Apple recently released their latest desktop/laptop OS update of macOS, called Mojave. It’s been out for a few weeks, but we tend to wait and test new OSes before we install them on dedicated machines. As someone that uses creative design and video apps would know, these are typically the apps that have issues when updating. Due to the lack of widespread use of these kinds of apps and the use of custom workflows and processes that we’ve developed to do the specific work needed for our clients, we are usually on our own. We have recently finished our initial reviews of Mojave and I wanted to share our thoughts so far.
Why Did We Need to Test?
Apple’s hardware is relatively consistent throughout product lines, so my main focus is to see if the apps we use open and processes run through to completion. I’m not concerned about speed or uncovering hardware bugs, I mainly want to make sure that the core apps we use don’t get deprecated or have huge errors. We want to make sure there isn’t any downtime. Our main Mac editing machine is an iMac, but we have an old 2013 MacBook Air. We can perform the install and run these tests.
The install process went relatively smooth, other than a hiccup getting Mojave to download for the Mac App Store. Mojave installed in under an hour and was up and running.
OUT WITH THE OLD
Part of my hesitation to installing Mojave is that we make a lot of screenshots and do a lot of video screen captures for tutorials and client videos. Previous to Mojave, we had to use a combination of the legacy screenshot functionality, along with QuickTime. I couldn’t find anyone talking about what would happen to these functions once we upgraded to Mojave. The first thing I tested was whether QuickTime and Preview still worked. I ran through some common internal workflows to ensure that things run normally. Everything was fine and I was able to move onto video editing.
IT’S ALL GOING TO BE ALL RIGHT
Our biggest Pro apps are Final Cut Pro X and Motion, which are both made by Apple. Normally a first party app should work great, but Pro apps like this typically don’t get the love that Apple apps like Pages, Numbers and Keynote get. I wanted to run some test editing projects to ensure that an upgrade would be safe. We also use Adobe apps like Premiere Pro, Audition and Photoshop, but a simple check to make sure they open is sufficient for me. We have Surface computers in the office that could handle any short-term needs if we run into a weird bug. The biggest change with apps in Mojave is the dropping of support (to an extent, but it is super technical) of 32 bit apps. If you are concerned about some of your older apps not working, there is a good write-up on MacWorld outlining the apps that are unsupported. This article also talks further about 32 bit app support.
SHINY NEW THINGS
Once I had checked out my top concerns, I started taking a look into new items. Things like Dark Mode and Stacks are welcomed additions. I purposely let my desktop stay cluttered to test out if Stacks was worth using. It’s a great organizational addition to creatives, and a welcomed change. There are new apps in Mojave, which I’ll talk about later in this post, but the main one is the Screenshots app. By clicking Command-Option-5 on your keyboard, you can open the app to capture screenshots and video. It’s a fantastic addition that will be our go-to screenshot video capture moving forward.
Some Weird Things…
Alas, there is always something weird that pops up in testing. We found it when AirDropping photos and video from an iPhone to the MacBook Air. The HEIC file format is now being natively sent, instead of converting and natively saving into a common file format, JPEG. I’m not a fan of this, but it is an issue that we can live with.
Final Thoughts and the State of the Mac
If you are deep into the Mac community, you’ve heard the phrase “Marzipan,” which was from Bloomberg’s Marc Gurman article talking about the merger of macOS and iOS app frameworks into a more common code base. Without getting too technical, there has been a lot of complaints about the first of these apps that Apple has made with this new development approach. Mojave ships with Apple’s Home, News, Stocks and Voice Memos; which are ports of their iOS counterparts. I have listened to many Apple podcasters complain about the state of these apps and what it means for the Mac as a platform. While the Home app is not optimized for a larger screen (the main rooms page looks like it is running an iPhone-sized view), it is more responsive to access our office security cameras. Voice Memos is also exciting due to the iCloud storage support. These apps are a promising preview to what the Mac could be like in the next few years. I only hope that Apple will put out new laptop hardware and possibly an update to the Mac Mini (is that too much to ask?).