OS X Yosemite review: 6 months later

“Time flies: It’s been six months since OS X Yosemite’s launch,” Serenity Caldwell writes for iMore.

“First, we wrote the original gigantic review,” Caldwell writes. “Then, we got together and chatted about the operating system three months later.”

Caldwell writes, “Now, six months after the release of OS X 10.10, the iMore team is back at it to talk once more about Apple’s national-park-named operating system.”

Yosemite is the first version of OS X for me where it’s almost painful to go back to an older version based on looks alone. — Rene Ritchie

Read more in the full article here.

120 Comments

  1. The “review” reads like feeding time for Jony Ive’s ego. The UI is just as cartoonish as iOS, it feels like a beta, not a finished product, and Safari and Mail are buggy. I can’t believe that the “out of application memory error” caused by Mail’s memory leak didn’t get fixed between versions. It’s just an ugly Mavericks with a few extra features. Apple should issue operating systems less frequently. They are spending so much time thrashing the versions that they aren’t fixing the bugs.

    1. Jony Ive’s ego doesn’t need any more feeding, it’s already the size of a planet. He, along with the idiot who put him in charge of interface design, need to leave Apple before they do more damage.

        1. Just a thought to all those in such pain here. Windows 8.0 and 8.1

          If it has problems I say to say something. But if it’s all that horrible. Consider Windows.
          And gmail or yahoo for mail.
          I have to use Win 7 at work. On the road I get to use the Mac. Way less problems.

          Just saying

          1. I’ve used Windows since v2.0 and have always had a copy running on Parallels since the Mac went to Intel processors until 8.x. No matter how bad OS X gets, it could never reach the heights of rottenness Win 8.x has reached. We’re talking bottle rocket vs Lunar Landing!

            1. This is true. However, I don’t expect anything out of M$. Apple, I do, because at one time they made insanely great products. There is a unique and discomforting pain watching those who paint masterpieces resort to painting billboards.

            2. I agree. The discontinuation of quad core Mac minis, the prevalence of soldered RAM, a soldered SSD in their latest computer and not a single expansion slot in the entire Mac line do not bode well for the future of the Mac, and that’s just on the hardware side.

            3. With today’s high-speed ports the need for old school internal expansion slots is obsolete. For those very rare circumstances you can get an external chassis.

            4. But then you have the added expense of an expansion chassis plus the not so insignificant cost of a thunderbolt cable, when you could just have plugged in the card.

              Steve jobs was able to keep Jony Ive under control, Tim Cook doesn’t seem to be able to do that.

            5. You haven’t made it clearer. Still no reason to build an internal expansion system if it is rarely needed when high-speed ports are now standard. A good chassis will include the cable.

          2. The Apple world should never be one where you are either with it or against, anyway.

            I am a Graphic Artist and I have been working with Macs for long enough and I can’t speak for all designers but the interface design Apple is showing now is not something to be really proud of from an artistic point of view. The Finder interface on Mac OS X is notable for being very shy and overly lean, trying to compensate the elimination of graphic elements by being excessively clean and allow you to work with efficiency. Not a bad OS design for an engineer or a technical person (no offence) but far away from being artistic.

            I just opened Photos today and it is another example of an oversimplified design. Very shy and polite, and not in a positive way. The excesive white Apple is using for backgrounds is to hard and displeasing for my eyes, and I could even argue that is waisting to much energy. There is no graphic design at all, just basic layout.

            But to say that because complains on this level I should go to Windows only is silly. I already have a Windows 7 machine and I use it whenever I need it, so it is not a matter of Windows PCs versus Macs. I still consider the Mac to be more pleasing to use everyday than the PC and for many personal things it is more efficient.

    2. Yosemite seems buggy as hell to me. I often have to restart. I get hangs on operating system updates, and the UI in some areas sucks. Over a decade of OS X, and it’s not really any smarter.

      They really need to rethink the operating system big time, and that goes for iOS as well. Don’t even get me started on Mail and Safari and Calendar. God they need to really change the way these things work. They’re old and tired.

      1. Pro-tip: when a system update “hangs” it actually still working, it’s just taking ages for some reason. Don’t ever restart during one of these “hangs” or you’ll hose your OS X installation and turn it into an unstable bugfest. If it boots at all.

        Also, if your Mac’s acting strange reset your SMC and NVRAM. It’ll fix things you wouldn’t expect it to. For example it fixed a memory leak in WindowServer on my MBP somehow(!?).

        1. Guest:

          No, incorrect. You made a false assumption. I don’t restart when it’s downloading and updating and restarting. The last update, for instance, it did all of the updates and restarted then hung going through the “iCloud, Setup your Mac” wizard. I had to restart and mess around about 4 times to get through it.

          On a previous update, it just didn’t want to start back up into the desktop. I had to restart a few times and the restart was very long.

          1. I’ve never had good luck with Time Machine. I’ve been giving it another chance and it lasted 2.5 months before failing. Try reformatting the disk, that’s what Apple tech support told me to try. For a reliable backup I use SuperDuper and keep multiple bootable backups. (I’m a sucker for a good deal on a 1TB external HDD)

            1. I’ve used Time Machine as much primary backup mechanism ever since it was added as a feature, and the only problem I’ve ever had was due to a failing disk.

              Replaced the disk (over a year ago) and it’s right back to humming along perfectly ever since.

              I also do a periodic clone (6 months or so) of my internal drive to an external, juuuust in case, but have never had to use it.

              Don’t know if I’ve just been lucky (for 6 or 7 years??), or if you’re doing something I’m not doing that’s causing the problems.

            2. Been using Time Machine since day one. The problem seems to be that the ability to resolve disk issues has gotten worse. Airport Utility pre-v6 had extra tools and you could check SMART status. Now with v6 it has been dumbed down even further. All you can find out how to do is Erase Disk. Even Apple phone support says nothing can be done. So removing the disk and fixing it yourself is your only option. If this process could be improved (or the system was more robust and fix issues itself) then I think it would be much more useful.

              I’m going to move to an external USB disk (maybe even a RAID) attached to the base station to use for Time Machine. That should be much more stable and give me more options in case a disk starts to have issues.

            3. I used to use Time machine with a Time Capsule but now I’m running it locally on a USB port and I’m seeing the same problems. I first tried running Disk Warrior on the drive but ran out of memory (I’ve got 16 GB), I then ran disk utility which found no errors and then ran a surface scan which reported no errors. I started up Time Machine again and it ran for a few hours and then stopped with no error message. I then turned Time Machine off and on again, verbally abused the drive and it’s been running fine ever since (about a day so that’s not saying much).

              As a side note, I upgraded to the latest version of Disk Warrior which is now 64-bit, comes on a flash drive and most excitingly, will install on your recovery partition! Woo Hoo!

        1. For the first time since OS 6 or 7 I think it was I really worry about updating on my main Mac. Indeed I am even finding on recent updates on Mountain Lion Safari has started to freeze with more than a few tabs open unexpedly and needs to be re opened to clear things and seems to have lost all ability to retain sign in info between sessions. And my iPad still drops wifi though less so of late, there just seems no logic to some of these things as and when they occur. Doesn’t inspire confidence.

        2. Wow! I never thought I would see so much negativity toward Apple on this site. I was starting to think this was a Apple FanBoy Site only. Thanks for restoring my opinion of you guys and gals.

          1. Who better to criticize Apple than the people who use their products? Fanboys tend to newish users and are easily offended. I recall being an Apple II user and resenting the Mac for taking resources away from the II. At that point I was using PCs at work and an Apple IIgs at home and couldn’t believe how much better the computing experience was on an Apple than a PC. I may bitch about Apple but getting anything other than a Mac would be anathema.

            We complain because we love.

    3. Much as I like René Richie, I have both 10.9.5 and 10.10.3 on my MBP. Guess which one I use for work? 10.9.5.

      I’ve never avoided an OS X update like I’ve avoided Yosemite. I don’t get what the lousy aspects of its changes are about at all. I’d absolutely enjoy a GUI face life, new features…. Yosemite ain’t it. I put up with it. That’s the best I can say about it. Apple bet on a lame dog. 😛

      1. Derek, I think it is time Apple considered opening up a new Preference panel “Pro” settings choices for the sophisticated Mac user that lets them tweak a lot more of the choices involved in the Mac OS easily rather than with hacks.

        Moving the OS forward as rapidly as Apple has done in Yosemite has obviously resulted in too many “quirks” & that is not doing Apple’s customers any favors at all.

        1. Sign me up. First one would be to put scroll bars and arrows back. You have no idea how bad it is to navigate a large Excel file with thin scroll bars and no arrows. Just try to move one row at a time using your fingers on the track pad.

          Second would be the cartoon colors. I’m paying how much for a retina display that can show beautiful shading and detail but Apple reverts back to solid bright colors that look the same on a 10 year old display??

          1. Just run OnyX, Great Free tool, and it alway’s works great for me. add scroll bars and tweak the finder etc. and arrow. BTW putting scroll bars is in the system preferences, just off by default. General, Show Scroll Bars, check Alway’s.

            I gave up on disk warrior. NOW they want more money for the latest upgrade. I’m not cheap, it just never impressed me. Or I didn’t think it was worth the money.

            I never have any problems you guys’s are talking about. Time Machine never fails on me. Wifi alway’s connects. I am getting used to the finder. The only thing that pisses me off is the finder. I thing it needs more help than anything. I’ve read everything on opening finder window in the same place and size as they were before, just can’t keep them that way. Finder sucks.

            1. The Finder UPGRADE for users who manage multiple disks, partitions, projects and such is already here: Path Finder by CocoaTech.com

              The developer does a good job of keeping PathFinder updated for new OSX versions. I’ve never had a problem with PathFinder myself

              I run keep the Finder active, too, as there are times I want to quickly get to one single item.

      2. [I’m not including any links in this reply as WordPress is bouncing this message when I do.]

        I was hoping Flavours 2.0 would be finished by now. But we’ve heard nothing new since last September. I considered it the best chance to un-kindergarten Yosemite.

        The other option is YosemiteRevert. Except so far, it doesn’t address a couple of what I consider the most annoying failings of Yosemite’s GUI. I’ve written the developer about it. Here is his kind reply:

        Hi DerekCurrie,
        I’m not sure that restoring title bars is something that we can do. We probably will if we can.
        The good news is, reverting the red, yellow and green “traffic light” icons is slated for YosemiteRevert 2.0!

        So keep an eye out for YosemiteRevert 2!

    4. I don’t get all the hate for Yosemite.

      I’m very picky on usability and I’ve seen Apple dozens of feedback suggestions, (over half of which have been implemented), and I don’t have any real problems with Yosemite.

      Safari did seem to crash more often after I first installed it, but that seems to have been resolved and I’ve had few other problems (I work 8 hours a day on my Mac, BTW).

      For the “cartoonish” comments, that’s aesthetics, which is personal taste, but for all the “bug” complaints, I’m not seeing it as much – if any – worse than previous iterations.

      Music-related apps are the biggest area where usability has gone to sh*t.

      I absolutely despise the iTunes remake (huge step backwards IMO), and the corresponding “Music” app on iOS also took a huge step backwards in usability (I think with iOS 7).

      iTunes Match also pisses me off. My iPhone 6 is provided by work, and they only offered 16GB. I have a 140GB (legally purchased) music library, so that’s not exactly enough (my old personal phone was an iPhone 4S 64GB so this has been painful).

      I love the idea of iTunes Match, but the implementation is idiotic. I should still be able to specify playlists to be sync’d to my iPhone that will “stick”….but then still be able to access the *rest* of my library via iTunes Match. Doesn’t work that way….it’s “stream everything” or “stream nothing”. Idiotic.

      It’s a big, stupid waste of data plan usage, and super annoying if you’re going on a trip where you won’t have cellular for long stretches. Sitting on the plan for that 9-hour flight to Europe, go to listen to a CD you just bought and….oh, too bad!!! It also doesn’t properly manage data storage…I’ll get “no room to take a photo” but there’s 4GB of music listed under Usage. WTF?? Shouldn’t iTunes Match have automatically removed some music as needed???

      Essentially, with iTunes Match you have ZERO control over what’s accessible when you don’t have cellular, and that’s idiotic. I’m retiring in a couple of years, and the instant I get my own personal iPhone again ( (128GB, of course), iTunes Match will go away. Too bad….it’s a nice idea in principle and even with 128GB, I’d probably still subscribe if it worked “properly.”

          1. I was pointing out your irony. You started with “I don’t get all the hate” then proceeded to point out your own issues just like everyone else has done. Not sure why your hate is better.

    1. I hear that iOS 9 is in for a major rewrite, à la Snow Leopard, so that’s good news if it’s true, but I think OS X can use the same attention, it’s been about six years since Snow Leopard came out.

  2. My comment from iMore: Six months in and I still detest Yosemite. Memory management is still horrible, the mail app’s junk mail filtering still doesn’t work, the flattened look is still ugly as sin and iTunes only gets worse with every iteration. Continuity is cool except when my computer keeps ringing long after I’ve answered the phone. The only, and I mean only, really useful feature of Yosemite is Mail Drop. I’ve had more kernel panics in the past six months than in all the years I’ve been using OS X and I’ve been using Macs since system 7. I see Yosemite as a perfect example of why operating systems should not be put on a yearly schedule and should only be released when they’re ready. I’ve been beta testing Yosemite since last summer and it still feels like a beta version.

    1. I’m not having all of the issues you are having but I feel your pain. Networking issues from Mavericks have gotten worse. Memory management is still a big issue. Looking forward to OS X tightening up this year.

        1. Yeah, I’m probably being hopeful due to the iOS news. I’m just hoping the iOS thinking is the new thinking in general about quality. Sometimes it feels like a company starts doing too much and quality starts to go down. Not saying that is happening but sometimes it feels like it.

          1. Thanks everyone for admitting what I’ve been saying for years.

            Cook has 100% of his attention on iOS and fashion, while OS X quality lags. The last 4 years have been steady downhill in OS X and Apple OS X apps quality, interface, stability, and usability.

            Where exactly does anyone get the hope that current Apple leadership is planning to fix their ways? The most recent app release, Photos, only underscores how badly Apple understands its customers. A few more whiffs of Ive’s shitty software and the entire professional community will be rallying around the idea of a new version of Linux or something else that delivers performance and intuitive operation. Apple’s software team has lost its way.

      1. I absolutely agree with all of the “negativity” in these comments because Yosemite deserves. I did have pleasant suprise with the 10.10.3 update. My biggest problems with Yosemite had been the network-related problems. I don’t have time to go into a lot of detail, but, much to my surprise, about 75% of my Yosemite network problems seem to have been fixed in 10.10.3.

    2. I don’t have any of those issues, maybe when you upgraded from beta some relics got left behind. Either that or your hardware is archaic. Either way, try a clean wipe and fresh install before inevitably buying a new Mac.

      1. A little presumptuous but if the hardware is supported and so are upgrades from beta then it should work without the Windows-standard-d-n-r. Though unfortunately as a last resort you are probably right.

        1. There you go. With Mavericks I had to logout/in every couple days and now with Yosemite it’s now a reboot every couple days. Hoping 10.10.3 proves to be a little better. It doesn’t sound like a clean install will help me either.

      1. Apple users are allowed to criticize Apple, we’re the one’s having the problems. Heck, I’ve called Apple tech support so many times I have my Mac’s serial number memorized. Still wouldn’t trade it for any other platform.

    1. That’s what I’m wondering. I haven’t had any problems. I restart my MacBook Pro every 3 or 4 weeks, depending on whether Safari chokes. And that’s only because I perpetually have multiple windows and tabs open simultaneously.

      As far as memory issues go, I always have Activity Monitor running and watch it for whatever problem might pop up.

      I’m a happy user, FWIW, YMMV, etc…

    2. What is going on here? Do you read MDN very much? IF you do, then you know that this is not a fanboi board, but it’s a place where people expect the best out of Apple and lambast them when they’re given dog turds instead of a steak; and this is because Apple is capable of creating steaks and has done so up until very recently.

  3. I don’t quite get the point of at least half of the complaints above, if only because they’re subjective. I think Yosemite looks great, though I have been having issues with graphics stability that is a bit disconcerting.

    And unlike liking or not liking an interface, there’s no subjectivity involved in that my iMac becomes unusable until a reboot (or three, at least today).

    It goes without saying that I have been reporting it to Apple.

      1. And in reference to the ‘beauty’ part of your statement, that’s an opinion because beauty is, of course, relative. In my case, I have no problem with the way Yosemite looks, but it’s its functioning which bothers me, which is (in my experience) inconsistent. Though even if I didn’t like its looks, they would be trumped by whether or not it worked as well as it should.

    1. Agreed! Except Photos. Yikes it is so plain. It looks like iOS Photos interface ported to OS X. At least the dark theme could be used if chosen for the menu bar. That would help a lot.

      1. Agreed except for Photos, the interface of which is so plain and doesn’t store pix in a way that is logical to my workflow.

        Best thing I can do is store stuff in the old iPhotos folders as long as I can – and hope Photos improves with time.

        1. There is an excellent discussion amongst hard core image guys in MacInTouch that goes through the various issues and the options to use other programs to store/organize photos including, surprisingly, FileMaker Pro.

          There is a lot of discussion by people concerned with workflow and what formats various programs support.

    2. dark mode is good but better if the window would be dark as well. The window content makes up 80% of the screen and is still white, it doesn’t make much different for my eyes. While the dock and top bar are only 20% of the screen

  4. Just reviewed the latest 100 App Store Reviews 4/18/14.

    71% Give Yosemite 10.03 a score of 1 or 2 stars.

    Makes you wonder if some of these “professional” reviewers are receiving goodies for good reviews.

  5. Admittedly, I like the flat look on Yosemite better than I do on iOS (yet, almost paradoxically, seeing iOS 6 now looks… wrong). I haven’t noticed any memory issues though I don’t quite understand how it works. Even when I’m not using all 16GB, it seems to be using most of it. I don’t know what the hell it’s doing. lol

  6. I did a clean install on my early 2008 iMac about a month ago, and the only problem I have is with secure empty trash. It’s verrrrrrrrrry slowwwwwwww. Did Apple make it scrub harder?

    On the other hand, I had to add delays to some AppleScripts. (But I don’t use Mail and I don’t use Safari.)

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