5 OS X Mavericks Quirks, And How To Deal With Them

It’s hard you get things right the first time around. The same is true for Mavericks OS X Mavericks is Free: Here's How To Get It & Why You Want It Apple really outdid itself this time. The words "software sells hardware" never rung more true, and now that OS X Mavericks is free to all, isn't it about time you got on-board? Read More , the latest iteration of Mac OS X. The new OS adds a host of new features Secrets of OS X Mavericks: What You Really Need To Know You probably already know about the major features of the latest, free upgrade for Mac OS X. Here are the hidden ones. Read More , all for the very economical price of zilch. Alas, like a lot of new software, it has it’s quirks as well. If the operating system does a commendable job for most people, it acts haggardly for others, with some applications working differently than expected or not at all.

At that point you can cross your fingers and wait for an update, or you can take matters into your own hands. Not every issue can be resolved on your own, but a lot of them do have very simple solutions.

1. Mavericks Download Getting Stuck

In the spirit of pessimism, ‘before you even start’ is a great time for things to go wrong. For some people, trouble starts before they’re even able to install the Mac OS X update. The Mavericks download will simply jam. It may take a few minutes (or hours, depending on your watchfulness) to diagnose this non-downloading state, but luckily it’s rather easy to resolve.


As with other App Store installs, Mac OS X shows the (non-)progressing download in Launchpad, the iPhone-esque app launcher. If you haven’t kept Launchpad in your Dock, you’ll also find it in the Applications folder.

If your Mavericks download is paused, click the icon to get the juices flowing again. If that doesn’t solve the problem, click and hold the icon with your mouse. After a few seconds, the icons start vibrating and the Mavericks download shows a little (X) above it. Click this to close the download and start the updating process anew from the App Store.

2. Problems With The New Mail App

If you favour Mail as your desktop email client, you might have noticed some discrepancies. Sadly, the issues with the Mail app in Mac OS X are numerous. There are two issues that are simple enough to solve, so that’s where we’ll lay our focus.

2.1 Gmail Archiving Issues

All Mail is the label in Gmail that’s reserved for, well, all of your emails. It’s different from your inbox in that archived messages are moved from your inbox, but remain visible under the All Mail label. If you move messages out of your inbox in Mail, but they keep popping back up, you’ll need to enable the All Mail label in Gmail.

5 OS X Mavericks Quirks, And How To Deal With Them gmail all mail

Open your browser and sign in to your Gmail account. Click on the cog at the top right of the page and select Settings. In the Labels tab, under System labels, find All Mail and press show.

2.2 Slippery iCouds Passwords

If you use your iCloud email account, it’s possible Mail has a hard time remembering the password after upgrading to Mavericks. No matter how many times you enter it, Mail seems incapable of holding on to your slippery iClouds passwords. Such a frustrating problem, it’s a good thing that the solution is very straightforward.

5 OS X Mavericks Quirks, And How To Deal With Them mail account pref

Go to Mail > Preferences > Accounts > Advanced and select Apple Token from the authentication drop-down menu. Close the settings window and your iCloud password troubles should be a thing of the past.

2.3 Other Issues With Mail

As stated above, this isn’t the only issue with Mail. In fact, it’s riddled with strange quirks and consistencies. Phantom unread messages, problems with incoming and outgoing messages, deleting messages, and so on. There is no easy fix for most of these issues. However, Apple is working on an update to address the various problems of Mail. Right now, the update (Mail 7.0 build 1822) is available to Apple testers and employees.

3. ‘Assistive Devices’ Apps Stop Working

Some applications on Mac OS X, especially those that directly influence your computer, rely on the Assistive Devices framework to control your computer. In previous versions of Mac OS X, it was sufficient to enable assistive devices as a whole, once. With Mavericks, individual applications need to be cleared. As a result, some applications might have stopped functioning correctly after the transition to Mavericks.

5 OS X Mavericks Quirks, And How To Deal With Them mavericks privacy

Go to System Preferences > Security & Privacy > Privacy > Accessibility. You will find a list of applications that can be granted permission to control your computer. Check off applications like Moom Manage Your Mac Windows Efficiently With Moom One of the clumsiest things to do on Mac OS X is Windows management. I don't usually look back on my Windows years with longing, but window management has been integrated far less sloppier on... Read More (allowing it to automatically resize windows) or TextExpander (allowing it to automatically insert snippets of text) to get these working again in Mavericks.

4. Movie Files Don’t Preview

Some movie files that promptly showed previews in quick look in previous Mac OS X versions, stopped doing so in Mavericks. This is because Mavericks is very specific about what codecs it does or does not like. In general, previews work fine for h.264 and MPEG-4 videos but not so well for other types of video.

5 OS X Mavericks Quirks, And How To Deal With Them mavericks preview

For now, if you heavily rely on previews and quick look, your best option is to convert the video to a compatible format. Look at MakeUseOf’s list of best Mac applications The Best Mac Apps to Install on Your MacBook or iMac Looking for the best apps for your MacBook or iMac? Here's our comprehensive list of the best apps for macOS. Read More  to find a good conversion tool. Hopefully someone will write a quick look plug-in before too long, though.

5. Scrolling Breaks

For some people, scrolling simply stopped working in some applications. Google Chrome seems to be particularly afflicted. Unless you’re satisfied with reading ten percent of each story, browsing without scrolling is a big no-go.

5 OS X Mavericks Quirks, And How To Deal With Them scrolling settings

In newer versions of Mac OS X, the scroll bars fade away when you’re not actively scrolling. Ironically, the issue disappears when you force these fickle scrollbars to reappear. Go to System Preferences > General and select “Show scroll bars:” Always.

How was the transition to Mavericks for you, personally? Any big problems? Let us know in the comments!

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  1. J.P.
    January 3, 2014 at 4:00 pm

    Wondering if you can recommend another mail client in the interim? I've just upgraded, and the only major issue (so far) is that mail does not seem to be fetching new messages "immediately." Not a huge deal (I just keep the iPad open), but it would be more convenient to be on one machine.
    Also I notice that sometimes it just... gets stuck? The pinwheel will spin for minutes in Safari (for example, when I tried to type my name into this form to post my question) or when launching mail, and sometimes other applications just bounce for a minute or two before launching.
    Thanks for the article - I've recently had some MacBook issues that required a lot of troubleshooting and research... MakeUseOf is generally my first stop for questions, I appreciate the resource.

  2. Court
    December 13, 2013 at 3:34 am

    I Just installed Mavericks and I noticed that I can't select multiple nonadjacent files. The CMD + Click option does not work. Is there options in system preferences I can change?

    • Simon S
      December 18, 2013 at 2:58 pm

      CMD-clicking should still work. It never stopped working for me. There must be something else at play here.

  3. Bharadwaj
    November 24, 2013 at 6:38 am

    an amazing thing

  4. Bharadwaj
    November 24, 2013 at 6:37 am

    yes but even then its a great OS

  5. chervie
    November 16, 2013 at 10:49 am

    Death spinning whenever I restart my mac!

  6. DigitalProductionDan
    November 11, 2013 at 4:53 am

    Be very afraid. Mav installed itself for me without me asking it to. I was clicking buttons too fast in the apps application and low and behold I had accidentally clicked on the self destruct (install mavericksbutton. Once Mav has your HD you are in trouble, some files will disappear, some files will never work again in 10.8.5 or for that fact any OS. It IS NOT BACKWARDS COMPATIBLE. No recovery from an accidental install. Get ready to re-format and reload most of OS 10.8.5 then start re-installing most of YOUR APPLICATIONS from scratch. A total of TWO WEEKS invested in trying to fix it because I refused to say die and thought I could recover all of my work since my last back-up. 4 months worth of work riddled with corruption and un-repairable holes. If you want to dabble with 10.9 .. do it on a separate drive and back up your good system then thank god you're backed up. Professional user for over 35 years and still to stupid to back my system up on a regular sched. ouch! Dare I say it .. I thought I was having a nightmare .. I traded in my mac and I was running windows and the demons had their talons into my system. Then I woke up.

  7. Andrew Arrowsmith
    November 9, 2013 at 11:49 am

    Don't really understand the negativity from a few people above. Simple installation on my Mac Mini - I pressed the button, dunno how it could get easier - though admittedly it's fairly new. System is a little faster, the new facilities work fine, I have encountered no problems of any kind. I checked the Oz situation with an Australian friend who believes Stan has lost his mind (and that is the censored version), though personally I have no opinion as I am unfamiliar with the issues he gives.

    So far (two weeks) it has gone as smoothly as did Mountain Lion, Lion, Snow Leopard, Leopard, Tiger...

  8. Birger Munthe
    November 7, 2013 at 3:37 pm

    I have a 6 year old MacBook Pro 17" - I have updated to Maverick from ML. - Why don't I have no problem with my Mac. Its faster, work smother and my only 4 GB Ram are only used 30-40% - by the way, I have a lot of apps and tools installed!!

  9. Kim
    November 7, 2013 at 1:58 pm

    One other issue is with Adobe CS. I couldn't get Photoshop to run no matter what "fix" online discussion boards were offering up. I had to wipe the hard drive and reinstall Mountain Lion.

  10. Adri
    November 7, 2013 at 1:51 pm

    Take a Note is not working at all and all of my notes disappeared. ????????

    • Simon S
      November 7, 2013 at 3:50 pm

      Hi Adri,

      The developer of Take a Note appears to have dropped support for the application. You can try contacting the developer (I think it was made by Readlle) but your chances to get it working on Mavericks are slim at best.

      However, your notes are in all likelihood still on your computer. Try these steps:
      - Open Finder
      - Select 'Go > Go To Folder...'
      - Enter: '~/Library/Application Support' (without quotes).
      - Try to find a folder that corresponds to the Take a Note application. The name of the folder will probably sound very similar.
      - If you found the folder, your notes are probably stored in it. You might be able to enter them manually in another note taking application.
      - If you don't find the folder, or you can't find your notes in it, contact the developer and ask where the notes were stored on your computer.

    • Adri
      November 8, 2013 at 2:03 pm

      Thank you very much for your help Simon S!

      I couldn't find the folder but I've already contacted the developer.
      I hope they answer...

      Thanks again!

  11. Brian
    November 7, 2013 at 1:36 pm

    Being new to Mac (about a month) I updated to Maverick and so far have not encountered any of the problems listed in the article. However, in the Mail app I do not have the Apple Token choice. I wonder if there is another problem.
    Another great timely article -please keep them coming on the Mac line.

  12. Aminu
    November 7, 2013 at 1:17 pm

    After downloading mavericks my mac book mid 2010 slows down, i used to like the way it was, is there anyway i can go back to my OSX 10.6.8 without loosing my files. AND I WOULD RECOMMEND NOT USING IT FOR ANY ONE WHO HAVE AND OLD MAC BOOK

    • Simon S
      November 7, 2013 at 3:40 pm

      You can make a backup of your files and reinstall an older version. We wrote a how-to on the process earlier this year, check it out:

      How To Reinstall Mac OS X For A Fast, Squeaky-Clean Mac.

    • Simon
      November 7, 2013 at 7:45 pm

      Running it on an Early 2009 MacBook. 4GB RAM. Runs lovely.

  13. Mike
    November 7, 2013 at 1:14 pm

    I installed Mavericks as soon as I could on a 12 month old iMac and it has been superb. Had an issuing with scrolling in Chrome today and realised I hadn't actually switched off the Mac since installing Mavericks. A simple restart cured the problem, and unlike PCs, that restart took less than a minute, rather than having to wait 2-3 minutes for shutdown and another 2-3 minutes for bootup.
    Why would anyone not use Macs? And no, I'm not a young geek, I'm 61 and have been using computers of all sorts (even mainframe terminals) for better than 20 years - so I feel qualified to compare and judge!

  14. Berilo Faccio
    November 7, 2013 at 10:44 am

    Maverick ruined Safari's ability to use Java applet to access my Bank site. There's no way to get that feature back. Even afer I restored my HD to Mountain Lion, Safari 6.1 refuses to open my Bank's page. Luckily we have blessed Firefox! Looks like in the absence of Mr. Jobs Apple is turning to be a kind of Microsoft.

  15. Victor H
    November 7, 2013 at 8:09 am

    Hello, Thank You for your useful information. I have installed Mavericks on 3 of my devices and the only issue so far has been the downloading "getting stuck" I like it and seems to have extended my battery life. Thanky ou for their input!

  16. Carla
    November 7, 2013 at 6:30 am

    I had not thought that I had chosen to download Mavericks but obviously I must have done without realising it. Now I know why my email has been defaulting to icloud instead of my normal email account which is very frustrating and something I do not want. But has it also inteferred with pages/numbers/keynote 'cos one minute they were opening and the next I am being told I need the latest version but... I already have the latest version?

    • Simon S
      November 7, 2013 at 3:36 pm

      Hi Carla,

      You can delete the iCloud account from your Mail settings (go to Mail > Accounts, select the iCloud account and delete it with the minus [ – ] button). Mail should revert to using your other account(s) as a default choice from then on.

      Apple also released a new set of iWorks programs recently. The good news is, it's a free upgrade. Here are some instructions on upgrading to the latest version.

  17. Claire Gehrett
    November 7, 2013 at 4:01 am

    So far, I am fortunate, I guess. Everything went fine with the download but I didn't do it alone. I called Apple's service people and they helped me with the download. They are super great people who "know it all" and if they don't, they find out. I am very happy with the download, I have lot to learn, but I am glad to have an opportunity to update my equipment at no expense to me. Also, folks, the way I look at it, Apple is getting everyone to a point where we all have the same thing for once. I am one for being consistent, it's just easier to learn. THANK YOU APPLE for bringing everyone up-to-date. I am delighted. I LOVE MY APPLE.

  18. Jim
    November 7, 2013 at 3:56 am

    After I installed Mavericks my windows kept minimizing by themselves after only a minute or two in full screen mode.

  19. Dana
    November 7, 2013 at 3:39 am

    Tried to upgrade to Mavericks but Apple won't let me. My Mac Mini has the intel chipset but I guess it's still too old. ;-(

  20. Stan
    November 7, 2013 at 3:34 am

    I am SO glad that I haven't taken the Mavericks update.

    The ability to sync calendar, contacts, etc. using a USB cable has been disabled in Mavericks. For a whole bunch of reasons (security, Australian privacy law, my company's privacy and data protection policies, choice, operating in a place with no internet access, etc.) I cannot and will not accept what Apple has done with Mavericks.

    What is Apple thinking? How can they degrade a product I have bought, and expect me to be happy?

    I've had it with Apple - trust is broken. There was an iTunes update yesterday. Usually I would just robotically install it. Not anymore. Research required. What functionality has Apple deleted this time? What new and interesting ways have they found to make my life harder.

    I've got 2 MacBooks, 1 iMac, three iPads, three iPhones, Apple TV and any number of iPods.

    But that's the end of the road for me.

    I accept that OSX (and IOS) are over for me.

    Time to look around and spend my money elsewhere.

    And to think, I used to be such a promoter (even an apologist) for Apple.

    Apple isn't for the user anymore …

    The scales have fallen from my eyes.

    • Kyle T
      November 7, 2013 at 3:55 am

      It's difficult to validate your complaint on such a harsh level that you claim for it to be. Is your only serious complaint that you can't update your phone through a USB? I feel that's hardly a reason to "not upgrade", but then again I never use iTunes as I don't use iOS devices.

      Apple has made some serious improvements with Mavericks. Better memory and CPU management, better battery life, and vast improvements in UI such as the menu bars on multiple monitors and tabs in Finder. I could care less about tagging and some other features, but as far as performance - the upgrade is worth it.

  21. S
    November 6, 2013 at 10:17 pm

    Why does Quicktime now insist on converting videos before they play?

    • Simon S
      November 7, 2013 at 3:28 pm

      Good question. I think they're trying to streamline the experience between Mac OS X and iOS, i.e. favouring video formats that also play natively on the iPhone/pad.

      If you want to avoid this (and you probably do), you have to good options:
      - Use a third-party video player. VLC is one of the best; plays pretty much everything.
      - If you really like the QT experience, you can still purchase the older QuickTime 7 Pro.