To update Mac OS or not to update: a question for InDesign users

by Stefano Bernardi 5 minutes to read

Photo by Alexandre Godreau on Unsplash

In a few hours, all who run Mac OS will receive a long awaited, very welcome free update.

On the 24th of September Mac OS 10.14 will be distributed to all our Macs.

As occurs each year, in the forthcoming months, I’ll be fighting online with people suggesting not to update.

For that reason, I've decided to write a post so that I could help inform Mac users of the risks of not updating Mac OS (and those of updating).

InDesign is well known for having issues with new versions of Mac OS. Last year’s update was probably the worst in recorded history, with bugs that went from not being able to see the mouse pointer, to unexpected crashes.

Why not updating Mac OS might hurt you

We have all been warned not to update our production machines at least once.  I completely understand the reasons behind not wanting to update your software and, to be honest, I might also agree with this advice for the first few days after the release.

But I’ve seen a disturbing trend on social media and it worries me. Many people (among them also InDesign gurus) have been recommending to refrain from updating the OS - and many users are following this recommendation.

Some people are using an OS that is one or more years old! That is very worrisome!

No Operative System is safe from bugs and security issues. Such bugs might be used by other software to access your computer, read your information or take control of your device.

If you've never had a virus and feel very safe, you should check this list of The top 10 worst ransomware attacks of 2017 – all of this happened just in 2017 alone!

What is Ransomware?

Ransomware is a type of malicious software designed to block access to your files or computers. Often your files are encrypted and you are asked to pay (a ransom) to be able to read and access your data again.

Threats to Mac OS

As much as I love Mac OS, I cannot say that it’s safe from the same security issues other operating systems' have.

Mac OS is moderately safe. The numbers of incidents are definitely lower than on Windows – but there are many reasons for that, one of them being that there are more PCs and so the market for viruses is bigger.

However, Macs are not untouched. At the beginning of 2017, a new crypto-ransomware hit macOS.  The software was distributed via BitTorrent sites masquerading as an Adobe Premiere (or Microsoft Office for Mac) crack!

Known issues

It’s been a year since the release of Mac OS 10.13 and in a full year many vulnerabilities have been discovered and are now public. So far these are all the vulnerabilities to date: Apple Mac Os X version 10.13.0 : Security vulnerabilities).

That means that hackers might want to take advantage of those vulnerabilities but also that Apple has found them and fixed them.

Unlike Microsoft, Apple doesn’t publish any end-of-life schedules or any written guarantees about how long it will support each OS release.

Practically, it seems that Apple constantly keeps a 3-version sliding window – that means that security updates should be developed also for 2-year old releases – but the truth is that the major new release is the one that you should trust the most.

Should you update your Mac OS?

Because your computer (and your data!) is so important to you, you should always update your software as soon as possible.

The only exception is when the software you use is not currently supporting the new update.

I don’t want to focus on this issue. There is a lot to say. But luckily, Apple has released a free-beta program, and in recent months, people from all over the world have been testing InDesign on their Macs running Mac OS Mojave!

If you have Adobe InDesign CS6 (or previous versions)

With this new release 32-bit apps will stop working, and unfortunately, the CS6 wasn’t updated to 64-bit. So you are out of luck. Time to update to CC.

To be honest, there are so many new features, and the user experience has improved so much, that you won’t regret the upgrade – but I understand - it’s not cheap.

As a side note, if you really want to stick to the CS6, you can install a virtual machine!

Adobe InDesign CC

On the first betas of Mac OS Mojave, a few users reported issues with InDesign – the software would crash or it would run s-l-o-o-o-w-l-y.

The issue was caused by a plugin, and luckily Adobe fixed the issue right away.

If you face the same issue on your installation, here is the official guide from Adobe on how to fix it.

Conclusion

Keeping your software updated it’s the best thing you can do to ensure you work safely.

But before major updates always check that your most important tools will work on the new installation!

If everything is alright, go for it without any fear (do a back-up before!).

If something is not working be proactive and write an email to the company who’s responsible for the issue. You deserve to work safely!

Now that you’ve read my position on the matter, hopefully I've informed you of the dangers.  What are your thoughts? Will you upgrade or wait?

Let me know in the comments!

If you know someone that doesn't update their software regularly or is fighting my same battle, I’d really appreciate if you could help inform them!

Stefano Bernardi
Stefano Bernardi

Stefano has worked on numerous mid to large–sized InDesign projects for Alstom, DeLonghi, Philips, and many others before starting Redokun in 2015.
As Redokun’s Co-Founder, Stefano spends most of his time helping customers to optimize their InDesign work-flow. He also holds in-house InDesign courses for companies in the Venice, Italy area.

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