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Snow Leopard Glitches and Gripes

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Keeping track of glitches in and gripes with Mac OS X 10.6, Snow Leopard. Rob Griffiths wrote about his. Enter yours below.



Exchange contacts' birthdays don't appear in the iCal Birthdays calendar - It seems that iCal will only look for birthdays in contacts in the "On My Mac" section of Address Book.

iCal / Mail. This problem existed in 10.5 and 10.6 did not resolve it. If you create a To Do from a mail message or note, the To Do should appear in Mail and in iCal with a link to the “original” source (message or note). If the calendar to which the To Do is assigned is part of a group of calendars, the OS will periodically and capriciously delete the links between the To Dos and the mails or notes from which they were created. When this happens, the To Do will still appear in iCal and Mail, but you can no longer go from the To Do to the original piece. This affects only grouped calendars. Stand-alone calendars are not affected.

iCal appears to be losing events. Added appointments vanish after the application is closed. I described this in my post "Missing Items" in the iCal section of the Forum.


iChat cannot use an Exchange contact from Address Book - iChat will only let you select contacts in the "On My Mac" section of Address Book.


Stickies no longer remember their position when the app first loads if the note is placed on the second monitor


The spaces bug which means that any fullscreen apps running on a different space disable the ability to minimise other apps

Snow Leopard also still has the bug where it doesn't deal with modal dialogs properly. Quite often a modal dialog is hidden and it takes several switches between different spaces for the dialog to appear again...

You also cannot move to another space by moving over it with your mouse while in the Bird's Eye view and pressing F8, this worked in 10.5, but no longer works in 10.6 You also cannot press 'C' from the Bird's Eye view to merge all windows to one space. (Check out this hint for details on 10.6's new functionality for window collecting.)

I see a bug where, say, I have two terminal windows open on space 3, and mail open on space 1. The first time I cmd-tab from terminal to mail, I won't switch spaces, instead staying in space 3, but the top application will switch to mail. If I cmd-tab back to terminal and then cmd-tab back to mail, the space will switch (which should happen first off!). Does anyone else see this behaviour?


Broken contextual Services menu - Services show up in Application Menu -> Services, but not in the Action menu in the Finder toolbar or when you control-click. Except when they do.

  • I was able to get these back by typing this in Terminal: /System/Library/CoreServices/pbs flush temporarily removing an angry app and a bunch of junk in ~/Library/Services, then logging out and logging back in. YMMV. -- Jason Snell 05:53, 27 August 2009 (UTC)
  • My experience has been as follows: most of the services selected in the default setup do not appear in contextual menus. Manually deselecting and reselecting each service will cause it to appear in contextual menus. Interestingly, hitting the "restore defaults" button in the Services tab seems to remove services from contextual menus again. After manually reselecting every service I want to appear, the contents of the contextual menus seem to mirror the services menu.


Broken modify Finder Spotlight search results

Third-party contextual menu plug-ins will not load in 64-bit applications -- This appears to be intentional on the part of Apple, with the improved Services supported intended to replace their functionality. A temporary workaround is to force applications to open in 32-bit mode. To do this, select "Get info" from the file menu and check the "open in 32-bit mode" check box.

  • It's a security measure and to my surprise the Services alternative is much better than I expected. It's still going to have some negative effects on the user experience, and some context menu plugins simply can't be recreated as services, but overall it's not horrible.

Method of calculating file sizes changed Snow Leopard now uses the standard definition for Gigabytes (1000 MB) rather than the definition previously used, which is now called a Gibibyte (1024 MB). What was once thought of as a 5.56TB volume will now be called a 6 TB volume, and a 250GB hard drive actually is called 250GB rather than 232GB.

Open Finder windows don't return to their original space upon login - All previously open Finder windows are collected in space 1 after logging out and logging back in.

Using Columns view, click on a folder, then select All. All of the items that are in that folder are selected. This is the same as Leopard (and before). Now use the up/down arrows and select All. All of the items that this folder is in are selected instead. This is confusing, inconsistent, and extremely annoying behaviour.

The Trash's new "Put Back" command is not available if an item is dragged to the trash from a stack in the Dock.

In 10.5 when you opened multiple 'Get Info' windows, you could close them all by option clicking on the red X on any of them, or any finder window. In 10.6 this functionality has changed, now option clicking to close multiple windows only works on normal finder windows, it will not close 'Get Info' windows.


Aliases in the Dock's hierarchical menus The Dock still can't resolve aliases in its pop-up folders. This worked fine in 10.4, broke in 10.5, and is still broken in 10.6.""


Can't send e-mail using certain SMTP servers Mail seems to have a bug that affects certain outgoing mail servers. People in France using Orange as their ISP, and using as their outgoing server, can't send e-mail. The workaround is to enter port 25 as a custom port on the Advanced tab in the settings for the SMTP server. This default port should be used automatically, as the "Use default ports" setting includes port 25. This may affect users with other ISPs or in other countries. This also works for some people on the Cox network. However, many people on Frontiernet (USA) are still reporting problems. Apple are aware of the problem, but report it, together with your exact SMTP server settings to give them as much information as possible. You can use Thunderbird as a workaround until Mail is fixed.

QuickTime X

Videos will not continue to play after seeking to a different point in the file. Must press play after any adjustment in position.

Double-size option and keyboard command removed.


Keyboard Navigation -- Upon deactivating VoiceOver, keyboard navigation seems to be stuck in VO mode, not allowing keyboard commands to control the application. For example, cannot switch between tabs because the keys are locked into text selection. The only way to get out of this seems to be to quit and relaunch Safari.

Camino is not affected by this. If this is WebKit (framework, not the browser) related, the issue doesn't seem to affect Mail.

Zoom -- Zooming any page in Safari with full page zoom will cause all radio buttons to disappear.

WebClip broken -- The WebClip feature (Safari > Open in Dashboard...) which opens web pages from Safari in Dashboard no longer works. Only a blank clear box appears in Dashboard. This only happens if you upgraded, but if you did a full install this should work.

Activity Monitor

The CPU history window no longer remembers where it belongs between launches. Even worse it no longer remembers where it belongs when it has been hidden and then un-hidden. I use a long CPU History window at times to keep an ongoing history view, but then I set the window to be mostly off screen so I can still watch the recent record but the old history is off the screen until I need it. It used to be a great trick, but now it is obscene in that it covers the whole screen of my laptop when I launch or un-hide it.


  • Trackpad gesture weirdnesses If you've got a MacBook with a Multitouch trackpad, try this: use the four-finger swipe up to show the desktop—then, without lifting your fingers from the trackpad four finger swipe back down to bring the windows back. Now lift your fingers—the windows will bounce back into their hidden states, and will stay that way, even if you try to four-finger swipe down again. It works the opposite direction, too, if you trigger Exposé. Again, not sure if this is intentional or not, but it's gotten me irritated. -Dan Moren
    • I think this is unintentional. I notice that sometimes if I 4-finger swipe up and release, the windows pop back, and sometimes they stay hidden. There doesn't seem to be a logic behind it. - KPOM
    • There appears to be a difference between "swipe + let go" and "swipe + hold + let go". I'm not sure how long you have to hold, but that makes the difference. "Swipe up + let go" to show the desktop, then "swipe down" to bring back your windows. "Swipe up + hold" to show the desktop, then "let go" to bring back your windows. Subtlecoolness 19:36, 1 September 2009 (UTC)
  • Core Duo MacBooks lack additional multitouch gesture support Despite Apple's claims that "All Mac notebooks with Multi-Touch trackpads now support three- and four-finger gestures," this doesn't appear the case on my Core Duo MacBook. I know of one other person who reports this as well. If the trackpad accepts input from more than one finger at a time, it's "multitouch," right? At least that's what I'd think... -Nick Mediati
    • Nick - I don't think your trackpad is considered to be one of the "multitouch" pads. Technically, yes, you can touch two fingers to scroll and perform a secondary-click, but later models had a more advanced trackpad.. Sorry. - Cliff DesPeaux
    • The software might support this. But there should be some kind of hardware under the flicking space that should detect the third and the fourth finger. Maybe Apple grouped it as doubletouch and multitouch ( >2) (srijith)
      • Figured as much, but if that's the case, Apple needs to be more specific. -Nick
        • Apple has never described the trackpad on the original MacBooks as "multitouch". The first trackpad with that moniker was the one on the original MacBook Air. larryv 15:01, 29 August 2009 (UTC)

UI overall is inconsistent QuickTime X and the dark dock context menus do not match the rest of the operating system at all. Opinion: I feel it is consistent. Pro apps and now the OS use "Dark" to mean "focus on one thing". In Dock Expose and QuickTime you are focusing on one aspect for the whole screen. So its dark. Same with Dashboard for several releases.

UI inconsitencies

  • The Help Menu uses a different font and different geometry than the rest of the menus... looks cheap.
  • The "+" button on the window title bar (a.k.a. Apple's personal Maximize implementation) continues to behave unpredictively across applications.

Internet Sharing is broken Since upgrading to Snow Leopard I can no longer share my Ethernet Connection via Airport. Even though 'Internet Sharing' appears to be ON in the System preferences pane, the icon in the menu bar remains unchanged and the signal is undetected by other computers.

Address Book -- all of my entries for businesses, where first and last name were blank, but "Company" was checked, were now listed as "No Name". The Company box was unchecked for all such entries.

Print Dialog -- One of the more pleasant things Apple gave us with Leopard was that if you canceled a "Preview" box when printing you were immediately returned from "Preview" back to the application that you were working in. Apple giveth and Apple taketh away, and this is gone in Snow Leopard. Now you stay in Preview and must manually re-select the application from whence you came,

Firefox -- Fonts rendered differently, in subtle but annoying ways. Generally, more compressed, and occasionally the wrong font. Circulating fix is to resolve duplicates in Fontbook and restart. This did not work for me, exactly. I had to manually delete 2001-era fonts from my user font folder and then activate their 2009-era duplicates in the system font folder. This resolved the issue.

Cursor shadow is inconsistent -- The subtle shadowing on the cursor that should appear on all Quartz-Extreme Macs only appears some of time. It seems to turn on and off every few minutes. There may be an additional trigger I have not discovered but it seems very random.

Mac -- to find out how to uninstall applications on mac

External USB keyboard re-mapping not supported -- I normally re-map (swap) the Command and Control keys on my keyboard since I am constantly switching back and forth between Windows and Mac systems so re-mapping these two keys makes the keystrokes for copy, cut, past, etc. the same. But the re-mapping is no longer honored on the external USB keyboard attached to my Macbook Pro. Works fine on the Macbook Pro's keyboard.

  • FYI, I also use a remapped external keyboard in Snow Leopard, and have had no problems whatsoever. Even going back, re-identifying the keyboard and changing the mappings several times everything works perfectly.

Aperture Viewer scroll bars no longer work -- I don't know if this is a Snow Leopard problem or an Aperture problem since an Aperture update was installed right after upgrading to Snow Leopard.

Answering some annoyances. The thread on Rob Griffith's annoyances article is locked so I can't respond to some of the complaints raised there in context.

In 10.5, Help Viewer had an undocumented pref that allowed you to make the window stop floating. In a terminal window:

 defaults write NormalWindow -bool true 

We documented this back in 10.5, but it's now broken (at least as of 10.6.1; some readers reported it working, but I can't make it work on any of my 10.6-upgraded Macs).

"Does Spotlight still not search the Library folders? This is my number-one annoyance in Leopard." Spotlight doesn't search Library folders by default because for most users most of the time it's not a sensible place to search. With certain exceptions that are already handled by Spotlight, Library is a developers' playground, much like System is Apple's. If you invoke a search with Cmd-F you can use the criteria popup to tell the search you *do* want to look in system and library folders, and you can promote that option to the menu full time so you don't have to dig through the huge list of other criteria.

"I wonder if Apple has a crew that reads all the forums and lists the gripes and wishes of we Mac users." No. Apple doesn't even have a crew tasked with participating in and monitoring their own mailing lists except for the moderators. The signal to noise ratio is too weak for Apple or any other developer to trawl "all the forums and lists" for feedback. If you don't care enough to submit a bug report or feature request through supported channels, you don't really care.

"And still no system level support for uninstalling software." Can't be done. There are vendors who've delivered something claiming to be that functionality but all of them fail under circumstances that aren't that arcane. There's simply no way for the OS vendor to provide a reliable general uninstaller. Application developers can, and should, provide uninstallers for any product that needed an installer in the first place. They're in a much better position to do it right.

Late Model iMacs Fail to Wake from Sleep This is an intermittent problem. The key clue in logs being: "pmExitHaltToOff: CPU 1 not in LCPU_HALT(5)"@/SourceCache/AppleIntelCPUPowerManagement/AppleIntelCPUPowerManagement-90/cstateCPU.c:2068 Apple acknowledges the bug: This is a follow up to Bug ID# 7227747. After further investigation it has been determined that this is a known issue, which is currently being investigated by engineering. This issue has been filed in our bug database under the original Bug ID# 7062288. The original bug number being used to track this duplicate issue can be found in the State column, in this format: Duplicate/OrigBug#.

Not confirmed:

  • HDTV as display no longer supported - Since upgrading to Snow Leopard my 32" 1080P SHARP LC-32GPU display no longer works. Is this an evil plot by Apple to support only Apple-brand large format displays? - HDTV works for my MacbookPro 4,1 with DVI to HDMI Converter cable to both Samsung 46" and Panasonic Viera 42" using the 1080P option in Displays system preferences. (It no longer shows specific screen resolution for 480/720/1080) - HDTV works for me too on iMac with DVI to HDMI converter with a 32" Toshiba Regza.

Your TV may not accept 1080p input and may be upscaling 480p, 720p, and 1080i input sources to 1080p for display on the screen. In essence, the 1080p function on your TV may be done with internal scaling or processing only and not be able to accept 1080p external source. Try choosing 1080i or 720p output in system preferences.

  • New Click-Dock-Application-To-Show-Expose sometimes doesn't show all windows belonging to the clicked application. I can't find a pattern, but it happens quite frequently in my 10.6.2.

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