Mac OS High Sierra Issues


Since Apple released their new operating system for the Mac I've been keeping an eye on it, making sure there were no crazy bugs and glitches that can cause all manner of headaches for a design and photography studio Mac upgrade.

Last week I finally decided to dive in and upgrade, having fully ensured everything was fully backed up of course. So far so good I thought, nothing seemed to be broken and in general the OS seemed to run as smooth as before while seemingly managing to save some hard drive space too.

Then came the feared and inevitable issue... With every new Mac or even iOS update these days there seems to be a bug or change of feature functionality that causes problems, a required change in workflow or complete headaches and with High Sierra I'm afraid to say it was no different. Apple's quality control seems to have taken some serious steps backwards in recent years. With a previous update of Mac OS, possibly Sierra or El Capitan I remember Photoshop being made completely unusable, all due to the OS deciding that it would by default enable the FileVault option in the system settings without any notification. For some reason this caused Photoshop to stutter, lag and generally be unusable until it was switched off!

So, while I thought I managed to dodge a bullet with High Sierra, I obviously spoke too soon. Now I will say that although this bug is something that was super annoying and no doubt changed for some user experience improvement reason, it hasn't had the complete destruction of studio workflow that the previously mentioned crippling Photoshop bug did.

  Keyboard media buttons affected by the High Sierra   update

Keyboard media buttons affected by the High Sierra update

While using any app other than iTunes, Safari for example, the keyboard media controls that allow you to play, pause or change iTunes tracks would actually control the media in the Safari window you were last using instead. So if you started watching a Youtube or Vimeo hosted video on a website for example and wanted to pause the music you were playing in iTunes you'd need to manually go to the iTunes window to do that instead of just pushing the buttons on the keyboard. It doesn't sound like too much of a big deal, just a change in how you use the Mac, but when you're used to simply being able to use the media buttons on the keyboard to change or pause a song when the phone rings for example it can really be annoying and definitely not the 'it just works' user friendly experience I expect from an Apple product!

Thankfully, the internet provided a couple of solutions. The first seemed to work well to begin with but not for long in my case and the issue quickly returned. It seems to have worked for some people though so if you do want to try this solution first you can do so by restarting the Mac in 'Safe Mode' by following these steps:

1. Restart the Macintosh. Press and hold the Shift key immediately after you hear the startup tone.

2. Release the Shift key when the Apple logo appears. Safe Boot appears on the Mac OS X startup screen.

This clears the caches supposedly affected by the issue. You then restart the Mac as normal to reset the system.

The solution that I went with is admittedly a bit more of a workaround until Apple notices or fixes this issue, but has so far worked perfectly for me. It involves installing this small app called 'High Sierra Media Keys Enabler' and according to the developer works with physical buttons (not the touch bar enabled MacBook Pro) affected by this update. You can download the app here.