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macOS 101: What Mojave Broke and How to Fix It

Having issues with Mojave? Seems like it’s a rite of passage to install a new version of the macOS, and then uncover issues we didn’t see in the beta version.

With macOS Mojave, we appear to be seeing a smaller crop of issues than we saw in our previous “what broke” guides:

That may be due to a more rigorous beta cycle, or maybe we just haven’t had enough time to uncover all the possible problems. Either way, here’s our newest guide to what broke and how to fix it in macOS Mojave.

SMS Messages Not Delivered
If you use the Messages app on the Mac to send SMS messages, you may notice a strange timeout error occurring when you send an SMS message to a non-Apple device.

Once you send such a message, you may see a “Not Delivered” error message. While the error message is a bit vexing, it gets stranger. Turns out your message was sent, and likely received, without any problems.

(Logging out and back into iCloud may correct the SMS delivery error.)

If that was the extent of the issue, you could probably live with it and wait for a fix in one of the subsequent Mojave updates. But as you may have guessed, there’s one more problem associated with the Not Delivered error. Once you see the Not Delivered error message, the recipient will not be able to send you any responses.

At the time of this writing, there’s no fix available for the issue that always works. But I can list a few things that some people have reported as a cure, although just as many said the cure didn’t help them. Since there’s no official fix, this, then, is a best shot approach:

  • Sign out and sign back into Messages: Works for some people, but in most cases, the problem eventually returns.
  • Sign out of iCloud and sign back in: The idea here is to force your Mac’s data to re-sync with all of your other devices via iCloud. If you give this fix a try, be sure to save the iCloud data locally on your Mac, just to ensure you don’t lose any information. You’ll be presented with the option to save the iCloud data locally when you sign out.
  • Stop sending SMS messages to non-Apple devices: This works, but it may be difficult to get all your Android-using friends to switch to Apple.

The SMS error appears to be very erratic, with many people not experiencing the problem at all, yet there’s more than a handful of users who have reported the issue. If you’ve seen this problem, let us know by using the comments section, below.

Weird Fonts
No, not a new set of fonts for the Mac, but fonts you’ve been using for ages now looking weird in Mojave. The usual sign for weird fonts is a bit of blurring or softness along the edges, even the straight horizontal or vertical lines of a letter.

The blurring is seen most often on non-Retina Macs. The cause is Mojave disabling sub-pixel antialiasing, an older font rendering technique that helped fonts appear smoother and less jagged on most displays.

You could solve the problem by upgrading to a Mac with a Retina display, or you can try the following fix:

You may not be afflicted with the problem if you upgraded to Mojave from an earlier OS that had font smoothing enabled. Even then, some users have mentioned the weird fonts even though they upgraded. No matter what the actual sequence of events is needed to disable sub-pixel font rendering, you can turn the feature back on with this simple two-step process:

Launch System Preferences by clicking or tapping the System Preferences icon in the Dock, or selecting System Preferences from the Apple menu.

Select the General preference pane from the System Preferences window.

At the bottom of the General preference pane, make sure there’s a checkmark in the “Use LCD font smoothing when available” box. (It may say “Use font smoothing when available,” depending on the type of display you’re using.)

(Use Terminal to enable sub-pixel font smoothing if you are experiencing weird looking fonts.)

Even if the font-smoothing box was already checked, you need to continue on to the second part of the fix: using Terminal to force font rendering to be enabled:

  1. Launch Terminal, located at /Applications/Utilities.
  2. At the Terminal prompt, enter the following:
  3. defaults write -g CGFontRenderingFontSmoothingDisabled -bool NO

  4. Press enter or return on your keyboard.
  5. You can quit Terminal and close the System Preferences window if it’s still open.
  6. For the change to take effect, you need to restart your Mac.

Bluetooth Devices Not Connecting to Your Mac
There was a Bluetooth issue during the beta phase of macOS Mojave development, but it was believed to have been fixed in the release version of Mojave. Even so, some users are reporting that many third-party Bluetooth devices are unable to connect to their Macs, or aren’t seen by their Macs.

This is an easy one to fix, and only requires the removal of the Bluetooth plist file your Mac maintains. Speculating on the issue, I believe the plist file was damaged during the upgrade process, or when it was first accessed during the setup process.

The fix will remove the file, along with all the data about the Bluetooth devices you had connected to your Mac. Once removed, your Mac will generate a new default Bluetooth plist file to take the place of the damaged one. This will fix the basic problem but will require you to go through the connection process for any Bluetooth device you wish to use.

(Use the Finder to delete the Bluetooth.plist file if you are having issues connecting your Bluetooth devices.)

To delete the Bluetooth plist file, follow these steps:

  1. Open a Finder window, and browse to /Library/Preferences.
  2. Locate the file named: com.apple.Bluetooth.plist.
  3. Select the com.apple.Bluetooth.plist file and drag it to the trash.
  4. Empty the trash.

The com.apple.Bluetooth.plist file will be recreated.

Go ahead and try using or connecting a Bluetooth device.

Freeze or Slowdown at Login
If you just upgraded to Mojave and you notice your Mac seems to freeze for a minute or so when you log in, or there’s a general slowdown for a few minutes when you first start up your Mac, you may be experiencing an issue with Login Items that are out of date or incompatible with Mojave.

When you install Mojave, it performs a check of installed apps, and moves those that are incompatible with the new OS to the Incompatible Software folder, which you can find at the top level of your startup disk.

It’s actually pretty handy to have the apps that won’t work moved aside for you, but there’s a good chance that if any of those incompatible apps made use of a Login Item to start some required process, that login item is still present, and trying its best to start up an app that’s no longer in the expected location.

That won’t cause a long-term issue, but it can result in a slowdown as your Mac tries to launch an app, waits for a reasonable time, and then makes a few log entries about the process not working. By itself, the slowdown probably won’t be noticeable for a single login item, but if there are a number of them, you may be able to notice the effect.

(An older and incompatible version of EyeTV Helper was left behind during the Mojave install. Removing the helper app should help speed up the startup process.)

You can remove unneeded login items by using the Users & Groups preference pane.

  1. Launch System Preferences, and select the Users & Groups preference pane.
  2. In the Sidebar, make sure your currently logged in account is selected.
  3. In the main pane, select the Login Items button.
  4. A list of many of the Login Items that are automatically started when you log in will be displayed.
  5. To make changes to the list, you’ll need to click or tap the lock icon at the bottom of the window. Supply your administrator password when requested.
  6. You can delete an item from the list by selecting the item and clicking the minus (-) sign at the bottom of the list.
  7. It can be difficult to know which items to remove from the list. You can start by deleting any entry that matches up to an app in the /Incompatible Software folder.
  8. Deleting an item only removes it from the Login Items list, preventing it from automatically launching; it does not delete the file from your Mac. You can always put the item back using the plus (+) button at the bottom of the list.

Note: To put an item back, you need to know where it’s located in the file system. You can discover where an item is located by selecting an item before you remove it, right-clicking or tapping it, and selecting the Show in Finder option from the popup menu.

Apps No Longer Working
One of the most troublesome aspects of any system upgrade is the realization that some apps, perhaps your favorites, will no longer work. This can include completely failing to launch, running but with unusual bugs or pieces not working as expected, or simply running very slowly, to the extent the app is no longer useful.

That’s why it’s always a good idea to check with the app developer before you upgrade to a new OS version, to ensure the app in question will work. Even when you check, you can sometimes discover that even though the developer thought it would work, there are problems you’ll encounter.

With any luck, you’ll only need to wait a short time for a new version of the app to be released. But sometimes, you’ll need to find an alternative right away.

A handy way to check if an app is Mojave compatible, as well as find suggestions for alternatives, is to visit the RoaringApps website. RoaringApps collects crowdsourced data on which apps work with the various versions of the Mac OS, and displays the results in an easy-to-search database. You can also find suggestions for alternatives when the app in question no longer functions, as well as compatibility tips that may let you continue to use an app for a while longer.

Apps and Security Changes in Mojave
macOS Mojave has added security and privacy capabilities that can prevent apps that haven’t been updated for Mojave from running correctly. The specifics vary by app, but generally speaking, if you have an app that fails to launch, or launches and freezes, and the app used to work in one of the recent versions of macOS, you may be able to get the app to work while you wait for an update from the developer.

The problem may be that the failing app makes use of one of your Mac’s hardware or software components that is now protected by Mojave’s privacy system.

When an app tries to access one of the protected components, your Mac should put up a warning and ask if you wish to let the app make use of the item, say your Mac’s camera or microphone. However, it seems with some older apps the warning message is never displayed, or is hidden under other windows.

(Some older apps may fail because they do not have permission to access protected Mac sub-systems. Use the Privacy setting to give apps the permission they may need.)

You may be able to correct the issue by adding the app in the Security & Privacy preference pane.

Launch System Preferences, and select the Security & Privacy preference pane.

Select the Privacy button.

To edit the Privacy settings, click the Lock icon at the bottom of the window, then enter your password when requested.

Check the various categories in the sidebar and see if the crashing or freezing app is listed. You may find the app is listed in a category, but its status is unchecked, indicating it was trying to access a protected component but was blocked (likely by the request to add never being seen). Go ahead and place a checkmark in the box to allow the app to make use of a protected hardware or software component.

Try launching the app again to see if it now works.

32-bit Apps and Other Non-Working Software
There has been a lot of confusion about 32-bit apps and whether they will work with Mojave. The good news is 32-bits apps that worked with macOS High Sierra should still run fine under macOS Mojave.

The bad news is that Mojave will be the last macOS release that will support 32-bit apps.

Even more bad news is that there will be some 32-bit apps that used to work that will no longer be viable under Mojave. It’s not the 32-bit status that is causing an issue, it’s just that most 32-bit apps are old, and may rely on older APIs that are no longer supported in Mojave.

(Virtualization apps, such as Parallels, can allow you to run older versions of the macOS, letting you run older apps anytime you need to.)

If you have any apps that no longer work under Mojave, and you can’t find alternatives, there are still ways to make use of those apps if they’re important enough to you.

You can make use of a virtualization environment, such as Parallels, to run an earlier version of the Mac OS that works with your important apps. Parallels can run OS Mountain Lion or later in a virtual machine, letting you work with your older apps while still upgrading your Mac to Mojave.

Another option is to run an earlier version of the Mac OS from another startup disk. This disk could be an external drive, a fast USB flash drive, or a container (APFS) or a partition (HFS+) on an existing drive.

Let Apple Know About Any Bugs You Find
If you come across a bug, or something about macOS Mojave that seems a bit strange to you, you can let Apple know by using the macOS Feedback form.

Be sure to specify the feedback type within the form, such as Bug Report or Feature Request.

Also, please leave a comment below about any issues you’re having with Mojave, as well as any solutions to the problems you have found that work.

Related: A Guide to the New Mojave Security and Privacy Protections

Tom Nelson
the authorTom Nelson
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193 Comments

  • How do I get rid of…
    In Finder Columns view there is now, in the bottom of the file preview window, a circle with 3 dots and under it the word “More…”
    For some idiotic reason, this bottom panel covers up important file information when the finder window is set to the “default” size. I can’t understand why this would be considered an improvement. Wouldn’t it make sense to NOT HIDE this information? It just means more clicking (than High Sierra) to get what I need.

  • Try resolve this :)

    One month old 2018 MacMini. Fresh Mojave install from factory built SSD. I didn’t move any settings from prev computer. I discovered weird deleting issue. If I restart system and use automatic login at startup, deleted files on external HDDs (under Forklift/Commander One) don’t appear in dock’s trash, but if I delete them from Finder window – they are visible. Let’s go back then to 3rd party manager deleting scenario. If I want make deleted files visible I have to open Finder window and delete another file from this HDD or logout/login with password entering.
    If I delete files on internal SSD, it doesn’t matter I delete them under Forklift or Finder. After logout/login with password I can delete all files (on internal and external drives) and see them in trash. So there are two solutions. First – Finder deleting only (deleted files always appear in trash. But I prefer Forklift using. Second – switch off automatic logging. Thos way I can use Forklift to delete all files. But why? On my previous MacMini 2012@El Capitan I didn’t have such problems.
    Anybody help :)

  • Hi, I recently purchased a 2019 13.3″ MBP (2.8Ghz quad-core, 16GB ram, 1TB SSD) with Mojave. Upon setup, I got it to restore back profile, files and apps via TimeMachine from my older 2011 MBP setup.

    Everything seemed well and I spent some time getting all the apps updated to the latest version (be it from Apple Store and 3rd party Apps). Older apps that were not compatible were uninstalled via CleanMyMacX.

    I’m encountering that when I start up apps, the beach ball (waiting icon) would appear and it would take easily 15-45 seconds (sometimes even longer) before the app would start up and run. Example of such apps, Main Stage 3.4, Microsoft Office Word/Excel (I’m using Office 365, so it should be version 2019).

    Has anyone encountered this long delay in app running? I’ve been searching online and some sites say users has encountered it but some others did not. Would like to find out more on the cause and if there’s a fix. (Note: On my old MBP running 10.13, it did not have such long waiting time and it’s only using the old SATA SSD).

    • The only thing I can suggest is that you start over again. Do a clean install of Mojave and create a new account with a different name than your old account; restore your data and old account with time Machine, but not your apps. Then do a clean install of your apps from the app store and the latest versions of your third party apps. You will, of course, need the serial numbers for your third party apps. Install a few apps at a time and check if they start up properly. My experience with an external SSD with my 2013 iMac is that apps start up almost instantly, so you should see the sam thing. You can also test by starting up from you old account to see it things work right. Sometimes old accounts will accumulate chuff that will cause problems after an upgrade. If things doesn’t work right you’ll know this is the probable cause of your trouble. In which case you can start up from the new account. It will take some time to get your settings and preferences restored to the way you like them, but if the new system works it will be worth the trouble. I realize this will be a time consuming process; but something from your old system is messing things up. Unfortunately, repair utilities like Disk Warrior are not yet able to rebuild APFS volumes, like the one in your new MBP. So there’s no to be had help there. APFS support is “coming” but that won’t do you any good now.

      • Thanks for the suggestion. This did come across to me but it’s kinda like a last resort. The effort of ‘start again from scratch’ is something that is really time consuming. I’ll have to put this on hold for now due to the MBP being needed for several upcoming events. Need to organize the right time to conduct this without major disruption.

  • After updating to Mojave on my Mac mini (Late 2012), the full screen / window toggle in KODI either by remote or keyboard with CMD F (harmony one simulates same keys) logs out the system every time. The system goes black for 10 sec and then goes to login screen. I have reinstalled the system from boot, persevering data. I really regret that I upgraded. My perfect media center mac is now completely ruined ;O/

    Also The mac keyboard loses BT connection all the time, and its very hard to reconnect.

    I’m extremely unhappy with mojave..its completely broken. ;O(

  • I have the SMS problem in Mojave. I just upgraded to an MBPro 2018 with Mojave from a 2012 MB Pro running High Sierra. Very disappointed there is no fix for this. Worked fine on my High Sierra machine. Tried some “fixes” I found on Apple Forums. None worked. Nor did the 2 choices here. So now I am stuck typing SMS messages on my phone instead of my Mac. Nothing sends. Just get the red exclamation point and the name of the person I am sending to is also red in the iMessage window. It seems Apple is not paying any attention to this. This has been going on for almost a year now.

  • I am on an iMac desktop computer (late 2013). Since the Mojave update, suddenly everything in my folders has gone bonkers. The icons are tiny, and chaotically scattered all over the place. Sure, I can fix them, and I do, by going into view options and decreasing the grid spacing and increasing the icon size. Then I go into “sort by”, and select “name”. But it’s annoying and I shouldn’t have to do this. In all the years I’ve had Mac computers, the items in folders have automatically been orderly and of a reasonable size, subject to change if desired (such as if I am looking for a photo and want to increase the size).

  • Since the Mojave update, any image I save as jpg does not depict the image — it only has the generic JPG icon. I do a lot of work with photos, so this really bites. I can’t open a folder anymore and see what my photos are unless I open them up, such as in preview! I have read various “fixes” online, but nothing that worked for me.

  • Upgraded to Mojave, and now I can no longer close windows / tabs with Cmd-W.

    I need to use Cmd-WW !

    I am using the latest version of my browsers on iMac (27-inch, Late 2012) w/ 24GB RAM. I checked the system preferences and nothing seems off.

    • The Mojave install automatically converted your iMac’s hard drive to APFS. If you don’t have an SSD, that could be the reason you’re having problems. I have a 2013 27″ iMac with a 1TB Fusion drive. I won’t use anything past Sierra on it. Mojave doesn’t work very well on a regular hard drives I tested it on an external drive and it was slow as mud. Apple designed the APSF file system specifically for SSDs. I have Mojave running on a 1TB external SSD. I can’t afford at moment to have it installed internally in my iMac. Maybe when I get my Conovirus check from the government I may have it done.

  • Mojave improved nothing. In fact, my mouse no longer functions as it once did. (I have tried more than one mouse. None work properly.).

    • Might be a changed or new setting with the mouse, what is wrong? Try to describe it, maybe someone can help, might even be me.
      That said, I own a Kensington Trackball, with special driver support, and I fear the next OS Version – for mojave I updated and driver is still working, but a new installation or the upgrade to 10.15 Catalina might change that.
      That said, I really hate the yearly upgrade cycle and jump usually a few versions. Still miss Snow Leopard, which to me was the best working version of Mac OS X.

      • My Macbook Pro (mid-2015) Retina has a great trackpad if it worked correctly. The Apple trackpad in Mojave 10.14.6 jumps around, gives a window the jitters, is sometimes unresponsive so it drives me insane. I am used to using a Kensington trackball but it is not compatible with Mojave. Does anyone have a constructive suggestion for this?

        • Might depend on two things:
          which Kensington Trackball you use
          and how you installed mojave.
          If you did an upgrade from a previous Mac OS version, it should work.
          Also it might help to look for new driver at Kensington (with some firms, the US or english language drivers are newer, if you are in Europe, like I am).

          Just checked:
          I use mojave 10.14.6 and a Kensington
          Expert Mouse which is a Trackball with 4 Buttons and a Ring to swipe up and down.
          Kensington TrackballWorks is Version 1.5.0.
          And the Settings are in German, which is correct, it is my language and also my main System language.
          On the webpage for the trackball, this is the newest version. With a date of October 18th, 2018.
          The support page says macOS 10.13 or above.
          If you try to install a KEXT which is not for mojave, you might have to set the security lower to allow that or during installation allow it.

          When you upgrade to mojave, older KEXTs, which are not signed for mojave get allowed automatically during mojave installation. That is my understanding, I may well be wrong, but the above driver for my trackball is working.
          If you have a different Trackball and need you different driver, then you might be SOL sorry to say.

  • Thanks for hosting this helpful site…

    I have just upgraded to Mojave (10.14.5 (18F132) on my Retina MacBookPro 15″ late 2015

    Speech does not seem to work – I have grown in the hobbit to use this feature a lot – when I highlight the text in e.g. Mail, then select SPEECH from the drop down menu under EDIT… START SPEAKING nothing happens…

    Do you have any fixes ?

    Best regards

  • After Mojave update my sound no longer works for anything. Internal or external or bluetooth. The “Headphones” show up in the Sound pane but I cannot select it.
    Siri started several times days after the update. I had never used it before.
    iTunes started and played my music a few days after without me opening it… again, no sound, just the little screen popping up to state the next song to play. I “quit” iTunes. It restarted immediately after so I quit it again. I guess it’s still off.

  • I just upgraded to Mojave and now the screen jumps around when I’m in Safari and, sometimes, I will be reading a page and it will rapidly scoot to the right and disappear! What is the problem and how do I fixe it. In easy terms, please. I’m not a techie!

    • Joanne hi
      did you find a fix? I have the same issue with all my apps.
      I read somewhere to plug the machine into the power point direct and not into a power box or surge protector, as I have NBN and maybe that is flaky, but still to test out. Let me know if you got any solution that actually works and stays working.

  • Colours on my Imac have become all messed up after installing Mojave. Bue is orange and light colours have become blueish.

  • On Mojave, suddenly, after being able to do it at first on Mojave, now I can no longer Save any of my Emails (either on to my desktop or into a file). This is a big problem for me. I can’t find any Help Aids that address this. Please Help! (Everything also takes forever now. My iMac moves sooo slowly. But I’ll try one of the suggested ways to fix that which I’ve seen.). Thanks!

  • I’m now unable to play a cd using my external superdrive. I have a stereo good enough to tell the difference, and I don’t want to have to reimport all of my music in AIFF format (storage requirements notwithstanding.)

    • The macOS has long been picky about recognizing external drives as Superdrives. There have been other reports about Mojave not recognizing drives that used to work, so clearly this problem has gotten worse with time. When this happened with a Blue-ray drive that I bought some years ago, I called Otherworld for a DVD drive that they certified would work with the OS I was using at the time. You may have to do the same. Otherworld drives are much less expensive that Apple branded Superdrives, by the way.

  • When I get a picture sent to me in imessage and I want to look at it bigger (on my mac) I have to hold control, click the pic, scroll to open, choose run service, and then it opens. I never had to do that before. why?! how can I fix it?

  • I’ve lost location services after updating from 10.14.2. Have tried restarting, unselecting in system preferences, nothing. No maps, night shift, weather, auto time zone. Even tried making a new user to troubleshoot. I’m imagining this is a .plist file issue as well?