MacOS High Sierra is finally ready for release. It endured the summer beta program, and is now available through the Mac App Store for anyone to download and install.
We’re always grateful that new versions of the operating system go through an extensive beta process, but it always seems a few issues will still be lurking, ready to pop up and surprise us.
With that in mind, here are some of the more common problems you may encounter when upgrading to macOS High Sierra.
Note: Before upgrading to any new or updated operating system, it’s a good idea to have a current backup in place.
Upgrading From the Beta
If you’re a beta tester, you may have a slightly more difficult time upgrading than the rest of us; it all depends on whether you installed the new APFS (Apple File System) during the beta testing. Apple backed away from its original goal of having APFS ready to go for all Mac configurations. Instead, it’s releasing macOS High Sierra with APFS only for Macs using SSDs (Solid State Drives). If you converted a Fusion drive during the beta, it needs to be reverted to HFS+ before you can install macOS High Sierra.
Unfortunately, Apple isn’t providing any tools to revert the file system. Instead, you’re required to back up your current data with Time Machine, erase and reformat the affected drive(s), install macOS High Sierra, and then migrate your backed up data to the fresh install.
Apple includes instructions for the process, specifically using Time Machine as the backup app. It seems you should also be able to perform this task by creating a clone using Carbon Copy Cloner or one of the other popular cloning tools. Nevertheless, even if you decide to create a clone, we highly recommend you also create a Time Machine backup, especially if the clone is the only copy of your data you will have.
You’ll need a drive partitioned as HFS+ for the Time Machine backup. This can be an existing Time Machine drive as long as it’s formatted as HFS+. You’ll also need to create a bootable macOS High Sierra installer; a 16 GB or larger USB flash drive or an external drive can serve this purpose.
Warning: The process of creating the bootable installer will erase the contents of the selected drive volume.
Apple has posted instructions in its support area for Preparing Your Fusion Drive Mac for the macOS High Sierra Install. It covers two methods for converting a Fusion Drive back to HFS+ and installing macOS High Sierra. The instructions are a bit sparse, but should be sufficient for getting the job done. If you have any questions regarding the process, be sure to post them in the Comments section below.
Downloading macOS High Sierra From the Mac App Store Stalls
The process of downloading High Sierra from the Mac App Store should be an easy one, but a few of us have run into a problem where the download seems to fail to start, or freezes if it does begin.
In both cases, patience may be the best course of action. But if after a reasonable amount of time, say 15 minutes to half an hour, there’s been no change, then it’s time for action.
Open your web browser to any page; the idea is just to verify that your Internet connection is working. If you’re having network issues, they need to be addressed before continuing.
Quit the Mac App Store. If it fails to respond to the quit command, force quit by selecting Force Quit from the Apple menu. In the Force Quit Applications window that opens, select App Store, and then click the Force Quit button. You’ll be asked if you really want to force quit the App Store; click the Force Quit button.
Once the Mac App Store finally quits, go ahead and restart the store. Select macOS High Sierra and start the download again. If you still have problems, quit the Mac App Store (using force quit, if needed), and then restart your Mac.
Return to the Mac App Store and try again.
Freeze During Installation
After you start the macOS High Sierra installation process, you may notice that your Mac’s screen has gone black, and nothing seems to be happening. The likely culprit is that your Mac has frozen during the restart process. The installation process copies needed files to the destination drive, including a minimum boot environment. Once everything is in place, your Mac should restart and finish the install process. If you’re stuck at the black screen, you should wait for a reasonable amount of time; no more than half an hour. If your Mac doesn’t finish the restart by then, go ahead and manually shut your Mac down by pressing and holding the power button.
Once your Mac has shut down, you can restart it. Chances are your Mac will restart and pick up by displaying the Setup Assistant, ready to finish the install process.
If you still find yourself stuck, try shutting down again, but this time restart your Mac in Safe Mode. Once the desktop shows up, disable any startup items you may have set up, as well as any anti-virus apps you may have, and then restart your Mac. You’ll need to restart the macOS High Sierra installation process again.
If you’re still unable to resolve the problem, try booting up in Recovery Mode and using the Disk Utility option to check and repair your startup drive. Once your drive has a clean bill of health, use the Reinstall macOS option to ensure the startup drive’s operating system is intact. Once you return to the desktop, you can restart the install process.
Slow Performance After Install
Some temporary performance issues can be attributed to spotlight indexing that may be running; after all, there’s a lot of new data on the drive that needs to be catalogued. Time Machine can also become active soon after an install and slow things down a bit.
Waiting a short time will likely see the slowness clear itself up with no intervention on your part. Should the slowness continue, you can try the tips outlined in Tech 101: How to Clear Cache and Temp Files.
When macOS Sierra was released we saw quite a few Wi-Fi-related issues, which we address in the guide: Common Problems After Installing macOS Sierra.
Thankfully, at least so far, we’re not seeing a repeat of major Wi-Fi issues. But that’s not to say there aren’t at least a few of them. During the beta, there was a recurring problem with connecting to a personal hotspot, such as one provided by an iPhone. The solution was simple enough: just turn Wi-Fi off and back on again, the ultimate IT solution for most problems.
To turn Wi-Fi off, select Turn Wi-Fi Off from the Wi-Fi status icon in the menu bar.
To turn Wi-Fi back on, select Turn Wi-Fi On from the Wi-Fi status icon.
If you don’t see the Wi-Fi status icon in your menu bar, launch System Preferences from your Dock or Apple menu, and select the Network preference pane.
Place a check mark in the Show Wi-Fi Status in Menu Bar box.
Apps Not Working
Unfortunately, it’s the nature of progress that some apps get left behind when operating systems are updated. If you have an app that has stopped working under macOS High Sierra, you should check with the developer to see if any updates have been released, or will be released.
You can also check with RoaringApps, a site that gathers information about which apps work with what version of the Mac operating system.
If you believe the app that you’re having problems with should work with macOS High Sierra, you can try deleting the app’s cache files. Here’s how to do that:
Quit the app in question, if it’s currently running.
Open a Finder window or click on the desktop to ensure the Finder is the front most application.
From the Finder’s Go menu, select Go to Folder.
In the sheet that opens, enter the following: ~/Library/Caches
From the Finder window that opens, find the folder whose title includes the name of the app you’re having issues with.
Open the app’s cache folder, and delete any items within it.
Reset the PRAM/NVRAM, and then launch the app in question.
With any luck, the app should now be able to launch and work correctly.
Additional Rocket Yard Reading
- macOS High Sierra Features That You’ll Want To Upgrade For
- Learn How to Manage Cookies in Safari for High Sierra
- Translating Apple’s New High Sierra & APFS Compatibility Document
- How to Customize Safari Website Preference in macOS High Sierra
Stay tuned for problems you might have installing the new macOS Mojave.