macOS 101: What High Sierra Broke and How to Fix It

It’s almost become a tradition; one that we wish we didn’t have to put up with. It seems with each new release of the Mac operating system, there are some features that just don’t seem to work the way they used to. The tradition lives on with macOS High Sierra, so we’re gathering a list of what High Sierra broke and how to fix it (when you can).

Drive Encryption Can Change Formatting
Encrypting an entire drive to add a level of security has been an easy task in the Mac OS ever since FileVault 2 was released as part of OS X Lion. Full disk encryption has been a boon for Mac users who worry about their personal data being easily accessible on their Macs or external drives. This is especially true for portable Mac users, who need to worry about their Macs being lost or stolen.

macOS High Sierra continues to support full disk encryption, but Mike Bombich, who created Carbon Copy Cloner, has verified a bug in High Sierra that will cause an external drive to have its format changed from HFS+ to APFS when the drive is encrypted in High Sierra.

Enabling encryption on a drive should not alter the underlying drive format. If the drive was HFS+ (Hierarchical File System) before you chose to encrypt it, it should remain an HFS+ drive afterwards. The same is true for APFS (Apple File System) formatted drives; choosing the encryption option shouldn’t change the APFS format of the drive.

Related: A Note On High Sierra Compatibility with Third Party SSDs

(Encrypting an external drive can lead to the drive being converted to an APFS volume.)

Under certain conditions, encrypting a drive will modify the format to APFS without the user being aware of the changes.

The specific conditions are:

  • Must be an external drive
  • Must not have a Mac operating system installed on the drive

If these two conditions are met, and you select the option to encrypt the drive, by right-clicking the drive icon and selecting Encrypt from the popup menu, the drive will be converted to APFS format and then encrypted.

Even though the drive has been converted to APFS and encrypted, it will continue to work just fine with your Mac running macOS High Sierra. The problem comes about should you ever connect the drive to a Mac running an earlier version of the Mac operating system, or if you boot your Mac to an earlier version of the OS. In either case, the external drive won’t be recognizable by the older operating system.

Our recommendation is not to encrypt your external drive, unless converting to APFS is acceptable to you, and you have no plans to use the drive with earlier versions of the Mac operating system.

Being Logged Out Randomly
If you find yourself occasionally being logged out of your Mac after you upgraded to macOS High Sierra, you can stop worrying; your Mac isn’t possessed. Instead, the upgrade process may have enabled two security options that you may not have been using before.

(If you’re being logged out from time to time, it may be because the Log out option, shown above, has been set during the installation of macOS High Sierra.)

To correct the phantom logouts, launch System Preferences, either by clicking on its Dock icon, or by selecting System Preferences from the Apple menu.

In the System Preferences window, select the Security & Privacy preference pane.

From the Security & Privacy preference pane, click the Lock icon and enter your administrator credentials. Once the padlock is unlocked, click on the Advanced button.

Either remove the checkmark from “Log out after xx minutes of inactivity” or set the time frame to a longer period to meet your needs. Click the OK button when done.

The second security issue that may be causing the problem is also located in the Security & Privacy preference pane. Select the General tab.

The item: “Require password xx minutes after sleep or screen saver begins” may also be checked. You can remove the checkmark, or modify the amount of time that needs to pass before the screen saver kicks in to better fit your needs. My own preference is to leave this security feature in place, and just adjust the time as needed.

While you’re at it, you may want to jump over to the Desktop & Screen Saver preference pane to adjust the time for when the screen saver starts up.

(Be sure to check the General tab of the Security & Privacy preferences for password requirements to wake from sleep. These may have also been changed during the install.)

Select the Screen Saver tab, then use the Start after: dropdown menu to select how much inactive time needs to elapse before the screen saver starts

High Sierra Battery Life is Poor
Another issue that seems to be common is portable Mac battery life being adversely affected after an upgrade to High Sierra. So far, it seems that macOS High Sierra isn’t the culprit; instead, there are a few apps that may need to be updated to make better use of the battery.

Launch Activity Monitor, located at /Applications/ Utilities.

In the Activity Monitor window, select the Energy tab.

(Activity Monitor’s Energy tab can help you find apps gulping down the power from your battery.)

In the resulting display, look for apps that are marked as preventing sleep, or are listed as having a high energy impact. Contact the app developer to see if there are updates available for the app to make it perform better with macOS High Sierra.

Unable to Wake From Sleep
I’m not sure what it is about sleep, but the Mac seems to always have issues with sleep after a system upgrade. There have been reports of Macs not being able to wake from sleep after upgrading to High Sierra.

Unrelated, but with the same solution, is a flickering of the display, especially when the Safari browser is open.

You can fix both issues by resetting the NVRAM and then resetting the SMC.

You can find detailed instructions on how to perform these resets in the article:

How to Reset NVRAM, PRAM, SMC on your Mac.

Office 2011 Crashes
If you’re using Office 2011 for the Mac with macOS High Sierra, you’re not having any issues, you’re having occasional crashes, or Office simply refuses to launch at all.

That about covers most of the possibilities. The problem is Microsoft decided not to support Office 11 under macOS High Sierra, meaning they haven’t tested the apps nor are they going to offer any updates to correct any issues. Essentially, Office 2011 is on its own. If it works for you, wonderful, but if you have any issues, it may be time to consider a replacement.

Of course, software apps do get old, and Office 11 has been around for a long time, in software years. If you have a specific need for Microsoft Office, the Office 2016 for Mac version works fine and is fully supported under macOS High Sierra.

If you just need a Word or Excel work-alike that you can use to share files with others, there are a few options available. If you have a suggestion that you know works with High Sierra, please leave a note in the Comments, below.

Mail Stops Notifying You of New Mail

Have you noticed that Mail is no longer alerting you of new incoming messages via the Notifications center? If you’re used to seeing a banner pop up in the top right corner of your Mac’s display with a brief description of a new piece of mail whenever new mail arrives, you may have noticed the banners stopped once you installed High Sierra.

This bug doesn’t seem to affect everyone, but it happens often enough that Apple should be able to fix the issue in a subsequent update of High Sierra.

But you don’t need to wait for Apple; you can fix the issue yourself by opening System Preferences and selecting Notifications.

Highlight Mail in the Notifications window sidebar, and then select None as the Mail alert style. Wait a moment, then set the notifications style back to Banners or Alerts, whichever you prefer.

Close the Notifications preference pane.

(The Notifications center may need its mail handling alert style reset to work properly after installing High Sierra.)

Launch Mail if it isn’t already running. Mail notifications should now work correctly.

Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator Issues
Adobe Photoshop has a minor issue with High Sierra that prevents the Photoshop window from expanding to full screen whenever the Dock is shown.

Adobe has created a Photoshop plug-in file that can rectify the problem. You’ll find instructions on how to download and install the plug-in at the Adobe Help website.

Adobe Illustrator is experiencing some issues with High Sierra; specifically, the licensing system seems to be broken when the startup drive uses the APFS file system. The result is Illustrator may not launch, or there will be an error message about license problems.

Adobe recommends not upgrading to High Sierra, or not converting to the APFS file system at this time.

There’s an additional issue with Illustrator on macOS High Sierra that results in the wrong color settings being applied; specifically, Emulate Adobe Illustrator 6 becomes the default color setting and is applied to any document you open or new document you create.

The workaround is to manually change the color settings before working with any document.

Select Edit, Color Settings, and then choose the desired settings for the document.

Click OK.

Open the document you wish to work on.

You’ll need to repeat these steps each time you launch Illustrator, or before you open a document that uses a different color space.

Other High Sierra Problems and Fixes
macOS High Sierra is still relatively new, and I suspect there will be quite a few additional issues that will crop up. If you encounter any problems with using High Sierra, please feel free to share with our readers by leaving a comment.

If you’re having High Sierra install issues, you can leave a comment in the Rocket Yard guide: Common Problems During and After macOS High Sierra Installation.


LEAVE A COMMENT


  • I’ve found that my Microsoft Mouse (Wireless Notebook Laser Mouse 6000) button programming doesn’t work with HS. I’ve reloaded the Intellimouse driver and programming the right button to double click has no effect.




  • hi, and thanks for the notes. i installed HS on a late 2009 iMac, now the system preferences doesn’t open. i just get a window for iCloud when I push click on SP. And also the guest user login is not present.
    Thanks for any tips.
    Paul




  • I can’t get my windows to maximise – the doc wont disappear.




  • Oh, Adobe — always at the trailing edge. Too bad nobody gave them access to a beta of High Sierra so these issues could’ve been prevented.




    • OMG – don’t even get me started on HUGE, whiny
      companies who can’t be BOTHERED to revise their crappy code to work on the latest macOS – Adobe is just, but they have done it ever since OS 7.x




  • I’ve noticed two persistent issues. I have multiple mail account connections to Office365. About every 3 days those accounts are renamed to “Exchange”, at the same time; making it difficult to use email safely.

    The second issue is the fact that Safari will no longer allow me to access websites with self-signed certificates, even after accepting the site’s certificate. (Please don’t post that they’re not safe sites, they are administrative sites for network appliances.). I now use Chrome (blech) for this sort of work.




  • After High Sierra, my MAIL app will not maintain its VIEW preferences. While in Mail it will shift from my preferred classical view to the alternate; resetting at will a totally different set of preferences. I change them back, and minutes later, they change again.




  • After upgrading from macOS Sierra to macOS High Sierra, Apple Final Cut Pro X has to be updated?




  • Using a wired USB Apple keyboard and mouse.
    I use the “sleep” command from the Apple menu when I go to bed.
    The next morning pressing a key on the keyboard or pressing the mouse does not wake the iMac (2017).
    Must now press the power button switch on the back of the iMac to wake it up.
    Earlier versions of OS X/macOS woke up when when USB keyboard or mouse depressed and I prefer the old behavior.




  • I’ve been mysteriously logged out with High Sierra; I had already unchecked the “log out after” so many minutes box. Very irritating.




  • Is my memory correct? Is Office 2016 not the version where the software is resident online and not on your computer – requires a constant online connection?




    • I should have added – and has less features than Office 2011?




      • You are correct, but also not correct, Gene. The fact is, MS has not completely got away from a locally installed Office platform with 365. There is an Office 2016 installer for Mac that has most of the same features as 2011, if not more.

        The difference is, you have a choice to pay yearly for office 365 to get the cloud storage sync or just a serial number for a one-time fee.




  • Incredible that Apple is so out of touch with it’s base users that they keep releasing bug plagued software. Again, I’d like to see them put out an OS that is stripped of all of the social networking crap and stick to one that works – especially those of us who work in the graphics industry. Like Snow Leopard did. I realize that everyone’s hardware configurations are different and some software can be troublesome but, really?? Who’d upgrade to this??




  • High Sierra erased the Contacts folder. Had to manually rebuild. This process worked for a while. Now new contacts will disappear during the add process. What remains is a “No Name” file for each attempted additional entry.




  • Any update to fix the OWC SSD Aura 4tb to be compatible? [shows rotational as the medium type]




  • any idea how to get automount for NFS to work again?




  • Excellent! We users need more problems to fixes like this. With every OS update find them put them into a small book and sell them at e-books on Apple, Kindle etc.




  • under preference/privacy, a choice is given to not accept cookies. It then goes on to say the existing cookies will be deleted.
    Should there not be an option to earmark certain cookies that user doesn’t wanted removed, such as for his banking log in etc




  • Hi,
    I’d set up Mail to alert me with a custom sound Ship Bell.aif) but with High Sierra it’s stopped working and seems to have disappeared!!

    How and where exactly should I add my lovely .aif?
    I’ve tried pasting it into Library/Application Support/Audio/Sounds/Alerts as well as simply Library/Sounds.
    In the latter, there are a few other custom sounds and these are working fine, but pasting my Ship Bell.aif there doesn’t seem to do the trick.
    Also what are the gmail settings now for High Sierra as I’m also having trouble and it’s very slow.

    Any suggestions Please?

    Lynne




  • “If you just need a Word or Excel work-alike that you can use to share files with others, there are a few options available. If you have a suggestion that you know works with High Sierra, please leave a note in the Comments, below.”

    Ever since I realized that Pages read and wrote Word-format files, and Numbers did the same for Excel, I’ve avoided all use of Office. (I’ve never used any of the bloat-level features of Word or Excel.) If all I want to do is read an Office file, I just use the Finder’s “spacebar” command to preview it, which works even when no Office is installed.




  • There a multiple issues with Mac’s using Active Directory. For example Touch ID is not supported for Macs using AD mobile accounts.




  • I can no longer select a refresh rate greater than 60 Hz for my BenQ XL2420T monitor under High Sierra. Under Sierra and earlier I could use up to 120 Hz.




  • LibreOffice 5 works just fine. Just set the Preferences to save all relevant components in MS format, and all is well

    libreoffice.org




  • I installed High Sierra, now when I startup I only have 6 to 7 GB of RAM available. Before upgrade I easily had 13 to 14 GB of RAM available. What could be the cause of this drastic reduction?




    • Stop worrying about “free RAM available” – that’s an ancient concept.

      Modern operating systems manage your memory for you and will compress and move things around as needed as memory is required.




      • Sorry, that is not entirely correct. A clean boot should show all but 2-4gb as available. As you use various browsers and programs the memory available will drop and then go back up when those programs are closed as the memory is released. Programs that have memory leaks ( Firefox and Safari mainly ) will use memory as time goes on and due to bad programming, will not release it when the program is closed. It is alway good to reboot the machine after a month or so to clear up the memory leaks that leave memory in limbo.( the area the data resides in memory loses the pointer that would normally clear it when the program shuts down ) When the ram does go down to <1gb available, many times it causes lockup, slow downs, or the machine will simply reboot on its own.
        Chris, IT for 27 years and programmer




    • Using High Sierra 10.13.1 Beta (17B25c) released a week after High Sierra 10.13 and it seems to address that problem and snapshot management very well. Much more stable and I suspect Apple will hold out for as much feedback as possible before releasing an updated version in the App Store.




    • How much ram does your machine have ? Prior OS’s use 1 to 3 Gb when freshly booted depending on background tasks set to start when you start your machine. If you have 24gb and it used to show 16gb free and now only shows 6-8Gb free then something is wrong or a program may be using that ram for indexing purposes or some other reason. After you run 10.13 for a while ( to let these processes finish ) does the ram change ? Go into “activity monitor” in “utilities” and click on the ram button and then at the top make the highest used show at the top. ( the up/down arrow right above Memory ) and it will show what processes/programs are using the most ram. You can use that info to google the process and high ram use and see if there is complaints from others. Older software on a new OS can cause all kinds of weirdness if it wasn’t tested first. Most older software isn’t tested and they want you to buy the newest version which they do test. Chris, IT and Programmer