Yosemite Dev Preview 6 Update

OS X Yosemite
On Monday, Apple updated only Mac OS X Yosemite to Developer Preview 6 (DP6), but not iOS 8.  This article gives some thoughts on my experience with Yosemite as my primary OS and some useful links to learn more about Yosemite.

For Yosemite Dev Preview installation steps, tips and more check out my blog article How To Safely Test OS X Yosemite Beta.  Also check out all of my articles on iOS 8 and articles on Yosemite.

Upgrade Process

The Yosemite update took about 15 minutes total, with the download portion of that taking about 4 minutes.  This is a little faster than Dev Preview 5 due to DP6’s smaller size, weighing in at 898 MB.

Performance and Other Improvements

I’ve been using Yosemite as my primary OS for daily work now for over 2 months, since the first beta release on June 2, 2014.  I felt the new features in both Yosemite and iOS 8, like the new Continuity features, were worth the small risk.  Small only because I followed all of my own advice that I described in detail in How To Safely Test OS X Yosemite Beta

Although I’ve had no major problems or a single byte of lost data, it hasn’t been without some annoyance.  Not un expected – I’ve tested a lot of commercial beta software and develop and test software for a living too, and also did a lot of beta testing with Mac OS X Mavericks and several iOS versions too.  But none the less annoying.  The experience with DP6 using it in the last 2 days has shown noticeably improvement, that I thought worth noting here.

Performance is noticeably improved

As is to be expected in beta software, performance will take a hit.  Due to debug and testing code or code that is new and not refactored yet, etc.  As the beta evolves these things are removed and optimized, and as with Mavericks shortly before it’s gold release, Yosemite DP6 is now showing signs of improving.

For example, I’ve encountered many instances of hesitation when switching apps and working with web pages and documents.  I use a Macbook Air with 4GB of RAM, and for this, it’s now clear that 4GB is just not enough.  What for me is a normal load that Mavericks gold release handled just fine, can occasionally bring my Air to it’s knees.  Often it’s just small split second hesitation when switching apps or web pages.  But occasionally it can be a system wide freeze that lasts for minutes.  I just have to wait it out, then kill some apps that I don’t need immediately.

This has been happening most often with Safari.  My typical use case is to have over 100 web pages open in tabs in over a dozen windows.  I use the windows as work and research work streams and leave the window open over hours and sometimes days, until I’m done with that work stream.  Right now I’ve got 122 tabs in 18 windows in Safari, and 16 apps running including Safari, Mail, Pages (for writing this article), Pixelmator, TextEdit and more OS tools.
Memory Pressure in Yosemite DP6
Memory Pressure in Yosemite DP6

Before DP6, this use case would cause memory pressure to go in to the yellow and stay there.  Viewable in the Activity Monitor app in the Memory section – see the screen shot.  Now, as in right now, it’s all green.  And occasionally it peaks into yellow and levels back down into green on it’s own.  Although last night I really creamed it, on purpose, by loading up a Windows VM configed with 2Gb of RAM in VMware Fusion, with all this other junk running.  It really hated that.

BTW: Why I dumped Windows for good

When I was a Windows user I had to reboot Windows after just a few days, because this use case would bring even a beefy machine to it’s knees.  

In 2010 after using Windows 7 for months, I finally gave up on Windows forever because after so many years and major upgrades, Windows still sucked.  I switched to Mac, and I can leave the OS up for weeks and often months without an issue.  Even with a beta version of Yosemite.  So a beta Mac OS X is much more stable that a gold version of Windows.  So there ya’ go..

I’ve been a Mac guy ever since, and haven’t looked back.  😀

App Switch Fail is Resolved

Preview Can't be Opened
Preview Can’t be Opened

Due probably to the just described performance boast, often when opening a file from Finder, in to an app that is already running, it would fail with the message in the screen shot.  I could work around this by switching to the app, waiting for the app to respond, then try opening the file again.  This commonly happened with Preview.

Apple’s Pages word processor app would also often seem to reload itself with a document I was working on positioned at the top of the doc.  Nothing lost at all.  Just tapping a cursor key would jump to where I left off in the doc.

I haven’t had any of these issues in the last 2 days with DP6.

Pages Issues Resolved

I did have an issue in Apple’s Pages where I was not able to select styles from the Format Inspector’s style pulldown list, after selecting it once.  I had to assign function keys to the styles to workaround the problem.  The only other workaround was to close Pages and re-open it.  This is not a problem in DP6 now.

Useful Links for More Info

Mac OS X Yosemite

Here are some links to some great articles on Yosemite – listed in the order I suggest you read them.

iOS 8

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