OSX bugs

A running list of bugs and catches I’ve encountered on macOS

MATLAB looks fuzzy on a Retina computer

You need to update your Java Runtime Environment.

Keynote can’t save files or export them

Take screenshots, and copy the open File in Finder in order to protect your work. If you try closing the file you will get the opportunity to duplicate before discard. Before you discard, try making a new document and manually copying all your slides into it.

Links to movies may break in the duplicated file. You need to manually re-import using Inspector, because right-clicking and choosing “replace” will only work for media that you’ve copied into Photos. If “replace” keeps failing, try copying the slides manually into a new document.

Deleted Evernote app still trying to use location services

This is the same bug as described here

I tried removing location services access for the app. However, the only known full solution is this one But Sierra would not let me access that folder

Volume suddenly jumps to the right

This seems to happen sometimes when using Flash on Chrome, for some reason the system volume preferences change mysteriously. It can be fixed in System Settings > Sound by dragging the slider back to the middle

Sound won’t play from internal speakers or headphones

Check System Preferences > Sound to see if the output device is correct. If that’s not the issue, go into Activity Monitor and stop the process coreaudiod. It will automatically restart.

Mission Control / Spaces / hotkeys stop working

In the terminal, type killall Dock to restart the Dock

Answer found on Stackexchange

System Preferences says No IP address, but I appear to be connected to the internet

This tends to happen after altering your internal IP address using a command-line tool like ipconfig. The Wifi menu bar icon will show “loading” or error, but you can browse the web normally.

In System Preferences, choose Network > Wifi > Assist Me > Diagnostic

Go through the wizard and it should be able to figure out what’s going on.

MATLAB MEX files won’t compile

  • Append the MATLAB.app/bin to the FRONT of your path, then retry the install. The issue is that TeXLive has a Polish language command with the same name.

  • Check to see where within XCode the current MACOSX10.?.sdk file resides. On my system this was located at:


  • There’s a hard-coded path inside MATLAB’s mexopts clang files that might not include recent macOS releases. These need to be manually edited to include recent releases

    /Applications/MATLAB_R2014a.app/bin/maci64/mexopts/clang_maci64.xml /Applications/MATLAB_R2014a.app/bin/maci64/mexopts/clang++_maci64.xml

In each file, there are two instances that need to be edited. Each one looks like

<dirExists name="$$/Platforms/MacOSX.platform/Developer/SDKs/MacOSX10.13.sdk" /> 


<cmdReturns name="find $$ -name MacOSX10.13.sdk" />

The operating system version you are using is not equivalent to the name of the SDK file. I am using macOS 10.12.6, but the SDK file was named MacOSX10.13.sdk

External hard drive not ejected properly, and now it won’t mount

Connect the drive

diskutil list

Find the identifier, something like disk2 probably

diskutil eject disk2

Now plug it into a different USB port on your computer and it will probably mount.

This advice was taken from Stackexchange

Another option is to just leave the disk alone for 15-30 minutes while macOS figures out what’s going on. See discussion here

An external hard drive will not mount, even after proper ejection

I have encountered this issues with Western Digital drives containing Time Machine backups. It may be related to when Spotlight is re-indexing the computer. In terminal, type:

diskutil list

You should get output that lists all the drives connected the computer. My disk looks something like

   #:                       TYPE NAME                    SIZE       IDENTIFIER
   0:      GUID_partition_scheme                        *500.3 GB   disk0
   1:                        EFI EFI                     209.7 MB   disk0s1
   2:          Apple_CoreStorage                         499.4 GB   disk0s2
   3:                 Apple_Boot Recovery HD             650.1 MB   disk0s3
   #:                       TYPE NAME                    SIZE       IDENTIFIER
   0:                  Apple_HFS Macintosh HD           *499.1 GB   disk1
                                 Logical Volume on disk0s2
   #:                       TYPE NAME                    SIZE       IDENTIFIER
   0:      GUID_partition_scheme                        *1.0 TB     disk2
   1:                        EFI EFI                     209.7 MB   disk2s1
   2:                  Apple_HFS Pawhuska                999.8 GB   disk2s2

If you don’t see your hard drive then this won’t work. To mount “Pawhuska” above:

diskutil mount /dev/disk2s2

Completely delete a program and its remnants from your computer

  • Use the application’s own uninstaller, if at all possible
  • Delete all related files from /Users/william/Applications
  • Delete it from /Users/william/ApplicationData
  • Delete the plist files from LaunchAgents and LaunchDaements (Important! see below)

Here is an example for uninstalling KeyAccess (from UT Austin)

Login with a local administrator account
Open /Applications/Utilities/Activity Monitor.app
Select the process with the Process Name of KeyAccess and click the Quit Process icon in the tool bar and select Force Quit
Delete /Library/KeyAccess
Delete /Library/StartupItems/KeyAccess
Delete /Library/LaunchAgents/com.sassafras.KeyAccess.plist
Delete /Library/LaunchDaemons/com.sassafras.KeyAccess.plist
Delete /Library/PreferencePanes/KeyAccessPref.prefPane
Delete /Library/Preferences/KeyAccess/

Junk appearing at startup that does not appear under login items

Check Launch Agents and Launch Daemons

Look for any Adobe or Skype stuff in LaunchAgents

ls ~/Library/LaunchAgents/com.adobe*
ls ~/Library/LaunchAgents/com.adobe*
ls ~/Library/LaunchAgents/com.skype*

Unload anything you find. For example,

launchctl unload -w ~/Library/LaunchAgents/com.adobe.AAM.Updater-1.0.plist 

If this breaks anything, you can re-enable it

launchctl load -w ~/Library/LaunchAgents/com.adobe.AAM.Updater-1.0.plist 

Also worthwhile to disable notifications from Creative Cloud app

Now do the same for the sister folder, LaunchDaemons

Delete any plists for old programs

For a general search,

sudo launchctl list

For any processes that do not need to run. For example KeyAccess is a software license key monitor that I installed four years ago and promptly uninstalled. However, even after uninstallation a daemon remained, which was removed using

launchctl remove com.sassafras.KeyAccess.kass.1668

Directions from here

For Adobe products, use:

Follow the advice here

launchctl unload -w /Library/LaunchAgents/com.adobe.AdobeCreativeCloud.plist

Disable Adobe CoreSync and other background processes Adobe runs for its apps

Follow the instructions here

Can also just kill off Creative Cloud using the instructions here

Check startup items folder

ls -a /Volumes/Library/StartupItems

For example, remove the old KeyAccess software by killing the process, and removing its folder in the StartupItems,

Delete all remnants of other programs, as needed

Python problems (especially matplotlib)

 python setup.py build_ext --inplace

Permission denied errors in bash

chmod u+x my_script.sh

or, if that doesn’t work, try

sudo chmod +r my_script.sh

Can’t tell if a bug is causing true reboot or just logout

last reboot

in the Terminal will show all reboots that have occurred

Spotlight not finding text in .py files

Go into the Spotlight preferences under System Settings, and check the box for “Developer” This seems to get disabled by default every few update cycles.

Hardware problems

Intermittent “click” or “pop” noise from the laptop

This appears to be a known design flaw with 2016 MacBook Pros. See, for example, here

Computer running hot

I noticed that my 2016 Macbook Pro (15 inch with touchbar) was running really hot for even simple tasks. It cooled down significantly when I went into the energy settings and disabled the option “Put Hard Disks to Sleep When Possible”

  • Advice from this thread
  • Good general advice here
  • SMC Reset (but not PRAM) also seemed to help a lot
  • This shouldn’t affect anything unless external spinning hard drives are connected. Keeping this enabled might improve battery life in rare cases where spinning hard drives are connected for long periods while the computer is on battery power.

Can also get temps by using the istats ruby gem (can install using homebrew), and then running istats in the Terminal

  • Measured CPU Temp: 35.81°C normal

Curiously, this setting appears to have gotten re-checked after reboot. I am not sure why.

Computer warm after sleeping

Go into “Energy Saver” and disable “Wake for WiFi access”

  • consider disabling power nap