Apple announced macOS version 14, "Sonoma," on 06 Jun 2023.
Apple released macOS 14.0 on 26 Sep 2023.
Apple released macOS 14.1 on 25 Oct 2023 with 4 bug fixes and many features.
Apple released macOS 14.1.1 on 07 Nov 2023 with bug fixes.
Apple released macOS 14.2 on 11 Dec 2023 with bug fixes, security updates, and application improvements.
Apple released macOS 14.2.1 on 19 Dec 2023 with security updates.
Apple released macOS 14.3 on 22 Jan 2024 with bug fixes, security updates, and application improvements.
Apple released macOS 14.3.1 on 08 Feb 2024 with bug fixes.
Apple released macOS 14.4 on 07 Mar 2024 with 64 security fixes, firmware updates, bug fixes, new emoji, and application improvements.
Apple released macOS 14.4.1 on 25 Mar 2024 with security patches and fixes to USB and Java problems in 14.4.
Apple released macOS 14.5 on 13 May 2024 with new firmware, 22 security patches, and fixes to USB and iCloud problems in 14.4.

This note describes how to update a computer from an older version of macOS to Sonoma.

The latest version of macOS is version 14.5, "Sonoma", relesed on 13 May 2024.

MacInTouch reports multiple problems with 14.4 and 14.4.1 USB connections, audio plugins, Java, external monitors, and printing. Some people are unable to login at all. Howard Oakley says some people are having strange problems with 14.4 with FileVault, which is really scary.

I installed Sonoma 14.4 on one computer on 2024-03-13. Seemed to work fine. Installation was easy and relatively fast... took less than an hour, and the computer was ready to use without much tedious re-installing. (But then I updated Perl and had some trouble.. see below.)

I installed 14.4.1 and it seems to work OK. Install was quick.

I installed 14.5 and it seems to work OK. Install was about 10 minutes.

Features of Sonoma

(I have no plan to use most of these features.)

See Apple's site macOS Sonoma Preview.

According to Howard Oakley's Mac Problem Solving page,

Should I Install Sonoma?

It seems to work for me, for the features of macOS that I use. Study Howard Oakley's site carefully to decide if you use features that are changing.

Installing Sonoma on an Old Mac

A Mac that is too old will not run Sonoma. Many Macs before 2019 are not supported.

What you Should Do Now to Get Ready for Sonoma

Who Can Update

Not everyone can use the new OS version.

Plan your install

When you decide to install Sonoma, 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 14 that affect you.

Make sure you back up your entire disk before starting to install Sonoma. 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 an hour or so. Your computer may be slow until it re-does the Spotlight index.

Particular issues before upgrading

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

ProgramMinimum VersionNotes
Aquamacs Emacs3.6
Adobe PhotoshopCC Photoshop CC is $120/yr. See below. (ARM supported.)
Adobe IllustratorCC Illustrator CC is $240/yr. See below. (ARM supported.)
Apple XCode14 free with registration; also install Command Line Developer Tools in Terminal
Little Snitch5.7.4 A new version of Little Snitch is required for Sonoma. (Some Apple traffic such as Maps and ads doesn't show in Little Snitch. This sucks.)
Brother HL-4150CDN driver Brother does not support this printer, according to their website. Support stopped at 10.15.x Catalina. Apple no longer maintains . I have this printer and it is working OK on Sonoma using the CUPS driver.
Brother HL-5450DN driver Brother does not support this printer, according to their website. See above. (Mine works.)
Homebrew4.2.12, same version I had for Ventura. Replaces MacPorts. This is where I get Perl, ImageMagick, Go, and GraphViz.
Microsoft Office2021 $129
Onyx4.5.6 free
Super Duper3.8 You should change all your backup volumes to be APFS. Much faster and more reliable.
Brother P-Touch Editor5.3.13
Banktivity8 $50/yr. Now they want you to upgrade to 9.
Inkscape1.3.2 seems to be fixed.

Adobe: Renting Instead of Buying

Adobe no longer sells regular application versions of Photoshop, Illustrator, and Acrobat. 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 2020 and Premiere Elements 2020 as non-cloud applications for $100 each one-time, or both for $150.)

There are alternatives to Adobe products. I am using Affinity Photo and Affinity Designer.

Affinity has been sold to Canva. Canva's other products are sold by subscription instead of one-time purchase. Ruh-roh.

I want a replacement for Adobe Acrobat: PDFPen ($80) is looking attractive. (There is a program called PDF Expert but its web site does not say how much it costs. I am not going to install it just in order to find out.)

Microsoft: Renting Instead of Buying

Microsoft wants to rent you "Office 365" for $70/yr, $100/yr for up to 6 people. You can still buy a "forever" Home and Student version of Office 2019 for about $130.

Quicken: Renting Instead of Buying

Same story with Quicken. I bought Banktivity and it seems to work.

Banktivity: Renting Instead of Buying

Banktivity has gone from a one-time purchase to a yearly sub. Grrr.

Installing Sonoma

This was the easiest macOS upgrade I have ever done.

  1. Clean up and update software before installing.
    • You can download the Sonoma Installer from  ► System Preferences... ► Software Update. It is free. This downloads a large file, the Sonoma 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 14.0: apply the latest fixes.
    • Delete junk files. Carefully.
    • Delete Safari, iTunes, and Firefox caches, so your backup will be faster.
    • Write down your settings for applications and system parameters, e.g. your desktop background and screensaver. Some Apple-provided screensaver 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.
    • Have your software license keys handy in case you have to re-authorize products.

    For Programmers

    • If you use MySQL, back up your databases with mysqldump databasename > db.sql. Then stop MySQL.
    • If you are using a local Apache, save a copy of /etc/apache2/httpd.conf.
    • If you installed modules via CPAN, make a list of them.
    • Homebrew often does not need to be reinstalled on a macOS upgrade. If you are changing machine architectures, compilers, etc, then uninstall it and then reinstall Homebrew, and the programs it installs, after updating the OS. To list your ports do brew list > brewmods.txt in a Terminal window.

    Here is a little shell script I run to do the backups.

    	# .. run before an OS upgrade
    	# .. saves lists of things that may have to be repaired after upgrading
    	# dumps them into $HOME/Documents/preup so that they will be synced to iCloud
    	if [ -d $HOME/Documents/preup ] ; then
    	  cp /etc/apache2/httpd.conf $HOME/Documents/preup/saved.httpd.conf
    	  perldoc perllocal | grep :: > $HOME/Documents/preup/cpan_modules.txt
    	  brew list > brewmods.txt
    	  mysqldump thvv_userlist > $HOME/Documents/preup/mysql_dump.sql
    	  echo "Back up your hard drive"
    	  echo "$HOME/Documents/preup not found.. create it and rerun"
  2. Backup and prepare.
    • 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 are using an anti-virus product like Microsoft Defender ATP, disable it, or installation will fail. Some anti-malware programs see the utility that converts HFS to APFS as malware, and prevent it from running. Since most anti-virus software is tightly integrated with the operating system, you may have to install a Sonoma-specific version of your software after installing Sonoma anyway. Check with the maker of your software.
    • If you connect your Mac to the network using Wi-Fi, select  ► System Preferences... ► Network ► Wi-Fi and delete any Wi-Fi networks you don't want to use. (If you don't, your computer could connect to a very slow network during installation, which will slow down your install.)
  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.
    • Restart your computer. (I've had problems where my computer hangs on shutdown. Restarting seems to fix it for a while. Don't want this trouble when installing a new OS.)
    • Run the Sonoma (macOS 14.0) installer. If you downloaded it, use that copy. Or you can just select  ► System Preferences... ► Software Update and install by clicking on the link.
      • If FileVault is enabled on your computer, the installer will ask for a password to unlock the disk.
      • The installer will run for about 15 minutes, then reboot, then run for about half an hour, then reboot again. Might ask for your password again.
      • The "time remaining" will show wildly varying estimates as the installer proceeds.
      • Eventually you will be presented with a login screen; enter your password.
      • You may see a window about privacy.
      • Next you will be asked if you want to send analytic information to Apple. I usually say no.
      • Then the system will display your desktop. All your files and applications should be there.
      • You may be asked for your AppleID and password at least once.
    • If Sonoma asks you if you want to "enable Desktop and Documents folder syncing to iCloud," you can say NO, and turn it on later. I say YES and use iCloud for this and it seems to be great.. but I had to move things around to make it work right. If you say YES, these folders will be backed up in iCloud and available on all devices, which you may not want. Saying YES may also enable "Optimize Storage" without asking, which will delete files from your computer's drive if it gets too full -- I do not enable this. Check  ► System Settings... ► Internet Accounts ► iCloud ► Optimize Mac Storage to make sure it is OFF. Adam Engst's TidBITS article on Optimized Storage is very helpful.
    • Once the install has completed, use  ► System Settings... ► General ► Software Update and  ► App Store... to make sure you have installed the latest versions of Apple software. This step may find additional OS and application updates (might take another hour).
    • 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
    • Wait for Spotlight to finish indexing (may take several hours). Performance will suck till it finishes.
    • Turn on Time Machine and start your backup.
    • 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 Sonoma, you can make some adjustments.


You will probably want to set up per-user customizations, such as your desktop background and screensaver. Visit every setting in  ► System Settings... and make sure it is what you want, and choose values for new settings. After each new OS generation this is something of an adventure; functions get renamed and moved around. See below.


Didn't Need to re-install Programming Tools

I updated from Ventura to Sonoma, and found that I did not need to re-install my tools. Almost everything worked right away after the install finshed. The same programs that were running before were running after restart. If you do need to re-install your tools, see the section in the Ventura article.

Installed New Versions

Installed Sonoma versions of Little Snitch and Onyx.

Apache web server

Apache was installed with Sonoma on my machine, and it was running, but my custom httpd.conf had been replaced with a vanilla version. All I had to do was replace /etc/apache2/httpd.conf with my customized saved version from Ventura, and issue sudo apachectl restart. As mentioned in the Ventura article, I had moved my local files to a directory called "shadow" and my Ventura httpd.conf already pointed there. My local pages came up just fine.

Tools I Didn't Need to Change from Ventura

Tools that Homebrew was ready to install, so I installed them

This was a big mistake. Homebrew was ready to install a lot of modules. I did brew upgrade ImageMagick and got a lot of installations: it went from 78 outdated to 10. No errors. But MySQL was tricky.. the old one was still running, but the root password was blank. I did brew services restart mysql and it stopped the old MySQL... but I couldn't connect to it any more. So I did mysql_secure_installation and it asked for a new root password, and a lot of other questions about disallowing things I didn't use anyway. Then I thought it was fine. But Perl had been updated, so I had to re-install CPAN modules. All went well till the last module: DBD::mysql which failed to install... and I was screwed. See CPAN for the resolution of the problem.

Sonoma Observations

Messages during Install

Got an alert about "Mail upgrade" "optimizing your mail database, this may take a few minutes," no idea why. Only happened once, seems to work OK.

Unfortunately Unchanged From Ventura

I was disappointed to see several problems from Ventura that were not fixed.

Other commands

Bugs and Surprises in Sonoma

New Autocomplete

The release notes say there is a "new autocomplete" feature in Sonoma. I hate autocomplete -- there are whole websites about autocomplete failures and the divorces they have caused -- so I disable it. But now, when I am typing mail messages in, sometimes I will type a few letters and the window will show a proposed completion in light gray. I can hit the space bar to accept the proposed text. But the autocomplete is WEIRD. Sometimes it proposes something, sometimes it doesn't. Some of the proposals are unhelpful. If it is "learning" what I type, I don't want it to try, because it lacks context. I am looking for a switch to turn this feature OFF. Aha. Change System Settings... ► Keyboard ► Text Input ► Edit ► Show Inline Predictive Text to OFF.

Wired Internet Disconnecting on Sleep

My M2 Mac has has WiFi enabled and also has a wired Ethernet connection to my router, via an unpowered USB-C hub. I set the "service order" in System Settings... ► Network to put USB 10/100/1000 first, and was able to connect using Ethernet at full speed.

Later I noticed that my Mac's network connection as not speedy, and the Network settings panel showed that USB 10/100/1000 was disconnected, and would not connect in the control panel. I rebooted the computer and the wired connection was OK. It was disconnected again a few days later.

I searched the Internet: people suggested all kinds of voodoo. One suggestion was to visit System Settings... ► Battery, and under Options, select "Prevent automatic sleeping on power adapter when the display is off". I did that and restarted again.

That fixed it: waking the computer after sleep connects via the Ethernet connection: "Speedtest" says it is twice as fast ad WiFi.

New Sonoma Features I Am Not Using Yet

Missing Feature: The Eject Button

My Mac does not have a Force Eject key on the keyboard. I sometimes need to eject a disc when I burn backup discs with an Apple SuperDrive. Turns out you can open the File menu and an Eject item will appear in it. If there is a System Setting to put an icon on the menubar, I can't find it. But you can do this: in the Finder's Go menu, select Go to Folder and choose /System/Library/CoreServices/Menu Extras. That will open a window. Double-click on and poof, your menu bar will get the eject button, which will be there from then on.

Planning for the next version

The next macOS version, "Sequoia," will released in Fall 2024.

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

Home | FAQ © 2010-2024, Tom Van Vleck updated 2024-06-20 09:02