Any thoughts on macOS 13 Ventura?

Colstan

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Hi folks, now that I've finally finished my botched Mac Pro saga, I was able to try out Ventura on my 2018 Mac mini. It was nice to use new tech that is working rather than breaking. I never tried the betas, so it was all new to me, and installed Ventura a few hours after launch. I'm curious if anyone has any thoughts on Apple's latest Mac operating system?

While not a huge upgrade from previous versions, there are three things that stood out to me:

First, Apple brought Background Sounds to the Mac. I have tinnitus, so I figured this would help drown out the constant hissing in my ears. Previously, I had been playing crappy muzak through Music, just for white noise. I'm still experimenting with it and how to best utilize it. I do think Apple could improve the experience, to some degree. It would be nice to have more options, or even download our own sounds. I particularly find "Stream" to be the most soothing. My other concern is that it could be easier to toggle on and off. While it's good that you can do it using the "Ear" icon which can be enabled through Accessibility inside System Settings, either displayed inside Control Center or on the Menu Bar, I'd like to have a keyboard shortcut to do the same. Also, I'd prefer to have the option of toggling it through a mouse button. I customize my Logitech MX Master 3, and map a side button to "Play/Pause", which works with Music or Youtube, but currently not with Background Sounds.

Second, we come to the latest controversy, System Settings. I had only heard about this through reputation, and expected it to be a buggy mess that would bring about famine, plague, and ultimately, the apocalypse. In fact, the new System Settings did not bring about end times. I used to have its predecessor, System Preferences, memorized through Mojave. Once the big overhaul came with Big Sur, macOS settings got more complex, to the point where I used the search functionality to find anything, half the time. So, I think something had to be done about the myriad of options that we now have to wade through.

I'm not sure how much of the strong reaction to System Settings was simply a case of it being new and replacing what veteran Mac users are used to, and how much is an actual regression in functionality. From my perspective, I'm getting used to it, but it's not clearly organized, and not always intuitive. I don't really have a strong opinion on it, because I thought that System Preferences was "fine", and now I think that System Settings is "fine". I think that it is clearly a work in progress, and hopefully Apple will continue to refine the interface, particularly as SwiftUI matures, which apparently it was built with. From what I gather, System Settings was in much worse shape in the early betas, so I would hope Apple continues improvements in the future.

Third, is Stage Manager, and probably the most striking new feature within Ventura. I had no idea what to expect, but was intrigued, because I could see its potential. I'm someone who utilizes bits and pieces of the interface, not fully committing to any one way of doing things. I take advantage of the various launchers and window managers included with macOS, to one degree or another. I employ some aspects of Expose and Mission Control, supplemented with the Dock, Spotlight, and Finder. (I have no use for Launchpad, other than using it to delete Mac App Store programs.) Within a few hours of use, I've integrated Stage Manager into my workflow. I like having another way to arrange windows, and it integrates perfectly with Expose and Mission Control. It's not a huge paradigm shift, but another tool in the arsenal, for those who find it useful.

Otherwise, there just seem to be a few solid tweaks, like Quicklook inside Spotlight, potentially smaller system update downloads, and security enhancements like Rapid Security Response, among many others. I think Ventura is a good incremental update, and macOS has most of the major changes behind it in previous releases, mainly with dropping 32-bit support and the introduction of Apple Silicon builds. I wouldn't be surprised if the next major change will be Apple ending support for Intel Macs, whenever that may be. I'm surprised that Apple hasn't dropped more functionality from Intel Macs in order to shepherd customers over to Apple Silicon, not that I'm complaining, since I'm currently using an Intel Mac mini.

As an aside, I've mentioned this before, but there are reasons other than new features to update to Ventura. Apple is now pushing as hard as possible to move Mac users to the latest version of macOS. Looking at the security updates release notes, there are a total of 66 security patches for Ventura, while Monterey and Big Sur only received 3, respectively. Some of those vulnerabilities may have already been patched, but I highlight this for a specific reason. If history repeats itself, the two previous versions of macOS will only receive about 60% of the security fixes that are patched in Ventura, and the vulnerabilities that are patched can often take weeks or months to be released afterward. It's not just me saying this; the esteemed Dr. Howard Oakley estimates that "well above 20" of the vulnerabilities that were just patched within Ventura will never be back ported, and he is of the opinion that "sticking with an old macOS isn't a wise move". Of course, you can add on top of that the fact that Ventura is now the only version receiving updates for compatibility, stability, general bug fixes, plus the new security features that are unique to Ventura.

Whether upgrading to Ventura right now is a good idea is entirely up to the individual user. Apple still provides partial security support for those who can't or won't update to the latest version, but the company has made their position clear, in this regard. I personally think that it is a solid upgrade, and has more to offer than just the latest security patches.

So, do you good folks have any thoughts on macOS Ventura? Any features you like, are you putting it off until later, or perhaps even using a Mac that's older than the 2017 cutoff date?
 

Nycturne

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My biggest thoughts are more around the SwiftUI updates at this point. Mostly around the pain of trying to integrate the new navigation APIs into a Mac app. There’s a lot of good stuff in SwiftUI 4, but there’s also a couple new bugs and a couple large changes that are much harder to integrate in a way that doesn’t break compatibility with earlier versions.

My work machine is still on Monterey for the moment (not at a point where I can risk downtime yet), so I haven’t had a ton of time with it just yet.
 
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Citysnaps

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First, Apple brought Background Sounds to the Mac. I have tinnitus, so I figured this would help drown out the constant hissing in my ears.

Hmmm...that sounds intriguing. I was going to wait a couple weeks before downloading Ventura to my machines, but might give it a whirl on my M1 MBA first. With respect to tinnitus, so far, have you found Background Sounds a net plus in ameliorating it.
 

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I will upgrade my M1ni as soon as the software I use officially support Ventura, hopefully before December. Not looking for a specific feature really, just want to stay current.

No other Mac I have can run Ventura. Not even close. 😭
 

MEJHarrison

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I installed it last week on my Mac Studio and my 2020 MacBook.

Like you, I'd expected the end of the world with settings. I like the old look and don't care to turn my computer into an oversized phone. But... eh. It works and it gets the job done. Perhaps if I spent all day working in the settings screen, I might care more about its looks. But it's a tool that gets used when needed and shut back down again. To hear some people talk, you wouldn't think they use any apps and just spent all day playing with the OS.

Even the animations for the trackpad are different, but I'm not sure I could say they're worse. I've pointed many people to those animations in the past so they can learn to use their trackpad. I know a guy at work who asked me how to right-click on something and he'd had his Mac for 2-3 years!

As for Stage Manager, I'm not really sold. I did try it for a short period of time and should honestly give it another go before moving on. I'm just used to creating new desktops and tossing things onto those. I don't typically have more than 1 app per desktop. So I don't really need a method to organize the mess. Maybe I'm missing the point, but it seems geared towards those to have multiple applications opened on one screen. Like I said, I might be missing the point and should probably give it another go. But the first time around wasn't overly exciting for me.

Beyond that, it's doing the job I expect it to do.

I'll also add that while I'm not a Mac/iPhone developer (I'm a web guy), I am currently playing around with building myself a Mac app just for fun. I've found more bugs in SwiftUI than MacOS. But they've added some nice stuff this year.
 

Citysnaps

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I am currently playing around with building myself a Mac app just for fun.

That's something I've been wanting to do for awhile. To learn Swift, and to bring back a Mac RPN calculator app I wrote around 20 years ago when I had a Mac IIci. I really miss that calculator app and its features.
 

MEJHarrison

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That's something I've been wanting to do for awhile. To learn Swift, and to bring back a Mac RPN calculator app I wrote around 20 years ago when I had a Mac IIci. I really miss that calculator app and its features.

I'd write myself some iPhone apps as well. But they've limited that ability in recent years. Last I knew, any app you deploy to your phone will expire in 7 days if you've not paid the $99 developer fee. Since I have no plans to get anything into the App Store, I have no reason to pay the fee. I'm certainly not paying $100/year just for the ability to write myself an app or two. But I can write Mac apps. So that's where I've been playing.
 

jbailey

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I installed it last week on my Mac Studio and my 2020 MacBook.

Like you, I'd expected the end of the world with settings. I like the old look and don't care to turn my computer into an oversized phone. But... eh. It works and it gets the job done. Perhaps if I spent all day working in the settings screen, I might care more about its looks. But it's a tool that gets used when needed and shut back down again. To hear some people talk, you wouldn't think they use any apps and just spent all day playing with the OS.

Even the animations for the trackpad are different, but I'm not sure I could say they're worse. I've pointed many people to those animations in the past so they can learn to use their trackpad. I know a guy at work who asked me how to right-click on something and he'd had his Mac for 2-3 years!

As for Stage Manager, I'm not really sold. I did try it for a short period of time and should honestly give it another go before moving on. I'm just used to creating new desktops and tossing things onto those. I don't typically have more than 1 app per desktop. So I don't really need a method to organize the mess. Maybe I'm missing the point, but it seems geared towards those to have multiple applications opened on one screen. Like I said, I might be missing the point and should probably give it another go. But the first time around wasn't overly exciting for me.

Beyond that, it's doing the job I expect it to do.

I'll also add that while I'm not a Mac/iPhone developer (I'm a web guy), I am currently playing around with building myself a Mac app just for fun. I've found more bugs in SwiftUI than MacOS. But they've added some nice stuff this year.
The biggest pain point for me is going to be rewriting a half a dozen Shortcuts that automate various settings in System Preferences. I use one that turns on or off Tap to Click depending on whether or not I'm docked or using the built-in trackpad on my MacBook Air for example. I have a bunch of these and they don't work with the new Settings app.
 

Colstan

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Hmmm...that sounds intriguing. I was going to wait a couple weeks before downloading Ventura to my machines, but might give it a whirl on my M1 MBA first. With respect to tinnitus, so far, have you found Background Sounds a net plus in ameliorating it.
This was one of the biggest selling points for Ventura, from my perspective. I've been using Background Sounds for the past two days. Previously, I had been playing crappy muzak within Apple's Music program to help deal with tinnitus. My new routine is to have the little "ear" icon in the Menu Bar. I'm sure you get the idea, but here's the visual:

menubar.jpg


When you click on the "ear", it gives you this dropdown:

dropdown.jpg


You click on the blue icon to turn it off and on. If you don't want the "ear" in the Menu Bar, then it can also be assigned to the bottom area of Control Center, or simply go through the process of toggling it inside of System Settings. I wish that a keyboard shortcut was an option, or that I could assign it to a button on my Logitech mouse. Two clicks is hardly a bother, but I got used to having "Play/Pause" assigned to a side button on my MX Master 3.

Regardless, after figuring out the easiest way to use it, I've found it to be a helpful supplement to using the macOS Music app. Much like Stage Manager, and other new features of Ventura, I use it in addition to my previous routines, rather than to replace them.

There is a toggle to have macOS disable Background Sounds when not in use:

toggle.jpg


However, for whatever reason, it resets that toggle after I close System Settings, disabling it so it doesn't appear to function, at least on my Mac mini. It's not a huge issue, since it's just a few clicks, but perhaps I should file a bug report with Apple. It does, however, turn off when you put the Mac to sleep, which is more important.

In an ideal world, I'd have a setting for it to turn off whenever I start playing music, a video, or play a game, but it has to be done manually. I doubt Apple would put the engineering resources into this feature, since that would be quite involved. I'm just thankful to have it; Apple puts time, money, and manpower into accessibility, which other companies don't do. While not many people have a great need for accessibility features, for those who do, it is very useful. I'm appreciative that Apple puts effort into these relatively niche user needs. According to Apple, they consider making their devices accessible to be a human right "from the beginning", and have had a team working on accessibility features since 1985.

Anyway, to answer your question @Citysnaps, I have found it helpful with my tinnitus, and recommend giving it a try. It may not seem that impressive at first, but it's not supposed to be a flashy feature, and it took me a couple of days to get used to using it.

Like you, I'd expected the end of the world with settings.
I think the fundamental problem is that all operating systems have become so complex that any application to control settings is going to be a bit serpentine by nature. Also, people just like to have something to complain about. Over at the other place, when a release date was announced for "Resident Evil Village", it took only 7 posts in the comments section to find someone declaring why this was a bad thing for Apple and that the Mac is doomed. In another thread, a poster pointed out that about 20% of the comments were useful, while the other 80% were either complaining, trolling, flaming, or hating on Apple. Talked About is a breath of fresh air, in that regard.

Regardless, as I mentioned above about the toggle for Background Sounds, System Settings is definitely something that still needs work, but I hardly see it as the end of the world. I was okay with the old System Preferences, and the new version appears to be a lateral move, not good or bad. Assuming Apple doesn't declare victory and say "good enough!" with it, then I can see them improving it to the point where it will be satisfactory for most users. In another couple of years we will all be used to it and won't think twice about using it. A lot of Mac users, including myself, were upset with the new interface in Big Sur. Part of the reason that I stayed with Mojave for so long was because I didn't like the new look. (The main reason was that I didn't have a "Retina" display, but upgraded to Monterey after purchasing an 21.5-inch UltraFine.) However, when I booted into Mojave earlier this year, it felt old and out of date. I think that most of us will think the same with System Settings in a year or two. Snow Leopard is my favorite version of OS X, but I wouldn't want to go back to it.

Finally, I mentioned in my first post about how Apple is putting all of its resources into the latest version of macOS, including security updates. On average, the two earlier versions only receive about 60% of the patches that the most current version gets in the latest security fixes. Some exploits aren't patched for weeks or months, other exploits are never back ported. Well, this is also the case for compatibility, stability, and other bug fixes. Monterey had a number of memory leaks that had to be patched after it was released. However, one of them never was, which had to do with Finder's "Find" feature. That memory leak has been fixed in Ventura. According to Dr. Howard Oakley's testing:

I have now been able to test my production iMac Pro to see whether the one remaining significant memory leak in Monterey has been fixed, and am delighted to report that I can no longer reproduce any substantial memory leak in Finder’s Find feature. It’s possible you could still encounter a smaller leak with very large numbers of hits, but in typical use on systems with millions of files, the Find feature now seems safe to use. Thanks to the Apple engineers who fixed that.

I’m not aware of any other reports of memory leaks that you’re likely to come across.

So, it's good that Apple fixed the last remaining known memory leak, but apparently you have to upgrade to Ventura to take advantage of it. I understand that folks want to stick with older versions, for various reasons, as I mentioned above I was on Mojave until security patches stopped. However, Apple has made it clear that they want everyone on the latest version of macOS, full stop, and there are many reasons to do so, including new security features, the most complete exploit patches, and elimination of memory leaks, not to mention the latest features and updated drivers. Usually, the biggest bugbears are waiting for third-party support and updates, along with older Macs which can no longer run the latest version.

Anyway, thank you all for your feedback, and I hope you enjoy Ventura, whenever you decide to upgrade!
 
D

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I like the idea of Stage Manager; it seems to be smoother and more convenient than Mission Control (though with both we seem to have a case of redundancy), but I have some issues with it:

Stage Manager seems to run under the assumption that everyone uses Mac windows at a very small size. This may just be a thing with Unix operating systems in general; the windows are either meant to run full-screen or at a small size and the "maximize" size you see in Windows is not really a thing. However, due to the limited screen real estate of the MacBook Pro, I like the maximize the window size (without going full screen) of certain apps, namely the Music app and my internet browser. Doing this results in the Stage Manager sidebar being covered up, essentially defeating the purpose of it. This would not be a problem if I were using a 27" 5K display, I am sure. But I'm not. I'm using a laptop with limited resolution and I like to take up as much screen space with an internet browser as possible. Now, Stage Manager is usable with the sidebar covered, because dragging your mouse to the left-hand side of the desktop will bring up the sidebar, however, when I restart the computer, apps like Chrome have reverted to a small window to the right of the sidebar; with Stage Manager enabled, the window size I prefer is not "remembered", making this feature bothersome to use for me.

Secondly, I noticed that when using an app that temporarily results in no windows open, like Pages (such as the delay that occurs when opening a large document), Stage Manager will load another active app briefly, then go back to Pages when the document has loaded. This is also very annoying. Stage Manager should know that Pages remains active even when I'm attempting to load a document. I do not want another app to be made active in 1-2 seconds it takes to load a Pages document.

If these issues can be resolved, I may make Stage Manager a regular part of my macOS usage. For now, I think I will leave it disabled.
 

Citysnaps

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Anyway, thank you all for your feedback, and I hope you enjoy Ventura, whenever you decide to upgrade!

And thank you for your Ventura heads-up, thoughts, and tinnitus tips using Background Sounds - greatly appreciate it!

I'm also really looking forward to using Freeform on Ventura 13.1 and on my iPad.
 
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Colstan

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I have to give credit to the folks who have covered this, such as Mr Macintosh and Howard Oakley. Apple has finally confirmed what many of us have suspected for a long time. The latest operating system version is the only one that is fully patched, and if you are running anything earlier, then you are likely vulnerable. From this support document:
vulnerable.jpg

Of course, everyone needs to decide when it is best to apply upgrades, but the previous way of thinking, namely that sticking with an older version will somehow be more beneficial seems antiquated, in my opinion. I think macOS is now more like a rolling release. That memory leak I mentioned above is still in Monterey, along with all of the vulnerabilities that will never be patched. The partial security patches for older versions are better than nothing, but at this point, they seem to be a courtesy update from Apple, rather than something that can be depended upon.
 

throAU

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Having worked with it for 24 hr now and using stage manager all day: it works for me.

I use different groups of apps across multiple displays/desktops for monitoring, terminals, communications applications etc. I work as a sysadmin so typically have at least 20-30 windows open at a time to handle multiple aspects of several jobs at the same time.

I find it convenient for switching quickly between grouped windows.

It’s not perfect but it’s better.

Performance seems better in my M1 Pro. I’ve had one lock up that needed power off (and it wasn’t using the machine live it just failed wake from sleep when taking it out of the bag).

So far not terrible and I think the lockup will be fixed rapidly.
 

throAU

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Stage Manager seems to run under the assumption that everyone uses Mac windows at a very small size. This may just be a thing with Unix operating systems in general; the windows are either meant to run full-screen or at a small size and the "maximize" size you see in Windows is not really a thing. However, due to the limited screen real estate of the MacBook Pro, I like the maximize the window
You can mix and match full screen apps and stages.

I use full screen a lot too for the same reasons but stages really work when you’re using multiple windows for a single task. Eg viewing logs in a bunch of terminals while entering commands in another. Or monitoring a network problem with several tools side by side at the same time.

I typically have several jobs on the go at once and stages enable me to have the window layouts stay consistent when I switch to and from a stage.

I spend a lot less time screwing around with command tab etc. to get my windows back to normal if I need to briefly change jobs and back.

As above it isn’t perfect and launching an app from the dock shouldn’t switch to an open window of it in another stage (or should be configurable to not) as that fucks things up but that’s a minor tweak.
 

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You can mix and match full screen apps and stages.

I use full screen a lot too for the same reasons but stages really work when you’re using multiple windows for a single task. Eg viewing logs in a bunch of terminals while entering commands in another. Or monitoring a network problem with several tools side by side at the same time.

I typically have several jobs on the go at once and stages enable me to have the window layouts stay consistent when I switch to and from a stage.

I spend a lot less time screwing around with command tab etc. to get my windows back to normal if I need to briefly change jobs and back.

As above it isn’t perfect and launching an app from the dock shouldn’t switch to an open window of it in another stage (or should be configurable to not) as that fucks things up but that’s a minor tweak.
I’m confused by stage manager on mac. How do you open a new app into a given stage? Do you need to let it create a new stage and then drag it into the desired stage?

Also., regardless of whether i check the box in settings, my desktop items are invisible in stage manager unless i click the desktop.
 

jbailey

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How does one justify buying a new notebook when the one you have does all you need? <sigh>
Lucky for me, I don't have to justify my purchases with anyone.

Kidding aside, my 16 GB M1 MacBook Air did everything I needed of it but I still bought the 24 GB M2 MacBook Air because I can really use more than 16 GB at a time. I can get by with 16 GB (easily) but it is just more convenient to have 24 GB and I would take 32 GB if I didn't have to give up on the MacBook Air size and weight to get it.

I still have my M1 MBA but now that Ventura is out and I can test on the M1 MBA first, I will probably sell it. I kept it instead of trading it in because the M2 MBA was too new to trust that it would be compatible and working with everything I need. Now that I've been using it for several months, the M2 MacBook Air is pretty much perfect.
 

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Also., regardless of whether i check the box in settings, my desktop items are invisible in stage manager unless i click the desktop.
Then do not throw shit on the desktop. I cleaned off my desktop and keep it wholly undecorated (except for the picture(s)). One reason I dislike MSW and all the installers that just have to clutter the desktop.
 

Cmaier

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Then do not throw shit on the desktop. I cleaned off my desktop and keep it wholly undecorated (except for the picture(s)). One reason I dislike MSW and all the installers that just have to clutter the desktop.
I keep only a mounted drives and a scrap folder (that doesn’t get Time Machine backups) on the desktop. But I’d like to be able to interact with them while windows are open, and ventura has a checkbox that is supposed to let me do that, so it would be nice if it works.
 
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