Hi, this is Allison Sheridan of the NosillaCast Apple Podcast, hosted at Podfeet.com, a technology geek podcast with an EVER so slight Apple bias. Today is Monday, August 15, 2022, and this is show number 901. Thanks for waiting for us to get back from our second vacation. And thanks to Jill, Troy, Steve (the husband), and Bart for creating all of the content for this week.
You may notice that the conversation with Steve about the binoculars is a repeat from last week. I blame the Mai Tais I drank on vacation. Or maybe I just really, truly liked this conversation. 🤦🏻♀️
Before we get stuck in, I wanted to tell you a little story of adventure. For the past month or so, I’d been noticing that my 14″ M1 MacBook Pro wasn’t lasting as long as it used to when I first got it. They’re supposed to have wicked-long battery life — up to 11 hours of wireless web access. I had trouble documenting exactly how long it was lasting but it felt more like 4 hours. I spent some quality time on the Phone Call of Sadness with my new friends Tyler and Solomon at Apple over the course of a few weeks.
The only thing we could find about the battery that was definitive was that the battery health was down to 94% on a machine that’s only 9 months old. Steve and our good friend Pat Dengler also bought 14″ MacBook Pros on day one, and their battery health was at 99%. Normally Apple won’t give you the time of day about a battery until it’s at 90% or below, but based on this being such a new machine Solomon acquired approval for a repair.
I really wanted it with me on the trip to Iceland for reasons I explained in a recent episode, and I thought I could probably survive a week in Hawaii without my laptop. I’ve actually never done that since I’ve owned a laptop but it seemed the only option.
At this point I needed to figure out how to send it in and not have Apple drop it off on my doorstep while I was gone to Hawaii. Apple was surprisingly difficult on this issue. My options were:
- Have Apple mail me a box and I ship it, but they would ship it back to the same address, including leaving it for thieves to enjoy
- Bring it into an Apple Store and it would be shipped back to me waiting safely while I was gone
- This sounded grand but they said I could not get an appointment at my local Apple Store. Wait, an appointment just to hand it to them??? Yep. The rep even called my store trying to get them to let me walk in but they said no.
- I’m lucky enough to be in driving distance of 3 other Apple Stores which did have appointments before I was leaving, but in LA time it would have been 2-3 hours of driving.
- How about FedEx? Pat said she’s been able to take devices there and then they ship and receive both to FedEx. Nope. AppleCare said I didn’t have that option.
- The bottom line was that I had to have the shipping from and shipping back to address the same.
Finally Pat stepped in as my hero. She suggested that I have the box shipped to her PO box, she would ship it to Apple, and that would let Apple ship it back to her PO box where it would be safe. She came to my house, we boxed up my baby, and she shipped it off. I believe she shipped it on Saturday morning, it arrived at Apple on Monday and by Wednesday it was back in her hands! This has been my experience lately that shipping is faster than taking it into the store. She then, in another act of heroism, drove it down to my house and gave it to my trustworthy next door neighbor who has access to my house. Without Pat’s help, this show probably wouldn’t have come out today!
The good news is that they replaced the battery and the top case of my Mac. “Top case” is a weird name for the surface you see when you open your laptop. So it’s the keyboard and trackpad area. Not sure what was wrong with those parts but I have a new keyboard which is fun. The less fun part was that they wiped the drive and installed a fresh OS for testing. I knew that this was a possibility so I had all of my data backed up locally and on Backblaze.
I considered doing a “pave” since Apple had done the “nuke” part of a nuke and pave for me. On the plane on the way home I used my iPad to review my Mind Map of Doom (™Donald Burr) of my procedure for nuke and paves and made edits to update it with new apps I use and removal of old apps I don’t use.
Even I can’t normally cruft up an OS in just 9 months to the point that it’s worthy of a nuke and pave, but I was also having extreme Spotlight problems. I’d worked with Solomon on this too. The problem was that Spotlight kept reindexing my drive over and over again. While it was reindexing, it could find any app I asked for. But when it would complete, it was only able to find non-Apple Apps. All Apple apps were not launchable by Spotlight. How weird is that? Even before calling AppleCare I did the trick of dragging my entire drive into the Privacy tab of Spotlight, which tells it not to index, and then dragging it back but it didn’t stop the constant reindexing.
We did wonder whether the constant reindexing of the drive was a contributor to my poor battery performance, but all of the tricks available to Solomon never stopped it from indexing. This was the main reason I thought it was a wise move to do a pave on this fresh install of macOS.
But in the light of day today I lost my nerve and used Migration Assistant for apps and settings and data. I don’t think I’ve ever done it this easy way before. I see why people like it so much — it’s amazingly easy!
The biggest surprise of Migration Assistant for me was Apple Photos. I’ve mentioned at least 300 times before that I have a massive Photos Library with 90,813 images for 857GB of data. When I do a nuke and pave, I always have to have Photos download originals from the cloud, which takes about 3+ days. I have been doing it that way for the last 5 years or so on the advice of an Apple support person.
The original reason for this strategy was that if I drag over my Photos Library from my backup, Photos will check every single one of those 90K images to see if it matches what’s on the cloud. That process, the last time I ran it, took 3.5 WEEKS. And during those 3.5 weeks, no new images would come into my Mac.
I expected that after running Migration Assistant on my Mac, I would have to delete the Photos Library and then have it download from iCloud from scratch as before. But to my great surprise and delight, Photos had all of my photos and didn’t have to check them at all! It was a miracle. I’m so happy about this. I can’t explain why it worked but now I know why no one else seems to complain about this problem. I’ll still have to worry about it the next time an Apple support person says, “Just log out and back into iCloud” because there be dragons.
It’s not all roses on Migration Assistant though. I was surprised to find that I’m having to redo all of the permissions for screen recording, full disk access, and accessibility. The other odd thing is that I appear to be missing a lot of menu bar icons. I use Bartender to manage my menu bar apps, separating them into three categories: always visible in the main menu bar, only visible in the secondary menu bar, and never visible. With this carefully-curated strategy, my menu bar items reach just up to the notch in my MacBook Pro’s screen and no farther. But after the migration, I’ve got about an inch and a half of free space. I haven’t a clue what’s missing and I guess I’ll only figure it out when I go to use something and it’s not there!
Stream Deck was one of the missing menu bar items. When I tried to launch Stream Deck, I discovered that it’s a Rosetta 2 app, meaning it runs in emulation mode on Apple Silicon Macs. While running under Rosetta isn’t a big slowdown, it is disappointing that with Apple Silicon Macs coming up on two years old, Elgato still don’t have a native app.
Another app that wasn’t in my login items was CleanShot X. I think it may have dropped out in the migration because I’m using it as part of Setapp. Again, not a big deal to add, but when you take as many screenshots as I do, it’s weird when the tool doesn’t respond when triggered.
I also noticed that my Touch ID settings weren’t migrated which makes sense from a security perspective. In the same vein, the clean install of macOS also set my security policy in Recovery to the highest level. I keep it down a notch to Reduced Security, which allows user management of kernel extensions from identified developers. Rogue Amoeba’s software including Audio Hijack requires this level of security, even though it is definitely not a kernel extension. Again, it makes perfect sense that I would have to redo this setting, but it was still a smidge of work and a few reboots I wasn’t expecting.
And to close out the topic, I found that on this particular vacation, I didn’t miss my laptop at all. It probably won’t change my future behavior, but traveling with our four kids and our four very young grandchildren made this a trip where I was never sitting down with free quiet time. We were always on the run going to the beach and other adventures, or cooking, or cleaning up, or changing diapers, or bottle feeding the baby, or playing games, or playing in the pool. It was a fantastic trip but Steve and I are definitely looking forward to our homebody quiet lives for a little while.
I love Jill’s explanation of how she doesn’t do fancy camping. If you heard her talk about one or more things you think you might need, definitely check out her blog post as she has 24 links to the items she described.
While I’ve been off gallavanting around the world and doing little to no work for the podcast, miraculously we have not one but TWO new Patreon subscribers. I want to give a huge shout out to Peter Sidell and Falleninsea (F-allen-in-sea) for their generous donations. These two fine folks went to podfeet.com/patreon and chose a dollar amount that shows the value they get from all of the shows we do here on the Podfeet Podcast network. Be cool like these folks and sign up too!
Bart recorded Security Bits on Sunday and on Monday morning he asked me to add a P.S. to his report. He told you about an exploit for Zoom, and now according to Apple.Insider, Zoom have already provided a patch for the exploit. appleinsider.com/… So as Bart would say, patchy patchy patch patch!
That’s going to wind this up for this week. Did you know you can email me at [email protected] any time you like? If you have a question or a suggestion just send it on over. You can follow me on Twitter at @podfeet. If you want to join the conversation, you can join our Slack community at podfeet.com/slack where you can talk to me and all of the other lovely NosillaCastaways. Remember, everything good starts with podfeet.com. You can support the show at podfeet.com/patreon or with a one-time donation at podfeet.com/paypal. And if you want to join in the fun of the live show, head on over to podfeet.com/live on Sunday nights at 5pm Pacific Time and join the friendly and enthusiastic NosillaCastaways. Thanks for listening, and stay subscribed.