16 Dec 2018

macOS version 10.14.0, called "Mojave," was released on 2018-09-24. It is a free update to 10.13 High Sierra. This note describes how to update a computer from an older version of macOS to OS X 10.14 Mojave.

Apple released MacOS 10.14.1 on 30 Oct 2018, fixing security bugs and adding support for Group FaceTime calls, and 70 more emoji.
Apple released MacOS 10.14.2 on 05 Dec 2018, fixing security bugs and a few other bugs.

Here is a review of Mojave from Ars Technica .

I have not installed Mojave on any computers yet. A friend who tried to upgrade two computers to Mojave had one success, and one disastrous failure. I am waiting until I have more confidence before I install Mojave on any computer.

Mojave ships with new Macs. The latest version of Mac OS X is version 10.14, "Mojave", released in September 2018.

New Features of Mojave

Most of the new features are cosmetic. Some are iPhone related.

Should I Install Mojave?

Show Stoppers

Check MacInTouch for the latest status.

Installation Problems

A friend reported being unable to upgrade an iMac. His installation failed, leaving him with a bricked computer. He had to restore from backup. Other users have reported problems installing Mojave, or network failures after installation.

If you have an old Mac Pro, you must turn off FileVault disk encryption.

What you Should Do Now to Get Ready for Mojave

Who Can Update

Not everyone can use the new OS version.

Plan your install

When you decide to install Mojave, do it carefully. You may find that there are issues that affect you: do your homework. Check MacInTouch to see if there are problems with macOS 10.14 that affect you.

Make sure you back up your entire disk before starting to install Mojave. Preferably to more than one place.

Make a list of the hardware you depend on, and search the web to check that each device will work. Older printers and scanners can have issues.

Leave yourself enough time. Upgrading will tie up your computer for a big part of a day. Installing takes an hour or two, but then your computer will be very slow until it re-does the Spotlight index and does a big backup up to Time Machine.

Particular issues before upgrading

Here is a partial list of minimum program versions needed for Mojave. For other programs, check product websites.

ProgramMinimum VersionNotes
Aquamacs3.5 previewgraphics issues
Audacity2.3.032-bit app warning OK
Adobe AcrobatXI Pro Support ended in 2017. Supposedly still works. See below.
Adobe PhotoshopCC Known problems. See below.
Adobe IllustratorCC Known problems. See below.
Apple XCode10.1free with registration
Little Snitch4.2.4
Microsoft Office2016See below.
Quicken2018$35/yr. See below.
Super Duper3.2.4

FileMaker 13 and 14 users report problems and crashes.

Adobe: Renting Instead of Buying

Adobe no longer sells regular application versions of Photoshop and Illustrator. Instead they rent you a Creative Cloud subscription. Stop paying, the apps stop working. They tell you that one advantage is that you'll get bug fixes and new features whenever they decide to release them. (There are a lot of tricky deals, initial teasers, different bundles. You could pay $20/app/mo or $600/yr for all CC apps. Adobe also sells Photoshop Elements as a non-cloud application for $70 one-time.)

Similar deal for Adobe Acrobat.. Acrobat Pro DC rents for $179/yr for the rest of your life, for 2 users. (Acrobat XI Pro may still work on Mojave.) You might be able to buy a lifetime copy for $449, but websites don't say how many computers are covered. If you search the web for replacement products, there are some listed. PC World suggests Nitro Pro 11, $160 lifetime for up to 10 users.

There are alternatives to Adobe products, such as much less expensive Affinity Photo and Affinity Designer. There are also free programs such as Polarr Photo Editor and GIMP. With any of these replacements, you have to learn how to use new programs, and worry about compatibility.

Microsoft: Renting Instead of Buying

Microsoft wants to rent you "Office 365." (Again there are multiple deals: for about $70/yr/computer you can get the whole suite. You can also buy non-cloud Office 2016 Home & Student for $150 one-time. This is what I did.)

Quicken: Renting Instead of Buying

Quicken has moved to a rental model also. Quicken wants to rent you Quicken 2018 for Mac for $35/yr. Quicken 2007 (Lion update) sort of works on Mojave; won't make a backup to an APFS volume. Since this is 32-bit software, it won't run on the macOS scheduled for 2019.

I bought a 2-year subscription to Quicken 2018 and attempted to import my Quicken 2007 data into it. It did not work: transactions after 3/18/18 were not imported, on 3 different credit cards. Spent several hours on this with Quicken support. They said "we don't guarantee that importing will work from Quicken 2007." I got a refund. I will try something else... maybe Banktivity.

Installing Mojave

  1. Clean up and update software before installing.
    • (If your Mac is running a very old version of OS X, you must install Snow Leopard 10.6.8 first, in order to get a version of Apple App Store that can download Mojave. Here is Apple's how to upgrade page.)
    • Download Mojave from  ► App Store...  ►  Updates. It is free. This downloads a large file, the Mojave Installer, to your disk. You can create a bootable installer volume on a USB key using these instructions. (But see the TidBits article "Previously Downloaded OS X Installers No Longer Work".) Apple's license terms say you can update all your computers with one purchase.
    • Get the applications on your computer ready for 10.14: apply the latest fixes.
    • Delete junk files. Carefully.
    • Delete Safari, iTunes, and Firefox caches, so your backup will be faster.
    • If you have customized your desktop background or screensaver, write down your settings. Some Apple-provided pictures may not be available in the next version.. make a safe copy of anything you will want after upgrading.
    • Empty the Trash.
    • Clean up damaged and duplicate fonts.
    • If you use Apache, save a copy of /etc/apache2/httpd.conf.
    • If you installed modules via CPAN, Macports, or Fink, make a list of them. In a Terminal window, type
      perldoc perllocal | grep :: > cpan_modules.txt
      port -qv installed > macports_packages.txt
    • Have your software license keys handy in case you have to re-authorize products.
    • De-authorize Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator.
    • De-authorize your computer from iTunes.
  2. Backup and prepare.
    • If you use MySQL, backup the database with mysqldump databasename > db.sql
    • BACK UP YOUR HARD DRIVE to an external disk. I used SuperDuper to clone my whole drive. Some cautious people make two backups.
    • If you installed a third-party Solid State Disk (SSD), check the manufacturer's website to see if you need to update its firmware to work with Mojave.
    • If you connect your Mac to the network using WiFi, select  ► System Preferences... ► Network ► Advanced and delete any WiFi networks you don't want to use. (I forgot to do this, and my computer connected to a very slow network, which slowed down my install.)
    • The best way to handle Macports is to uninstall all the old ports and reinstall after updating the OS. After you list your installed ports, type
      sudo port -fp uninstall installed
      in a Terminal window.
  3. Install
    • If you use a wireless mouse or keyboard, put in fresh batteries.
    • Set screen saver to NEVER, and turn off Time Machine.
    • Dismount and unplug or power off external drives.
    • Run the macOS 10.13 installer. If FileVault is enabled on your computer, the installer will ask for a password to unlock the disk. It will run for about 15 minutes, then reboot, then run for about an hour, then reboot again. (The "time remaining" will show wildly varying estimates as the installer proceeds. Don't panic if you see a gray screen with "30 minutes remaining" for an hour. Just let it run.)
    • As the update finishes, it will ask you for your AppleID password. (check)
    • If Mojave asks you if you want to enable Desktop and Documents folder syncing to iCloud, the safest thing to do is to say NO. If you say YES, these folders will be backed up in iCloud and available on all devices, which you may not want, and saying YES may also enable "Optimize Storage" which will delete files from your computer's drive if it gets too full. Adam Engst's TidBITS article on Optimized Storage is very helpful.
    • Select  ► App Store... to update to latest versions of Apple software, then run it again to make sure all software is updated. (about another hour) If you just downloaded the OSX installer from the Apple Store, you will have the latest version of OSX, but this step may find additional application updates.
    • Do a "smoke test" to verify that your computer is working OK. Make sure the applications you depend on are still working. Try out the applications from Apple that were updated with the OS. If you have trouble, restore your backup and go back to the old OS version.
  4. Recover
    • When you attempt to re-authorize Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, or the first time you execute them, you may see an alert box that tells you that you have to install Java 6 first (even if you have Java 8 installed). (check) Click "more Info" and download and install the update. See above for a gotcha regarding the "quarantine" switch.
    • Re-authorize your computer in iTunes.
    • Wait for Spotlight to finish indexing (may take several hours). Performance will suck till it finishes.
    • Turn on Time Machine and start your backup.
    • You don't have to repair disk permissions with Disk Utility any more. In fact, you can't; the option is gone.
    • Restart the computer. Often this speeds things up.

Post Install Tasks

Once you are satisfied that your computer works acceptably, and you are going to stay on Mojave, you can make some adjustments.


You will probably want to set up per-user customizations, such as your desktop background and screensaver. After each new OS generation this is something of an adventure; functions get renamed and moved around.

Security issues

Under Mojave, Spotlight "shows suggestions from the Internet, iTunes, App Store, movie showtimes, locations nearby, and more." To do this, it sends your location and query to Apple servers. You may wish to change this if you are required to keep some information private. Change it in two places: uncheck "allow Spotlight Suggestions" in  ► System Preferences... ► Spotlight ► Search Results and uncheck "Safari & Spotlight Suggestions" in  ► System Preferences... ► Security&Privacy ► Privacy ► Location Services ► Privacy ► System Services ► Details.

Some kinds of security certificates are no longer accepted. These are the ones using SHA-1, which is deprecated.


Programming Tools

  1. In Terminal, type the command java. If you don't have Java 8 installed, this action will bring up a dialog box: click More Info to bring up the Oracle JDK installation page in a web browser, and trigger the installation of the Java 8 JDK from Oracle over the Internet. (check this) Java is needed for Eclipse and for other Mac applications, such as OpenOffice and some Adobe products, and VPN clients such as Cisco. Java is not dangerous, if you use it to run code you trust: using it to run web page animations has had some problems.
  2. If you use your computer for programming, install the (free) Xcode Developer Tools by typing xcode-select --install in a terminal window, or by installing the whole Xcode package using the App Store. Then type sudo xcodebuild -license in a terminal window to accept the license.
  3. MacPorts: see my instructions for MacPorts page. Basically the procedure is to list your ports and uninstall them before upgrade, install the OS, reinstall MacPorts, and reinstall your ports. Set PERL5LIB or installs will fail with messages about variants. You will need to disable SIP to complete these installs.
  4. MySQL: Version 8.0.13 is supplied by Oracle for Mojave.
  5. Perl/CPAN: Perl 5.26.2 is installed by MacPorts. See my instructions for CPAN.
  6. Apache web server:
    • Apache 2.4.28 is provided with Mojave, but is not automatically started and there is no System Preferences interface to enable it.
    • The new OS install will not carry over your old Apache customizations. diff /etc/apache2/httpd.conf against your saved copy and edit as necessary.
    • Start Apache using the terminal command sudo launchctl load -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/org.apache.httpd.plist. The -w means make it permanent across restarts.
    • PHP 7.1 is shipped with the OS but disabled in httpd.conf. You can enable it by uncommenting LoadModule php7_module libexec/apache2/ I sometimes enable PHP in order to debug programs that will be deployed in safe environments on other computers. If you enable it, be aware of the risks of making PHP available on the Internet from your Mac, and track and install security updates.
  7. Screen saver: if you patched the duration of a screen saver slide, as I did, you will have to reapply the patch.
  8. Login screen: if you replaced the login screen background, as I did, you will have to reapply the patch.

After all installations are done, re-enable SIP by booting into the recovery environment and typing csrutil enable .

Mojave Observations

New Features and Changes

System Integrity Protection has new security features that restrict what applications can do. Mark Aldritt's blog has an informative article, which pointes out that AppleScript will not support Scripting Additions not provided by Apple, and that applications will need permission to send AppleEvents to other applications.

Some parts of the file system are not accessible by applications unless you grant these apps "Full Disk Access." For instance, you can't do ls ~/Library/Mail from Terminal. This limits the damage a rogue application can do, but it may cause problems for programming tools. You can grant Full Disk Access to Terminal, but it is very coarse grained: all Unix commands, all file system files -- or none.

There is a "Privacy database" which controls what apps can access certain facilities. The database restricts what apps can reference things like Location Services, the camera, the microphone, contacts, photos, etc. As of macOS Sierra this database is protected.

Bugs/Gotchas in Mojave


Removed Features

lot of features removed. even more will be removed in 10.15.

Planning for the next version

Keep a list of the software and devices you use and depend on, so you can check that they are supported.

32-bit programs

The next macOS version, macOS 10.15, will probably release in Fall 2019. Apple has announced the next version of macOS won't support 32-bit execution at all. Start planning. To list the 32-bit programs on your system, there is a section in the System Profiler that lists Legacy Programs.

Home | FAQ © 2010-2018, Tom Van Vleck updated 2018-12-16 12:28