Known bugs in macOS Mojave 10.14.2: an incomplete summary

This article lists bugs which you and I have encountered in macOS Mojave 10.14.2 itself, rather than issues in specific third-party applications and other software.

Finder Aliases – Finder hangs when trying to open/preview a broken folder alias

In a Column view, if you try to open or even just preview a Finder Alias to a folder which now no longer exists, the Finder hangs with a spinning beachball. The only way ahead is to press Command-Option-Escape and force the Finder to restart.

Trying this with an orphaned Finder Alias to a file, rather than a folder, doesn’t cause the Finder to hang, but to display the normal dialog offering to delete or fix the alias, as it should.

This bug also affects Bookmark-based aliases created by alisma, and is discussed in full detail here.

System Information – Legacy Software wrong and misleading

The information given about ‘legacy software’ in System Information is highly incomplete and misleading. Further details are here. Use 32-bitCheck (from Downloads above) instead.

Note that you cannot rely on Mojave to warn you of 32-bit software when you open an app: that only happens on the first occasion that an app is run after it has been downloaded from the internet. Existing installed apps generated no such warnings.

About This Mac – Storage bar often absurdly incorrect

This isn’t a new bug, but has been present since the introduction of the Storage tab in the About This Mac dialog many moons ago. Figures reported are often absurdly incorrect.

storagebug

For example, this 1 TB internal SSD is reported as being just under half full, but its bar is almost completely full with a claimed 780 GB of ‘Documents’. In this case, it may result from the fact that the volume contains an alias to an external SSD on which there is an additional 700 GB of ‘documents’, which are somehow being included in the total for the internal SSD despite the obvious numerical impossibility.

Sometimes, leaving the dialog open for some minutes may lead to it correcting itself spontaneously.

I recommend users never to trust what Storage reports, but to believe the Finder and Disk Utility instead, although even they don’t seem to cope well always with APFS.

Disk Utility – can’t perform secure erase of SSDs

Although Disk Utility offers Security Options when erasing an SSD, and each option claims to perform various levels of secure erase, none actually attempts any form of secure erase at all (they do still work for hard disks, though). The same default erase process which does nothing to free space is followed in every case.

secureerase02

If you want to perform secure erase of an SSD, you must use the diskutil secureErase freespace command. This is detailed here.

Disk Utility – changing volume format fails

If you select an APFS volume, click on the Partition tool, then click on the Partition button, erasing that volume and reformatting it will fail with “an internal state error”. Use the Erase tool instead and it should reformat fine. Further details are here.

Bluetooth dropouts – infrequent, sporadic loss of otherwise stable connections

We suffered this badly in El Capitan, but it got better in Sierra and may even have vanished in High Sierra. But it is definitely back in Mojave, and seemingly more frequent since the 10.14.2 update. Every few days, either or both of my expensive new Magic Trackpad or Apple Wireless Keyboard (Extended) drop off my iMac Pro’s Buetooth.

It’s usually brief and no more than irritating, but today I had a period of about a minute during which my Mac was completely unresponsive to either input device. Then they spontaneously reconnected, and worked perfectly normally.

Is it really that hard to make Bluetooth reliable? I have heard of several other users who experience similar problems in Mojave. The only workaround seems to be to leave them connected to USB by their charging cables. Really, Apple?

Bluetooth keyboard – sporadic repetition of letters

When typing normally, even with the delay to key repeat adjusted carefully, there are occasional repetitions of letters entered via an Apple Bluetooth keyboard. This is an old problem, going back to Sierra at least, and affects multiple models (including iMac and iMac Pro). Although adjusting the threshold can reduce its frequency, the occasional letter duplication (e.g. ‘paath’ for ‘path’) still breaks through.

Keychain Access and many other apps – pasted text shown as black on dark grey in Dark Mode

Apps in which you can paste text into a text view usually display such pasted text in black on a dark grey background when viewed in Dark Mode. This makes the text unreadable.

The underlying problem is that most apps which create styled text (Rich Text) don’t set that text using an undocumented extension to the RTF specification which would make them bimodal in Mojave. Instead, the text colour is fixed as black, which almost vanishes when the view is put into Dark Mode.

You can fix this by copying the affected text and pasting it into my free Rich Text editor DelightEd. Then use its Endarken command to make it bimodal, copy and paste it back. Steps are given in detail here. If you compose your Secure Notes and other items in DelightEd in the first place, this shouldn’t trouble you at all. The app is free from Downloads above.

Thanks to Stephan for drawing my attention to this, and to Jeff @lapcatsoftware for pointing out how general it is.

Calculator – defective printing of Paper Tape

There are two obvious bugs: when running in Dark Mode, if you try printing the Paper Tape in Calculator, it remains fixed in Dark Mode, printing a rectangle of dark grey with white text. The other is that it isn’t possible to change the size of the Paper Tape; it remains stubbornly fixed even if you change the paper size to A3 in landscape mode.

lwonmmdocs1

The only workaround for the first bug is to switch to Light Mode before printing; there is no workaround to the second, other than copying and pasting the Paper Tape output to another app for printing.

Activity Monitor – almost blank pages when printing in Dark Mode

Printing from Activity Monitor when in Dark Mode results in almost completely blank pages, which contain just a few icons.

lwonmmdocs2

The only workaround is to switch to Light Mode to print.

EFI version numbers – System Information and eficheck return different numbers

In 10.14.1 and 10.14.2, the EFI firmware version number returned in System Information has the form 96.0.0.0.0, but that returned by eficheck commands such as /usr/libexec/firmwarecheckers/eficheck/eficheck --integrity-check are different in form and content, e.g. IM171.88Z.F000.B00.1809251200.

App Store – claims apps need to be ‘redownloaded’

Since installing the 10.14.2 update, the App Store sometimes decides that I have to ‘redownload’ all the apps that I have installed, displaying the blue iCloud icon by them. I have detailed this here.

appstoreodd06

Apps still update and work normally, so this should be safe to ignore completely, as an App Store quirk.

App Store – search returns weird hits

When you enter some search terms into the App Store app, completely unrelated apps appear in the results. In some cases, these are additional to genuine hits, in others they just appear weird and unrelated. For example, searching on the word consommé (a type of soup) consistently returns an app which has nothing whatsoever to do with the word, nor does it appear in the info provided about the app.

Screenshot 2018-11-06 at 23.39

clover returns three genuine hits, and three spurious apps which are completely unrelated. This looks like the store’s metadata are corrupted with random terms.

TextEdit – colours displayed differently with Dark Background

Colours used to display text are changed when Dark Background is enabled. If you save or copy Rich Text in that display mode, the colours saved or copied are very likely to differ from those shown. To avoid this, don’t use Dark Background when you’re using colour.

This and other problems are discussed in detail here.

Dark Mode – QuickLook and other bugs

If you use an editor such as my DelightEd which is designed to produce RTF which ‘works’ in Dark as well as Light Mode, then QuickLook thumbnails and previews switch contained text to white in Dark Mode, but retain a white background. This renders the thumbnail/preview useless in Dark Mode.

A similar problem with Dark Mode exists when you use Control-Command-D to show the definition of a selected word: the popover window is semi-transparent, which makes text in custom dictionaries visible only when viewed over a window with a white background. If the underlying window is dark grey, then that text is almost invisible.

These are described in more detail here. There don’t appear to be any workarounds for these, other than switching back to Light Mode.

Thanks to Artyom for drawing my attention to the second of these.

Safari – errors opening local Home page, and others

If you set Safari 12.0.2 to open a local file as its Home page, this may cause an error when Safari first opens, and that error may in turn result in another error reporting that the error page can’t be found. Others also report Safari’s inability to search until a remote page has been loaded, and other potentially related issues. These are detailed here (see the comments there in particular).

Once Safari has started up and connected to a remote page, these problems usually vanish, so can be safely ignored. They also appear to occur most commonly when the Develop menu is enabled; turning that off may make them disappear, but you then lose the additional features of that menu. This bug was present in 12.0 and persists in 12.0.1.(Thanks to Manoli for pointing this out.)

Font Book – can’t disable or remove fonts in /Library/Fonts

Although Font Book used to be able to, and its Help book still claims that it can, since 10.14 (including 10.14.1) it has been unable to disable or remove any font stored in /Library/Fonts. It can currently only disable or remove those in ~/Library/Fonts.

The well-known workaround is to create the folder /Library/Fonts (disabled), or similar, and move fonts to that folder to disable them.

System Migration – incompatible app list repeatedly downloaded

Periodically, for no apparent reason, Macs automatically download and re-install the incompatible app list stored in /System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/SystemMigration.framework even though it has not been updated since it was last installed. This appears as com.apple.pkg.IncompatibleAppList.[version] in the list of installations.

This is longstanding behaviour, occurring in Sierra if not before, and appears almost random.

Appearance – grey/gray accent turns ‘traffic lights’ grey too

In the General pane, set the Accent colour to grey. Whether in Light or Dark mode, the ‘traffic lights’ at the top left of every window then show just three grey lights instead. Now which end was red?!

greylights

The only workaround is not to use the grey accent.

It has been argued (see comments) that this is a feature and not a bug, as it recalls the earlier grey appearance. Mojave doesn’t have grey appearance: it has Light Mode and Dark Mode as its two appearances. Within those, the colour options are ‘accents’ which change the colour of a small number of controls. Grey accent is the only accent which removes all colour from the ‘traffic lights’ and is therefore inconsistent at best. I’d call it misguided at least.

(Thanks to simweb for reporting this below.)

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.

findercolsbugmoj

This long-standing but intermittent bug dates back to Mavericks if not earlier, and I have whinged about it here and here. It was also present in every version of El Capitan, Sierra and High Sierra. The only workaround is to select a different folder, then to select the correct folder again.

Bugs known to have been fixed from 10.14.1

None.

(Updated 10 January 2019 with additional info on the Finder Alias bug.)