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  • Bugs and Fixes

    October 30th, 2013

    So OS X Mavericks has been out for one week, so you must expect that the sky must be falling. After all, every time a new version of OS X appears, there are early-release bugs that potentially cause havoc. Or at least that’s what some might believe, although only a few releases came with show stoppers.

    But that doesn’t mean there aren’t scattered complaints about Mavericks. They don’t seem consistent, so I hear of issues with scanners and, closer to home, Mail. Now one of the key issues appears to involve the faulty handling of Gmail accounts, which isn’t something that bothers me very much. As I’ve said before, I use Gmail as a backup account and to receive messages from or about our Web server. Nothing that Mail does hurts that process.

    On the other hand, Mail is broken in one key way, the same way it has always been broken, and that’s the lack of intelligent management of the basic IMAP email folders. Now without going into the ins and outs, I use IMAP because it stores my messages on the server, and thus can be shared and synced across all platforms. Whether I have an Android or iOS smartphone, a Mac, a PC — you get the picture — I don’t have to worry about keeping tabs on all of incoming and outgoing messages, plus all the folders I’ve created in which to store messages for various needs.

    Well, in order for the sync process to work, your email client needs to map the core four folders with the ones on the mail server. You obviously want your Sent messages to be stored, and possibly Drafts. But not so much Junk. But if you dispatch a message to Trash, you’d like to know that message has been marked for deletion on all your computing devices, right?

    Unfortunately, Mail is brain-dead about handling such matters. Yes, an Inbox is an Inbox, but, aside from iCloud, you would probably have to manually assign the rest of these folders. To do that, you select the folder (say Sent), choose Use This Mailbox For… from the Mailbox menu, and choose Sent. Unfortunately, junk mail isn’t constantly labeled. It may be called Bulk, Junk, or Spam. Our email provider has a subfolder called Hard Spam for the really nasty stuff.

    Sent? Well maybe it’s Sent Messages.

    Regardless, you’d think that Mail would be smart enough to sort through this and automatically map the correct folders, perhaps with the option of allowing you to select a different folder if the wrong folder is sleected. By forcing you to perform this critical organizational step manually, many Mac users end up not syncing their messages across platforms. Each gadget may have a different Sent folder, for example, depending on what you wrote and where you wrote it, meaning that you might need to check a message you sent to someone, only it’s not on your iPhone, because it was left on your Mac.

    And, yes, the same situation more or less exists with Mail for iOS, though it’s tends to get it right on occasion.

    Now, Microsoft Outlook for the Mac, which is otherwise often unusable, does have a better chance of mapping IMAP folders correctly. Certainly Apple wants things to just work, so I wonder why this glitch has never been fixed, or am I the only one who cares?

    There is one other issue with Mail for Mavericks that bothers me, beyond occasionally sluggish performance, and that’s the inability to correctly flag the number of unread messages. The numbers may be correct sometimes, but I’ve often seen an undercount, or no count at all from an account in which there are unread messages. That’s the sort of bug that probably wouldn’t get high priority in the rush to complete an OS release, but I would hope that there will be a 10.9.1 update soon that will fix the issue.

    One thing about Mavericks, and that is that its ability to improve performance and battery life appears to be adaptive. As you continue to use your apps, things will get better. That may explain why some people report little or no impact to battery life, whereas others claim up to a 50% improvement. This is the sort of thing Apple might have explained in a support document, but a few days can make a difference.

    Now as to that “troubled” iOS 7 release, the recent 7.0.3 update did take care of the so-called nausea or motion sickness issue caused by its penchant for special effects. The Reduce Motion option under Accessibility now not only shuts down the parallax effect, but seriously reduces zooming throughout the OS. So you won’t need any more Dramamine.

    Unfortunately, I’ve not had a good experience with the newly-supported iCloud Keychain on my iPhone 5s. When I have a service that has several logins for different accounts, such as a Webmail system, it often puts in the wrong username and password, and when I simply try to delete the incorrect entry, text response is absolutely glacial, with long seconds passing between the appearance of each letter. So I’ve turned it off for now. But iCloud Keychain continues to work just fine on my Mac. So maybe we need a 7.0.4 fixer-upper to set things right.



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