Apple’s new Disk Utility nearly slain by the feature thief

“There is a slim chance that you’ve never run nor heard of Apple’s Disk Utility application. That chance decreases the longer you’ve had a Mac as this little app is the answer to so many issue,” William Gallagher writes for MacNN. “It’s where you format new hard drives, create disk images, and where you used to be able to repair permissions if you needed to. If your Mac is doing something odd, you could run Disk Utility and have it poke about your hard drive, looking for possible problems, and often fixing them too. If you have many hard drives, such as in a RAID backup system, you lived in Disk Utility — or you used to. Apple has radically remodelled Disk Utility in OS X El Capitan and that’s got people steaming.”

“They’re steamed because the remodelling made the app easier for new or casual users to start with — but did so primarily by removing features,” Gallagher writes. “We have been before, we have been here a lot — just grab a sandwich and read the MacNN Feature Thief series. That week-long series examined how very often Apple takes a scorched Earth approach and destroys an old version of an app in favor of one that initially is significantly poorer.”

“We’ve felt the pain of Apple’s Feature Thief approach before but we thought we were sanguine about it, we thought we’d been through it so often that we always knew the workarounds and we always knew that Apple would put back what it took out,” Gallagher writes. “In this case we can just hope they do so soon, because this subtraction, even if it may be temporary, is unacceptable.”

Much more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Power users, it’s back to the Terminal for you! Hopefully Apple updates Disk Utility with future OS X El Capitan point releases.

Now, what was that we wrote just this morning? Oh, yeah: Minimalism that ignores usability is poor UI design.

6 Disk Utility changes in OS X El Capitan – October 23, 2015
Hands-on with OS X El Capitan’s redesigned Disk Utility – October 1, 2015


    1. I use it all the time. It wasn’t that hard to figure out for my first time. But half of the people that ask me questions about how to use their computer don’t seem to know how to read what’s on their screen. “What do I click? Do I click OK? Now what?”

      1. El Capitan 11.1 & iTunes 12.3 ruined my iTunes ability to do anything. Beach Balls forever. Total crap. Used Time Machine to revert to Yosemite 10.4 & iTunes 12.3 where iTunes still works with only intermittent Beach Balls. Bad but not impossibly bad. No more updates for me.😩

    1. If anything I’d love a Disk Utlity on steroids, not simplified for the idiots to the point of excluding features so as not to befuddle the easily confused. That’s just plain dumb. You simply hide all that “complexity” under an Advanced option, but it’s still there.

    2. If you are really the power user that you imagine just switch to Onyx for these disk maintenance activities – and about 127 other functions. It’s free and it works with very little fuss.

  1. A few days ago Quick Time froze when I tried to play a video. In the old days a few minutes with “repair permissions” would fix that, but “first aid” is no aid. Now it is Sign Out, Shut Down, Boot Up, Sign On . . . And hope for the best.

      1. Exactly. “Repair permissions” was one of those supposed panaceas that in actuality rarely had any real effect. For an old-time Mac reference, it’s the “zap the PRAM and rebuild the desktop” of OS X.


    1. I hate to tell you this, but ‘repair permissions’ would have no effect on a frozen video. The thing that fixed it was most likely just quitting the QuickTime and reopening it.

      ‘Repair Permissions’ was one off those fixes that people knew sometimes worked, so it was one of 3 or 4 things they tried right off the bat. A permissions problem never manifests itself in the middle of using an application or document. It will always present itself when first opening something, like not being able to open a word document that you normally should be able to, or most commonly, an app that would appear to just bounce once in the dock but never open.

      Permissions issues are just what they sound like. You don’t have permission to open a file. When this happens on accident (as opposed to a user trying to open another user’s home folder contents), it is usually after an install or update program did not return the permissions that were temporarily changed as part of the install or update. Repair permissions just resets those to what they should be, letting the user open the app or document again.

    1. I’m curious if they do read it. Is it “Read-Delete, Read-Delete, Read-Delete”? I’ve sent multiple feedback messages about the dropping of linked text boxes from Pages, and never ever had a response, nor has the feature been restored. Did they really determine that nobody was using that feature? That would be crazy, because it’s a standard feature in competing page layout applications. Maybe they could not get it to work in the web app, so it had to be dropped from the desktop app in order to retain feature parity? That’s also crazy.

      Feature Thief. That’s exactly what this is. Thanks for giving it a name!

    2. I’d love for some proof someday that somebody reads that stuff. I’ve been hearing that for as long as that feedback mechanism’s existed, and the impression I’ve always gotten is that it’s a black hole.

  2. A better solution to dumbing it down for idiots would have been to simply move it from /Applicaitons/Utilities to /System/Library/CoreServices where they would never find it but power users would.

    1. Or there could be two different versions of Disk Utility; one for power users and another one for everyone else. The power user one could be called Disk Utility Pro while the more basic version could just be called Disk Utility or maybe Easy Disk Utility.

  3. Another day of whining. I’m not going to look, read, watch, or buy anything for a while. As Tom Petty sang (and Bob Dylan wrote), “You’re jamming me.”

    No news is good news. I’m gonna just breathe, and listen to music for a while. Too much negativity. Hatred. Anger. Insanity. Too much of too much. (Politics, of course, is totally out of the question for now. Fugly.)

    1. LOL. Politics will never be nice, because it’s the arena where ideas compete. Politics is bloodsport. And gee, wonder why people are angry? Maybe because they’re tired of the feds, judges, the press, campus busybodies, and the everpresent bureaucratia pushing them around? Want some peace? Tell progressives and liberals to celebrate diversity of political thought and stop censoring things they don’t like.

      1. Exactly! Liberals misuse their freedom of religion. They feel that freedom of religion allows them to enforce their view of religion (or lack thereof) on everyone with impunity and they don’t realize that freedom of religion goes both ways; they think they can’t be criticized for their religion (or lack thereof).

  4. I care less about the changes to Disk Utility than the repair functions of applications like Drive Genius 4 aren’t more capable.

    Unfortunately, it means that the only 3rd party utilities you can rely on for disk maintenance (beyond the capabilities of DU) are TechTool Pro 8 and DiskWarrior.

  5. APPLE needs to wake up and smell the coffee.
    This Ive notion of pretty design at any cost is getting too much….And hurting apple products as Efficient ,ergonomic and coherent packages.

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