OS X Mavericks problems that drive me nuts – how about you?

“OS X Mavericks has been out since October,” Peter Cohen writes for iMore. “Apple wanted to accelerate the uptake of their newest Mac operating system by offering a free update for anyone using Snow Leopard or higher. And millions of us have. Many for better, but some for worse.”

“Nothing is bug-free, and Mavericks is no exception,” Cohen writes. “But now that it’s been out in the world for a few months and already has a maintenance update under its belt, I find there are still some lingering problems that need addressing.”

“Despite already having been fixed once, OS X Mavericks’ Mail app is still a hot mess,” Cohen writes. “I think it’s fair to say that multi monitor support before Mavericks was crap, but I’m not altogether certain that Mavericks is a lot better.”

Much more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]


  1. No, no, no. This guy is writing total shit. I’m very happy with Mavericks. I have none of the problems he is reporting. I have no problems integrating OS X Mail with Gmail. I have no problems with Safari closing unexpectedly (never happened). I have no problems with Quick Look – I can preview a movie file (encoded in MPEG 4 or .mov), a document file, a photo by pressing the space key.

    Never had a single problem with skeuomorphism. I love the way OS X icons look in full 3-D gorgeousness. In fact they should have more skeuomorphism in iOS 7, not less. We don’t want shitty iOS 7 flat icons to infect OS X.

    The power button is a minor gripe. I’ve gotten used to it by now. I can put the computer to sleep by a variety of means – pushing the power button briefly, closing the lid or invoking the Apple logo on the menu bar. I have long since learned to long press the power button to shut down.

    I don’t have any audio drop outs on my MBP. Nothing. I play music through AirPlay all day long through external speakers in the office (Bluetooth enabled) or at home (directly through Apple TV with SPDIF optical output to an expensive amplifier connected to a pair of speakers – proper audiophile quality speakers not computer speakers so I can hear every sound).

    I have yet to encounter smoother scrolling than in Mavericks and I have had Snow Leopard, Lion, Mountain Lion and Mavericks on the same MBP that I’m using so I have a basis of comparison. Scrolling on Mavericks is buttery smooth.

    In short, this guy is talking a load of shit.

    1. That you are not experiencing these problems, doesn’t mean the writer is not. For me, Mavericks has been a near complete disaster. Even with new, clean installations I continue to have problems with many, many things in Mavericks.

      1. Forgive me if I am skeptical of your post, but my Mavericks upgrade was the smoothest of any Mac OS upgrade that I have ever done. (I have been a Mac user since System 7.)

        I love Mavericks!

        1. The battery life thing is pretty incredible – my 5-year-old Unibody MacBook got a definite boost in battery life with Mavericks. I wish I could say it’s snappier than Snow Leopard or Mountain Lion, but overall Mavericks runs well on such an old machine (2.4GHz Core 2 Duo with 4GB RAM).

      1. It may not be Mavericks. At work here we are on Mountain Lion, and I do have infrequent issues with Mail not bringing in my new messages promptly but unlike what Cohen said you don’t have to Quit the app, just go click on the InBox (or Drafts or whatever is odd) then in the menu choose Mailbox > Rebuild (very last choice at the bottom). The whole mail window goes blank—but don’t panic! After a few seconds it refills with your mail plus any new mail that should have been there. I’m still not convinced that in my case, the business’s Microsloth Exchange garbage and servers aren’t the cause.
        I keep a lot in my Drafts folder and 2 days ago, went to use one and it was like they were all gone! I freaked first, but then did the rebuild and all reappeared. Whew!

    2. I’m BLN on this one. Mavericks has been a great and painless upgrade for me. I haven’t used Mail in years (I like Postbox) so I haven’t even had issues with my email. Otherwise, improvements in scrolling and huge improvements in battery life alone are worth the upgrade.

    3. Also with BLN – don’t see any of these issues either. Mavericks has been good right from the start, on my MBP battery life is just amazing. On my work iMac it’s great too – maybe the writer needs to do a complete wipe / reload but in 20 years or so with Macs I have never had to do this yet.

      1. Looking around the other comments on this feed it seems odd that there are 2 camps – camp 1 where everything works really great and camp 2 where there are loads of issues.
        Given that Mavericks is presumably the same on these computers (everyone using the latest update?) leads me to think that some of you should try running Disk Utility and see what issues are thrown up by Verify Disk or Verify Disk Permissions.

        The only issue I have had with Mavericks is where drag and drop stopped working in the finder recently but a simple re-boot fixed that! As for Mail, I use an Automator App to vacuum the indexes every now and again and this keeps Mail working as fast as it always did but I never see the issues with Mail reported here, and this is across 5 machines all running Mavericks.

        1. Here’s my take. I installed Mavericks on my MacBook with 2 GB of RAM. It had already been a bit slow and Mavericks didn’t speed it up. I used the system monitor to see what was going on. I found that I was almost ALWAYS using all 2 GB, and that I had a lot of disk activity. I upgraded to 8 GB of RAM and re-examined the system. I am now using about 3 GB of RAM all the time, and my disk activity is minimal. I believe that the prior situation was caused by the system constantly using the swap file on the disk because it was short of memory. This slowed everything down and caused the system to have to wait occasionally. I’d highly recommend checking system performance with the system monitor if you’re having issues. If you are having issues a memory upgrade might be in order. Crucial will sell you an 8 GB upgrade for under $100.

    4. I don’t have any of the problems listed either. I don’t use Gmail (don’t care for web email interfaces) so I can’t comments on that. And I don’t use multiple monitors. The only real complaints I have relative to Apple software lately is iBooks (Mac) and iTunes 11. IBooks is just awful – none of the PDF titles you put on your stuff transfer to the Mac iBooks. All you get is the cryptic file names. And you when you drag a book out onto the desktop and put a new file name on it, then drag it back in, it still uses the cryptic name it has buried in the document. iTunes 10.7 was great, v11 has no multiple windows, and the search tool has been ruined. You can’t run iTunes 10.7 under Mavericks, so I’m stuck with 11. v11 is required to sync an iPhone 5s to the Mac in iTunes.

    5. Using the power button with a long press to do a Shut Down should be your LAST resort when all else is not responsive, not your every day turn off method! Not good. That is a hard shut down, not one organized by the computer being told to gracefully quit processes going on. You should always use the menu to choose Shut Down or choose Shut Down on the Log In screen.

    6. +3000

      No problems whatsoever on my Mavericks MBP at work and also zero on my MBA at home. The only time either have been restarted is when I have deliberately chosen to let the battery go dead to cycle it or when installing an update that requires it.

    7. As much as I find Mavericks problematic in the extreme at times, it’s typical to b*tch about a new operating system. That’s childish. Despite my opine that Mountain Lion was the iceberg and Mavericks the forward watertight bulkheads giving way all at once wh. doomed MGY, so Mac is getting awfully wet and awfully cold, NEVER would I consider for a moment or any amount of dosh (well…) going back to Windows.

  2. I have to agree about the Mail app in Mavericks. The Junk mail filter function is still completely broken. It even puts mail from people that I have marked as VIPs into the Junk folder.

    I have tried everything I can to train it properly again, but it is just really broken. I’ve had to turn the Junk feature off completely.

    Other than that, Mavericks has been great.

    1. That’s weird, my junk filter actually started working correctly with Mavericks. My issue is that Mail and Safari take a long time to open now and I get the darn beach ball a lot. But once they open they’re okay, and iTunes opens much faster. It’s strange how people can have such disparate results with software upgrades.

      1. Yeah, it really seems to be all over the place when it comes to people’s issues with Mail in Mavericks. I haven’t had any of the other common issues, start up and shut down times have been quick, and no beach balls.

        I forgot that Mail also completely destroyed all of my rules initially, and they wouldn’t work, but I just removed them all and recreated them and it was fine.

        I’ve talked to several other people that are having the Junk filter issue, and none of us have been able to come up with a solution yet.

  3. Also many times in any open or save dialog boxes many folders take several seconds to show that there are any files in them. once it populates the next time it is ok until restart – then it is back. He is correct about the networking problem as it is hit or miss to connect to other macs on my network (of all macs) even with airdrop. about 50% of the time it will connect.

    1. I thought so too, but have clean installed to zeroed disks, on two computers, several times now. Still with a ridiculous amount of problems. The clean installations helped, but still so many issues: Voyager Q, from OWC, fire wire drives don’t sleep, esata cards without Apple drivers in Mavericks so aren’t recognized, OWC says Apple must fix, iBooks duplicates and not syncing right with iOS devices, but then neither is Podcasts, Notes sometimes, or playlists sometimes. Contacts seems to work. And the list goes on and on and on…

      WebKit causes crashes constantly. Also, a lot of third party Apps that claimed to be Mavericks ready were not. This is evidenced by all of their updates after Mavericks released even though they were supposed to be ready. Some of these were surely causing some issues and in general, things have improved overall, but I still am experiencing way too many problems and Apple is taking too long to fix. For those of you not having problems, great, good for you! The rest of us aren’t just making this stuff up, though…

  4. Sadly, I have to agree. I’ve had a Mac since 1984 and I’m baffled as to why both IOS 7 and Mavericks were released unfinished. Retina mid 2012. 15″. The background is full of checkerboard when it wakes up, a sleep and wake up fix it. Don’t go there with mail – it’s unusable. Reported this on the developer site, no response yet. Just dreadful. Where are the updates to this?

  5. It’s funny, but this is the first version of Apple’s Mail that I’ve actually used as my primary email client after using Eudora, Entourage and Outlook for many many years. I get thousands of emails a day from numerous accounts… Exchange/Gmail/POP/IMAP/etc… I’m actually really loving Apple’s Mail in Mavericks.

    1. My biggest gripe with Mail is that rules are not synced with my iPhone, iPad.

      So, if I read a message on my iPad, the rule isn’t invoked when I go back to my Mac. “Apply rules” is the next thing to execute.

      Secondly, the read/unread mark does not update automatically in conversations. So have to manually select that.

      Third…why are we still stuck with 1960’s style email?!!! Why can’t we have real conversations by subject or tags. I have conversations with hundreds of people on email. Yes, the conversations view is improving, but I still find myself hunting the Sent folder.

      Also, why is there only one sent folder?! I can use rules (sort of) to move sent mail to other mailboxes, but the views are “received” not “sent”.

      This whole “email” thing just needs to be re-thought.

      1. Re Conversation: Try going to the menu, View > View by Conversation, which if you use this a lot, can easily be toggled on and off if you go into View > Customize Toolbar > put the Conversation icon up in your tool bar then it’s easy access to clump and read by conversations.

        When you have the InBox open, click on the thin Subject bar, and they’ll list by Subject. You can also create Smart Mailboxes (Mailboxe > New Smart Mailbox or Folder) using the Subject as a criteria to sort and it will do it for you.

  6. The only think I agree with him on is MAIL…not up to snuff, suffered greatly in reliability since Mtn Lion.

    The BIG thing he missed is that FINDER doesn’t work well at all…10-40 second waits to see what is in a folder.

    Other than that, Mavericks is great….though I’m getting VERY impatient for an update that fixes these two things… To me they are important enough to make me think about some other OS….

  7. Two big issues with me.
    1. I want and opaque dark colored background for the side dock. The current one is so light-colored that it obliterates the application on light next to the applications icons.

    2. On my oldest Macintosh, after a clean install plus a number of other things Apple’s helpline had me do, it still freezes up for 10, 20, even 60 seconds sometimes. Not even a pinwheel of death. Meanwhile, the hard drive’s input and output graphs are going wild.

    1. On #2, get more actual memory. Your computer is using hard drive swap memory, which slows it down. And make sure you have at least 20% free space on your hard drive. My MacBook was using all 2 GB of RAM with Mavericks, and I was getting periodic waits. I upgraded to 8GB and now I see that it’s consistently using around 3 GB of RAM, and no longer doing massive swapping to the hard drive.

      1. 4 gigs, in the iMac (same as my other two MacBooks which don’t suffer that) . Currently 274,000 page in vs 11,858 page outs. Hmmm maybe the macBook’s SSD’s disguise the problem.

  8. I have been around on Mac since 1988. I have to honestly say that I believe Snow Leopard was the high point. On all of the later iterations, I believe that Apple is trying to go a bridge, or several bridges too far, trying to do far too much, possibly beginning (in my mind) with the implementation of convergence with iOS. They are just asking the OS to do too much, to keep track of too many things at once, and I don’t think there is any way they could have anticipated all of the ins and outs of that when the OS is operating in the wild.
    Always, always go for the simplest solution that will work well. I would go back to Snow Leopard, but I can’t because of some apps that I need in order to stay on the bleeding edge because of their “upgrades” for Lion/Mountain Lion/Mavericks. It has some good things, tabbed windows, and I really like Tags. But there are things like the Dock that mysteriously moves itself to the left side from the bottom every couple of weeks, very long list of small things like that that I just live with. And the Sleep function has never worked correctly ever since OSX came out 10 years ago. And thats across 4 different machines. I just automatically use Shut Down, because that is reliable. Someone, think it was the head of engineering at GM said: “the price of features is trouble” and I have to agree in many cases. OSX and iOS are very different tools with very different functions and users, and the differences need to be kept where appropriate with a bias toward less rather than more “convergence” Just my opinion, but I use OSX and iOS as business tools and my needs are different than entertainment consumers. No apology

    1. Everyone is entitles to an opinion but my experience, FWIW, of Snow Leopard was not great. Never actually lost any files, mind, but there was a random kernel panic thing I couldn’t shake off. Certainly a lot more trouble than Mavs which has been none at all. Sleep works without a hitch and the Dock doesn’t move unless I tell it to.

  9. Apple used to be the Toyota of the computer industry (the products just worked, unfortunately this is no longer the case.)

    The big difference between Apple with a healthy Steve Jobs and Apple without Steve Jobs is that Jobs used and tested the products before they were released. Tim Cook trusts the managers to test their own products.

    Apple needs to implement testers to verify that promised features work as promised. Currently products are being released with all sorts of issues.

    For example Preview:


    Compressor & iMovie

    The new Compressor and iMovie have all sorts of instability (read the newest reviews).

    1. “The big difference between Apple with a healthy Steve Jobs and Apple without Steve Jobs is that Jobs used and tested the products before they were released. ”

      I have wondered about exactly what you say. I think you may be right. He was arrogant, but I think he “worked the details”

      Good teams are made of up of good individuals, but teams won’t make up for weak individuals, groups of inadequate individuals make for REALLY bad teams, not saying Apple is that at all, they are still the best, but in danger of not remaining the best.

      1. As a default ‘Type A’ personality myself (not hard to spot), I’ve seen the word ‘arrogant’ bandied about quite a lot when describing insistently productive people, those who demand the closest thing to perfection possible. More laid back and more relational people find that odd, if not insulting and ‘arrogant’. BUT it is the Steve Jobs people who get things done, and done beautifully well. That’s NOT ‘arrogant’ behavior. That’s hard core LEADERSHIP behavior. Sometimes it can indeed be maniacal and obsessive. But when the results are top notch quality, please STFU and appreciate having such a leader who knows how to make the most of the resources of the system they lead.

        And yes, knowing how to be nice and persuasive, versus being bulldozer, is a wonderful and desirable fine art. But it’s also very rare.

          1. Thanks. I am no expert on psychology. What I’ve learned I have been forced to learn for the sake of personal survival and learning how to help other people.

            One person who taught me a lot was this guy:


            I sat in on a somewhat prototype rendition of Tony Alessandra’s ‘Platinum Rule’. He has been continually polishing and embellishing his concepts. But even as a sort of guinea pig of his early work, he taught me some fundamentals that I use every day.

            Studying the work of Carl Jung and the related Myers-Briggs personality system is also very insightful.

    2. Yeah, Preview. Most people don’t have any problems with it but many people do, as you can see by the link to the discussion (one of many) that O.T. posted. These problems have been ongoing since 10.9.0 several months ago and I cannot for the life of me understand why it hasn’t been addressed (can’t scroll pdfs in Preview).

      My other irritation with Mav is the responsiveness of the Finder, especially when you’re trying to select one or more files in a window while some other process is adding to or updating files in that window. It’s like playing the game “whack-a-mole” because your window shifts its position just at the time you’re about to click something. Didn’t use to be this way and it’s annoying as hell.

  10. Read the headline and wondered what were the author’s gripes. Still wondering. Mavs has been near perfect for me. Just iBooks needs a bit of an upgrade (any reason it shouldn’t be able to view Mobi files, e.g.? I have to convert to ePub that butt-ugly Calibre).

  11. Mavericks has been a POS for me and I won’t even consider touching their next OS.
    The initial upgrade turned a well running computer into a total mess. It is a 2012 Mac Mini with the 2.66Ghz i7 and 16GB of memory. Even after doing a format and clean install it still runs slow and also broke many things that used to work well. I have a couple Internet Accounts in System Properties that are showing disabled and won’t accept input to fix them. I ended up with two sets of iCloud contacts and had to delete all to get it back to one set. Fortunately I had an iPod Classic that has no connection to iCloud, and a recent copy of my Contacts data. I used DiskAid to copy them to the Mac Mini and import them back. I may take this computer to the Apple Store and see if they can fix what the install broke.

  12. For the very first time since a decade I sticked with the previous iteration of OSX, Mountain Lion, on my main working machine, just to be on the safe side with InDesign CS6, with Mail, with many other apps. Only on my MacBooks I run Mavericks, but thats just for entertainment mostly. I guess I was right this time.

  13. 99% of Mavericks runs great for me.

    That 1% has annoyed the Hell out of me..
    But 10.9.1 has fixed almost everything that was “bad” for me in 10.9.0

    Finder and Time Machine were my big issues. Finder seems to be stable now.. TM was an absolute mess even after 10.9.1 came out.. TM would fail and Finder would crash the entire iMac soon after. (IMO it was related, so probably a single issue)
    The only way to get the iMac back up and running fine was to hold the power button in and force a restart.. Finder would hang, and any restart/shutdown would result in showing me the grey screen forever. Nothing I tried fixed TM from crashing.. tried every idea Apple Genius’ had, every idea on the Apple discussions and MR.. everything failed after a day or two. 10.9.1 hits.. went from a daily crash to a crash every 3-4 days.

    what fixed it?
    my TM drive is connected via firewire.. unplugged it, plugged in via USB instead.. ran all the repair disk/permissions again for the heck of it.. no problems. Rebooted mac (it actually worked..) iMac comes up and was 100% stable for 5 days with the TM drive on Usb.. Odd. Swapped back to FW, TM has yet to fail.. no clue why, but it works.

    I had ZERO issues with Mavericks on my MBP.. this was only on my iMac.
    the MBP was a clean install, the iMac was not..

    Still mad that my swipe left/right doesn’t work in finder anymore.. I know a 3rd party app can restore it, but i’m hoping apple will re add it at some point.

    Beyond that, 10.9 is great.
    (Safari gives me a beach ball from time to time.. but it’s minor)

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