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What’s the Word on Yosemite?

“Can I update to Yosemite?”

Yes! It’s mostly all clear unless you use one particular piece of software: Parallels. If you are running anything lower than Parallels version 9, it will not work with Yosemite. Otherwise, a very small percentage of people have experienced one or more of the following issues, documented by Tech Republic’s Jesus Vigo. Here’s what they are and what you can do to workaround or fix them.

Potential Issues?

1. Wi-Fi connectivity. Wireless connection drops connectivity and goes offline for about 30-45 seconds at a time, at 10-15 minute intervals between loss of connections. This is usually because of a buggy Wi-Fi driver. Unfortunately, this is all on Apple, since the driver must be updated before a permanent solution can be found.

Solution: The latest version of OS X is 10.10.1, which includes better Wi-Fi reliability.

2. Trouble booting OS X. Your computer powers on and initiates the boot process, but the progress bar fills up halfway and hangs there for an unspecified amount of time.

3. Excessive RAM usage. RAM usage is throttled to its maximum capacity, preventing the use of certain applications or features. Somewhere along the line, a process takes on more than its share of allocated memory or an app has a memory leak that causes it to continue to use up RAM until nothing is left for the system to run stably.

Solution: The fastest way to find which application or process is causing the problem is by launching the Activity Monitor app. Checking the memory tab will list each process currently running and the total commit of RAM being used by each app in descending order from greatest amount used.

4. Apple Mail trouble. Apple Mail has difficulty sending/receiving email for previously configured accounts and certain messages can’t be viewed when the message is selected.

Solution: Contacting your email service provider or searching for the POP/IMAP/SMTP settings on their support page and reconfiguring the incoming/outgoing server settings for the affected email account is the best way to correct send/receive errors.

There’s a bit more work involved to fix stored messages in Mail. If you’re able to see the messages listed in Mail but can’t access them, you’ll need to click on the folder that contains the affected messages and select Mailbox | Export Mailbox from the menu bar. A window will open, prompting you to select a location to backup the file. Select choose, and the messages will be backed to the selected location, including folder hierarchy.

Once the files have been backed up, you can delete the folders from Apple Mail and import the newly created .MBOX folder by selecting File | Import Mailboxes and selecting the backup file to import.

5. Handoff prompts after disconnecting phone call. Handoff prompts you to answer an incoming call from your iPhone but after disconnecting or ending the call, OS X continues to prompt you and does not allow you to end the call.

Solution: Typically, this hiccup can be resolved by re-establishing a Wi-Fi/Bluetooth connection by powering them off temporarily and restarting them.

6. AirDrop between iOS/OS X. AirDrop service not detected between OS X and iOS, preventing data transfer. AirDrop can be a bit particular between iOS and OS X. The majority of the disconnection occurs when the feature is used on unsupported hardware.

Solution: First, verify that both the Mac and iOS device meet the minimum requirements for cross-AirDrop support. Next, check to make sure AirDrop is enabled on both OS X/iOS devices and that both devices have Wi-Fi and Bluetooth enabled. These troubleshooting steps should resolve the issue.

7. App-specific issues. Applications not working as advertised or certain features/functions are disabled. Changes in OS X bring a slew of random issues when it comes to app compatibility.

Solution: The best solution is to ensure that OS X is fully updated, plus any applications that might be experiencing trouble with Yosemite. Checking the vendors’ support pages will often yield download links for updated versions of software or patches and workarounds for known issues affecting users.

8. Battery life. Battery life is drastically reduced when compared to its current use with Yosemite and the previously installed version of OS X on your Apple laptop.

Solution: Ensure that your Mac computer is using the latest version of OS X 10.10.x and that all software applications are also updated to their latest versions, since this code typically has been optimized for use with the latest version of OS X.

9. Lag brought on by Spotlight indexing. There are times when Yosemite becomes slow and will lag while you’re trying to work on the computer. Spotlight (Apple’s system wide search function) indexes data located on your computer in order to report lightning-fast searches. This builds a catalog of all the data on your device and, depending on the amount of data, completion of this process may take some time, which impacts the resources on your computer while it’s building the index.

Solution: You may want to limit what’s indexed with Spotlight. Launch System Preferences | Spotlight and select the Search Results tab. From there, you’ll find a number of search categories. Uncheck the selections you’d like to exclude from indexing and they’ll be removed immediately.

If there are specific files or folders you wish to exclude, or even a particular drive, click the Privacy tab and use the plus sign (+) to add paths you wish to have excluded from Spotlight. All paths added will immediately be excluded from indexing and removed from the index catalog to keep Spotlight optimized.

10. Upgrade vs. clean installation. Before installing Yosemite, users must decide how they want to install the newest OS to maximize the operating system potential and minimize any possible issues. There are two paths to installing the latest version of OS X: Upgrade and Clean Install. The one you choose will depend on your specific needs, available storage space, and whether data has been backed up.

Solution: Upgrading is the easiest route and the one most people will choose. It allows folks to keep their data, apps, and settings in place while replacing the previous OS with Yosemite. A possible flaw with upgrading is that any issues that existed with OS X will continue to plague the system after upgrading to Yosemite.

Clean installs format the HDD/SSD and installs a fresh copy of Yosemite on your Mac. During the format process, all data is lost, as well as settings, preferences, and pretty much everything else. But once the process is complete, you have a brand new installation of your OS, and none of the previously installed apps or settings will be there to conflict with OS X.

Obviously, the downside to clean installs is data loss. If you don’t regularly backup your data, or don’t like the idea of pretty much starting from scratch, then the clean install is probably not for you.

Final Verdict?

Like we said…it’s mostly all clear. The amount of users that have experienced the issues detailed above have been few and far between. Meanwhile, those that haven’t encountered any issues have been quite happy with Yosemite’s features.

If you update to Yosemite and find yourself battling with any of the issues we’ve gone over, use these tips and you should be running smoothly in no time. Happy updating!

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