When none of your apps work

November 13, 2020

Yesterday, mere hours after I boldly proclaimed that I would not be upgrading to Big Sur in order to keep my Macs stable and working properly: my Macs just stopped working.

First my desktop just was extremely sluggish. This isn’t the newest Mac around, so I’m used to a few delays every so often. But this was different. I couldn’t open any new apps, and the ones that I had open seemed to be locking up.

I was running late for a video call, so I quickly switched over to my MacBook Pro to hop into the meeting. But then the laptop was having the same problem! Luckily I already had a browser open and was able to join my call.. in the midst of a full on my-computers-are-being-hacked panic.

It turns out it wasn’t just me. I should have consulted Twitter more quickly, but the issue was making its rounds around the developer community. There is a process by which Apple verifies a “Developer ID” when an app launches to verify it is valid and not malware, etc. This is a perfectly valid reason, but when the service that does the verification is having an outage it’s bad news.

This was a nightmare situation for the team at Apple I’m sure, especially on the launch day for the new operating system version. But come on, this is ridiculous. There is no reason that a locally installed and valid application shouldn’t immediately run when opened without having to check with Apple.