With each new release of the Mac OS, there always seems to be new features that change how you work, the removal of a feature or two that forces you to rethink how you work, or just plain bugs that make working on your Mac not quite the pleasant experience it used to be.
To put it simply, “macOS Sierra broke my favorite feature; now what do I do?” We’re going to take a look at some of the features that Sierra broke, and show you easy ways to fix them. (Related: How to Fix Scary Issues That Can ‘Possess’ a Mac, Affect Performance)
Safari Doesn’t Display Some Web Sites
As part of Apple’s concerns about web page security, and the wish to promote HTML5-based content, Safari disables some Safari plug-ins, including Flash, Silverlight, QuickTime, and Java.
The result is that when you visit a web page that relies on these older technologies, you may be greeted with just a black page, or a black page with a dropdown sheet asking if you wish to use Flash or one of the other disabled plug-ins on the specific website.
Although the wording can change slightly depending on the plug-in involved, you have the choice of activating the plug-in just this time for this website, always for this website, or to leave the plug-in turned off.
Your choice isn’t permanent; you can change the selection at anytime within Safari Preferences.
Select Preferences from the Safari menu.
Choose the Security tab.
Click the Plug-in Settings button.
Select a plug-in from the displayed list, and a list of websites you’ve visited that use the plug-in will be displayed. You can use the dropdown menu to change whether a plug-in may be used on the site.
You can select Off, On, or Ask. You can also specify the default for the plug-in’s use when visiting new websites.
You may be tempted to just turn the plug-in on for all websites, which would make browsing the web easier. But that choice comes with issues, including security concerns involving plug-ins, such as Flash, that seem to have a never-ending supply of vulnerabilities. Instead, we recommend using the Ask setting, which will cause Safari to ask what you wish to do each time you visit a website. This way, you’ll always know which sites are using antiquated technologies. (Related: Common Problems After Installing macOS Sierra and How to Fix Them)
Printers in General
Printers and scanners tend to run into problems when major OS upgrades come around. If you’re having a printer/scanner-related problem with Sierra, you may be able to fix the issue yourself, using one or more of these methods.
Some all-in-one printer/scanners that have network options are having problems being able to scan or print using the network. In many cases, if you connect the device to your Mac directly (USB), both printing and scanning will function correctly.
If you need to share the printer/scanner with others on your network, you can make use of the sharing function available in System Preferences, Printers & Scanners.
The long-term fix is to regularly check the manufacturer’s website for upgraded drivers, as well as updating to the most current version of macOS.
Some Mac users have reported that after upgrading to Sierra, their printers are no longer listed as installed. This remains a problem even after cycling the power on the printers, disconnecting and reconnecting USB printers, and restarting the Mac.
The simple solution is to reinstall the printers using the Printers & Scanners preference pane. But before you do, you may want to reset the macOS printer sub-system. Resetting the printing system will clear out old printing queues, delete existing printer plist files, and reset printing options to their defaults.
This lets you start fresh, and why not? The printers are missing, so take the opportunity to clean things out.
Open the Printers & Scanners preference pane.
Place your cursor in the empty list of printers.
Right-click and select ‘Reset printing system.’
You’ll be warned that resetting the printing system will remove all printers and scanners. Click the Reset button.
Once the reset is complete, go ahead and add your printers and scanners back.
File Save Workflow
One of the workflows we use quite often takes advantage of how the Save or Save As dialog box works in most apps that allow you to populate the file name field by selecting a file already present at the destination. This is a very easy way to either replace an existing file, or use an existing file name as the base for a new file name. An example:
You’re working on a document, and you occasionally save the document to an external drive for safekeeping. The document you’re working on is called MyDocument, but when you save it to the external drive, you want it to have a version number as well. Instead of having to remember the current version number, you can simply use the Save As command to open the Save As dialog box, browse to the external drive you use, and then click on the most recent document file already present in the folder. The document name you click on automatically populates the Save As field, letting you simply increase the current version number by one, and save the document.
In macOS Sierra, this common workflow no longer works if you’re using icon view in the Save As dialog box. The fix is simple enough; in the dialog box, select the list or column view option before you click on the file name.
Can’t Open the JAR
Java developers and game aficionados are used to working with .jar files, an archive format used to store and compress Java class files and metadata. Gamers who like to create mods often find the game maps stored in JAR archives, and developers use JAR archives for quite a few things.
JAR archives may seem quite foreign to many Mac users, but at heart, they’re quite similar to the zip files we all commonly use, so much so that in past versions of the Mac OS, you could open JAR files with Apple’s own built-in archiving utility. In many cases, you only needed to double-click a .jar file to expand it.
Some Sierra users have reported that they’re no longer able to expand .jar files. This is likely because the default association for .jar files is to open them with the JAR Launcher, a utility for launching Java JAR files into the appropriate runtime environment.
If you only need to expand a .jar file, you can perform this task by either right-clicking the .jar file and selecting Open With> Archive Utility from the dropdown menu, or renaming the .jar file to .zip, and then double-clicking the newly named archived file to expand it.
What Else Is Broken in macOS Sierra?
We found a few additional broken bits in Sierra, but decided they weren’t as likely to show up for most users. But there may be a few more broken bits out there that we haven’t run into yet. For assistance with a broken feature in any Mac OS version, bug reports can be filed to Apple at: www.apple.com/feedback/macosx.html
And if you do have a broken feature, use the comments below to let us know. If you have a workaround for an issue you’ve encountered, let us know in the comments section.