Has Catalina ruined my late-2013 iMac?


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Good morning. First post. Just upgraded to Catalina y'day and its been a disaster. Brief history: a week ago i received a pdf that would not open. said it was encrypted. had never seen that. assumed the file was the problem - had been protected or similar. But the guy said he'd only protected against edits. So ...??? A week later i receive another pdf from a different source, and same error message. So, now the problem looks like on my end. I suspect that my old Acrobat Pro (2008) was simply too old to open this file by a newer Acrobat. Tried to upgrade Acrobat, but turns out my O/S is too old for Acrobat 2020. So i try to upgrade the O/S and Apple steers me straight to Catalina. OK, Fine. So i do that yesterday, but it starts taking forever. I mean hours. And when it was finally complete, so many things seemed screwed up. My Mail app said something like it had been wrecked and i had to re-install it or something(?), and so then it set about downloading 78000 emails.... for several more hours. In addition, none of my old apps work with the new O/S so I lost all my Adobe Creative Suite, MS Office, and others. But basically, the computer is running like its in quicksand - essentially unusable. One cant sit waiting 23 seconds to switch between tabs on Chrome, or 17 seconds for an email to open. What could be wrong? Wondered about the memory, the harddrive has about 500GB of space, and the iMac has two 4-GB RAM chips (?)... Any ideas?
 
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Cory Cooper

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Hello and welcome.

The Late 2013 iMacs are definitely compatible with Catalina, albeit at the slower end of the supported hardware models.

-Do you have a Time Machine or other backup of your data?
-Have you tried opening the PDFs with the Preview application instead of Acrobat?
-Sometimes macOS will run slowly after an upgrade, since Spotlight is indexing the drive in the background. Has it gotten any better?
-What Login Items are loading at startup?
-Do you have any third-party utilities like MacKeeper or antivirus installed and running?

C
 
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Appreciate all those points, Cory. I had always ignored TimeMachine, so no backups. After 24-36 hours, it was still running in quicksand - sometimes felt like was getting better, but might have been wishful thinking - so I took it to a computer tech shop in my area. Says he planned to “mirror the computer over to a ... solid state hard drive (?) and stick that inside the machine, plus upgrade the RAM.” Said it should be faster than lightening. Of course, now he’s awol and I’ve had no updates from him since Thursday midday when I dropped it off! Sigh... I’ll keep u posted.
 

Cory Cooper

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OK, thanks.

Good luck, and let us know how it turns out.

C
 
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I gather 32 bit apps will not run on Catalina. I have several, so will not be upgrading for the time being. If you're having probs with older apps, this may explain it.
 
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Yes, some of your described problems have to do with 32-bit apps no longer being supported. The slowness is likely due to lack of RAM. I have a Mac Mini late 2012 that I updated to Catalina from Mojave just the other day. I have 16gb of RAM installed and an SSD. I noticed it runs a little slower with Catalina but still acceptable.

May I ask, which Mac OS did you upgrade to Mojave from?

Every year before the new MAC OS comes out, I download the current OS and create an installer on a thumb drive so that if the update to the new OS doesn't pan out I can turn the machine back to the previous one.
 
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...So i try to upgrade the O/S and Apple steers me straight to Catalina. OK, Fine. So i do that yesterday, but it starts taking forever. I mean hours. And when it was finally complete, so many things seemed screwed up. My Mail app said something like it had been wrecked and i had to re-install it or something(?), and so then it set about downloading 78000 emails.... for several more hours. In addition, none of my old apps work with the new O/S so I lost all my Adobe Creative Suite, MS Office, and others. But basically, the computer is running like its in quicksand - essentially unusable. One cant sit waiting 23 seconds to switch between tabs on Chrome, or 17 seconds for an email to open. What could be wrong? Wondered about the memory, the harddrive has about 500GB of space, and the iMac has two 4-GB RAM chips (?)... Any ideas?
I have to assume since Apple "steered" you straight to Catalina, your previous OS was High Sierra or earlier, having skipped Mojave.

When I installed Mojave on both my iMac and 2012 i7 MBP, Creative Suite wouldn't work any longer due to 32-bit issues. I think I was still able to use Acrobat for some reason, but my memory could be faulty on that. And Catalina is totally 64-bit only, so either start coughing up monthly rent to Adobe, which I'll do when hell freezes over, or do what I've done: find open source alternatives. They aren't that bad once you get past the learning curve and get over losing the Adobe interface.

I have the 2.9GHz i7 version of the 2012 MacBook Pro. Lucky, lucky me! With the 6G 500GB SSD installed, it boots in less than 30 seconds. I can't imagine a 2013 Mac being all that slow. I even have Catalina installed on my unsupported 2010 iMac, and it boots pretty fast. Everything works well except Photos, when it will produce a color explosion when you double-click a thumbnail to view a picture at full size. Other than that, it works great.

I second Cory's opinion that Preview would've worked with your PDF just fine, but it sounds like someone password protected your PDF files, thinking that would "protect" them from editing.
Sample.jpg
 
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I gather 32 bit apps will not run on Catalina. I have several, so will not be upgrading for the time being. If you're having probs with older apps, this may explain it.
Thanks for that. I did lose all my old Adobe Creative Suite apps, and MS Office. Didnt care about any other apps or applets.... I have gotten the latest Adobe Creative on this iMac, now, and am about to get Office back. I looked at Pages and Numbers, but, as an old dog, dont like new things, so id like to have good old Word and Excel back, thank you very much.

Anyway, i always figured the software issue is easy - just was out of date. But the OS thing is a different question, right? That's at the heart of the machine. I have it back from the shop and its better, but i dont think the guy really did anything.
 
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re Harry Trent and Allen Davis: thanks for your comments.
Just to update the story, and this one individual's experience: i got my iMac back from the local tech shop yesterday evening, but i dont think i got much fixed. Apparently these iMacs are not meant to be opened up to upgrade the RAM, or work on the harddrive. I saw that on another of your forum threads last week, too: you've got to rip the glass face off the body, using "a heat gun and guitar picks as wedges" (!!), apparently. My techie says thats all about Apple wanting to make it very difficult for non-Genius bar shops to want to work on these machines - liability and warranty issues, etc etc. But i dont know anything about all that... So all that good idea about installing a solid state hard drive and more RAM, and mirroring my machine over to the new harddrive did not happen. He says he took off a pile of spyware, but said that, these days, every computer is full of spyware (maybe not for you tech-savvy guys on here?!). He also said i have multiple duplicate "users" on the machine, including potentially one that dates back to the graphics designer i employed when i owned a small design biz 11 years ago. I guess that means that this iMac is 'populated' from a design department computer that i originally retained after the biz was liquidated in 2009, and took home as a home computer??? And when that one died, i migrated it to an iMac that died in 2013, and that was transferred to THIS current machine. Thats a weird idea that the machine dies but we migrate our 'digital existance; from machine to machine... I guess things can get duplicated and redundant and messy, doing that??? Anyway, I have yet to double check that those 'user' folders are truly redundant and delete them, but he says that clearing the hard drive as much as possible is never a bad idea. So, in the end, he figured all along that the hard drive is probably starting to go bad (again, its a late 2013 iMac), and maybe Catalina, being so large, started to write to part of the hard drive that was going bad.... I have 8Gb RAM and 1 TB of storage, just fwiw. Well, thats the latest. Im back up and running, today, but its definitely not the same. Certainly ok for now, but probably will be buying a new MacBook soon enough, huh?
 
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Stuck with Mojave on my 2015 MacBook Pro 15" Retina as I lost too much with Catalina.

As for stopping you upgrading, or servicing, correct. I have just replaced the (glued in) battery on my MBP as the battery was 'climbing out' and distorting the case.

WHY Apple are so precious about their products I just don't know . . . the cynical part of me is adamant it's just to force you to buy again.

This machine boots from scratch in just under 30 seconds.
 
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Agreed. My tech shop guy seems damn sharp, and i think once i clean up my hard drive as he said, i'll be in decent shape, but he no longer works on iphone, or a lot of Mac stuff, unless asked, because they've made it so difficult.
 
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