
    dewme said:
    Several apps show as Update available in App Store, but when I click on Update, nothing happens. 
    We're finding that this means that there is a sub-point update after an initial Big Sur or Apple Silicon update. Closing and re-opening Software Update and letting it do its thing for a few minutes should clear this up.
    I’ve tried that, tried rebooting, tried logging out then logging back in to my App Store account, tried downloading an app I previously purchased that was not on the machine, etc. Nothing makes a difference. Nothing strange looking in Activity Monitor in terms of CPU or memory use. I’ll keep trying other things.
    Huh. We haven't seen this one in our patrols, then. Let me know how it goes.
    When I click on Subscriptions: Manage via Apple ID / Media and Purchases I get the error "Cannot Connect to App Store" so something is hosed with the App Store recognizing my Apple ID at the point where it actually tries to download content.
    That, we have seen off and on since the dawn of the app store. A log out and log in of iCloud on the affected machine is a pain in the ass, but will probably fix your problem.
    edited November 2020
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