Monday, 16 December 2013

Mavericks Woes - Tracking Down the TrueSuite Culprit

Doggone - it's happened again! I was working on the MacBook Air yesterday morning and I had to restart the computer after installing an update but the machine went straight into its infinite reboot mode. I didn't even bother messing about this time - I just went ahead and restored from the previous Time Machine backup taken about 30 minutes previously.

Actually, that's not quite true. I did unplug everything except the mains cable - a step that I had previously neglected to perform when the problem first occurred. But that didn't make any difference.

However, I do think I may have found the culprit...Only time will prove the hypothesis correct, but it seems that the TrueSuite fingerprint recognition software may be responsible for the bad behaviour. Which is really rather ironic, since Apple bought Authentec - the original developers - about a year ago. [For more info about TrueSuite and fingerprint recognition on the Mac, I wrote about it in this post in July 2013]

I had come across some horror stories on the web about Mavericks not playing well with TrueSuite - that may be a bit of an understatement - users were reporting that they couldn't actually logon after installing Mavericks without uninstalling TrueSuite first - regardless of whether a fingerprint scanner was physically present. The general consensus has been to remove TrueSuite before even attempting to install Mavericks.

Whilst I never suffered the problem of being unable to login following a power-up, I did find that I couldn't log out and log back in without a full restart. So, yesterday morning, as I was doing some general housekeeping, I decided to remove TrueSuite using the appropriate uninstall programme. And the next thing I knew was that the machine would no longer reboot.

While I was restoring the system I started doing some more investigation along these lines and lo and behold, many users were reporting that if you tried to uninstall TrueSuite on a 10.9.x Mac it would not reboot and a restore would be required. In fact the safest thing to do was to restore to a Mountain Lion version, uninstall TrueSuite and THEN upgrade to Mavericks. Now you tell me!! After I've bricked two machines, one of them twice!

In fact, Apple have now published a work around for the problem which doesn't involve removing TrueSuite from a Mavericks machine. All that's required is to disable "Fingerprint Log On" from within TrueSuite. [December 12, 2013]

In summary:

  • if you have TrueSuite installed and haven't yet upgraded to Mavericks, uninstall TrueSuite now, as this is the safest thing to do
  • if you've already installed Mavericks, do not attempt to uninstall TrueSuite but disable the "Fingerprint Log On" option in the settings
  • make sure you have a recent backup of your system whatever else you do
Other functionality within TrueSuite may or may not be working as expected under Mavericks, I've not had time to investigate properly yet. Don't take anything for granted though, and sadly don't expect your existing fingerprint scanner to work on a Mac through newer releases of OS X.

If you've suffered this or similar problems with TrueSuite under Mavericks, please let me know - there seems to be a lot of folk in the same predicament and it would be good to let Apple know that TrueSuite users are suffering and back it up with hard evidence.

Finally, as we head into the last full week before Christmas, my current Number 1 favourite game for the iPad is The Room Two. It's just as beautiful and evocative as its predecessor and great for casual gamers and puzzle solvers like me. And it's a snip at £2.99!

Happy Christmas everyone, and see you in the New Year!

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