Mac OS X Mountain Lion 10.8.1 Update Coming: Which Problems Will Apple Fix?

  @redletterdave on August 09 2012 10:55 AM

Mac OS X Mountain Lion has been running in the wild for exactly two weeks now, and millions of downloads later, it looks like Apple is already prepping its first maintenance update for the new platform, which is good news for all those early adopters out there complaining of bugs, errors, and other assorted issues. Apple news site MacRumors reported on Wednesday that Apple is getting ready to seed builds of OS X 10.8.1 to developers.

Releasing an update this soon would be typical of Apple: The first update for OS X Snow Leopard (two platforms ago) came 13 days after its debut, while the first update for OS X Lion (previous-gen) came 27 days after its debut. Assuming Apple is getting better at making its Mac platforms more secure, the first update could come as early as next week, or possibly the week after.

Great, an update is coming. But what's going to be in it? Of the many issues previously reported, especially by our own readers, which issues and problems does Apple hope to fix?

Around the Web, early adopters of OS X Mountain Lion have detailed several issues dealing with speed, compatibility with first- and third-party applications, and new features like AirPlay Mirroring from your Mac to your HDTV (via Apple TV).

Here's a breakdown of some of the notable bugs, errors and other issues that have been reported out there, especially by our own readers and contributors.

System Errors, Slowness, and Freezing

It's not uncommon to report sluggish activity after upgrading to OS X Mountain Lion (there's a fix for that at the bottom of this story), but a handful of frustrated Mac users are reporting ultra-poor performance to the point of freezing when performing particular actions like waking up, booting up, or taking screenshots.

Natan Vigna, who owns a mid-2009 15-inch MacBook Pro with a 2.8 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, said that OS X Mountain Lion is "painfully slow" on his machine.

"The only thing I see is the beach ball of death every two to five seconds," Vigna said in reference to Apple's loading icon. "I'm glad I only upgraded my toy laptop and not my real work machines that I use for work."

"The beach ball of death" was the center of another story of frustration with OS X Mountain Lion, submitted by IBTimes community member "kaboom."

"After downloading, accepting user agreements, installing, and rebooting, I get a white screen with a spinning 'loading' wheel. Normally this indicates that it's about to show me the login screen, however, this literally stayed on the screen for HOURS! I reluctantly rebooted only to find the same thing. I used Command-V to see what was getting hung up. 'bootcache.playlist...' was not loading or something like that. I then repaired permissions through the Disk Utility via Restore Mode, but it still didn't work. I did the "chmod -n -R /Volumes" thing and that didn't work. So, now I'm backing up my data before I get nuts and completely erase and start over."

IBTimes reader Diane Alexander owns a MacBook Air that's roughly a year and a half old. She said she had no issues running OS X Snow Leopard, but since updating her computer to Mountain Lion, she's witnessed considerable lag.

"When I close the computer for awhile and come back and open it, I get a white screen for a few seconds, and have to wait while it loads," Alexander wrote.

IBTimes submitter "franee" said her 2011 MacBook Air is missing a few sidebar items from the Finder, but she reports more serious performance issues since updating the software.

"Mac froze after doing a screenshot with a selected area," Franee said, also noting that "after the initial upgrade, Mac ran super hot. [The] fan was running so loud."

Submitter Jason Roberts, owner of a 2009 MacBook Pro, said that his computer is experiencing similar slowness. In fact, he's been frustrated with getting his computer to even turn on at times.

Gizmodo's Jesus Diaz discovered a few issues with his computer's speed, most interestingly while using Apple's latest laptop, the MacBook Pro with Retina Display.

"I used this computer for reviewing the final version of OS X 10.8 and, while it was perfect with Lion, the display is now very buggy," Diaz wrote.

"The zooming is often slow, the cursors sometimes disappear, some parts of the text fields don't refresh properly in Safari, animated GIFs get garbled frequently, and videos sometimes get distortions, especially if you try to rotate them in QuickTime Player. At times, there is also a perceptible slowdown, even while this is a fully loaded system with 16GB of RAM.

"Problems started right after the Mountain Lion install," Roberts said. "Almost everything I tried doing was insanely slow. I thought this was normal, because things were kind of slow with the Lion upgrade at first. Then streaming sites on Safari stopped working altogether, but worked with Firefox. My clock switched to a.m. instead of p.m. and I got the beach ball when I tried to fix it. My computer kept getting slower and giving more beach balls. Then finally everything that was open became unresponsive. System Preference[s] would not open. I had to try to restart by holding the power button. Only to be left without a functioning computer... All I have now is the grey apple screen with a frozen loading wheel."

IBTimes submitter Martin Samson, owner of a 27-inch iMac Intel I5 16MB RAM, said his machine will not wake up from sleep and his computer has to be restarted with the power button.

"Seems quite a few other Mac users are suffering the same problem," Samson reports.

IBTimes submitter "Sls096" said once their early 2008 MacBook Pro was upgraded to OS X Mountain Lion, put the computer to sleep, and two hours later, "it was dead."

"Power button does not work," said the user. "Sleep light comes on for a few seconds and I can hear what sounds like a disk ejecting for about three seconds. No disk is in. Charger green light is green. Now I am left with a Pro that will not work at all. MacBook Pro worked perfectly fine and I never had an issue until I upgraded to Mountain Lion. Very frustrating!!!"

IBTimes submitter Aubrey said she's noticed a bug within "Parental Controls" since upgrading to OS X Mountain Lion, noting that her kids can "no longer access YouTube on their account even if I go into System Preferences and 'Always Allow' it."

"In fact, I can go under "Web" settings and lift all restrictions on websites, and they STILL can't access YouTube. I want to use Parental Controls, but right now it's not working as it's intended. Any ideas? I've called AppleCare, and after two hours of them finally sending me to a supervising agent and him taking over my computer and doing everything I'd already done and not quite seeming to understand why he got disconnected if I logged out even though I'd granted elevated permissions or whatever. They finally sent the problem to the escalation department."

IBTimes submitter "Fred," owner of an 8 GB Mac Mini, saidhe noticed his computer's cursor often becomes invisible after sleep or periods of inactivity, which forces him to restart his computer.

"It is not like the cursor is not there because it is," Fred said. "It is just simply invisible. This never happened prior to installing Mountain Lion. I am also using a wireless trackpad."

Issues with Safari

Emailer Stephen Boss said he had "another foul day with Mountain Lion issues," more specifically while using Safari. Boss even sent along a Quicktime video of his Safari screen "flaking out" while trying to boot up the homepage. His video showed the "favorite" tabs on his Safari landing page continually appearing and disappearing with no input from the user.

Boss also said he had "another kernel panic" after "doing all the maneuvers."

"Someone should tell Apple to never release an OS upgrade when Mercury is in retrograde," Boss said. "I read [in an Apple Support thread] that I may have to get new RAM sticks, which would be totally unacceptable. Another poster mentioned that Apple is aware of the issue and working on it. I find this all quite shocking."

Ray Powell, owner of a late 2009 27-inch iMac, said he wished he waited until the first maintenance release of OS X Mountain Lion. Specifically, he said he gets this "horrible white flashing in the background" when viewing friend's pictures inFacebook on Safari.

"I have a number of other problems, but they are with [third-party application] Parallels.app," Powell said, again citing Safari as the source of most of his issues.

Application Issues of All Parties

Emailer Alain Brouillaud, owner of a 2007 2.4 GHz iMac, said he is having issues with iPhoto, iMovie, Skype, and Adobe Flash. Brouillaud's iMac is the earliest iMac generation that is still compatible with OS X Mountain Lion, but his compalints don't make it seem that way.

"I can't open the programs, the machine says they've 'unexpectedly quit,'" Brouillaud said.

Emailer George Lebovitz said that OS X Mountain Lion has "a few minor issues I can live with," but notes "one perplexing omission with Mail."

Many readers submitted their issues using the Mail application. Emailer George Lebovitz said OS X Mountain Lion has "a few minor issues I can live with," but notes one "perplexing omission with Mail."

"I send out 'stuff' to a distribution of people (Bcc, of course) and always take pains to remove the original sender from the list," Lebovitz said. "I used to put the cursor in the list of distributes, hit Command + F and "find" whomever it was I needed to omit. This handy feature is now disabled. Sigh."

Other readers submitted comments about their issues with Mail, too. From IBTimes emailer Alison Dyson:

""Our email keeps coming up with an error [that says it] cannot connect to the port," Dyson wrote. "If we close down Mail and reopen it works, [but] then about 30 minutes later it crashes again. Really annoying."

Rosi Bustamante, an IBTimes commenter, has also been having issues using Mail.

"I've also been having login password issues with Yahoo Mail," Bustamante wrote. "When I try to access my email using Sparrow, but it's also begun to affect it when I try to check my Yahoo Mail with my iPhone -- funny, not with my iPad! I also have not been able to compose in Yahoo Mail using Safari. Very bizarre."

Another application that many Mountain Lion users are experiencing issues with is Microsoft Outlook. Kim Bishop, owner of a mid-2008 17-inch MacBook Pro, said she upgraded to Mountain Lion on Sunday and everything was fine until she opened her Outlook Exchange server. She couldn't see any of her emails.

"The mail shows up but once I click on it and read it, it disappears without any way to go back to look at it. Not sure what that's about. It's only in the inbox... other e-mails that are copied because of the rules I have are there, but the main inbox in my Exchange server is blank even though it's telling me I have 8 new e-mails."

AirPlay Mirroring Problems

One of the most anticipated features of OS X Mountain Lion, which would seamlessly transmit whatever's on your Mac screen to any HDTV with an Apple TV plugged in, is having several issues in its debut on the OS X software.

IBTimes submitter David Cortez, owner of a late 2008 MacBook Pro, said he has no AirPlay mirroring on his Mac, and he even has trouble with dragging and dropping icons and files, needing to press the escape button to release the files.

IBTimes submitter "Red Heron" found that AirPlay is still very half-baked.

"Airplay Mirroring is a slightly jerky when streaming video movies from Amazon even with a 30 mbs download service," Red Heron said. "It also will not work on MacBook Air models that are more than 18 months old."

OS X Mountain Lion Fixes and Solutions

"Just did the upgrade on a near-new MacBook Pro with 8 GB and a Hybrid Drive (8GB NAND)," said "Tony from OZ," an IBTimes submitter. "Mine was taking ages to start and shut down and, on a few occasions, would not shut down at all. I reset SMC settings and cleared PRAM and it's back to its old screaming self again!"

Brett Reilly of Social Media SEO delivers five steps to diagnose all Mountain Lion errors, which involves verifying Disk Permissions with the Disk Utility and resetting the Mac's PRAM, which often helps the installation. This comes straight from Apple:

"A small amount of your computer's memory, called "parameter random-access memory" or PRAM, stores certain settings in a location that Mac OS X can access quickly. The particular settings that are stored depend on your type of Mac and the types of devices connected to it. The settings include your designated startup disk, display resolution, speaker volume, and other information."

Reilly explains how to diagnose and fix issues in Mountain Lion on his page.

IBTimes submitter Jack Lichman updated his 2011 MacBook Pro to OS X Mountain Lion the morning it came out, and while installation was fine, he said the "computer did nothing but hang up, crash, and freeze." Lichman said it took him about "two hours to click on a browser, click my email bookmark, and read one email.

Lichman offered up a possible solution to users' similar lag issues.

"Once I cleared my PRAM, verified and repaired my permissions and the disk through the Disk Utility during start-up, my computer was running great. It still is. It's as fast or faster than Lion on normal computing. Only a couple of problems, it has added a few seconds to shut down and Time Machine seems to take a little longer to back up. Besides that, it works like a dream."

Some users may find that after upgrading to OS X Mountain Lion, some of their old files and applications have gone missing. Of course, this is always an infuriating moment for Mac users, when they can't find what they're looking for after a major software release.

Not to fear: Apple was ready for this issue: Mountain Lion automatically identifies the applications and documents that won't work on the new OS and places them in a folder in your Finder, appropriately named "Incompatible Software."

Apple will likely issue solutions to some of these bugs in the system, but some users are finding ways to get their computers up and running after an initial stumble with OS X Mountain Lion.

To any Mac users experiencing any issues, errors or bugs with Mountain Lion, please feel free to write in or leave a comment at the bottom of the page. If you have solutions to any of these issues, please, help out your fellow reader! Be sure to note which kind of Mac (model, year) you own.

Join the Discussion