macOS Big Sure launch causing slowdowns even for Macs that didnt upgrade

Posted on Friday, November 13 2020 @ 9:43 CET by Thomas De Maesschalck
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ARS Technica reports the rollout of Apple's new macOS Big Sur operating system temporarily caused issues even for users that didn't upgrade. There are reports on the web about Mac users suffering from stuttering, non-responsiveness throughout the operating system, and even apps taking minutes to launch.

So what was the cause? It appears a server problem at Apple was the culprit. Macs regularly check in with Apple's servers to check the validity of certificates. When a user is offline, notarization validation is supposed to "soft fail". This means the operating system will launch the app anyway.

In this case, the process malfunctioned as devices could perform a DNS lookup on Apple's Online Certificate Status Protocol service but failed to connect to the service. This resulted in time-outs rather than "soft fails", resulting in odd behaviour in the operating system.
It didn't take long for some Mac users to note that trustd—a macOS process responsible for checking with Apple's servers to confirm that an app is notarized—was attempting to contact a host named but failing repeatedly. This resulted in systemwide slowdowns as apps attempted to launch, among other things.
The problems started around the time Apple started the rollout of Big Sur. Fortunately, the issues didn't last long.

About the Author

Thomas De Maesschalck

Thomas has been messing with computer since early childhood and firmly believes the Internet is the best thing since sliced bread. Enjoys playing with new tech, is fascinated by science, and passionate about financial markets. When not behind a computer, he can be found with running shoes on or lifting heavy weights in the weight room.

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