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macOS Catalina is a Disruptive POS — No System Sleep, Displays Won’t Sync

My Mac Pro will NOT sleep under any conditions. Not logged in, not logged out, not with Energy Saver set to allow computer to sleep. This started, it seems, with macOS 10.15.3; at least before it would usually sleep.

Because it won’t sleep, I’ve been having to shut down the Mac Pro every night, then waste my time fixing the other problems that arise from rebooting: rejigger my screens, enter passwords for four encrypted backup drives, relaunch apps, etc.

Apple marketing likes to extol their environmental sainthood, but a machine that won’t sleep and burns electricity all night long is about as bad as it gets for environmental friendliness, and it jacks up my $0.26/KWh electricity bill.

Adding insult to injury, I suffer daily from displays that won’t sync up. I have an entire voodoo routine to get both screens working—more energy drain and screen burn-in because I dare not let the system sleep or I might have to spend 5 minutes getting my displays working again.

I don’t blame the engineers; it’s the jackasses in Apple management getting paid the big bucks who decide to screw over their users, whether it is macOS or iOS. Six years to get the ship on course. Scheduling yearly releases that take 6 months to test and fix after being shipped is outrageous. I would call it incompetent except that I think it is all planned, understood, and accepted as the way Apple operates. Which is contemptible.

This go-round with macOS Crapalina, I don’t think the large numbers of problems will ever be fixed—we’re six months in, and it’s time to start a new garbage dump for fall release... macOS Tenderloin? macOS might now be in a permanent state of making users wade barefoot through shit. It’s about time all this useless upgrade masturbation stops and Apple makes things work right.

The buck stops at the top, and only the board of directors can fire the leadership, but who can argue with billions in profit? I don’t see things changing until it becomes a profits issue.

Martin D writes:

I’m having maybe similar problems with my iMac. The Energy Saver settings don’t seem to do anything. The display won’t turn off. If I sleep the computer, it wakes up in the middle of night “on its own”.

All very strange and frustrating. For whatever reason, I’m not having these problems on my 16” MBP, running the same version of Crapalina. These problems seem to be at least somewhat hardware-specific.

MPG: the 16" MBP is affected for some users. Maybe there is a factor involved that is not hardware but software—that’s my guess. I’m running macOS Mojave on my 2019 iMac 5K and it’s sleeping fine, every time.

Sydney L writes:

I had similar problems with a 15” MacBook Pro a few OSes ago. Apple Geniuses were no help. I diagnosed it by starting from a fresh install (which allowed sleep no problem), then installed my key apps one by one until I found the culprit.

Looking at all the diagnostic logs was no help.

Turned out it was a USB bus issue with one particular external disk that wouldn’t allow the MBP to sleep. Never found out why that specific disk had the issue with that build of MacOS - I just stopped using it. Your issue is almost something else, but I’m wondering if a fresh OS install allows your Pro to sleep, then it’ll be either a piece of hardware or app that’ll be not playing ball.

MPG: it’s such a painful waste of time to resinstall macOS these days... only as a last last last resort and what was the macOS 10.15.3 if not a bloated install, not much different from a reinstall? The USB device idea is a good one.

Richard M writes:

Been following all the woes around Catalina and other Mac issues. My problem is relatively minor, but it speaks to the complete indifference within Apple toward the needs of its customers. And of its lack of attention to any detail.

I have a perfectly fine 22" monitor. However, it's a little old and the only output is DVI. When I bought my 2018 Mac mini (which has been great!), I also purchased a DVI -> HDMI dongle. It wasn't cheap. It basically works fine, when it's working, but I dare not restart my machine. If I do -- and with some security updates there's no option -- the Mac is unable to reacquire a connection to the monitor, leaving me blind. I have no idea what the status of the update is, whether it's finished, nothing. The screen is blank. I have to periodically unplug and replug the dongle to wake up that part of macOS which recognizes the monitor. Same if I have turned off the machine overnight and boot up. Don't know if this is an OS problem or if it's down to a poorly designed dongle, but this is the kind of thing that should NEVER happen, it's just so basic. I suppose I could go out and get a new HDMI monitor (assuming that would solve my problem, yet who knows?), but why should I spend a few hundred dollars to solve a problem Apple created?! In the meantime, I leave the mini running 24/7, which, while the mini just sips energy when it's sleeping, is still not ideal.

Word on the street is that no one with any real talent wants to work for Apple any more. Not in any department (remember JJ Abrams turning down their half-million?). So while one can wait in hope that Apple might regain some of its former engineering mojo, you will wait in vain under Cook, and the idiot and dishonest senior management staff he's used as insulation

Thanks for all your dedicated work for us Mac fans. Not sure how many more years I will put up with this lack of professionalism, though. Apple has long since stopped being a tech company.

MPG: my 2018 Mac mini is unusable since most of the time it won't sync with the display. Sure, I can play with it for 10 minutes, hard-reboot it, etc, and after a long while I might be able to make it work... but that's not viable. Worse, it won't sync with the HDMI headless dongle, so it's also useless as a server. So... I don't think it's the adapter or display—it's just Apple sloppy incompetent work.

Clark G writes:

From my ignorant perspective, it seems that the decline of MacOS really accelerated once Apple started using the T2 security chip. That’s based entirely on the time line. Coincidence? If not, what’s that really mean?

Personally, I took your advice and stopped upgrading operating systems with the last version of Sierra. APFS did and still bothers me. Has it ever really been fixed?

It sucks that you can’t get faster hardware without the new operating system versions. But, aside from those zillions of available cores that some software can take advantage of, processor speed hasn’t really made huge strides in the last few years. So, we plebes haven’t been hurt as much as pros like you have been.

But, if the system isn’t reliable, how does faster hardware help pros? The big question to me is - did all these engineers just forget how to do their jobs? As The Joker said, “Did your balls fall off?” Or, have all these engineers left the company? Clearly, at one time Apple knew what it was doing.

MPG: the T2 chip is a solid feature that no one cares about except Apple, which explains a lot: Apple does stuff no one wants.

I am using APFS now and it has some useful features and on the whole I’ll rate it a win, but it has downsides too. I’ll blog on that in more detail at some point.

Cores do get used by many programs more and more, but macOS still has I/O stack starvation problems under heavy I/O load, so it can be hard to make full use of them.

Aln K writes:

These tips require Terminal and understanding output redirection to a file.

I had a hard time with Apple on this even escalating to SVP. What you should do is:

1. in Terminal run pmset -g everything >pmset-everything-before.txt
2. in Terminal run pmset -g pslog
3. put Mac to sleep (e.g. using Apple menu, key shortcut, lid closed etc., !!! beware the method of doing this is relevant !!!)
4. when Mac wakes up examine output
5. do 1) again as pmset -g everything >pmset-everything-after.txt

(Note: Mac's behavior is power source dependent - battery or AC.)

You will find a lot of info in the 'everything' file (everything just invokes all commands in series), especially current settings for each power source and /var/log/powermanagement entries. These entries will tell you all processes affecting power management (best is to read the manual with 'man pmset' or place cursor near the word and use the 'open man' item in Help menu).

For example, if you put your Mac to sleep over night while running "-g live" you can see what happened all night long. Running 'pmset -g log' will reveal all events including wake-ups for all the nightly tasks (you will better route the output to a file.)

For example you can find out what I have found. There was a bug I reported a while back with 'autopoweroffdelay' (put in hibernation after specified time, defaults to 28800) which is set to obey EU directive. I don't know if this is still the case but whatever you entered for this parameter, its internal variables would truncate it to 3 hours max. (= waking up from hibernation every 3 hours - interesting coincidence: for boundary checks, masking this parameter with 3FFF yields max. 3 integer.)

By the way, the so often mentioned Mac key shortcuts (save it as PDF on disk and have it accessible immediately with Spotlight):

MPG: ah, the joy of macOS — so much better than Windows 98.

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