(This is an article I wrote in April 2022 as a response to a problem I was regularly seeing with my Logic Pro clients)
Having provided technical support for Apple products for nearly 20 years, I’ve tracked their massive growth as a company. Initially seen as a more user-friendly alternative to PCs, they were also considered more stylish and they were free of viruses. Their products were very solid and the company motto circa 2005 said it all: ‘It Just Works’.
One of their main markets was ‘creatives’: people working with high-end graphic design, video and music software. In recent years, with the success of the iPod, iPhone and iPad, Apple have moved beyond that creative user base and are targeting a wider audience. They want all consumers to own multiple Apple products and be part of the Apple “ecosystem” where phones, watches, tablets and laptops all sync with each other seamlessly to give their users a smooth digital experience. Fair enough; when it works it’s a great system.
The Problem for Creatives
The creative Mac users are now no longer Apple’s core user base, but have become a small percentage of their overall revenue. Unfortunately this change in Apple’s direction is causing issues for the creatives. There’s no official statement from the company on this, but in my experience Apple does not seem to be considering the effects their operating system changes are having on their creative software users. Updates are causing systems to run slowly, stop working properly and lose files between devices and the Cloud. I don’t think Apple is deliberately messing up people’s machines, but rather the company doesn’t care if their operating system changes cause problems in older set-ups as it will encourage their users to upgrade.
Apple is also in the middle of a multi-year process of moving away from Intel’s processing chips, to implementing their own M1 and M2 Silicon chips in Macs. I anticipate that the sorts of problems we have already started seeing are going to get worse for users of Macs bought before 2021.
What to Do
If you have a Mac that you bought for music pre-2021 that you want to keep running, then I would strongly recommend not updating your operating system or version of Logic Pro unless absolutely needed. The article here will show you how to disable automatic updates.
I should warn you that this advice goes against perceived Apple wisdom and the advice you will likely get from the Genius Bar at your local Apple store. Take a problem into them and they will immediately update you to the latest versions of all software, often making problems worse.
What will happen if you don’t update? Will this be a problem? The short answer is that your music software will continue to run fine, but in a few more years your internet browser will stop working smoothly and you won’t be able to add the latest plugins to your system. Deciding what to do depends on how much of a problem this is for you. I would guess that most users would rather have their dedicated music system working smoothly, and consider other devices for internet use.
If you bought a Mac in 2022 then leave your updates on for a few more years as Apple is working to resolve the initial issues that the changeover created.
What if you’ve already upgraded? Unfortunately Apple does not make it easy to roll back to an earlier version of OSX. The steps vary depending on which versions of OSX you’re working with. You might be fine with your operating system as is, every setup is different and only certain combinations of software and hardware seem to be particularly problematic at the moment. If you do decide to roll back and tackle that yourself then this page might help you out.
Finding custom solutions for individuals to get their music systems working properly is what I specialise in here at Audio Support, so if you’ve you’ve got a concern about your Mac or need any advice on this issue give me a call or send me an email.