Ventura

2023-12-13

Apple announced macOS 13 version 13.0, "Ventura," on 06 Jun 2022 and released it on 24 Oct 2022.
Apple released macOS 13.1 on 14 dec 2022 adding many features and fixing 33 security problems. Safari was updated too.
Apple released macOS 13.2 on 23 jan 2023 adding Security Keys for the Apple ID and fixing 22 security problems. Safari 16.3 was updated too.
Apple released macOS 13.2.1 on 14 Feb 2023 fixing a security problem in WebKit.
Apple released macOS 13.3 on 27 Mar 2023 fixing 49 security problems and updating firmware. Safari was updated to 16.4.
Apple released macOS 13.3.1 on 7 Apr 2023 fixing 2 security problems in IOSurfaceAccelerator and WebKit.
Apple released a Rapid Security Response, macOS 13.3.1 (a) on 1 May 2023 fixing a problem in Safari and WebKit. See below.
Apple released macOS 13.4 on 18 may 2023 fixing 52 security problems. Safari 16.5 was updated too.
Apple released macOS 13.4.1 on 21 jun 2023 fixing security problems. Safari was updated to 16.5.1.
Apple released macOS 13.4.1 (c) Rapid Response on 12 jul 2023 fixing security problems.
Apple released macOS 13.5 on 24 jul 2023 fixing 29 security problems and adding 31 new emoji. Safari was updated to 16.6.
Apple released macOS 13.5.1 on 17 aug 2023 fixing a bug in 13.5.
Apple released macOS 13.5.2 on 7 Sep 2023 fixing 1 security bug, a known zero day vulnerability called BLASTPASS (NSO Group). There are kernel panics and Safari freezes reported with this release.. be cautious. If you do not use iMessage there may be no benefit from this update.
Apple released macOS 13.6 on 7 Sep 2023 fixing 19 security bugs and adding multiple features.
Apple released macOS 13.6.1 on 26 Oct 2023 fixing 15 security bugs. Safari was updated too.
Apple released macOS 13.6.2 on 07 Nov 2023 for MacBook Pro and iMac only. No CVE bugs were fixed. Might fix a display bug.
Apple released macOS 13.6.3 on 11 Dec 2023 fixing 12 security bugs. New version of Safari also.

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

The latest version of macOS is version 14.1.1, "Sonoma", relesed on 07 Nov 2023.

I have Ventura installed on two computers. Works OK as of 13.6.1, see below for minor problems.

Useful Web Sites

Howard Oakley's The Eclectic Light Company has a trove of information about Ventura and Macs.

MacRunors has a list of 50 new features of Ventura.

Show Stoppers

(28 Jul 2023) macOS 13.5 users report system freezes requiring restart, forced restart on sleep. Jamf reports that Admin users are unable to unlock FileVault on 13.5.

(27 Jul 2023) macOS 13.5 System Settings prevents control of Location Services for third party programs. (Fixed in 13.5.1) See https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/macos-13-5-bug-fixes-changes-and-more.2396759/
There are also vague references to battery drain problems, WiFi and Bluetooth problems, installation problems, and "UI Lag" in https://www.gottabemobile.com/4-reasons-not-to-install-macos-ventura-11-reasons-you-should/

(04 Nov 2022) MacOS 13 ships with OpenSSH_9.0p1 which disabled RSA signatures on SHA-1 hash algorithms.

Features of Ventura

See Apple's list of Ventura features.

Should I Install Ventura?

Installing Ventura on an Old Mac

A Mac that is too old will not run Ventura. Some of Ventura's features depend on the Apple T2 chip and won't work on older Intel Macs. See the list of acceptable hardware.

What you Should Do Now to Get Ready for Ventura

Who Can Update

Not everyone can use this OS version.

Plan your install

When you decide to install Ventura, 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 13.0 that affect you.

Make sure you back up your entire disk before starting to install Ventura. 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 Ventura. For other programs, check product websites.

ProgramMinimum VersionNotes
Aquamacs Emacs3.6
Audacity3.0464-bit at last
Adobe PhotoshopCC Photoshop CC is $120/yr. See below. (ARM supported.)
Adobe IllustratorCC Illustrator CC is $240/yr. See below. (ARM supported.)
Apple XCode13.1 free with registration; also install Command Line Developer Tools in Terminal
DropBox131free
Little Snitch5.7 A new version of Little Snitch is required for Ventura. (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 https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201465 I have this printer and it is working OK on Ventura using the CUPS driver.
Brother HL-5450DN driver Brother does not support this printer, according to their website. See above. (Mine works.)
Homebrew3.6.21 for Ventura Replaces MacPorts.
Microsoft Office2021 $129
Onyx4.3.0 free
Super Duper3.7 You should change all your backup volumes to be APFS.
Brother P-Touch Editor5.3.13
Banktivity8 $50/yr. Now they want you to upgrade to 9.
Inkscape1.3.0 works

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

Quicken has moved to a rental model also. There are various versions, Starter, Deluxe, Premier. Banktivity 7 worked for me on Ventura and was not rental software. It stopped working without notice in mid February. Bought a subscription to Banktivity 8, grrr. Now Banktivity 9 is out. Maybe I will look at GNU Cash.

Inkscape and GTK-3

The GTK-3 problems with Inkscape seem to have been resolved with Inkscape 1.3.

Installing Ventura

I have Ventura installed on three machines. I migrated the contents of a High Sierra machine to a new machine over Ethernet using Apple Migration Assistant. This took several hours but worked surprisingly well.

  1. Clean up and update software before installing.
    • You can download the Ventura Installer from  ► System Preferences... ► Software Update. It is free. This downloads a large file, the Ventura 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 13.0: 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 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.
  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 Ventura-specific version of your software after installing Ventura 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 may 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 Ventura (macOS 13) 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 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.
      • You will be asked if you want to send analytic information to Apple.
      • 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 Ventura 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 backup and it seems to be great.. but I had to move things around to make it work right. If you say YES, the Desktop and Documents folders will be backed up in iCloud and available on all devices. Saying YES may also enable "Optimize Storage" without asking, which will delete files from your computer's drive if it gets too full. Check  ► System Settings... ► Internet Accounts ► iCloud ► Optimize Mac Storage to make sure. 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 Ventura, you can make some adjustments.

Customization

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.

Devices

Re-Installing Programming Tools

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.

  1. 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 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 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. Install the full Xcode package for Ventura 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  ► System Settings... ► General ► Software Update to install the command line tools. Next run Software Update to install them.

  3. 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 Ventura, 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.)

  4. MySQL: 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.

  5. MaxMind: 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.

  6. HTML Tidy: Get a universal binary from https://binaries.html-tidy.org/.

  7. Perl/CPAN: 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.

  8. Apache web server: Apache was installed with Ventura 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.

  9. Update Golang and Rust and any other development languages you use that are not installed by Homebrew.

Ventura Observations

 ► System Preferences... becomes  ► System Settings... and is redesigned and rearranged. There have been many complaints.

Apple Menu

Bugs and Surprises in Ventura

Problem: Contacts does not export some fields

The way Contacts exports records to Vcard format is different. Exporting no longer includes the 'related names' data such as 'spouse' and 'child'. This broke my address book maker.

Problem: Unified logs make Console useless

macOS changed the system logging machinery so that you can't find out why the system crashed or apps malfunctioned. Howard Oakley has built useful tools for searching the logs and a nice explanation of unified logs. You need to install new tools and learn how to write search expressions in Swift.

Bug: Wired Internet lost after sleep

After installing update 13.3.1, one Mac reports that internet is unavailable after overnight sleep. This machine is directly cabled to the router and has wired Internet and Wi-Fi enabled. Rebooting fixed it. Another machine with the same network setup fails the same way, sometimes. (Reported to Apple)

Bug: Screensaver sometimes Malfunctions on Dual Monitors in macOS 13.3.1

The screensaver sometimes works incorrectly on dual-monitor systems in update 13.3.1. In earlier versions, the screensaver images appeared on both monitors for Message and Photo Classic. In 13.3 they only appear on one monitor and may be incorrectly positioned. Some users of 13.4 Beta report that the bug is fixed.

Bug: Finder Launch Does Not Bring App to Front (sometimes)

Opening an app with e.g. open -a /Applications/Aquamacs.app file does not bring the Aquamacs window to the front. This happens with Preview as well. Launching Stickies from the Dock fails to come to the front sometimes. (Others have complained about this, and blamed Stage Manager changes: but I am not using Stage Manager.) (Reported to Apple) (Seems like sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, in 13.4.1. Seems to have been cured in 13.6.)

Surprise: Homebrew installs in /opt/local

The directory /usr/local/bin was migrated from my Big Sur, but reinstalling Homebrew installed everything in /opt/local/bin. I cleaned out /usr/local/bin and updated my PATH settings in my shell configuration. I also had to symlink to a few programs in /opt/local/bin from /usr/local/bin.

Surprise: Mail.app "follow up" feature is buggy

Mail.app on Ventura will decide that some mail you have sent did not get an answer, so it will put a reminder in your inbox saying "you should follow up on this."

But it doesn't work right. The feature is broken and useless. If the person sends an answer that is not a reply, or calls you, you get a Follow Up nag. Sometimes they reply by calling you or sending a text. You get nagged.

I recommend: on the Mac, go to Mail / Settings... / "enable message follow up" and uncheck it. (on iOS 16 on an iPhone, select Settings / Mail / Follow Up Suggestions and uncheck it).

Surprise: Mail.app search does appproximate match

Another surprising "feature" of Ventura Mail.app: if you search your mail archive for a string, Mail finds all the messages containing that string, and all the messages that have an approximate match. I was looking for mail from my friend Win Treese, and most of the found messages were ones that contained the string "trees". There seems to be no switch controlling this. (Reported to Apple)

Bug: rsync 3.2.7 hangs

I had a shell script that synced one Mac to another using rsync -avzu --blocking-io -e "ssh" (long list of --excludes) homedirname $user@$host:/Users and this worked beautifully for many years between 2 machines on local ethernet. I tried it from one Ventura machine to another Ventura machine. It transferred a few files and hung. The rsync I am using is rsync version 3.2.7 protocol version 31 installed by Homebrew, on both machines. I took out --blocking-io and whee, it went just fine.

Migration Surprise: Printer Duplexer not Recognized

I tried to print a mail message. Mail.app would not allow me to print double sided. (Perhaps Migration Assistant did not migrate this feature.) I deleted the printer in System Settings... / Printers & Scanners and re-added it: it worked.

Bug fixed: Microphone Volume Control now Works

On a fairly old MacBook Pro running Big Sur, the built-in microphone was inaudible in Zoom calls and the like, unless you opened the Dictation control panel and left it open. This annoying bug is now fixed.

Surprise: XCode Command Line Tools

I installed Xcode and things seemed OK, but it had not done any command line tools installs and I couldn't find those in Xcode menus. https://developer.apple.com/forums/thread/677124 suggested I try the Terminal command xcode-select --install, which printed the message xcode-select: note: install requested for command line developer tools. I then had to go into Software Update and install them.

When I did the install, it downloaded 2 updates, 1.41GB, and then said I had 2 updates to install. I did this 3 times. The article suggested I do sudo xcode-select --switch /Library/Developer/CommandLineTools so I tried that. Software Update still said I had 2 installs to do, so I did another install, still shows 2 updates pending. Doing /usr/bin/cc --version got Apple clang version 14.0.0 (clang-1400.0.29.202) Target: arm64-apple-darwin22.3.0 so I guess I have the right tools. Rebooted the machine and the pending updates notice disappeared.

(I saw something that said Homebrew actually installs the command line tools for you if they're not there.)

Gotcha: Apache Will Not Display Files in $HOME/Documents

In order to view web pages local to my computer, I got Apache running under Ventura by editing /etc/apache2/httpd.conf and doing sudo apachectl restart.

Then I decided to move my /www directory to below the Documents directory in my home directory, so that my web sites would be automatically backed up by iCloud Sync. I changed /etc/apache2/httpd.conf and replaced <Directory "/usr/local/WHERE/www"> by <Directory "/Users/myid/Documents/www">. It didn't work after sudo apachectl restart: the browser lacked access to the resource.

I found messages in /var/log/apache2/error_log that said file permissions deny server access: /Users/myid/Documents/www/multics/index.html. Checked to make sure all the directory permissions were 755. Still no success.

I searched the web and found that others had succeeded by granting Apache Full Disk Access. This was a little tricky. I had to open  ► System Settings... ► Privacy & Security ► Full Disk Access and enable /usr/sbin/httpd. To do that, I clicked on the little gray plus at the bottom of the program list, and then navigated the filebox to my hard drive name. Then I clicked on ⌘. to make hidden files visible in Finder, so I could see usr and sbin and click on httpd. Tried the web page on my computer again and it worked.

About ten minutes later it stopped working! The 755 mode on $HOME/Documents was reset to 700. Something in MacOS resets the permissions on my /Documents in a misguided attempt to be "secure." I gave in, and wrote a 120-line Perl program to shadow the Documents/www tree to another directory that Apache is allowed to see. That works: I used hardlinks on the files to avoid duplicating storage. Now I can edit HTML files and all is well, and I just have to run my shadow program before viewing locally. For about 32K files this takes 8 seconds.

I had moved my personal $HOME/bin directory to $HOME/Documents and made a symlink to it, so that my binary tools would be backed up in iCloud Sync. I am now unable to link bin for other accounts on the same computer to my account's bin. I will have to have two copies of the bin directory, one for iCloud Sync to back up, and one for other accounts to use.

I do not understand the reason for this crock. (Reported to Apple)

Surprise: Photos exports HEIC files as "JPEG" as opposed to "JPG"

I took photos on an iPhone and imported them into Photos.app on the Mac. TIt appeared to work fine. Then I needed to get JPG versions for a web page. I selected Export in Photos to do this. It gave me a choice of "JPEG", "TIFF", or "PNG". Unfortunately my tools all expected .jpg only. I wrote a shell script to rename .jpeg to .jpg. Seems to me that past imports from iPhone came back as JPG.

Features Removed From Ventura

Surprise: Preview no longer reads .ps files

Ventura's Preview no longer supports printing .ps files , grrr. I had to install ps2pdf from Homebrew (pstopdf did not work).

New Features and Changes in Ventura

Lots of new features. Here are a few that I am not using yet.

Can Use an iPhone

The "Continuity Camera" feature lets you use your iPhone camera and microphone for Messages, Zoom calls, etc instead of the builtin camera. Haven't tried this yet.

Rapid Security Response Fixes and Features

Apple can send out "Rapid Security Response" security patches that "deliver important security improvements between releases." Inside macOS, some security features are implemented by "Cryptexes", which are little immutable signed disk images, containing data and code. In particular, Safari and JavaScript are distributed this way. You can execute the Terminal command ls -l /System/Volumes/Preboot/Cryptexes/* to see files that were installed by RSR.

macOS 13.3 included many changes to /System/Volumes/Preboot/Cryptexes/OS/ including graphics drivers and frameworks.

More detail in a nice article by Howard Oakley on Cryptexes.

When a Rapid Security Response has been applied, a letter appears after the software version number, as in this example: macOS 13.3.1 (a). Apple's documentation for this feature is still incomplete: can you install RSR c and skip a and b?

In https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT207005, it says that RSRs will be installed automatically. I had enabled "Automatically install Security Responses and System files." The first RSR pushed to users, on 1 May 2023, applied to macOS 13.3.1. This update didn't download automatically -- I had to click "download" -- and it required me to click to restart the computer after installing.

On May 2, I opened  ► System Settings... ► General ► Software Update and it showed a box with "A Security Response is Available."

RSR available

I clicked on Apply Now and it downloaded and installed the update, and gave me a Restart button. They computer restarted and came back quickly and seems to work just fine.

A family member's machine was not so fortunate. I clicked Apply Now and the download thermometer started, and then got stuck. I waited a long time and it didn't move.

RSR progress bar, stuck

I clicked the little X next to the progress bar and the the download was canceled. I tried an hour later and the update worked.

What Did it Do?

I successfully installed the RSR. Apple has not published any Release Notes or explanation of what it fixed. Howard Oakley has published a note with his discoveries.

New Ventura Features I Am Not Using Yet

A new feature called "Stage Manager" lets you set up a window with applications related to a task. When you launch an app, other apps shrink down to an icon on the left of the window, and the new app gets "center stage." (Basically it is for people who cannot understand ⌘TAB.) There are many bugs reported in it. Mine is OFF.

A new feature called "Background Sounds" makes your Mac emit the sounds of rain, ocean, etc. (Sounds silly to me. I hope the cats don't figure out how to turn this on.)

Planning for the next version

The next macOS version, Sonoma, was released on September 26, 2023. 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.

Home | FAQ © 2010-2023, Tom Van Vleck updated 2023-12-13 10:31