Admins see snags as macOS Sonoma 14.4 hits Macs

There appear to be a couple of snags in the latest iteration of macOS Sonoma that are upsetting to Apple admins: Some USB hubs are no longer recognized by the Mac and a popular command tool used to restart services on remote Apple devices is no longer supported.

Why isn’t my USB hub working?

The USB hub issue is emerging across the Apple web at the moment, including on Apple’s own support forums and Reddit. The problem isn’t consistent — most users aren’t affected — and it seems to relate to Macs running the latest version of Sonoma and third-party monitors equipped with USB hubs.

This can be problematic for conference room setups, some educational establishments, and to office workers with devices connected to their monitors via  USB. So, if you’ve encountered a wave of support requests since macOS Sonoma 14.4 shipped, it isn’t just you, or your users — it’s a flaw.

Fixes vary, but a TechRadar report suggests switching everything off and switching it on again (which everyone should always do when things go awry). That report also claims some people have opened Privacy & Security in System Settings and changed the Allow accessories to connect option to Ask every time and then restarted the Mac. Others apparently have fixed the problem by swapping USB cables.

I imagine this problem will be rectified in a future software update, but if you or your users are impacted it will be seen as pretty annoying, particularly by Macadmins.

Addigy MDM Watchdog no longer supported

Addigy founder and CEO Jason Dettbarn told me earlier this week about a second problem that may be impacting Apple admins using MDM Watchdog Utility for device management.

This is a free tool developed by Addigy that monitored MDM frameworks on remote Macs and automatically forced them to install software patches. This solution was developed to supplement Apple’s Rapid Security Response as Addigy found up to 25% of managed Macs would not install a Security Response update once it was sent out. The utility helped mitigate this by spotting when a Mac hadn’t successfully installed the update and automatically forcing it to do so.

(We discussed it here when the utility was introduced.)

What’s happened with the latest macOS version is that certain commands Addigy was using with its Watchdog Utility have been deprecated. As explained here, these include a command called launchctl kickstart, which the tool relied on. Since the utility can no longer do what admins need it to do, they may notice Macs in their fleets are not getting updated. The solution will be to get users to manually restart those Macs to trigger the software update process, but that’s not quite the full remote device management experience admins these days prefer.

Dettbarn told me that when Addigy launched its utility, the company was surprised by widespread adoption of it. “Watchdog became more than a tool; it became a beacon of reliability for those managing Apple devices every day,” he said, adding, “We understand the integral role Watchdog plays in daily routines, and we are dedicated to exploring every avenue to restore its full functionality for our users.”

That’s not to say remote device management of Macs is bad — it’s something that is improving all the time, particularly with the relatively recent addition of Declarative Device Management.

Printer problems, too?

Finally, another emerging problem concerns printing, with admins complaining that previously setup printers are disappearing from Macs since the update.

Once again, the problem doesn’t appear to be consistent and may relate to use of third-party antivirus software, according to discussions on Apple Support.

It looks as if uninstalling that software and rebooting the Mac could resolve the problem, enabling printer descriptions to be reloaded on Macs.

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