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 version 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.

[Update] Stay tuned for issues that you might encounter when running macOS Mojave.


LEAVE A COMMENT


  • From the print dialog (for any app which generates a pdf file) there is an option to “Open in preview”.
    This option stopped working in High Sierra. Preview fails during launch. If you launch Preview manually first, then do “open in preview: from the print dialog, then it works correctly.




  • I have not been able to print problem since the up grade. I have been hard wiring – from apple mac ( i work on a hard drive to ) I save everything move the hard drive into my Mac Book pro to the other side of the house and hard wire to print work – even now i am getting this notification every time I try to print “Could not print “my office.psd” because the disk is not available. ” please help me what is this all about ??




  • Hi. I have a MacBook Pro 17. I am using High Sierra. I tried login and my password is not working. I have tried the command R and resetpassword in terminal. I get a reset pasword popup, but there is no drive to select. I get three questions like forgot password, and I cant use keyboard to sign in. Also I was able to try iCloud but that failed as well. Any help will be greatfully appreciated. I don’t want to loose my data.

    Thanks in advance.




    • If you live near an Apple Store I suggest you take it there for a diagnosis. Though your MacBook Pro 17″ is no longer under warrantee, High Sierra is, so you should be able to get some help there.

      Hopefully you backed up your computer before upgrading to High Sierra and your data is safe, either in Time Machine or on a clone. If you’ve used Time Machine you can boot in Recovery Mode (Command-R) and restore you system from before the upgrade. Restoring from a clone is even easier.

      If you didn’t back up before you upgraded, you’re getting an expensive lesson in why backups are important. Hopefully a few other people may also learn from your experience.




  • I have an old Mac Pro which suffered from the inability to restart after going to sleep. Only way I cured it permanently was to invest in a USB keyboard and mouse, with some long USB extension cables. This enabled me to use the Mac whilst it was sitting next to my TV (glorified monitor). No problems at all since.




  • Couldn’t connect external monitor, drove me crazy. Solution: Used a VGA cable with a USB-C adapter and it works. HDMI and everything else won’t. VGA cable + buy a VGA-USB-c adapter = MONEY IN DA BANK MY MANNNN




  • I have a new(4 months) iMac 21″ and the 10.13.6 update has caused several of my games to be displayed ultra large so that I cannot play them (Chess, Solitaire)and if I go to Launchpad the screen keeps refreshing like something out of the 60’s – goes dull, then icons refresh, then the screens becomes all wavy.




  • Finally upgraded to High Sierra, including the combo update to 10.13.6. When I open folder windows, the top couple items inside are always hidden, until I resize the window.
    Any suggestions to stop this?




  • when using the screen saver with random photos, we used to be able to flip back to previous pictures using the arrow keys. This function no longer works in HS. Is there a fix? we enjoyed being able to flip back and forth within the screen saver.




  • Wish I hadn’t upgraded to High Sierra 10.13.4. Before I installed High Sierra “retouch” in photo editing worked with no problems or bugs. Now retouch won’t work at all or when I use it funny images are left on photos. It’s very slow. I use this tool frequently when I edit photos. Now I’m looking for an external editing option. Photos crash while I’m editing. What a disappointment. Wish I had done some research before installing High Sierra. Very disappointed with its overall performance.




  • Just upgraded to 10.13.5 and now my screens change on their own. Also when typing in app including Chrome like right now, my screen goes to sleep and I have to re-click in this box to allow additional typing. My screen blinks and then goes to sleep until I re-click. When in 2011 excel my screen changes to whatever other screen is open and I have to switch back.




    • I hope you have a backup, either with Time Machine or a recent clone (or both). There are really only four kinds of people in this world; among those there are people who have had a problem with an update/upgrade and those who will have a problem with one (we’re talking both with Windows and the macOS). In either case it pays to take precautions. But many people don’t. So the first two types of people are subdivided into those who backed up their systems before doing an update/upgrade and those who do/did not. Did you learn from other people’s mistakes or are you insisting on making your own?

      In any case you are among those whom the rest of us depend on to beta test Apple’s software for us. Thanks for the warning and keep up the good work.




  • V10.13.up to 4
    My menu bar won’t appear sometimes. I have it set to Hide, but often it won’t unhide when I roll over. Def happens when MS word is the top window, but maybe others. Problem is intermittent, but frequent enough to cause headaches.




  • I have two iMac’s, an older 2011 model and a more recent 2015 model. I upgraded both to OS High Sierra. When I put them to sleep, the older one wakes up normally and fully functional, whereas the 2015 model wakes up from ‘deep sleep’, give me a black screen (at least sometimes) and my mouse is not working (needs to be switched off and on again, and even then does not always work, so I need to reboot). Is there a possibility to prevent my 2015 model to go into deep sleep (which seems to be the cause of all problems)? I find it odd that my other computer does not do it, despite having the same OS version.




  • Thanks to the update my menu has disappeared. I have no menu for any applications now. I can’t even turn off my macbook since there is no off switch and the only way is through the menu. How can I fix this? I’m on a major deadline!




  • I bought a new MacBook Pro. The AppStore sent a message for update and I clicked it, then the laptop got broken… help please




    • Your question is far too vague for anyone to offer specific advice. You can call Apple to get help with it; it’s under warrantee if you bought it recently. Or you can take it to the nearest Apple Store. Be sure to make an appointment for the genius bar if you don’t want to wait for an opening.




  • HS has Bluetooth issues. Cannot see my (Apple) Bluetooth keyboard. Cannot see my Bose Bluetooth headphones.
    Also has USB issues. Doesn’t recognize my Korg MiniKey Keyboard.




  • External hard drive only shows empty folders. Media won’t show up. Photoshop, Premiere randomly close. iMac will shut itself down if it goes into sleep mode from Energy Saver…. HS is a mess. Downgrading back down to Sierra. Oh how I miss Snow Leopard.




  • I can’t seem to get my gmail to work on the mail app. Any tips for this?




  • I haven’t noticed to many HS issues on my 2013 MacBook Air until the recent I0.13.3 supplemental update. Now my home screen login is off center to the right. Incoming iMessages are cut in half when displaying in the top right corner of my screen. Similar to other posts, I am began having problems with my email syncing as well as connecting embedded links when opening through google chrome. I was able to fix the email issues using the posted recommendations. But I am confused by screen being off center. Any ideas as to why this is happening? Is no one else having a similar problem?




  • Referring to optional replacement for Office 2011, I have found that the latest version of Libre Office (v.6.03) works very well once you get used to the different layout. A major advantage is it is free.




  • Just upgraded my 2012 Mac Mini to High Sierra, and it no longer recognizes my USB-attached Logitech webcam. Recognized problem ? Likelihood of a fix ?




  • Wow. After reading this article and all the comments. I will NOT install HS on my 2011 MBP.
    I did install Sierra which rendered my lovely Canon Pro 9000 next to useless. No support from Canon or GutenPrint. Cannot access print options, color management, paper profiles, ink supply- nothing.
    Our office workhorse HP 7510 also quit working with no support. I’m having to replace two perfectly functional (and not cheap) printers because of this.
    We are not happy Appleheads.
    If anyone knows of drivers please share info.




  • I have a 2008 MBP, I had to use a published hack I found to install HS. The biggest problem I have found is that two finger then clicking does not replicate a right mouse click, although the trackpad pref selection is still there. The author of the hack suggested moving a ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.AppleMultitouchTrackpad.plist from el capitain over, but that didn’t fix the problem. The trackpad seems to respond to all other gestures. Further suggestions would be appreciated! Current fix was just to use a Magic Mouse.




  • Compared to El Capitain, Messages in HS no longer communicates with iChat with a older PowerPC running Leopard (lastest it can run). Before they could communicate using just a local connection via Bonjour., now it seems Messages can only communicate with FaceTime, why when FaceTime is already included?




  • Actually haven’t done much testing, but Word and Excel 2008 haven’t given me any trouble yet.




  • Hi, after doing a security update running Sierra today my second display, an NEC PA322UHD, was black. Researching the problem I found that a fix for the same problem with High Sierra had been issued, so I decide to upgrade to High Sierra, but since doing so my iMac continues to not recognize the NEC. Any suggestions? And thanks so much in advance.




  • I can’t open iDVD with my mac 10.13.3. Is there any way to get iDVD back? If not is there any DVD burning software that will work with 10.13.3? I miss Snow Leopard.




    • Have you tried or looked at Toast?




    • iDVD is long gone. You can try Toast, which has some DVD burning tools and templates. Other than that, install Mavericks on an external drive and run iDVD from there. Even better, install Mavericks in a virtual machine using VMWare Fusion or Parallels Desktop. Then you don’t need to boot from another hard drive; in fact, if you use either app’s transparent mode, you can use iDVD as if it were running in High Sierra. Of course it’s expensive either way, so it depends on how important iDVD is to you. You can get Toast on sale for $60 or so; Parallels or Fusion are a bit more, though if you look around you can find them on sale as well.




  • Ever since the supplemental 10.13.2 update, I (and my wife’s) MBP’s have a long lag before anything shows up on the desktop.
    Screen shots, App downloads, dmg opening, etc. Anything going to the desktop.
    Emptying the trash takes forever too.
    Anywhere from 15 seconds to almost a minute.
    Totally frustrating and unacceptable!!
    Anyone else experiencing the same?

    10.13.3, out 1/23/18, did NOT fix this.
    Installed 10.13.3 Combo updater–still did not fix this.




    • Is there anything in 10.13 that you actually need? If not, consider reverting to 10.12.x. You can do that easily if you have a backup of the prior OS in Time Machine or, even easier, with a clone. If you didn’t back up your system, well, short of a clean install, you’re just stuck with another Apple boondoggle (you know, like OS X 10.10 Yosemite). There’s only one app that I know of, that I don’t use, that even requires High Sierra; that’s Pixelmator Pro. Other, far more important apps, are broken, including Office 2011 and some Adobe programs. On balance, most of us are better off without macOS 10.13.




  • I just upgraded my 2010 27″ imac to 10.13.3. Was running prior high sierra without issue. After upgrade to 10.13.3 everything is gone from desktop but nature scene. I realized it’s logged in as guest, and now my admin pw does not work. I can see my normal account icon but can’t unlock the padlock. Why and how is this sort of BS ok with Apple?




    • Where this problem came from I can’t say. But you can reset your password by rebooting in Recovery Mode. To quote an old Christopher Breen article (the procedure hasn’t changed since Lion):

      Restart the Mac and hold down Command-R to boot into…[the] Recovery HD partition. From the menu choose Utilities > Terminal, and in Terminal type resetpassword and press Return.

      A Reset Password window appears that lists all the bootable volumes attached to your Mac. Select the volume that contains the account you want to reset. (If the Mac has just the startup drive, that’s the only volume that will appear.) Locate the Select the User Account pop-up menu in the window and choose the user name that needs its password reset. Enter and verify a new passwords in the appropriate fields and, if you like, enter a password hint. Click Save and the new password is applied to the account.

      When you log into this account you’ll be told that the system was unable to unlock your login keychain—that’s because it’s locked using the old password. Your
      choices are Continue Log In, Create New Keychain, and Update Keychain Password. As you don’t have the old password [you can try it to see if it works, but it probably won’t given the problem you’re having] the Update Keychain Password command does you no good. (As it will prompt you for that old password in order to use the original login keychain.) In regard to a login keychain you’ll want to start from scratch so choose Create New Keychain. This will create a new login keychain where the passwords you add in the future will be stored.




  • High Sierra ruined my 2014 Mac book Pro 13″ – can’t do anything completely frozen. I think this a cynical attempt to get me to shell out for another expensive laptop?? Not pleased to say the least!!




    • i suggest finding a Mac guru or take to an Apple Store geniious bar. I have a 2008 MBP, normally not supported by HS, I used an app found on internet to modify the HS installer. HS runs just fine. I assure you this is not a ploy to get you to buy a new laptop, many 2014 MBPs have been easily/successfully updated to HS. EIther leave computer alone, less chance for any damage, or boot into recovery volume and use disk utility to fix subborn boot partition.




  • Upgraded to 10.13.3 and no longer have hot corners or dock and the desktop is black. Tried to reinstate hot corners through Mission Control but the drop down box remained blank no matter what I clicked on. Navigating between applications depends on double clicking on the Macintosh HD icon and choosing the application through the finder. It’s a nightmare.




    • Try booting into recovery partition, and running disk utilitiy. But aren’t those hot corners set using the Mission Control preference pane, not Mission Control directly? You can also go to the Finder, Go menu and select applications for now for a quick temp work around. Also command-Tab will let you choose another running app. Any Genius bar should be able to help you.




  • I upgraded (not really by choice) to High Sierra 10.13.1. Now I’m having trouble with my global template (normal.dotm) in Word. It’s corrupted somehow, and I can’t get to the template to restore default settings. I can’t even find the library. If somebody knows how to do this, I’d appreciate the assist.




    • The library is here: ~/Library/Application Support/Microsoft/Office/User Templates

      You can get to ~/Library by in the Finder then Go menu, then choose Library. There you will find normal.dotm. I would quit Word, move that file to the desktop. Restarting Word should have Word remake this file with defaults. Did you note this article mentions trouble with Word 2011?




  • lots of new issues with MIDI and AUDIO on 10.13.3 why??




  • After upgrading to High Sierra, quick view (where you click on the little down arrow at the end of a link) in Mail no longer works with e-mail alerts from Google Alerts. It works for links in other e-mail. Any suggestions?




  • I noted my Dictionary files in MacOS High Sierra 10.13 had disappeared. A search of my TimeMachine backups and Carbon Copy Clone backup revealed no retained copy of the Dictionary as it was before HS. Not just any HS, HS beta. So I just reinstalled High Sierra–moving backward from 10.13.3 beta to regular 10.13.3. It worked.




  • When I’m looking at the finder in Column mode, the top file name jumps up behind the top of the window frame so I can only see the bottom half of the type! I have to click to another folder and back to see the whole file name.




  • I hate 10.13.1! It wiped out my transcription of voice to text. It also wiped out two years of work. After 35 yeas of Mac I’m really angry.




  • I don’t know what happened to Mike’s comment about Document Writer, but the blurb on MacUpdate says it can save to a variety of formats, including rtf, .doc and .docx. So reopen your files and save them to a more standard format.




  • I just updated to High Sierra and now TextEdit is acting strange. When I open a previously created TextEdit document, it does not display the entire document, ie, I can only scroll down so far in the document. Then if I resize (enlarge) the window ever so slightly, then I can scroll to the bottom of the document




  • Issues with incoming email into .Mac mail. The from and subject at times get mixed up. I did some research and 1 suggested fix was to go to iCloud and de-select Contacts. Have done that, problem did not go away. Any suggestions to ensure that email content matches the from and headers?




  • My biggest gripe about High Sierra: when working with files and folders on the desktop, CTRL-click no longer opens the menu. This HAS TO be fixed.




  • First of all, my laptop updated to High Sierra on my work MacBook without me initiating it. I had no option to stop so it proceeded with the update without my permission. After the update, the document icon in my finder window disappeared, and my work files disappeared from iCloud. The only files saved on iCloud are my personal iCloud files, which number in the thousands and include thousands and thousands of hours of doctoral work. How do I: (1) restore the documents icon to my work computer’s finder sidebar (I’ve already tried going into preferences and checking it but it keeps unchecking it); (2) restore thousands of work files to my work laptop; and (3) delete my personal iCloud documents from my work computer without deleting them from my personal iCloud. I don’t know why, but my personal iCloud is the only iCloud account accessible on my work computer. How did this happen if I was not signed into my personal account?




    • I am a little confused if your doctoral files are visible or not. If not, before losing them permanently I’d contact a guru or an apple store genius bar guy! After getting those back visibly, I’d also store them on an separate external local drive of some sort.




  • in a quick look of a PDF text looks horrendous. All fonts (in browser, in some applications) seem somehow blurry. Toying with LCD font smoothing in prefs yields no results.




  • I am unable to “Save” a Pin to a Board in Pinterest. Instead of going to my Boards, it gives me a “Create a new Board” option.
    I can use the + option to upload a pin – just not the normal SAVE Option.
    Anyone else with this problem?




  • I have High Sierra 10.13.2 installed on my iMac. It has created one annoying problem. I frequently format external USB3 thumb drives to Fat32 for universal compatibility with Windows & Mac friends (not all of them can use ExFat). Once the drive has been formatted, any file over approx. 2.6gb will not load. Popup says it it too large to fit. I then format the same drive on my MBPro still running Sierra and I can load any file up to 4gb on the laptop. I re-format the drive on the MBPro to Fat32 and insert it into my High Sierra iMac. Now I can add any file up to 4gb no problem. Fat32 formatting on High Sierra 10.13.2 seems to have an issue. Anyone else? I did call Apple support and they acknowledged that it was a know bug.




  • Text search in PDFs is now broken for me in Preview.