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macOS 10.12 Sierra
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macOS 10.12 Sierra Post Install Frequently Asked Questions

Article ID = 167
Article Title = macOS 10.12 Sierra Post Install Frequently Asked Questions
Article Author(s) = Graham Needham (BH)
Article Created On = 20th September 2016
Article Last Updated = 31st May 2017
Article URL = http://www.macstrategy.com/article.php?167

Article Brief Description:
Frequently asked questions after installing macOS 10.12 Sierra

macOS 10.12 Sierra Post Install Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Which version of OS X did you upgrade from? Click on the relevant link below and read everything from that point onwards.

After Upgrading From Mac OS X 10.6

Q. Scrolling appears to be the wrong way round. Can I change it?
A. Yes. Go to Apple menu > System Preferences >
  • (for mice) click on the Mouse icon and untick the "Move content in the direction of finger movement when scrolling or navigating" option.
  • (for trackpads) click on the Trackpad icon > Scroll & Zoom tab and use/don't use the "Scroll Direction: natural" option.
Q. I don't like the system "Resume" feature. Can I switch it off?
A. Yes. Go to Apple menu > System Preferences > General and tick the "Close windows when quitting an app" option. Alternatively if you like the feature for some applications but not others, in those that you don't want the feature you can alt-Command-Quit (Quit and Discard Windows).
Q. I don't like the new system wide text "Auto-Correct" feature. Can I switch it off?
A. Yes. Go to Apple menu > System Preferences > Keyboard > Text tab > untick the "Correct spelling automatically" option in the top right.
Q. I don't like the new Apple System Information view. Can I get the original view back?
A. Yes. System Profiler has been renamed System Information and it opens from the new simplified window. To see the old style view, go to File menu > Overview tab > System Report… button or alternatively hold down alt and select "System Information…" from the Apple menu.
Q. I don't like the new Apple Mail view. Can I get the classic view back?
A. Yes. In Mail go to Mail menu > Preferences > Viewing tab and tick "Use classic layout".
Q. My Finder windows used to show the number of selected items, disk space left and/or the path for selected items at the bottom. Can I get this information back?
A. Yes - Sierra switches these off by default. In Finder go to the View menu and select "Show Path Bar" and/or "Show Status Bar" as required.
Q. I have a NAS drive but although I can connect to it I can no longer use it as a Time Machine backup destination. What's wrong?
Q. I have a NAS drive but can no longer connect to it using the AFP protocol. What's wrong?
Q. I have a very old AppleShare IP (ASIP) server but can no longer connect to it using the AFP protocol. What's wrong?
A. AFP servers must support the Netatalk v2.2 protocol or later to work with Sierra.
  • Apple has disabled AFP support for the Diffie-Hellman Key Exchange (DHX) Protocol ("DHCAST128"). DHCAST128 is often used by NAS boxes, mainly because it has fewer overheads. DHCAST128 is deprecated and replaced by Diffie-Hellman Key Exchange 2 (DHX2). The minimum size of the prime is increased to 512 bits to improve resistance to numerical methods of attack.
  • You should contact your NAS provider for an update to the NAS software.
  • For a list of potential NAS products affected with information, links and software updates see this article.
  • Apple has now officially stated a workaround in this technical support article.
Q. Where has Front Row gone?
A. Front Row is no longer included with Sierra. Alternatives include:
Q. Where has iSync gone?
A. iSync is no longer included with Sierra. It has been replaced by iCloud.
Q. I'm trying to open an application but Sierra keeps popping up the message "You can't open the application your application name here because PowerPC applications are no longer supported". What's wrong?
A. Sierra no longer supports PowerPC applications/the Rosetta environment. See this article.
Q. I'm trying to move an application out of the Applications folder but it just creates an alias. What am I doing wrong?
A. Nothing. Sierra has changed the permissions on the Applications folder. To move an application out of the folder you now need to "copy" it (by dragging and holding the alt key down) first. Then you can delete the original from the Applications folder.
Q. I'd really like to use the original QuickTime 7 Pro. Can I still do this?
A. Yes.
  1. Download the QuickTime 7.6.6 installer.
  2. Install QuickTime 7.6.6.
  3. Go to Macintosh HD > Applications > Utilities and open QuickTime Player 7.
  4. In QuickTime Player 7 go to QuickTime Player 7 menu > Registration… and enter your registration code.
  5. If you can't remember your registration code go to the Apple Store online e.g. Apple Store UK.
  6. Click on "Account" in the top right.
  7. Click on the "Downloadable software purchases" and login if necessary.
  8. The "Software Download History" page should load and your serial number will be listed on it.
Q. When I copy files from one place to another that has files with the same name the new dialogue window does not have the "Don't Replace" option/button. What do I do now?
A. Sierra works differently to previous OSes and there is a new dialogue window for such instances including a "Keep Both Files" option. Basically Sierra copies/moves all unique files first (unlike older OSes) and then gives you the dialogue window for the files with the same name with the following options:
  • Keep Both Files: this will keep both files with the same name, it will add "copy" to the filename of the items you are moving/copying
  • Stop: this is now the equivalent of the old "Don't Replace" option
  • Replace: this is the same as before where it will replace the items with the same name with the items you are moving/copying
Q. I'm trying to browse web sites but all the texts are coming up with the letter A in a square. What's wrong?
A. You have a font problem. Try these:
  1. If you are using a third party font manager e.g. FontExplorer or Suitcase Fusion check for updated software.
  2. If you are using a third party font manager e.g. FontExplorer or Suitcase Fusion check you have not enabled fonts that will "conflict" or "override" the System fonts.
    • FontExplorer: Go to the "Tools" menu and make sure "System Font Protection" is unticked.
    • Suitcase Fusion: Go to Suitcase Fusion > Preferences > Activation tab and make sure "Allow Suitcase Fusion to override System Fonts" is unticked.
    • FontAgent Pro: Go to FontAgent Pro > Preferences > and make sure "Manage System Fonts" is unticked.
  3. Make sure your (required) fonts are stored in the correct macOS locations:
    • Macintosh HD > Library > Fonts folder.
    • Macintosh HD > System > Library > Fonts folder.
    • Macintosh HD > Users > ~your home directory > Library > Fonts folder.
  4. Reboot to your normal boot disk in Safe Boot Mode to clear (font) caches.
  5. Nuke your font caches.
  6. Go to Macintosh HD > Applications > Font Book and Select All (Command+A) fonts. Then try each of the following:
    • File menu > Validate Fonts.
    • Edit menu > Resolve Duplicates.
    • File menu > Restore Standard Fonts.


You should also read the After Upgrading From OS X 10.7 FAQ below

After Upgrading From OS X 10.7 or earlier

Q. I keep getting banners and alerts in the top right of my screen. How do I change this behaviour/stop them appearing?
A. Go to Apple menu > System Preferences > Notifications and configure them accordingly.
Q. The system "Resume" feature has changed since 10.7. What can I do?
A. Whereas before you unticked an option in System preferences you must now go to Apple menu > System Preferences > General and TICK the "Close windows when quitting an app" option.
Q. I went to System Preferences > Sharing and "Web sharing" is missing. What happened to it?
Q. I went to System Preferences > Sharing and "Xgrid sharing" is missing. What happened to it?
Q. I want to use X11 but it's not installed. What should I do?
A. Sierra no longer includes X11 or web/Xgrid sharing, see our Sierra FAQ for more information/alternatives.
Q. I'm trying to run a software application but Sierra says it can't be opened because it's from an unidentified developer. What's wrong?
Q. I'm trying to install some software but Sierra says it can't be installed because it's from an unidentified developer. What's wrong?
A. Probably nothing but make sure the software you want to run/install is legitimate and is not malware. Sierra includes an enhanced security featured called Gatekeeper. Check out our article all about it.
Q. I've heard Sierra supports using more than one Time Machine backup device. How do I get this to work?
A. You can "add" additional devices in the Time Machine preferences or select the option when connecting another drive.
Q. Safari doesn't appear to have an RSS facility or the activity monitor window. Are there alternatives?
A. The Activity monitor within the Safari application (not the general application in Utilities) is gone - it's not likely to come back. If you still want RSS feeds you could use a different web browser that does support them or use a dedicated RSS software application:
Q. Safari appears to have lost the ability to change the default font and size (used to be Appearance in Preferences), block pop-up windows and empty its cache (latter two used to be on the Safari menu). Are there alternatives?
A. "Block pop-up windows" is now in Safari menu > Preferences > Security tab.
A. Minimum font size is now in Safari menu > Preferences > Advanced tab
A. "Empty cache" is now available only when you have enabled the "Develop" menu (go to Safari menu > Preferences > Advanced tab > Show Develop menu in menu bar).
Q. Where's iChat gone?
A. It's been replaced with the Messages application.

You should also read the After Upgrading From OS X 10.8 FAQ below

After Upgrading From OS X 10.8 or earlier

Q. The Network Utility application (previously in Macintosh HD > Applications > Utilities) has gone. Is it still available?
A. Yes, but it has moved. You can access it in one of three ways:
  1. Go to the Apple menu > About This Mac > Overview tab > System Report… button (opens the System Information application) > select "Network Utility" from the Window menu.
  2. Go to Macintosh HD > Applications > Utilities > open System Information application > select "Network Utility" from the Window menu.
  3. Go to Macintosh HD > System > Library > CoreServices > Applications > open Network Utility.
Q. The RAID Utility application (previously in Macintosh HD > Applications > Utilities) has gone. Is it still available?
A. Yes, but it has moved. It is now found in Macintosh HD > System > Library > CoreServices > Applications.
Q. I can access Wireless Diagnostics from the Wireless menu (using the Option key) but where is the actual application located on the hard disk?
A. Yes. There is a Wireless Diagnostics application found in Macintosh HD > System > Library > CoreServices > Applications.
Q. I used to be able to turn off text smoothing for font sizes below a certain size in System Preferences > General but I can't find that option now. Is it still available?
A. No. It's been removed from Sierra.
Q. If I held the Command key down when opening a folder in the Finder it would open in a new Window but now it opens in a new Tab. Can this be changed?
A. The Sierra Finder has changed (with the new Finder Tabs feature) so the default preference is to open new Finder windows in a new tab. You can change this setting back by going to (Finder) Preferences > General and UNTICK "Open folders in tabs instead of new windows".
Q. I had the Finder set to "Always open folders in a new window" but this no longer works. Why?
A. The Sierra Finder has changed (with the new Finder Tabs feature) so this preference has been removed and is no longer available, sorry.
Q. I have lots of Finder windows open. Is there an easy way to turn them into a tabbed Finder window?
A. Yes. Go to Window menu > and select "Merge All Windows".
Q. When I browse web sites using Safari I keep getting asked whether to allow a plug-in to work. What's that about?
A. Safari now has plug-in control on a per website basis. You can manage which websites can load plug-ins e.g. Adobe Flash by going to Safari Preferences > Security > Internet plug-ins: untick/tick Allow Plug-ins > click "Plug-in Settings…". You can see all the browser plug-ins installed on the left and when you select one, a list of sites configured for that plug-in on the right. Either configure settings for the individual website or set the "When visiting other websites:" option - there are three options: Ask, Off or On.
Q. I've heard Safari can now save credit card details using the new iCloud Keychain feature. Is there a way to stop this?
A. The iCloud Keychain is an optional feature. However, if you have switched it on/are using it and don't want to store credit card details you can turn just those off by going to Safari Preferences > AutoFill > and UNTICK "Credit cards".
Q. The directions in the new Maps application are in kilometers. Can I switch this to miles?
A. Yes. Go to Apple menu > System Preferences > Language & Region and change "Region" as required and also click "Advanced…" > General tab and set "Measurement units" as required.
Q. The new Notification Center is really annoying. Can I switch it off?
A. Not totally but here's a handy tip: Go to Apple menu > System Preferences > Notification Center. There is a new "Turn on Do Not Disturb" option. Set this to a small timeframe while you are usually asleep e.g. from 04:00 to 03:45 i.e. notifications will only show between 03:45 and 14:00 in the morning. However, note that High Sierra does use Notifications for some important system notices like software updates so use this feature wisely.
Q. I'm having problems file sharing to a Windows computer/connecting to a Windows server. Is the new SMB2 protocol in Sierra causing issues?
A. Probably. You can control which protocol is used to connect to file servers in the Finder > Go menu > Connect to Server… dialogue box by using:
  • cifs://server.name.or.ipaddress = SMB1
  • smb://server.name.or.ipaddress = SMB2
  • afp://server.name.or.ipaddress = AFP
Q. I have multiple monitors but it all works differently in Sierra e.g. the Dock and menu bar are available on all screens. How do I get Sierra to work like the old versions of OS X?
A. Go to Apple menu > System Preferences > Mission Control > Displays section at the top > UNTICK "Displays have separate spaces".
Q. The Dock is supposed to be available on multiple monitors but I can't see it. What's wrong?
A. Nothing. To save space and confusion it only appears when you try and drag something to the bottom of your screen - then it appears.
Q. Some of the new power saving options sound great. What should I do to enhance my battery life?
A. Go to the Battery menu item and it now shows applications that are using significant power - go to each application that is listed and quit it when not in use.
A. App Nap can be disabled/enabled for individual applications by Get Info on the application icon and ticking the "Prevent App Nap" option (if the developer supports App Nap for their application).
Q. I really like the Dictation feature of macOS but it requires the internet. Is there any way to use this feature offline?
A. Yes! Go to Apple menu > System Preferences > Keyboard > Dictation tab > TICK "Use Enhanced Dictation" (Dictation needs to be switched on for this option to be available).
NOTE: After you switch this feature on macOS will download and install the local Dictation services to your computer. The files/data can be quite large (~500MB+) so make sure you have a speedy connection to the internet or you are prepared to wait for the files to download!
Q. My computer is set to sleep after a certain amount of time but if I am near the computer it won't go to sleep. Is my iSight camera/computer watching me?
A. No! Sierra uses the ambient light sensors to sense movement in the near vicinity of the computer. If it senses movements it will delay the computer going to sleep.
NOTE: This could be a security risk if you normally let your computer sleep after a short period of time. If you are security conscious you should setup and use a sleep "corner" in System Preferences or if you have a laptop close the lid before stepping away from your computer.
Q. Most Apple computers include a built-in (iSight) camera. Can this be blocked using Parental Controls?
A. Yes. Parental Controls now includes the ability to disable the built-in camera.
Q. I used to use the Finder's QuickLook feature to preview videos but it's no longer working with some videos or there is a huge pause before it previews. What's wrong?
A. QuickLook now only works with MPEG4/mp4 video files. Some types of files will be converted on the fly to mp4 prior for playback (hence the pause) or they won't preview at all. You can still use QuickTime Player 7 or a third party video application e.g. VLC to playback non-mp4 files.
Q. I use Finder Labels to colour code my files and folders but now the colours have disappeared. What's wrong?
A. Labels have been replaced by Finder "Tags". You can still tag files and folders (with colours) but they no longer highlight in full colour - instead there is a Finder window column for tags which are identified by coloured dots. Tags can be added in save dialogue boxes/sheets or via the Finder - use the File menu > Tags, or right/control click on a file/folder, or drag the item to the required tag on the sidebar. To delete tags go to Finder Preferences > Tags pane > right/control click on the tag in the list that you want to delete > select "Delete Tag" from the contextual menu.
Q. I don't like the new Finder "Tags". Can I go back to Labels?
A. No.
Q. I use Time Machine to backup my computer but when Time Machine is backing up the menu bar clock icon no longer spins. Is there something wrong?
A. No. In an effort to help save battery life the icon is now static. However, an extra arrowhead now appears on the clock icon when a backup is in progress.
Q. I use special characters a lot like the Emoji font but invoking the Special Characters option or opening the Character Viewer is a real pain. Is there an easier way?
A. Yes. In Sierra the "Special Characters…" option in the Edit menu now has a keyboard shortcut which is command-control-space. Triggering it opens a special window at the current text insertion point with access to special characters. You can even drag this window off to create a floating palette.
Q. I use special characters a lot but the Input menu in the top right is missing and there are no text options in System Preferences anymore. Can I still access these features?
A. Yes. They've just moved in Sierra. Go to Apple menu > System Preferences > Keyboard > Text and Input Sources tabs. The "Show Input menu in meny bar" option is now under the Input Sources tab.
Q. My books have disappeared from iTunes. Where have they gone?
A. Sierra has a new iBooks application (in Macintosh HD > Applications) where all your digital books are now stored and viewed. However, the Books tab in iTunes is still used to sync them to your iPhone/iPad/iPod.
Q. My books were stored in my iTunes Media folder in my home directory but they are gone now. Where are the book files stored on my hard disk?
A. They are now found in Macintosh HD > Users > your home directory > Library > Containers > com.apple.BKAgentService > Data > Documents > iBooks.
Q. That's great but the names are gibberish/not readable. How do I get a copy of the book/file with the correct name?
A. That's the way iBooks stores them. The best way of getting book files with a proper name is to go to iBooks and drag the book you want to your Desktop (this will give you a copy of the book file with its title in the file name).
Q: When I first used Sierra, iTunes and iBooks some of my books didn't get transferred to iBooks. How can I get these books back?
A. Restart your computer, then open iBooks and go to File menu > Move Books from iTunes to transfer all your books correctly.

You should also read the After Upgrading From OS X 10.9 FAQ below

After Upgrading From OS X 10.9 or earlier

Q. I have multiple partitions on my hard disk and I installed Sierra but now my Boot Camp Windows installation doesn't work/I cannot boot to Windows. What's wrong?
A. Windows requires that Boot Camp is within the first four partitions on your hard disk. Unfortunately a Mac running Sierra has TWO additional invisible partitions on the hard disk (EFI and Recovery HD) so if you have more partitions than just your normal macOS and Windows, Windows may not work. The standard setup (Boot Camp will work):
  1. [hidden] EFI
  2. [hidden] Recovery HD
  3. macOS 10.12 Sierra
  4. Boot Camp and Windows
An example non-standard setup (Boot Camp may not work):
  1. [hidden] EFI
  2. [hidden] Recovery HD
  3. OS X 10.11 El Capitan (dual boot)
  4. macOS 10.12 Sierra (dual boot)
  5. Boot Camp and Windows
NOTE: This is a limitation of Windows and it's partitioning scheme, not the Mac or macOS.
Q. Sierra has translucent windows. Can I turn this "feature" off?
Q. My menu bar has become transparent again. I used to be able to turn menu bar transparency off but that option has disappeared. What can I do?
A. You can't turn it off completely but you can reduce it's effect by going to System Preferences > Accessibility > Display (on the left) and tick "Reduce Transparency".
Q. I don't like the way Sierra looks. Can I change it back to look like my previous OS?
A. Most of the new look and feel cannot be changed. However, if you find the new transparency feature/muted effects annoying you can reduce those effects by going to Apple menu > System Preferences > Accessibility > select Display on the left and tick "Reduce transparency" plus you can also try ticking "Increase contrast" too for a different look and feel.
Q. In some applications when I click the green traffic light button (in the top left of the window) it no longer toggles the window size but makes the current window go full screen. Can I get the old way back?
A. No you can't get the old way back permanently. In Sierra the green traffic light button now toggles between full-screen mode for applications that support full-screen mode. However, for those applications you can hold the Option (Alt) key down while clicking the green traffic light to trigger the old behaviour.
Q. I use Dashboard a lot but can't access it now. Where is the Dashboard?
A. Dashboard is switched off by by default. You can still enable it by going to System Preferences > Mission Control and selecting either "As Space" or "As Overlay" from the pop-up menu. You should note that Apple has deprecated the Dashboard and in future versions of macOS it may not exist at all, instead moving Widgets into the Notification Center.
Q. I use the "Reader/Reading List" features in Safari a lot but can't add items to it now. How does it work in Sierra?
A. Reader and Reading List are still in Sierra but Apple have simplified how they work. The Reader icon is now to the left of the search field and shown as a series of horizontal lines. Click the icon to go into Reader mode. Hover over the icon and you will see a plus button to the right that when clicked will add that page to the Reading List. The Bookmarks (where your Reading List is) icon has been changed to a "Sidebar" icon in the top left of the main bar at the top of the window.
Q. The simplified URL field only shows the primary web site domain name I am visiting. How do I see/get the full URL?
A. Just click into the URL field and the full URL will be shown.
Q. I don't like the new simplified URL field in Safari - is there anything I can do?
A. Yes. Go to Safari > Preferences > Advanced and tick "Show full website address" for 'Smart Search Field' to switch this feature off.
Q. I've heard you can initiate a Personal Hotspot on your iPhone/iPad directly from your Mac. How do you do that?
A. On your Mac, just go to the Wi-Fi menu in the menu bar (top right) and your iPhone/iPad's (hotspot) will appear as an option in the list of available networks. However, your iOS device must be running iOS 8.1 or later.
Q. How do I activate the new "Dark Mode"?
A. Go to Apple menu > System Preferences > General and tick "Use dark menu bar and Dock".
Q. In OS X 10.9 Mavericks Apple changed the way system software updates are installed. Is there anything new/different with macOS 10.12?
A. Yes. Go to Apple menu > System Preferences > App Store - as part of the automatic check for updates you now have the specific option for "macOS updates". In addition you should note that the Apple Menu > Software Updates option has gone. You must now go to Apple Menu > App Store and click the "Updates" icon at the top.
Q. I can't find AppleScript Editor in Applications > Utilities. What's happened to it?
A. It's been renamed to "Script Editor" and is in the same location (Utilities folder) but it now also supports JavaScript.
Q. I've heard there's new information about a Wi-Fi connection available but I can't find it - where is it??
A. Option (alt) click the Wi-Fi menu bar item and you now get an additional four items at the top of the menu (the interface name, MAC address, the ability to open "Wireless Diagnostics" or to switch on "Wi-Fi Logging") and you get dedicated information about the current wireless network you are connected to.
Q. Spotlight is now supposed to search the internet but it's not working. What could be wrong?
A. Go to Apple menu > System Preferences > Spotlight > Search Results tab > and make sure "Spotlight Suggestions" is TICKED.
NOTE: the order of the search categories can be dragged into your preferred order and you can disable/enable specific search options here. Unticking "Spotlight Suggestions" will actually prevent Spotlight searching the web which some of you may consider a good thing - see our privacy article.
Q. Now that Spotlight can search the internet I'm concerned about privacy. What are my options?
A. Go to Apple menu > System Preferences > Spotlight and click on the "About Spotlight Suggestions & Privacy" button. This will give you details about what Apple does and exactly how to disable any "phone home" functions.
Q. I've installed iOS 8.1 or later on my iPhone/iPad but I cannot get iMessage, SMS and MMS messages all combined on my Mac. What's wrong?
A. First try signing out of and then back into iMessage on your iPhone/iPad - go to Settings > Messages and switch "iMessage" OFF. Then switch it back ON. If that doesn't work try enabling your Apple ID email address in iMessage - go to Settings > Messages > Send & Receive and make sure your Apple ID email address is TICKED. You should then receive a code on your iPhone/iPad when using Messages on your Mac.
Q. I don't like the new iTunes 12.x - can I go back to an older version?
A. Yes, it is possible but it is not recommended as this version of macOS comes with version 12.x by default - things can go badly wrong if you don't do it right. Always make a full backup before trying to replace iTunes 12.
Q. The sidebar appears to have gone in iTunes 12.x - can I get it back?
Q. The new sidebar in iTunes 12.x doesn't show Podcasts, Apps, Ringtone, etc. Can I get those back?
Q. The old sidebar in iTunes 12.x use to have a quick Apps link in the top left which when it was selected I would get a Check For Updates/Update All Apps button in the bottom right. Where has that gone?
Q. The "Get Info" (tagging) window in iTunes 12.x is different and not as good as the old one in iTunes 11 and earlier. Can I get it back?
A. See our iTunes 12 FAQ article.
Q. After upgrading iPhoto won't open and it says I need an update from the App Store for compatibility with Yosemite/El Capitan/Sierra but when I go to the App Store it says the app is not available. What can I do?
Q. Where has iPhoto gone/Can I use iPhoto with Sierra?
A. See our Photos FAQ.

You should also read the After Upgrading From OS X 10.10 FAQ below

After Upgrading From OS X 10.10

Q. Sierra has a new, primary "system font". Can I change this?
A. Sierra uses San Francisco as the system font. You can't change this. Well, not officially. There are third party "hacks" out there to accomplish the job - do so at your own risk - An internet search engine is your friend.
Q. I'm trying to install some software but Sierra says it can't be installed. What's wrong?
Q. I'm trying to access/modify "/bin", "/sbin", "/usr", "/System" or "/Applications/Utilities" but I can't. What's wrong?
A. macOS 10.12 Sierra includes a new low-level security technology called System Integrity Protection (SIP) which prevents the modification or removal of certain system files. See our separate article all about System Integrity Protection (SIP).
Q. I use the Secure Empty Trash feature but it appears to be no longer an option. What's wrong?
A. The Secure Empty Trash feature has been removed from the Finder (it's not necessarily needed any more with SSDs/Flash storage which is what the majority of new Apple Mac computers now ship with). There are alternatives/workarounds:
  • Use the Terminal command "rm" with the flags "r" for recursive deletion of folders, and "P" for overwriting of the removed files e.g.
  • rm -rP /path/to/file_or_folder
  • Use the more secure Terminal command "srm" with the flags "r" for recursive deletion of folders, "f" for force confirmation, "v" for verbose showing of information, and an additional flag of "-s" for secure deletion e.g.
  • srm -rfv -s /path/to/file_or_folder NOTE: the additional "-s" flag performs a single-pass erase but can be replaced with "-m" for a 7-pass erase instead, or "-z" for overwriting with zeros, or with no additional flag at all it will perform a 35-pass erase!
  • Use a third party utility that offers the feature of securely deleting files e.g.
Q. I used to use Disk Utility to "Erase Free Space". How do I do that in the new Disk Utility?
A. This feature has been removed from Disk Utility (it's not necessarily needed with SSDs/Flash storage which it was what the majority of new Apple Macs now ship with). The feature is still available from the diskutil command in Terminal: diskutil secureErase freespace ERASE_TYPE /Volumes/NAME_OF_DRIVE NOTE: change ERASE_TYPE with a number between 0 and 4:
  • 0 = single pass with zero data
  • 1 = single pass with random numbers
  • 2 = 7-pass
  • 3 = 35-pass
  • 4 = 3-pass
NOTE: change NAME_OF_DRIVE with the name of the mounted drive (put the name in standard quote marks if it contains spaces or any punctuation).
Q. I used to use Disk Utility to Repair Permissions. How do I do that in the new Disk Utility?
A. This feature has been removed from Disk Utility. We recommend using the free Onyx application that now supports repairing permissions on Sierra or later.
Q. I used to use Disk Utility to burn CDR/DVDR discs but can't see that feature any more. How do I do that in the new Disk Utility?
A. This feature has been removed from Disk Utility. Third party optical disc burning software includes:
  • Toast Burn (£14.99) Buy it now on the Mac App Store
  • Roxio Toast Titanium 15 Buy it now at Amazon UK
  • Roxio Toast Titanium 14 Buy it now at Amazon UK Buy it now at Amazon USA
  • DiscBlaze (£4.49) Buy it now on the Mac App Store
  • NTI Dragon Burn (£23.99) Buy it now on the Mac App Store
  • Burn (FREE)
  • Disco (FREE)
  • SimplyBurns (FREE)
  • NCH Express Burn (US$30-50)


You should also read the After Upgrading From OS X 10.11 FAQ below

After Upgrading From OS X 10.11 or earlier

Q. I have a third-party/the Apple USB Modem but under Sierra I cannot get it to work. What's wrong?
Q. I use to use my Mac as a fax machine. This option seems to have disappeared from System Preferences. Can I use my computer for faxes?
A. Faxing is no longer supported from directly within macOS (even though Apple says you can - you actually can't) because Apple removed the underlying software (Ed Casas' open source "efax" package). You used to be able to use an external USB modem for faxing but this is no longer possible - there are manual workarounds:
Q. I can't find my User Library? Where is it?
Q. Is my User Library folder still hidden?
Q. Why doesn't Finder > Go menu (while holding the "alt" key down) > Library work any more?
A. Your User Library has not gone and it is in fact in the same place, but in Sierra, by default, it is invisible. You can now make it permanantely visible again - just go to Finder > Go menu > Home and then select "Show View Options" from the 'View' menu > TICK "Show Library Folder". However, if you do this you will not be able to access it quickly via the Finder > Go menu (while holding the "alt" key down). If you choose not to view it permanently in the Finder > Go menu (while holding the "alt" key down) > Library still works.
Q. I've heard Sierra now includes Siri. Is Siri switched on and listening all the time?
A. When you first install Sierra you will be asked whether you want to switch Siri on or off as part of the install/upgrade process. Once Sierra is installed you have control over Siri:
  • Go to Apple menu > System Preferences > Siri to enable (tick) or disable (untick) Siri
  • Go to Apple menu > System Preferences > Siri to turn on/off "Show Siri in the menu bar"
  • If you don't want Siri in your Dock click and drag Siri's icon off of the Dock and wait a few seconds, the Remove option will appear and you can let go of the mouse button
Q. Where have my Desktop and Documents folders gone?
A. By default they will be in the same place but it is now possible to save and synchronise them to iCloud - this feature is OFF by deafult. If you turn this feature on your Desktop and Documents folders will be in your iCloud Drive. There are two places in Sierra where you can choose to turn this feature on:
  1. Apple menu > System Preferences > iCloud > (sign-in if necessary) > iCloud Drive > Options > "Desktop & Documents Folders" TICKED
  2. Optimized Storage via Apple menu > About This Mac > Storage tab > Manage… > Recommendations > Store in iCloud > Store files from Desktop and Documents in iCloud Drive
Q. I use to have a PPTP VPN configured but it's disappeared. Where has it gone?
A. Sierra does not support PPTP VPN connections as they are inherently insecure.
Q. I've heard something about a new "Apple Pay on the Web" feature. Does my Mac support this new feature?
A. Sierra does indeed have this feature but not all Macs/iPhones support this feature - so basically older hardware won't support this feature. Macs that officially support "Apple Pay on the Web" are:
  • MacBook (Early 2015 or newer)
  • MacBook Pro 13" (2012 or newer)
  • MacBook Pro 15" (2012 or newer)
  • MacBook Air (2012 or newer)
  • Mac mini (2012 or newer)
  • iMac (2012 or newer)
  • Mac Pro (Late 2013 or newer)
NOTE: Apple Pay on the Web requires an iPhone 6 or later with iOS 10 or later or an Apple Watch with watchOS 3.
Q. I've heard about features like Handoff, Instant Hotspot, and Universal Clipboard. Does my Mac support these new features?
A. Sierra does indeed have this features but not all Macs/iOS devices support these features. Macs that officially support Handoff, Instant Hotspot, and Universal Clipboard are:
  • MacBook (Early 2015 or newer)
  • MacBook Pro 13" (2012 or newer)
  • MacBook Pro 15" (2012 or newer)
  • MacBook Air (2012 or newer)
  • Mac mini (2012 or newer)
  • iMac (2012 or newer)
  • Mac Pro (Late 2013 or newer)
NOTE: No MacBook Pro 17" model supports these features.
NOTE: Handoff requires an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch with a Lightning connector and iOS 8 or later. Instant Hotspot requires an iPhone or iPad with cellular connectivity with a Lightning connector and iOS 8.1 or later. Requires Personal Hotspot service through your carrier.
Q. I've heard something about a new "Auto Unlock" feature. Does my Mac support this new feature?
A. All 2013 models or later support it - it also requires an Apple Watch with watchOS 3 and an iPhone 5 or later to work.
Q. I've heard something about a low-power wake mode (sharing resources without the need to turn on the monitor or attached USB devices) called "Power Nap". I can't find this in the Preferences anywhere. How do I utilise this mode?
A. Sierra does indeed have this feature. Simply go to Apple menu > System Preferences > Energy Saver and make sure "Enable Power Nap" is ticked. However, not all Macs support this feature as it is dependent on the hardware in your computer - so basically older computers won't support this feature. Macs that officially support "Power Nap" are:
  • MacBook (Early 2015 or newer)
  • MacBook Pro 13" with Retina display (Mid 2012 or newer)
  • MacBook Pro 15" with Retina display (Mid 2012 or newer)
  • Mac mini (Late 2012 or newer)
  • iMac (Late 2012 or newer)
  • Mac Pro (Late 2013 or newer)
Q. I've heard something about new "Metal" graphics. I can't find this in the Preferences anywhere. How do I utilise this mode?
A. Sierra does indeed have this feature and will use it automatically as required. However, not all Macs support this feature as it is dependent on the hardware in your computer - so basically older computers won't support this feature. Macs that officially support "Metal" are:
  • MacBook (Early 2015 or newer)
  • MacBook Pro 13" (Mid 2012 or newer)
  • MacBook Pro 15" (Mid 2012 or newer)
  • Mac mini (Late 2012 or newer)
  • iMac (Late 2012 or newer)
  • Mac Pro (Late 2013 or newer)
Q. I've heard Sierra has AirPlay video mirroring to an Apple TV. How do I get this to work?
A. Your Apple TV must be up-to-date (2nd/3rd generation / 4th generation). Only certain Mac models support AirPlay video mirroring, they are:
  • MacBook (Early 2015 or newer)
  • MacBook Pro 13" (Early 2011 or newer)
  • MacBook Pro 15" (Early 2011 or newer)
  • MacBook Pro 17" (Early 2011 or newer)
  • Mac mini (Mid 2011 or newer)
  • iMac (Mid 2011 or newer)
  • Mac Pro (Late 2013 or newer)
NOTE: AirPlay for web video requires an Apple TV (2nd generation or later). Peer-to-peer AirPlay requires a Mac (2012 or later) with OS X Yosemite or later and an Apple TV (3rd generation rev A, model A1469 or later) with Apple TV software 7.0 or later.
If you have a compatible Mac go to Apple menu > System Preferences > Displays > click the "AirPlay Mirroring" option near the bottom and select "Apple TV". Alternatively, when a compatible Mac with Sierra detects an Apple TV on the same network, the AirPlay Mirroring menu item appears in the menu bar (top right) and this can be used to turn the feature on. In addition audio can be streamed on its own - audio from your Mac is wirelessly sent to your Apple TV. You can use this feature independent of AirPlay Mirroring by selecting your Apple TV in the Sound pane of System Preferences.
Q. I'm having problems with networking/(slow) Wi-Fi/accessing the internet. What can I do?
A. Sometimes after installing a major upgrade to the Mac operating system your networking configurations can become corrupted - you can try resetting them by following these instructions:
  1. Restart your computer
  2. Quit any automatically running applications
  3. Create a new folder on your Desktop and name it "Old Networking Prefs"
  4. In the Finder go to Go menu > Go to Folder… > type in "/Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration/" without the quotemarks
  5. Click "Go"
  6. Locate the following files
    • com.apple.airport.preferences.plist
    • com.apple.network.identification.plist
    • com.apple.wifi.message-tracer.plist
    • NetworkInterfaces.plist
    • preferences.plist
  7. Copy these files to the "Old Networking Prefs" folder on your Desktop
  8. Delete the original files from the "SystemConfiguration" folder
  9. NOTE: This will delete all your current networking preferences and locations - if you do not want to do this or you do not have a backup stop now and close the Finder window!
  10. Restart your computer
  11. Go to Apple menu > System Preferences > Network and reset your networking preferences and locations as required
Q. I'm trying to print to my printer but it's not working properly. What can I do?
A. Printer drivers may need to be reinstalled after upgrading to Sierra or they can become corrupted. If you are having printing problems the first thing to do is reset the macOS printing system:
  1. Go to Apple menu > System Preferences
  2. Click the "Print & Scan" icon
  3. Hold down the Control (ctrl) key on your keyboard (bottom left)
  4. Click on the any printer in your printer list
  5. Select "Reset printing system…" from the contextual menu (in some cases this may take some time)
  6. When the printing system has reset and there are no printers listed in the printer list Restart your computer
  7. If your printer is supported by macOS (see this official Apple list) simply add your printer back in System Preferences (macOS may download and install the latest printer driver for you)
  8. If your printer is not supported by macOS go to your printer manufacturer's web site, check your model of printer is compatible with macOS 10.12 (Sierra) and download the latest printer driver for your printer (it is best not to use any install discs that came with your printer as the software is likely to pre-date Sierra!)
Q. I'm trying to install a third party application but the installer says it cannot install because the OS is "earlier than 10.6" or similar. What's wrong?
A. The third party company has coded their installer (incorrectly/badly) to only check for one digit after the "10.". Sierra is 10.12 so the installer sees the OS as "10.1" and fails to install. You will need to contact the third party company for an updated installer.
Q. Is Java included with Sierra?
Q. I'm trying to run a Java application/Java in a web browser but it's not working properly. What can I do?
A. Even if you previously manually installed Java you may need to reinstall it. If you need to, read our macOS Java article for information and links to download it and install it.
Q. Is Adobe Flash included with Sierra?
A. No. If you need it download it from Adobe.
Q. I had Adobe Flash already installed but Sierra says it is out of date and has been disabled. Why is this?
A. You haven't kept your Flash plug-in up-to-date (which is a big security risk). Download the latest version from Adobe and when you install it, it is best to allow Adobe to install (Flash) updates automatically.
Q. I've installed Sierra and I don't like it. Can I downgrade to 10.11/10.10/10.9/10.8/10.7?
A. Yes. We're currently working on an article all about that - check back soon.
Q. Is there anything else you recommend?
A. Yes.
  • If you want to use the new Dictation feature remember to turn it on - go to Apple menu > System Preferences > Keyboard > Dictation tab and switch 'Dictation' to "On".
  • If you use the Text To Speech function of High Sierra you can download additional voices and dialects - go to Apple menu > System Preferences > Keyboard > Dictation tab > 'Language' pop-up menu > Add Language… > select the voices/dialects that you want and download (each voice download can be quite large e.g. 1GB+).
  • Go to Apple menu > System Preferences > Notifications and configure them as required (you can temporarily turn off all notifications by Option clicking the Notifications icon in the top right hand corner of the menu bar - it will go grey - Option click to turn it back on).
  • Go to Apple menu > System Preferences > Security & Privacy > General tab and make sure Gatekeeper is configured.
  • Go to Macintosh HD > Applications > Safari > Safari menu > Preferences > General tab and untick 'Open "safe" files after downloading'.
  • If you don't use it and it's installed turn off Java in your web browsers.
  • Use Apple's macOS Recovery Disk Assistant to create an emergency external recovery disk (internet connection required).
  • Obtain the macOS Install Disc Image to Create An External Installation Device (internet connection not required).
  • Create An Emergency Boot Drive For macOS
  • Backup your computer regularly

Article Keywords: macOS 1012 Sierra post after install FAQ frequently asked questions

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