Known bugs in El Capitan 10.11.5: an incomplete summary

OS X 10.11.5 has been publicly available for two weeks now; here is a list of its bugs of which I am aware.

Finder – incorrect column width

This can occur when using Finder windows which are set to column view. When switching folder in the view, the rightmost column being displayed has excessive width, filling the Finder window, its divider being placed incorrectly at the right edge of that window.


This long-standing but intermittent bug dates back to Mavericks if not earlier, and I have whinged about it here and here, and listed it as present in 10.11.2 to 10.11.4. The only workaround is to select a different folder, then to select the correct folder again.

Energy Saver pane – inconsistencies in controls

The features available in the Energy Saver pane of System Preferences are inconsistent between Macs, and incomplete, for example not providing a separate control slider for system sleep on some hardware. Further details are here. These remain in 10.11.5 just as in 10.11.2 to 10.11.4.

The only workaround is to use a third-party tool such as MacPilot to edit the preferences instead of the bundled pane.

Power Management – hard drives always put to sleep on system sleep

On some recent iMacs at least, Power Management ignores any setting to not put hard drives to sleep: when system sleep occurs, the hard drive in an internal Fusion Drive is always put to sleep, regardless of the drive sleep setting. This is detailed here, and has been present in 10.11.4 and 10.11.5.

The only workaround is to set the system sleep time to Never, which also stops hard drives from being put to sleep.

OS X internals – clicking on a window causes it to jump

When switching between apps by clicking on a window, sometimes the selected app comes to the front and its window jumps to a new position on screen. I used to think that this was confined to certain apps such as Tweetbot, but it also affects Apple’s Messages app and others, and persists in 10.11.5.

The workaround is to switch to that other app by clicking on its icon in the Dock.

Trackpad – unexpected shift of text insertion point

This is another long-standing bug, which goes back to the early days of Apple’s Magic Trackpad in about 2010. You are typing along happily, with your hands well clear of the trackpad, and suddenly the text insertion point jumps to a different location in the text which you are editing. This is sporadic and completely unpredictable, but affects a wide range of different apps, and still affects 10.11.5.

There is no workaround.

Disk Utility – inability to change partition size of some disks

This old bug, which used to result in an error reported as “partition (map) too small”, has been eliminated. In 10.11.5 Disk Utility now refuses to select disks for which it cannot change the partition size. The only workarounds are to try using diskutil in Terminal, or to use a third-party tool, as described here.

Sporadic freezing, requiring a forced or automatic restart

Some models, notably MacBook Pro Retina, 13″, Early 2015 (MacBookPro12,1) and possibly iMac Retina 5K, 27″, Late 2015 (iMac17,1), freeze periodically and will either restart automatically, or if that fails they require a forced restart. This appears to have been introduced in 10.11.4, and persists in 10.11.5.

This appears to occur out of the blue, but is most common when browsing in Safari, even when using Apple’s Safari Technology Preview. However it can also strike when no applications, other than the Finder, are open. It appears to relate to graphics drivers or a similar component close to the kernel. Further details are here.

There is no workaround.

Bluetooth, Magic Trackpad 2 – sporadic loss of connection with Apple Magic Trackpad 2

Occasionally, and infrequently, a Magic Trackpad 2 will become unresponsive, and warning that it has become disconnected will be shown on screen. The device usually reconnects successfully shortly afterwards. This appears to be independent of the state of charge of the rechargeable batteries in the trackpad.

Preview 8.1 – cannot work with high resolution images

Images of resolutions around 53671 x 47584 pixels will open in Preview, but attempting to zoom or move around results in breakup of the image within the window, and display of junk image fragments. This appears specific to Preview and does not affect third-party app like GraphicConverter. It may be specific to certain graphics cards or drivers. This is detailed here.

The workaround is to open the images using another app, such as GraphicConverter.

Bugs in earlier versions which now appear to be fixed – loss of drag and drop

Loss of drag and drop, and even copy and paste. I have not experienced this for some weeks now, so it appears to have been fixed in 10.11.4 or 10.11.5.

Please add your own experiences and I will incorporate as necessary…

(Updated 4 July.)