Ventura for early adopters

These initial notes on macOS Ventura are aimed at those considering updating to it in the coming days, and cover the process of updating, and how it’s going.

Installers and updating

If you’re upgrading from macOS Monterey 12.3 or later, Ventura doesn’t come as an upgrade, but a smaller update instead. This greatly reduces the download, and seems to shorten the time required to update, but it can also have its snags.

The most obvious is for those who don’t want to update their current Monterey system, rather install Ventura alongside it, or on a different disk. Those require that you download a full installer, but if you use Software Update you’ll be served the update and it will replace your current system. If you’re unsure what Software Update is downloading for you, the full installer is slightly more than 12 GB, whereas the updater should be no more than about 6 GB.

There are several ways to guarantee obtaining a full Ventura installer. If you’re already booted in Ventura, you can simply download the full installer app from the App Store. Otherwise the safest route is to download it through Mr. Macintosh’s compilation.

Provided your Mac is running Big Sur or later, you can also use the softwareupdate command in Terminal. First list the installers available using the command
softwareupdate --list-full-installers
(note that the option starts with two hyphens, not an m-dash)

Having identified the version you want from the list that’s offered, use a command such as
softwareupdate -d --fetch-full-installer --full-installer-version 13.0
to download the installer app to the main Applications folder, but not run it.

If you’re a system administrator, there are other implications, and I recommend that you read this article by Tom Bridge.

After the update

The Ventura upgrade or update may surprise you, in that it leaves your Mac’s security data in something of a mess, as it:

  • removes MRT altogether;
  • downgrades XProtect Remediator to version 62;
  • as a result of that downgrading, any subsequent scans by XProtect Remediator will return abnormal results. If you check them using SilentKnight or XProCheck, they may count as warnings, or be shown with yellow triangle signs. That’s normal with version 62, and once it has been updated again they will eventually go away.

If you don’t have automatic updates enabled, you’ll need to use SilentKnight to restore MRT and XProtect Remediator to their former glory.

Another oddity you may encounter, if it hasn’t been fixed, is being offered an update to Pro Video Formats which can’t be installed because it’s lacking a signature. That resolves if you update Final Cut Pro or another of Apple’s media apps through the App Store.

If your Mac seems odd after the update, try restarting it, and if that doesn’t help, start it in Safe mode, leave it a couple of minutes, then restart it.

Stage Manager

Several users have reported oddities in Stage Manager when they first try it out. These appear related to previous use of Spaces and other options, and should settle if you clear those up.

There are sporadic reports of System Settings components taking significant CPU % in Activity Monitor. My own caution concerns the new and wonderful Weather app: leave it in Stage Manager’s cast at the left and it will update continuously, and cause high CPU % in WindowServer, at least on Intel Macs. That doesn’t appear a problem on Apple silicon models, though.

The last 24 hours have been the first prolonged period that I’ve used Stage Manager on a 27-inch display, and I’m definitely in love with it now. For me at least, this is the best change in the Mac’s human interface for at least twenty years. For those who can be sensitive to motion, you can still use Stage Manager without its animation effects: open System Settings > Accessibility > Display and enable Reduce motion.

Memory leaks

I have now been able to test my production iMac Pro to see whether the one remaining significant memory leak in Monterey has been fixed, and am delighted to report that I can no longer reproduce any substantial memory leak in Finder’s Find feature. It’s possible you could still encounter a smaller leak with very large numbers of hits, but in typical use on systems with millions of files, the Find feature now seems safe to use. Thanks to the Apple engineers who fixed that.

I’m not aware of any other reports of memory leaks that you’re likely to come across.

Endpoint Security bug

If you use software based on macOS Endpoint Security, be aware that this is affected by a bug, a clash between TCC settings. You can work around this by removing the app, then adding it back and restarting your Mac. Apple is expected to address this very shortly.

As promised, three of my four working Macs are now running Ventura alone, with the fourth kept on Monterey as a fallback. So far I haven’t experienced any significant incompatibilities with third-party apps. One known issue I have encountered was a self-updating app whose signature had become broken because it hadn’t been correctly re-signed after updating. Installing a fresh copy of the current version of that app solved the problem.