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Beware the Problems Lurking in the Next macOS Upgrade

By Jeff Kagan
Dec 6, 2019 9:45 AM PT
macos users shouldn't rush to upgrade when a new version is released

It seems every time Apple issues an upgrade to its operating systems, many users get burned. The iOS upgrade typically works but the changes takes some getting used to, creating a certain amount of frustration for many iPhone and iPad users.

However, macOS releases can stop some important features from working for months, requiring numerous updates to fix all the problems the upgrade created. Then, when everything finally starts working again, the company releases a new upgrade and the whole cycle starts over.

Updates and Upgrades

Upgrades are different from updates. Upgrades entail a dramatic overhaul of the entire operating system. Apple typically releases upgrades once a year.

The company releases updates on a regular basis throughout the year to fix new problems users experience.

My recommendation to users of Apple products is to resist the impulse to upgrade when a new release first becomes available. Wait a while for Apple to find and fix problems based on early adopters' feedback.

I would highly recommend that if your system is working, you should leave it alone for several months. Let Apple fix the problems it creates. Then, after a while, you should be able to upgrade safely.

You need to install updates, because they fix problems. However, updates are not completely safe either. Often, they create new problems, which then require further updates. There is no completely safe way to go.

My bottom line recommendation for Apple updates and upgrades is to update promptly (and cross your fingers), but wait several months to upgrade to a new release.

macOS Catalina Woes

I upgraded to macOS Catalina, and I've been running into a few problems since I made the change.

First, my printer and scanner stopped working. Initially there was no response at all. After considerable tinkering, the printer finally worked but not the scanner.

I decided to buy a replacement, but I had to try several newer models before finding a printer that was compatible, and there were still a few hiccups.

That is one example of how things may not work after an upgrade. Things you need simply might stop without warning. If there was a warning, no one would upgrade until the bugs were worked out.

Today, several months after upgrading, I have two printers sitting on my desk, because neither is completely reliable. This is an example of the madness Apple puts users through every year with its flawed upgrades.

Chink in Apple's Armor

Don't get me wrong. I like Apple. I think the company generally does a great job. However, there are problems that sideline its users on a regular basis that it should fix -- problems that never should have occurred in the first place.

An Apple user shouldn't have to go through hell trying to print important documents. No company should risk driving millions of users bonkers, especially one with the stature of Apple.

Remember, when the first upgrade announcement comes, ignore it. In fact, ignore it for several months. Updates are safer, but understand they're not perfect either. Know the difference between upgrades and updates, and wait until you're reasonably certain an upgrade is stable before installing it. It could save you a lot of time and aggravation.

At one time, Apple customers could trust the company to deliver a great user experience consistently. Unfortunately, that's no longer the case. We can not trust early versions of macOS upgrades, and that's too bad.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ECT News Network.


Jeff Kagan has been an ECT News Network columnist since 2010. His focus is on the wireless and telecom industries. He is an independent analyst, consultant and speaker. Email Jeff.


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