The latest macOS Ventura update has left owners of old Macs stranded in a sea of problems, raising a chorus of complaints

Users of macOS Ventura, the predecessor to macOS Sonoma (the latest operating system for modern Macs and MacBooks), have discovered some problems after installing the newest update, macOS Ventura 13.6.6. The update was released on March 25 alongside Sonoma version 14.4.1. Apparently, those looking to upgrade macOS Ventura were met with firmware-related issues (firmware refers to software components that bridge a device’s hardware and software). 

Ventura is the last macOS system that many older Mac models can run, as macOS Sonoma only supports Macs and MacBooks from 2018 onwards (the iMac Pro from 2017 is also supported), so updates for the older operating system are especially important for security and functionality reasons. 

Since the update's release, users have taken to websites like Apple’s community forums to express their dissatisfaction with Ventura 13.6.6. GottaBeMobile has cataloged a number of these posts which discuss issues including Wi-Fi connectivity issues, email problems, Time Machine backup issues, issues with users’ displays, noticeable lag in the user interface (UI), problems with external accessories, issues with both first-party apps (apps by Apple) and third-party apps such as Microsoft Teams, and more. According to GottaBeMobile, this is just a selection and part of a larger number of problems that users are facing with Ventura 13.6.6.

GottaBeMobile checked for itself how Ventura 13.6.6 runs after its release on a 2017 MacBook Pro, confirming other users’ reports of frustration-inducting lag in the UI.

Now, affected users are hoping to see another update for Ventura that will put things right, but this could take some weeks. Until then, users will have to try solutions suggested by others, such as turning Wi-Fi and Bluetooth on and off, restarting the device, and others. However, if these issues are caused by a fundamental problem with the Ventura update, these solutions may only be temporary.

A woman sitting down with a MacBook laptop her lap

(Image credit: Shutterstock/Farknot Architect)

Hope for a fix-filled update

Apple is currently developing and testing new software versions for a range of its products, including Mac, iPhone, Apple Watch, and others, which are expected to be released in May, or possibly at WWDC, its software-centric conference in June. 

It’s likely we’ll see macOS 15, the follow-up to macOS 14 Sonoma, at WWDC, and macOS Ventura may get an update around this time to fix those problems.

As Apple presumably sees Ventura as a legacy operating system, it’s unlikely to make a big song and dance over any update (especially if it's to fix embarrassing bugs) when it would rather show off the latest version of macOS.

I hope that Apple hears user feedback, as it’s pretty loud and clear, and takes time to fix Ventura. I understand that much like its peers, Apple is keen to push for users to update to newer hardware and software, but in this economic climate, that might not be possible for many people. In the meantime, it should make sure that customers who can’t upgrade to the latest version of macOS are still looked after.


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Apple bows to developer complaints, will allow web apps in EU … with a catch

Apple is walking back some of its restrictive response to EU regulations that have forced it to make changes to the iPhone and iOS. When the EU said that Apple must allow third-party web browsers on the iPhone, the company responded by cutting off web apps for the EU. After developers and some users complained, the company has changed its policy and will again allow EU users to save a website as an app on their home screen. 

Web apps harken back to the original days of the iPhone, when there was no App Store. Instead, you could pin a web page to your home screen and it worked just like an app. The feature evolved to allow web apps to save data and send push notifications to the user. Macrumors has a good walkthrough of how web apps work and why they are a benefit. A web app is much smaller than an app that you download from the App Store, for instance. 

Notably, Xbox Cloud Gaming relies on a web app to function on the iPhone. You can play all of your Xbox games on your phone, using an Xbox controller, thanks to the Xbox website that acts as a web app. By adding this feature back into iOS 17.4, Apple has saved Xbox gamers who stream their game library through their iPhone. The software update will be available in early March, so we expect it any day now. 

Web apps are a security problem, according to Apple

The problem with web apps, described by Apple, is that iOS is only designed to be secure when a Webkit browser creates the web app. Webkit is Apple’s own browser engine, different from Chromium browsers like Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge, and other browsing engines. If some third-party Chromium browser creates a web app on iOS, it might gain access to the camera, or install extra software without the user’s knowledge. To deal with that problem, Apple announced it was eliminating the ability to use web apps for EU users. 

Thankfully, Apple says in a recent update that it has changed course and will allow third-party browsers to create web apps. When those apps are created and saved to the home screen, it seems they will run in Apple’s own Webkit browser engine instead of using the third-party browser. It’s unclear how this might affect performance, but it seems like a reasonable compromise for now. 

“We have received requests to continue to offer support for Home Screen web apps in iOS, therefore we will continue to offer the existing Home Screen web apps capability in the EU. This support means Home Screen web apps continue to be built directly on WebKit and its security architecture, and align with the security and privacy model for native apps on iOS,” says Apple on its developer page

Apple in the past said that web apps are not very popular, citing “very low user adoption of Home Screen web apps” as a reason why the feature was not worth the extra effort to develop a proper, secure fix for this issue.

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