I have been running the OS X Yosemite Beta for the past week on my main laptop. In this post, I will note my experiences.
Upgrade from Mavericks
When Yosemite and the Beta Program was first announced at the Apple event, I submitted the form to be notified when the beta version became available. About 15 days ago I received an e-mail and the link to download the installer. Here is an Ars Technica article about signing up to the beta program.
Upgrade from Mavericks was very easy. I made sure I had a good backup on Time Capsule and after downloading the installer from the link I received from Apple, ran it and clicked continue . The installer did its thing, rebooted and I was greeted with the new flat design login screen.
I logged in and everything was pretty much where I had left it. Mail, Messenger, Chrome, Firefox, Eclipse, Evernote and a few other programs that my daily routine depends on didn’t have any problem after the upgrade. So far so good.
I am somewhat of a fan of the Flat UI Design movement that is going on so departure from the old and working with Yosemite didn’t bother me at all. Overall I am satisfied.
Notice the green expand button on above image. By default this button now takes the application to full screen mode. Pressing the button while also pressing
option key turns the icon to a plus sign and goes back to the previous functionality of expanding that window within the desktop.
brew update complains about a ruby version problem. Here is a post about fixing it.
PHP, Apache, PPP, Java, Xcode
As always, after the upgrade, some of the php modules I had installed are no longer there, apache needs few tweaks and /etc/ppp/ip-up and ip-down files that I had constructed to take care of VPN routing are not there. OpenOffice complains about Java, and is fixed by performing an update. Xcode or rather command line tools needs an update, I did this and is working fine but I did not record how I fixed it and can’t find it now, googling should help.
For somebody who doesn’t use these programs, there is no problem, for others, usual ways to get them installed or updated should take care of them.
Mail and Spotlight
Mail usually works as expected and I have not had many problems. The search feature and the feedback it provides while searching has always been a bit icky back on earlier versions also and the new version in Yosemite is no different. In general I am able to use it to find what I need, but there are times when the OS wide Spotlight search performs better than the one in Mail app so I find myself doing
cmd+space to launch Spotlight search and using that while inside Mail.
Spotlight has been improved in Yosemite. It feels very solid and has a new pop up window in the middle of the screen, which I like.
Safari has a new version in Yosemite also. I always had Firefox, Chrome and Safari installed on my computer and used them interchangeably but albeit for specific tasks, making the selection between them almost subconsciously. Safari felt lean, but kinda fragile. Chrome feels energetic and as if it can handle the most thrown at it, I have flash installed only on Chrome for example (along with Flashcontrol app). Firefox feels solid, thrust wordy and as if it should only to be used with sites and apps that are wordy for it (I am not sure what that exactly means either). While making those subconscious decisions on browser selection, my time spent from least to most have been Safari, Firefox and Chrome over the past few years. After about a week with Yosemite and Safari 8, I can report that Safari is the most used browser in my computer now. I can’t give any specific reasons, again it is mostly a subconscious decision, it feels better so I find myself using it more.
One complaint with Safari is the address bar where it only shows the domain part and not the full url. To see the rest of the url, I have to click on it, which wastes time and effort. I can see where some people might like it, so there needs to be an option to turn this feature on or off. (Update below)
It looks like Apple is developing a negative opinion about Favicon. They are only visible after clicking inside the address bar.
So far most of the crashes are surprisingly with TextEdit and Preview. If you keep couple TextEdit and Preview windows open in the background, double clicking on a text document or pdf file sometimes complains “Unable to launch app” which is easily fixed by closing the app and running it again, which like most OS X apps do, continue where they left off. No big deal.
On one occasion when trying the Markup feature inside Mail on an attached pdf document, Mail app became un accessible. This could be related to the above mentioned problem as Markup feature looks to be handled by Preview.
The most problematic part of Yosemite is the Dock. It frequently crashes and with it goes the ability to switch programs with
alt+tab, hot corners, switching desktops, etc. Killing Dock and having it restart itself fixes this problem.
sudo killall -9 Dock
When Dock crashes, along with it the ability to switch desktops or going in or out of full screen mode goes away as well. It crashed on me while I was watching a movie in full screen mode once and I had to execute the command to kill Dock in the blind. I first launched Spotlight, ran terminal app and than executed the kill command, which worked fine by the way.
cmd+space ↵ terminal ↵ sudo killall -9 Dock ↵ _my_password_ ↵
The computer also completely locked up on me a few times and these may or may not be related to the Dock, I am not sure. However, I was having similar issues with Mavericks before, where it would lock up and I would have to do a hard reset. The difference in Yosemite is that, after some time, it detects the problem and reboots by itself, which somehow makes me feel better.
There are times when Dock is using a lot more cpu than I think it should, so I have preemptively killed it on couple occasions, which seemed to work.
Performance and Heat
Yosemite performance feels similar to Mavericks, when everything is at its optimum with the beta operating system. There are times when I feel some processes have gone rogue and I reboot it, which seems to help, and overall I think the laptop runs much hotter than before.
One of the really bad cases of a process acting bad was with UserEventService and com.apple.cts.plugin which caused very high cpu usage and heat. Here is how I fixed it.
cd /System/Library/UserEventPlugins sudo mv com.apple.cts.plugin com.apple.cts.plugin.disabled
Summary as of August 13, 2014
Overall I like Yosemite. I understand that this is a Beta and does have issues that needs to be fixed, but this upgrade has not caused me any more downtime than I usually need to clear my head anyway. So I am happy with the decision to install Yosemite Beta on my main computer.
I would not suggest installing Yosemite Beta at this stage to anybody who does not have a good understanding of how a Unix OS runs and how programs in general work. There are times when sluggish response, crashes and unexpected results can drive a regular computer user crazy, but if you can appreciate the inner workings of such things, you should be able to move on. Nevertheless, I am looking forward to an update from Apple.
That’s all I have at this time. I’ll make updates to this post as things come up.
Update August 26, 2014
I received the OS X Yosemite Beta 2 update earlier today.
Surprisingly, the update process asked me to convert my disk to use FileVault disk encryption and the option was turned on by default. I promptly unchecked it. I don’t think I would run into any problems but it is just too much to risk on my main laptop.
I was also asked to convert my iCloud account to iCloud Drive.
The rest of the update process went on without much interaction or problems. After the restart everything came back as expected. There was a surprising 15GB backup on Time Machine right after the update, but I didn’t pay much attention to it.
I didn’t get to use the new iCloud Drive feature as I don’t use many iDevices, but I was very happy to see the “Show full web site address” option in Safari.
Overall things seem to be running smoother. I have not had any of the Dock problems mentioned before and I can say my laptop runs quieter.
Update September 16, 2014
I received the OS X Yosemite Beta 3 update today.
As usual it was a smooth update and after the restart everything seems to be in order. So far I have not noticed any changes. My computer has been running pretty stable already ever since the Beta 2 update and by this time it had been running for 10 days without a restart.
Update September 18, 2014
I noticed a change in the Mail App which must have arrived with the Beta 3 update.
The new Mail App which came with Yosemite was not displaying the folder name where the mail is stored in the message pane. Beta 3 seems to have fixed this.