Ventura and Monterey Users: Beware Unwanted Sonoma Upgrades 

I always turn auto updates off except for security. I have a faint memory of seeing this some versions ago and did a deep dive to see what caused it and made sure all auto updates for OS were off. Not an issue for months (years?). I dunno. I don’t keep a log book of this nonsense… :roll_eyes:

Very helpful article, Adam. Thank you. This might indeed affect some of my clients so I’ll keep an eye out for it.

As for myself, I have a very valid reason for not upgrading. I use Smallcubed Mailsuite and their programs won’t run on Sonoma. If Sonoma were to install a main workflow (my email) would be completely broken.

I recently checked “software updates” while on my Intel MBP running 13.6.3, and apparently there is now a Ventura update available for version 13.6.4, stating it does address security, but I am not sure if the fix for the “nasty bug” of installing Sonoma without permission is included in this update.

I did get the faulty notification as well on my MBP (while running 13.6.3), but somehow I got lucky, and the Apple software never tried to force Sonoma on my MBP without permission.

Editorial comment: Apple software releases are increasingly more disturbing and troublesome.

I have commented on this Apple-software-development problem in the past, specifically addressing an old piece of software (local syncing of the Calendar between a Mac and an iPad), which used to work prior to Ventura. Almost no one seemed to care about this Ventura-introduced bug, because most people apparently have “moved on” to cloud syncing.

This recent bug regarding “forcing” some users to update to Sonoma without permission, is larger in scope, and consequences.

It was bad enough when we were dealing with hacking, breaches, misinformation, disinformation, and the other digital landmines facing current society. Now we are unable to even trust, and rely on Apple, on top of things. This situation is inexcusable, and please Adam, I don’t see defending Apple at this point.

The old Apple (attributed to Steve Jobs?) motto, credo, or whatever you want to call it, “It justs works!” is sadly, no longer applicable.

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No one’s defending Apple—it’s a nasty bug, and it’s a shame that it got through.

But simultaneously, there’s nothing new here. There have always been bugs, and there was never a time when everything just worked. I’ve been covering Apple for 34 years, and part of the reason I’ve never lacked for content is that there’s always something going wrong.

If anyone really believes they can’t trust Apple because of this bug, they should switch to a different platform.

By the way, “It just works” was a phase that Steve Jobs repeated during the 2011 WWDC keynote while introducing iCloud, but it was never about software quality, it was about data syncing automatically in the background and Apple’s advantage in controlling both hardware and software.

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I was using cloud syncing of calendars with Google long before there was an iCloud (on Windows Mobile and then Android and then iPad and then iPhone). I’ve since moved on to iCloud and I would never go back. Just as an example, I am currently out of the country but my calendar syncing is working perfectly and my Macs remain back at home.

Same with contacts.

It’s dead reliable and, again, I don’t need to sync with my Mac to get everything in sync. It’s just instantly in sync.

Unless there is some specific legal reason why you need to sync with a local repository, at least for calendars and contacts, iCloud (or Google, if you have a Gmail account) calendar (and contact) syncing is something worth strongly thinking about.

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Adam, Thank you for your note.

Having been a software engineer for most of my career, at a major U.S. avioinics company, I realize that software is often super-complex (good example, macOS), software always has inherent risks, no software is bug free, people make mistakes (hopefully honest mistakes, and not sloppy mistakes), etc., etc., etc.

However, here is what really, really bugs me: Is it necessary to introduce bugs into software which at some point in time worked fine? It seems to me there should be a decent and robust set of regression tests which would catch (most of ?) these types of bugs.

Regarding

I agree with you totally. In fact, I was pondering this very notion before I wrote my original comment to this thread. The basic issue for me is: The Apple platform is the least bad platform out there, in my opinion. So in spite of all my gripes about Apple software development, I guess I will just have to live with it all. I am still in the process of making this adjustment.

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4 posts were split to a new topic: Preferred app to replace Apple’s Calendar with a move from USB to cloud syncing too

Ideally yes, but we have no idea what other new code might be added for entirely legitimate reasons. Or it could be a complex interaction with some other system that was triggered by a date. Just too many unknown variables.

I think that’s smart—BusyCal and FantastiCal are worlds better than Apple’s Calendar. However, they’re still getting the data from iCloud Calendar or Google Calendar or wherever. That’s usually fine, but it means they’ll show exactly the same data as Apple’s Calendar.

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Thanks for all the notes with respect to BusyCal, syncing, etc.

I will survive the Calandar/Contacts situation.


On a different topic, getting back to the article from Adam, which got this thread going, could someone post a note to this thread, indicating that most probably, Apple has fixed this bug? (Adam did suggest this sort of response, in the original article.)

(Referring to the Apple bug which was forcing some people running Monterey or Ventura, to upgrade to Sonoma without permission.)

trying update 12.7.2 → 12.7.3 :

System Preferences → Software Update offered 2 updates: Safari and 12.7.3; Safari installed fine.

When trying to install 12.7.3, it was downloaded, but an error message appeared (citing from memory):

System Preferences interrupted installation, please close System Preferences (something like that)

But, System Preferences could not be closed as long as this error message was open. Tried it several times …

So some kind of catch 22 situation.

Right now, I’m still on 12.7.2. I could update to 13 or 14, but I’m not really planning to.

Frankly I feel that the efforts to force an upgrade is not entirely by accident or bug. When calling Apple Support with any Ventura related issue or Apple App issue the very first thing they try to do is attempt to get me to upgrade to Sonoma. They have refused to help me with some issues unless I first upgrade. I suspect that one of the reasons is that Sonoma sunsetted some features that they no longer wish to support. The two that disturb me in particular and would interfere with my usage is the removal of Apple Mail plug-ins and the removal of the ability to do searches that include Apple Mail from third party Apps such as HoudahSpot. Those are some of the primary reasons I do not want Sonoma. I am also of the opinion that Sonoma sort of dumbs down macOS from the user’s perspective making it more difficult to configure it to a user’s needs and desires. I regard this to be part of their attempt to evoke a refrigerator mentality to Macs along with what seems to be their long-term goal to merge macOS with iOS and to coerce users to use more subscription services in order increase the already outrageous compensation for management executives. I consider Apple to be two companies: the old Apple before Tim Cook that was focused on the customer experience and the new Apple under Tim Cook focuses on maximizing profit over the user experience by turning Apple into a prestige upper class status symbol. As for me, I want a computer that I can configure to do the tasks that I want it to do in the way I want to do them that is extremely reliable and of good value, rather than a piece of technology art to be placed on display as a status symbol.

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Let’s stay on the topic of the Monterey/Ventura bug that causes the unwanted upgrade, not general complaints about Sonoma or Apple.

Any further divergences will be deleted summarily because I’m utterly sick of them—it’s what I like least about the Apple community these days and is the thing most likely to drive me away from participating in it. If you don’t have anything constructive to say, don’t say anything.

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Howard Oakley just posted an excellent article on (un)wanted updates.

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I got bit by the upgrade bug too (MBP 2018, Intel, Ventura). I had seen something that looked like a tiny bit of an upgrade dialog a while ago (on January 10?) but nothing ever came of it… until today, when I rebooted and discovered that the Sonoma upgrade that you wrote about earlier this week was coming to pass. I guess I clicked the X box on the dialog which triggered the upgrade. It never asked me to reboot… I guess it was waiting quietly to pounce.

My copy of BBEdit now fails, so I’ll need to upgrade. But at least my copies of VMWare Fusion and Parallels Desktop are working so far (both Windows 10 VMs), so maybe they’ve fixed the bugs with Parallels Desktop (I have v19.2.1).

Looking at another universe, it appears that the latest system update to Google’s Pixel phones may brick them.

According to the article, it’s very easy to accidentally trigger the update.

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Howard Oakley has written more about this, including the suggestion that some people aren’t even getting the notification.

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I didn’t see any mention of this terminal command:

defaults write com.apple.SoftwareUpdate MajorOSUserNotificationDate -date "2025-02-07 23:22:47 +0000"

https://mjtsai.com/blog/2024/02/09/how-to-stop-macos-upgrade-notifications/

Please excuse me if it was mentioned already.

Howard Oakley (@ace linked to it just above) also quoted that command. However, in his article he makes quite clear that there’s a big question mark you can fully prevent unwanted Sonoma force updates just by stopping macOS from displaying the upgrade nag (which is what that command does).

If those forced upgrades had been initiated independently of that notification, as some accounts imply, then blocking its appearance wouldn’t have prevented the upgrade from occurring.

This confirms that posting the Upgrade to macOS Sonoma notification is but the final step in extensive preparations to start the upgrade. If forced upgrades that took place in the middle of January did occur without the user interacting with that notification, then it suggests that blocking the appearance of the notification may not be effective in the event of a repetition of this or a similar bug.

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And, I just discovered that my Software Updates prefs have been changed from

√ Check for updates
√ Install System data files and security updates

to:

√ Check for updates
√ Download new updates when available
√ Install System data files and security updates

So Sonoma is lurking somewhere on my drive (AGAIN).

But now it is all unchecked and I’m counting on SilentKnight.

There is a story of DAYS lost restoring my working partition (which along with my Time Machine and every volume on my machine other than the HFS+ spinner was corrupted by following the advice of I-am-sure-were-well-meaning-persons (but against my expressed concerns).

But I am too F’ing exhausted by the wasted time. Good thing I am retired, some one might have gotten “offended” at the least.

…later…FWIW, I couldn’t find any trace of Sonoma, but…

11 posts were split to a new topic: Carbon Copy Cloner restore limitations