fixing your desktop

OS X 10.6.6 breaks Macbook laptops? – beware upgrading…

Short story: if you try to do *any* iPhone development with a 1st/2nd/3rd gen Pro or Air right now, you may screw-up your laptop – massive overheating. I did. My Air is now almost unusable – thanks, Apple!

Apple is currently:

  1. Forcing all iOS developers to use Xcode 4, even though it only went live 1 week ago
  2. Forcing all Xcode 4 users to run OS X 10.6.6., even though it only went live a couple of months ago
  3. …and 10.6.6 appears to have an overheating bug

For me, I installed the 10.6.6 update, and immediately my laptop went into massive overheat. Nothing brings the temperature down. Multiple processes are being run on high (up to 100%) CPU that normally do not show up, the load factor is enormous. CPU temperature over 80 celsius, with nothing but a single firefox window open. Sigh.

I believe this is a bug with the much-praised “make OS X use your dual-core CPU to Da Max” that came in recently. Only, that’s a really stupid idea on laptops, especially when running on battery, with no apps that need the CPU)

(NB: that was the same window, with the same tabs, as before I upgraded to 10.6.6 – I saved / restored the session. Whatever’s broken, the 10.6.6. upgrade currently seems the most likely cause)

Sadly, there’s no way out (can’t downgrade) and no way forward (no patches available yet).

i.e. the bad-old-days of Microsoft’s “auto-updates” and the critical bugs they often caused. At least Microsoft had the excuse they couldn’t test all 100,000,000 combinations of hardware – Apple doesn’t. They’ve only got a few hundred to worry about :(.

9 replies on “OS X 10.6.6 breaks Macbook laptops? – beware upgrading…”

It isn’t quite true that Applis is forcing all developers to use XCode 4.

There’s an easy to overlook link “Looking for XCode 3? Download” that goes to where you can get XCode 3.2.6 and the iOS 4.3 SDK.

I’m not sure whether 3.2.6 also requires 10.6.6 (I’m using a three year old MacBook Pro, I haven’t seen overheating yet, but it’s still early spring.), but it is still an option.

Thanks. I haven’t double-checked, but for the past 12 months or so Apple has pursued a policy of rejecting any apps that weren’t built using whatever the “main” current version of Xcode was.

Sure, you could use old versions – you just couldn’t release the apps.

Apple shipped iOS 4.3 on Xcode 3 and Xcode 4, supporting both.

What processes are using all that CPU %?

Well, sure, but in the past every release of XCode was associated with a new iOS SDK.

Either way, I’ll find out on Friday when our 4.3 version gets submitted, and I haven’t had to deal with XCode 4 yet.

Hey Adam – do you have a BootCamp partition? I ran into an issue with 10.6.6 where there was constant IO reads on the HDD for hours after boot and finally learned that it was caused by Spotlight trying to index my Windows partition in some inefficient way.

Setting up an exclusion of that partition in the settings (can’t remember exactly where) fixed my boot/heat problems completely.

No bootcamp – although I saw on Google that quite a few people had a problem with it. Apparently Apple’s drivers for windows are/were also a bit FUBAR, and weren’t spinning up the fans properly when it got hot.


…+ a bunch others I can’t remember. I remember those two because they used to show up in early versions of 10.5, before Apple fixed some bugs in the windowing system.

Thanks for the headsup on 10.6.7

Short answer: it seems to fix the 10.6.6 bugs, BUT it’s noticeably slower than 10.6.5/10.6.4 was. Yes, really.

My guess is that it’s doing some emergency throttling on Airs to “make them slow and shit – but at least stop overheating and burning out” (there’s several vague items in the release notes specifically about MBAs)

I’d probably reformat and go back to a *working* version of the OS (why do OS providers still do this crap? It’s not exactly like the concept of “rollback versions” is novel or new!), except that Evil Apple Head-Office have decreed that you aren’t allowed to even try and run current Xcode without 10.6.6 or above (as noted)

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