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Apple Releases OS X 10.9 Mavericks for Free

Breaking from tradition, Apple last week released OS X 10.9 Mavericks with no more specific advance notice than the “fall” promise from June’s Worldwide Developer Conference. A more interesting first is that Mavericks is free to all Mac users, at least those who can access the Mac App Store, which goes back to 10.6.8 Snow Leopard.

At the company’s special event, which also saw announcements of the new Mac Pro, new MacBook Pro models, new versions of iLife and iWork, and the new iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina display, Apple’s Craig Federighi recapped the main enhancements in Mavericks, including under-the-hood improvements like better battery life, more efficient memory use, and faster graphics. He also zipped through a demo of the new Maps and iBooks apps, showed off Safari’s new Shared Links and enhanced Reader view, and responded to interactive notifications from Messages, including a cute message, presumably from his wife, using the jokey username “Hair Force Two” (Federighi has made a number of jokes about his stylish coiffure in the past). Other features we’re excited about include better support for multiple monitors, the elimination of the stitched-leather look of Calendar and Contacts, Finder tabs, and document tagging. See “Apple Previews OS X 10.9 Mavericks” (10 June 2013), for our initial coverage, which is still a fine overview.

Most surprising for those of us watching, though, was that Apple has made Mavericks completely free, eliminating even the $19.99 cost of 10.8 Mountain Lion. And, Apple released Mavericks immediately, unlike in previous years, when there were always several days of advance notice before actual availability. Nevertheless, we were able to put the finishing touches on Joe Kissell’s “Take Control of Upgrading to Mavericks” once we were able to determine final pricing information and Mac App Store links. Unfortunately, Sharon Zardetto’s “Take Control of iBooks” is not quite done, so we’ll keep it at the pre-release price until we can make it available in its entirety.

Mavericks may not cost anything, but the $64,000 question remains: should you jump on the Mavericks upgrade right away? Our answer is a qualified yes, unless you rely on Apple Mail and Gmail — for details, see “Mail in Mavericks Changes the Gmail Equation” (22 October 2013). Assuming you don’t use Gmail, the answer is yes because Mavericks runs on any Mac that can run Mountain Lion, has performed generally well in our testing, and is an obvious win for laptop users because of the improved battery life in particular.

But we need to qualify that recommendation with a caveat: clicking that Download button in the Mac App Store willy-nilly could result in a world of hurt if you have a mission-critical app that turns out not to be compatible with Mavericks, or if some deep-seated disk corruption chooses such a moment (when a vast number of files are being touched) to bite you. Just proceed with due caution and full backups — we put an insane amount of work into “Take Control of Upgrading to Mavericks” because the devil is in the details, and there can be a lot of details.


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Comments about Apple Releases OS X 10.9 Mavericks for Free
(Comments are closed.)

jschenck  2013-10-22 17:11
iBooks on Mavericks. While it is nice to get your iBooks on Mavericks, BEWARE!! Importing your books into Mavericks is a black hole that strips your books of their names and drops the author folders. This makes it virtually impossible to use them in other programs or export them for use elsewhere. This is a BAD thing. Find your books in Users>name>Library>Containers>com.appleBKAgentService>Data>Documents>iBooks>Books. PDFs retain their original names. Go to your back up to get copies of your books to archive. If you have DRM free books (i.e. Baen,, etc.), this is frustrating. I don't expect this kind of move from Apple and TidBits should request it being fixed in an update. Thanks!
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2013-10-22 18:36
This is the sort of thing that has caused our "Take Control of iBooks" title to be delayed - there are a ton of tweaky little details like this that we're still working out.
jschenck  2013-10-22 21:55
Thanks Adam...for what it is worth I preordered the "Take Control of iBooks" several days ago even though I didn't really think I'd need it! Cheers.
Tonya Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2013-10-23 13:27
Can you tell us more about this? Are you seeing the author names stripped when you try to view by author in iBooks on the Mac? Or, are you talking about a problem if you want to do something with your previously-in-iTunes book files besides view them within iBooks?
Michael E. Cohen  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2013-10-23 13:28
Don't panic. Open iBooks on Mavericks. From your Library window, drag any book you want to the desktop. Voilà: the book is copied to your desktop. No need to go spelunking deep inside your Library, which you should avoid as if it were a hive of bees!
Michael E. Cohen  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2013-10-23 13:36
And by "from your Library window" I mean your iBooks Library window. And for "inside your Library" I mean "inside your user Library folder". Yes, having two things called Library is confusing, so I thought I'd straighten it out right away.
Tonya Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2013-10-23 14:48
I wanted to share a follow-up conversation that Michael and I had in email just now:

Me: I am feeling worried about the metadata. Like if someone hand hand-added author metadata in iTunes, will it stick?

Michael: Stuff added in iTunes, back when iTunes managed the books library, should stick: there's an iTunes plist inside of each EPUB book that got added by iTunes, and it contains the author metadata, and it survives the export copy to the desktop. Of course, you'd have to crack open the EPUB to get at it…
jschenck  2013-10-23 22:40
Hi Guys. I have no "iBooks" folder in my library. As noted above on 10/22, I tracked the book files to a Containers folder and all book files in the cited folder are striped of their names. Is this not happening with everyone? Yes, the books appear just fine in the iBooks application.
Tonya Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2013-10-24 06:21
Good morning... yes, this behavior is happening to everyone. It appears that iBooks really wants to manage and serve as the front-end for your ebooks, sort of like iPhoto (only sort of).

It is disconcerting, especially since Apple doesn't explain what's going on.

You should be able to sort your ebooks by author (more or less - depending on the quality of their metadata going in) in iBooks and then drag them out to the Finder, so if you wanted to get copies of ebooks by a certain author or some other criteria out of iBooks, it ought to work fine.

Is the problem mostly that this is unexpected behavior, or is some workflow of yours being broken?
jschenck  2013-10-24 08:08
Thanks Tonya. I couldn't get the drag to desktop to work yesterday, but today it works and I see I can drag also to another disk. No, it doesn't break a workflow, but it does break the way I back-up my books. I also want the flexibility of opening my EPUBs (ones with no DRM) in other readers including Bookle. I has to do with the portability of my library. I have a lot of old documents in EPUB and don't want to have to be playing with Apple's weird hiding of my library. And, what if they decide they want to do this with my music library? We need Tidbits outrage to stop this unfriendly approach to cataloging books. This was probably done by a really good coder who doesn't value books as individual creations that should be able to stand on their own! Rant over. Thanks again
Michael Paine  2013-10-24 14:16
My Maverick problems so far:

* Little Snitch is disabled (latest update is OK)

* Flip4mac is disabled

* DiVX is disabled

* The coloured tags in Finder are less prominent

* Parallels below version 9 will not work!

* The Save (attachments) button in Mail has vanished (in Classic mode). You need to hover the mouse over the toolbar below the mail header to access the Save All & Quick Look items.

* Graphic Converter versions below 8 may not save filenames correctly. Update to version 8
Aaron Kopman  2013-10-28 18:05
Regarding Mail and Mavericks

When I went to set up my Gmail account in mail it by default set up an IMAP rather than a POP account. Attempts to manually change the incoming mail server do not work.
Peter U  An apple icon for a TidBITS Contributor 2013-10-28 18:09
Migrating an old MacBook to a new MacBook Pro running Mavericks:
I didn't manage to migrate my 2010 MacBook Pro (running 10.6.8) to a 2013 MacBook (running Mavericks) using Migration assistant on both machines (I have updated the MA on the older MacBook). After multiple unsuccessful attempts I migrated from a SuperDuper backup which worked. Just wanted to mention this as it was quite frustrating.
Michael Durrant  2013-10-29 03:33
Mavericks... WONDERFUL.

Under Mountain Lion on a fairly stock-standard iMac, my system froze at least once every 24 hours. I could never figure it but it has happened for most of the last 12 months. Tried re-installing, disabling certain apps, etc but No joy.

Did a "clean install" of Mavericks and, 48 hours later, no restart needed!
Ed Wood  2013-10-29 11:40
I ahve seen stories about mavericks disabling Western digital hard drives with data loss. Is this a widespread problem ? can it be fixed?
Greg Norris  2013-10-29 14:23
I did an upgrade and a clean install and on both computers I am having major problems accessing Internet resources using Safari through the authenticated proxy used by out school system. It appears to connect ok for about 5 minutes but after that it will not connect to any external website. Quitting Safari doesn't appear to help.