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 and many features.
This note will describe how to update a computer from an older version of macOS to Sonoma.
The latest version of macOS is version 14.1.1, "Sonoma", relesed on 07 Nov 2023.
I have not installed Sonoma on any computers.
Useful Web Sites
Many reports of bugs on first boot. Some of these go away on reboot, some don't.
Features of Sonoma
- new login screen and wallpaper integrated with screensaver
- improvements to Phone and Messages
- new screen savers
- desktop widgets
- features for better video conferencing
- use any website like an app
- Safari profiles and password improvements, private browsing
- Messages improvements, live stickers
- Photos improvements
- CPU priority for gaming
- better autocorrect and dictation
- live speech and personal voice
- lockdown mode
- predictive text and improved autocorrect
- PDF improvements
- Photos supports pets in People album
See Apple's site macOS Sonoma Preview.
According to Howard Oakley's Mac Problem Solving page,
- iCloud Drive fails to work on Sonoma with no explanation.
- there is a Finder mamory leak.
- TM doesn’t back up large numbers of small files at all well.
Should I Install Sonoma?
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
and to keep all Apple software up to date, including the OS.
- Apply all free updates to other software you use.
- Set up an external hard drive and use Time Machine.
Who Can Update
Not everyone can use the new OS version.
Sonoma does not support many Macs from before 2019. Check the official list. Computers over 7 years old are not supported.
If you depend on PowerPC programs, the latest version of OS X that you can run is Snow Leopard,
since Lion, Mountain Lion, Mavericks, Yosemite, El Capitan, Sierra, High Sierra, Mojave, and catalina do not support Rosetta, the PowerPC emulator.
See the Frequently Asked Questions section about Sonoma.
In particular, pre-Lion Quicken, Microsoft Office 2004, and some features of Adobe CS3 will not run on Sonoma.
(See Adobe article.)
Stick with OS X 10.6.8a until you upgrade these applications.
(You could install VirtualBox (free) on your Mac, and install 10.6 into a virtual machine, and update it to 10.6.8a,
and run your PowerPC programs under the emulated OS.
I tried this on Yosemite, and it worked.)
If you depend on the Classic environment to run Mac OS 9 programs from the 1990s, stick with OS X 10.4.
If you have a Mac with a PowerPC processor, Sonoma won't work on it.
Stick with OS X 10.5.8.
You can't install Sonoma over an ancient version of OS X, and the installer enforces this restriction.
Old printers and scanners may not work if the manufacturer has not updated the driver software.
Those with PowerPC or 32-bit drivers will not work.
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 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 Sonoma.
For other programs, check product websites.
TO BE UPDATED.
| Aquamacs Emacs
|64-bit at last
|Photoshop CC is $120/yr. See below. (ARM supported.)
|Illustrator CC is $240/yr. See below. (ARM supported.)
|free with registration; also install Command Line Developer Tools in Terminal
A new version of Little Snitch is required for Sonoma.
(Some Apple traffic such as Maps and ads doesn't show in Little Snitch.
|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 https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201465
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.)
|XXX for Sonoma
|You should change all your backup volumes to be APFS.
|Brother P-Touch Editor
Programs that will not be upgraded: Some device drivers: check with your device manufacturers.
The free software CUPS drivers may work for some printers.
Make sure your printers and scanners will be supported.
Some manufacturers don't release updated drivers for their printers for months after a new OS X release.
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.
I need 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 and Banktivity: Renting Instead of Buying
I have not installed Sonoma on any machines. THIS SECTION MUST BE UPDATED AFTER I INSTALL SONOMA.
Clean up and update software before installing.
You can download the Sonoma Installer from free.
This downloads a large file, the Sonoma Installer, to your disk.
You can create a bootable installer volume on a USB key using
(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.
If you use MySQL, back up your databases
with mysqldump databasename > db.sql.
Then stop MySQL.
- 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
The best way to handle Homebrew is to uninstall it and reinstall Homebrew and items it installs after updating the OS.
To list your ports do brew list > brewmods.txt in a Terminal window.
Also list the CPAN modules you have installed, because you'll have to reinstall them.
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,
and delete any Wi-Fi networks you don't want to use.
(If you don't, your computer may connect to a very slow network during installation, which will slow down your 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 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 an hour, then reboot again. Might ask for your password 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.
- Eventually you will be presented with a login screen; enter your password.
- You will see a window about privacy.
- Next you will be asked if you want to send analytic information to Apple.
- Then you will be asked if you want light mode or dark mode appearance. (You can change this later.)
- Then the system will display your desktop. All your files and applications should be there.
- You will probably 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,"
the safest thing to do is to say NO. You can turn it on later.
I use iCloud for this and it seems to be great.. but I had to move things around to make it work right and there are still issues.
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" without asking,
which will delete files from your computer's drive if it gets too full.
Check TidBITS article on Optimized Storage is very helpful.
to make sure.
Once the install has completed, use
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.
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.
If your computer seems slow or buggy, try zapping the PRAM.
If you have installed applications that are OS version specific, like Onyx, buy updates and install them.
Clean your font caches by issuing the Terminal command sudo atsutil databases -remove and restarting.
If FileVault was on, it should be on after upgrading.
Check to make sure.
Find My Mac should be ON.
Check to make sure.
See the section on Re-installing Programming Tools below.
You will probably want to set up per-user customizations,
such as your desktop background and screensaver.
Visit every setting in 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.
I really hate the CAPS LOCK key, so I disable it.
In Sonoma, this is done by opening not brought over to Sonoma by Migration Assistant.)
and changing the action for CAPS LOCK to "No Action."
(I had this set on Big Sur and it was
I uncheck "Scroll Direction: natural" .. it seems UNnatural to me after 36 years.
(I had set this on Big Sur and it was carried over by the upgrade process.)
I disable or silence most Notifications. When new OS features are added, they may default to "noisy."
Check that your printers work.
If a printer will not work, you may be able to get it working by
deleting the printer,
and adding the printer again:
for some printers, this will trigger running to get new printer software.
For other printers, you will have to download the correct printer driver from the manufacturer's web site.
(I used Migration Assistant to move from Big Sur and my printers were correctly installed and worked.)
If you have a scanner, plug it in and power it on. (Mine worked.)
If the scanner appears in Image Capture.
For other scanners, you will have to download the correct scanner driver from the manufacturer's web site.
If manufacturer-supplied software is not available, and Image Capture does not provide enough features,
you may be able to get it working by purchasing and installing VueScan.
, remove it, and add it again.
For some scanners, this will invoke
to add a driver that will let you operate the scanner with
If you use your computer for programming, you'll need to re-install your tools,
which may have release-dependent parts.
Do these steps in the right order.
THIS SECTION MUST BE UPDATED AFTER I INSTALL SONOMA.
If you are a Java user, type the command java in a Terminal window.
If you don't have Java 8 installed,
this action will bring up a dialog box:
click 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 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.
Install the full Xcode package for Sonoma using the App Store,
This will take a long time, about an hour, and will install system header files.
Then, in a Terminal window, execute xcode-select -- all this does is to request
to install the command line tools.
Next run to install them.
Homebrew: see my instructions for Homebrew.
When I upgraded from Big Sur, I installed the Apple tools,
and then did brew update, brew upgrade, and brew cleanup in Terminal.
In Terminal, install MySQL first, then Perl, and then use the cpan or cpanm command to reinstall your CPAN modules.
If you install new versions of Perl, Python, or Ruby, check your PERL5LIB
and other language environment variables before using them to install other software,
or installs may fail with messages about variants.
(In Sonoma, Homebrew moved to /opt from /usr/local
and I found I had to plant some links in /usr/local/bin to their /opt versions.
This might be an error in my installs.)
Install MySQL 8.0.32 by doing brew install mysql.
If you dumped your database, reload it with mysql < db.sql.
MySQL has to be installed before you can install DBD::mysql with CPAN.
If you use Perl module MaxMind::DB::Reader::XS, you must download and install libmaxminddb
from https://github.com/maxmind/libmaxminddb before installing the MaxMind module with CPAN.
Install any other libraries that are used by Perl modules at this point.
Get a universal binary from https://binaries.html-tidy.org/.
If you use Perl and Perl modules, install them.
Perl 5.36.0 is installed by MacPorts as it installs various modules.
See the instructions for installing CPAN for a list of modules I use.
This is the time to install Python and Ruby libraries also.
Apache web server:
Apache was installed with Sonoma on my machine, but disabled.
I had to update httpd.conf to incorporate my changes.
PHP was disabled in the new Apache config, fine by me.
But see below: you cannot put local pages to be served by Apache in $HOME/Documents.
Update Golang and Rust and any other development languages you use that are not installed by Homebrew.
Bugs and Surprises in Sonoma
Ric Ford describes a new feature, "FaceTime video reactions", on by default, in Sonoma that causes your camera
to detect certain gestures and send visual effexts like confetti or fireworks.
You can disable this.
Howard Oakley reports that
Sonoma’s changes to iCloud may stop Time Machine backups completing.
He says "For some, upgrading to Sonoma brings a slew of problems with iCloud and iCloud Drive.
As these can spill over to stop Time Machine backups from completing, their consequences can worsen your troubles."
Surprise: All windows hide
Clicking on the desktop wallpaper will hide all windows.
This behavior can be turned off in
Only in Stage Manager and then not using Stage Manager.
by setting it to
Features Removed From Sonoma
Mail plugins are no longer supported by macOS. GPG Tools are not working either.
New Features and Changes in Sonoma
(to be written)
New Sonoma Features I Am Not Using Yet
(to be written)
Planning for the next version
The next macOS version, (name not known), will released in Fall 2024. Beta is available now.
Keep a list of the software and devices you use and depend on, so you can check that they are supported.
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© 2010-2023, Tom Van Vleck
updated 2023-12-13 10:31