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“Upgraded” to macOS Big Sur on 2019 Mac Pro — No Workflow Benefits, All Downside So Far

re: OWC Thunderbolt Hub
re: OWC Thunderbolt Dock

Quality Apple engineering on display
aka state of the art incompetence

I wasn’t keen on upgrading to macOS Big Sur, since it still has tons of problems, but to test and use the OWC Thunderbolt Dock and OWC Thunderbolt Hub products, macOS Big Sur is required.

Get OWC Thunderbolt Dock and OWC Thunderbolt Hub at

macOS Big Sure Install yuck

The install process is a nightmarish nail-biter of “will it screw my machine up?!” with display problems, many minutes of black screens, followed by another multi-gigabyte update, followed by half an hour of trying to get my NEC PA302W to work.

About as horrible an “upgrade” experience as I have yet seen from Apple. It’s clear that Apple never tests its software except on a single Apple display. Feckless management that show contempt for every pro user out there.

There is no going back because Apple mangles calendar and mail databases during the “upgrade”. To modify user data in an irreversible way without asking permission of the user is unacceptable.

No benefits, and a dumptruck full of bugs

I’m still looking for even a single benefit of macOS Big Sur (aside from Thunderbolt 4 support).

On the plus side, diglloydTools runs just fine, as does IntegrityChecker Java. Safari seems snappier.

Setting aside the desired Thunderbolt 4 support, just about everything has gotten worse from a usability standpoint:

  • Severe display syncing problems with my NEC PA302W. After real scare in which I could not get the PA302W to sync at all (multiple reboots, etc), then syncing at low resolution, I finally got it working—about a 30 minute effort. And macOS has a new bug now such that sometimes even with the cable unplugged, the OS thinks the main display is still there, so no menu bar, and impossible to operate the machine. I’ve developed a voodo keypress sequence to get the display to sync coming out of sleep, but once in a while I have no choice but to let the machine sleep again (5 minutes or so), and try all over. Shame on Apple for their wanton engineering incompetence—this display performed flawlessly for years until Apple just started breaking things last year with macOS Catalina.
  • Samsung T5 driver no longer works (and I reinstalled the latest and checked firmware). The only way I could get my Samsung T5's to work was to plug them into my iMac 5K running macOS Mojave, and turn off encryption. Apple, this is just unacceptable.
  • The new toy alert dialogs cut off the very information I need to see.
  • I use Spotlight as a calculator dozens of times a day. Now it has about a half-second delay every time—incredibly annoying when working quickly.
  • Apple Mail is a cluttered undifferentiated mess, with mailboxes impossible to distinguish from each other (e.g., 3 different "Sent", "Inbox", etc) along with the loss of any distinguishing text (e.g. bold) along with much wider spacing for the list of messages. Who designs this garbage?
  • I constantly find myself not being able to distinguish the new icons at a glance, making it take that extra half a second to locate something in the Application bar or Dock. Who designs/tests these user interface changes for functionality? Visualize a dog 'marking' a fire hydrant, and that’s about all the value that accrues.
  • Graphics glitches in Photoshop that temporarily mangle images.
  • Special effort is required to let critical developer tool mvn run without code-verification dialogs over and over.
  • SoftRAID is compatible only in the 6.0 beta. Which I’m using, otherwise it would be a disaster. So far it seems to be OK.
  • Still no fix for unbounded caching under steady read I/O (on machines with a lot of memory), so a fast PCIe SSD still drops from 6.5 GB/sec down to ~2GB/sec within a few minutes due to horrific inefficiency in the unified buffer cache. This is gross software engineering incompetence in place for over two years now.
  • The crappy useless control panel like an iPhone occupies space in my menu bar, cannot be removed, and I have absolutely no use for it. I’d have no objection if I could check a box and just get rid of it, but it’s foisted on us, unlike every other control panel thing.
  • You can no longer make a bootable clone with Carbon Copy Cloner except by erasing the entire volume. This is Apple’s fault, and a major headache should you like the idea of not being SOL if you boot drive fails. But I keep plenty of stuff on my boot volume and I’m not about to erase it every time and copy 240GB or so every day, every time. Nice job Apple! Blue ribbon for worse software engineering since MS DOS! Wait, DOS at least did not make pretenses!
  • Image Capture is dumbed-down even more. To remove items from phone, you now must use Edit => Delete, and no command key shortcut or checkbox to do so after downloading. What idiot engineer thought that up? And it cannot even drawn its window properly, leaving blank spaces.
  • The Finder cannot empty the Trash sometimes; it just gets into a state where this is impossible. You have to quit the Finder and relaunch it, where it is prone to hang, or logout and login.
  • Finder file copy speed is pathetic—about 40 times slower than Carbon Copy Cloner for a task I needed done (14 hours for Finder estimated 10 minutes in, vs about 20 minutes for CCC!). Or course, the Finder also craps out with large copies, so it cannot even get the job done.
  • Searching with Spotlight for local files such as source code defaults to a USELESS web search (e.g searching for my source file “” suggests and defaults to a web search for that name, with the source file down th elist). What moron thinks this stuff up? There is no way to reorder Spotlight search order preferences to fix this!

Who designs this stuff? Does anyone at Apple test anything for usability, let alone usefulness and function?

Get OWC Thunderbolt Dock and OWC Thunderbolt Hub at

OWC Thunderbolt Dock
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