eXtensions - Saturday 27 December 2019
Cassandra - Friday Diversion: Apple Help and a Glimmer of Light with the iPhone 11 Pro Photo Sync Failure
By Graham K. Rogers
With some time spare just after lunch I turned my attention to the Mac mini which still shows that 10.15.2 is awaiting download, but every time I try, I am prevented from doing this. A panel reports that the Internet connection would not work. As I was updating software, accessing the web and using the Internet for other tasks, this might be wrong. I did try to use the admin account instead of my user account, but this too failed.
Having had a weeks rest I thought I would be able to trick the Mac into connecting to the Apple device, so pressed the Set Up Bluetooth Keyboard button. The Orée keyboard was shown and when I pressed the power button on the Apple keyboard to make it identifiable, it to was also shown in the list. I started the process to add the keyboard and a panel with pairing numbers appeared as it had before, but this time after they were entered and the return key pressed, the keyboard was added and now works perfectly. Another of those "I don't know why" incidents, but at least I now have that keyboard back, and a working spare.
I had another try at updating to Catalina 10.15.2 on the Mac mini in my office, but this time used the personal hotspot. The update downloaded immediately. The problem was then probably the office network I was using, but that is not really a surprise. I used to claim that it was easier to go home to work because there I have an Internet that works.
The reaction from number one son was quite amusing because he said "I'm going to stay away from this". He had not seen UNIX before. I think he was aware of it, and the risks he was aware of put him on his guard. I showed him the command of FSCK with the F and Y switches, for Force and Yes. Like the current versions of macOS I am using the Force option was no longer available on the version of macOS that was installed. The command took quite a while to execute, and there was some comment about this from the seats behind me.
I must admit I was a little concerned myself because this indicated that there could well be a problem. I also thought how I miss Disk Warrior, which is no longer set up for AFPS. In the end everything cleared and I left Number One Son to enter the reboot command. He noted that the restart into macOS was considerably quicker than it had been before so something must have been cleared in that check, so I earned my dinner. The only concern was a sophisticated mouse for which drivers had been installed: these are sometimes a source of problems and I always avoid these, relying on the Mouse preferences. I later also showed the boy Terminal and the list of commands, revealed by pressing the Tab key twice, then entering Y for Yes. Eyes wide open.
We were on the phone for over 2 hours trying to sort my sync problem, but there was progress. We narrowed it down looking at some of the Folders, although I knew that some folders had not updated because the files had been added after the problems began. However, some files like videos had been in the library for a while and these folders had not synchronized. It may be what I suspected: certain files are just stuck. Like a blockage in a physical pipe. There was still a hint that Apple staff wanted me to reset to Factory Settings, but as I explained, this has been done twice already with no change, so for now this is on the back burner.
As this needs more work and some involvement of engineers it was prudent to make sure all my photos were backed up. As I have Photos set for Optimized images rather than keeping originals (which are on 2TB iCloud space), and the engineers would want to go into the library and make changes, it was thought a good idea to create a new library with originals, but as the SSD on the Mac is tight for space, this was set up on an external hard disk.
Image download progress in new Photos library
If an engineering team go into photos they may have to delete some files. Apple has been scrupulous in making sure I have all data backed up fully, although I managed to put a couple of obstacles in my way while setting this up. I had been working in the lounge with all the devices open together, but the Mac is usually kept in the bedroom/office. Once the new library had been created, the process of downloading images began. Then I moved the Mac and the hard disk and saw that the disk had not been ejected properly. I looked a little later and no progress was being made.
I tried to stop and start again, but moving that new library to the Trash took a long time. I restarted the Mac for a confidence boost if nothing else and then made another new library. Within a couple of hours all images were shown in the library although these were optimized versions. The full downloads would take longer and I left the Mac running overnight. Early next morning I saw that some progress had been made in the Photos panel and the file on the disk had increased from 78MB (optimized) to over 200MB, which was closer to the 500MB+ of the full contents. We are now up to 325MB, so this appears to be working.
The time taken on this current problem is considerable. This is the third or fourth time I have used Apple's services in this way: the last time being the special replacement of battery screen and keyboard on the MacBook Pro. Not everyone is going to use the services in this way, but this is what we pay Apple for.
Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs. After 3 years writing a column in the Life supplement, he is now no longer associated with the Bangkok Post. He can be followed on Twitter (@extensions_th)
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