Last night, I upgraded to macOS Ventura 13.1. It took four hours, plus another hour this morning.
The update went fine. My personal data all seems to have safely survived the transition. The challenge is that Apple keeps locking down the operating system to reduce our exposure to malware and hackers. Because of this, you’ll need to allow about two hours to set security parameters for the software you use.
I’m not running into any major bugs – with the exception of ExFAT and Sentinel One. But I am constantly tripping over security settings that need to be changed. This is taking a lot of time to get all my software – and hardware – reconfigured.
BIG, BIG, BIG NOTE
Upgrades take time. Much more time than you expect. Never upgrade when you are facing a deadline. Ideally, upgrade between projects. Assume you’ll need to spend four hours getting everything reset.
BEFORE YOU START
Update all software – except the macOS – using the Mac App Store before doing the update.
Make a complete Time Machine backup of your system. You really don’t want to lose your data. You probably won’t need this backup, but you’ll be really glad if you do.
Write down your Apple ID password on a piece of paper before upgrading. You’ll need to enter this before you can access your computer after the update is complete.
The first time you launch Ventura you’ll get deluged with security setting alerts. Don’t panic. Take these one app at a time and set permissions the way they require.
I discovered that Ventura reads and writes SSDS – whether formatted using APFS or ExFAT – up to 35% more slowly. (Here’s my warning.) This has a major impact on multicam editing, DIT work and editing large frame size video.
Sentinel One security software keeps demanding full disk access even after it is granted. I haven’t solved this. Their tech support pages aren’t any help, there’s nothing on configuring it for Ventura.
I had a lot of problems getting SoftRAID RAID volumes to mount. If you use SoftRAID, be sure to upgrade to version 7.0.1, pay CLOSE attention to their help document on getting all the security settings correct. It took me 30 minutes to get these set correctly. But, now, SoftRAID is working fine and all volumes mount. This is the result of Apple’s new security settings.
Not all my fonts made the transition. Open Applications > Font Book. Fonts that have a downward-pointing arrow need to be downloaded. Gray-named fonts need to be activated. Right-click the font name and select Activate.
Downloading and installing the update took about an hour and a half. Configuring all the security settings and getting software working again took another 2-3 hours.
Given the new security settings in Ventura, every external device – especially drives – that connects directly to your Mac needs to be approved before you can access it. The best way to do this is to connect each drive directly into your computer – don’t go through a dock – approve it, then, reconnect it the way you had it before. This process is quick, but we haven’t had to do it before.
Most editing applications will need security setting adjustments to allow access to files. This can’t be done as a group. Making this more challenging is the complete redesign of System Preferences into System Settings. The task isn’t difficult, just time consuming, especially as you struggle to find your way around the new layout.
Make a point, after the upgrade is complete, to open all the software you use regularly and make sure it opens. Many will require security setting changes, especially utilities. This is especially true for CommandPost, ScreenFlow and DropBox. Audio interfaces, like FocusRite, upgraded with no problem.
For the first time we have easy access to controlling which software opens at log-in, as well as background activities (Launch daemons). The problem is that these are listed by the name of the developer, not the software that uses them. Turning stuff off is generally a good idea, but make sure you know WHAT you are turning off before you do.
NOTE: You should be getting the idea that upgrading will require more time than you expect. It will. Be patient. The security of your system and projects you create will benefit from the time you spend.
WHAT I DID
I was having technical problems with my internal drive which made me realize that I should probably erase and reformat it before I install the new operating system. This is an optional step, but it helped me.
Rather than directly upgrade my system, I created a bootable external drive (which was a single SSD, not a RAID) and installed macOS Ventura on it. I then used Utilities > Migration Assistant to transfer all my files from the Mac to the external drive.
At this point, my computer was running Monterey and the external drive was running Ventura. All my data was duplicated – plus I had a full Time Machine backup. I booted off the external drive and started testing my applications before I made the upgrade permanent. Running Ventura off the external drive also reassured me that key software was working properly.
I deleted several apps that were causing problems, tweaked settings, explored the new OS and generally reassured myself that the upgrade wouldn’t cause problems. It didn’t.
Then, I erased the Macintosh HD on my main laptop, installed Ventura and migrated all my files back from the external drive. With the exceptions noted above, that seemed to work fine. The whole process took a couple of hours.
NOTE: There is something somewhat terrifying about clicking “Erase” for the computer hard drive that holds your entire digital life. I will confess I thought about that for a couple of minutes before plunging ahead. Fortunately, it all worked fine.
Upgrading to the next major OS version is never trivial. However, the problems I’m running into seem to be operational, not bugs.
If you are wondering whether it is time to upgrade, 13.1 seems to be safe. Just give yourself time to get everything sorted once the upgrade is complete.
The good news is that all my personal data made the transition safely. Whew.
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