Navigating the Hazards: MacOS Sonoma Developer Beta Pitfalls

Uncovering the Risks of the Developer Beta

With the release of the MacOS Sonoma Developer Beta, Apple enthusiasts and developers alike eagerly anticipate exploring the new features and enhancements of this operating system. However, as with any beta software, it is essential to understand the potential hazards that come with it. In this article, we will uncover the risks involved in using MacOS Sonoma Developer Beta and provide essential strategies for safe navigation.

Overcoming Challenges: Essential Strategies for Safe Navigation

1. Backup Your System: Seriously, do this, you have no idea what’s coming. Bugs and instability can lead to data loss or corruption. By having a backup, you can revert back to your previous version of MacOS if needed – this may not be easily achieved, more on this in another post. Utilize Time Machine or any reliable backup software to ensure your data is safe.

2. Test on Non-Essential Devices: It is advisable to avoid installing the developer beta on your primary Mac or devices that are crucial to your daily work. Instead, use a secondary device or create a separate partition on your hard drive to test Beta. This allows you to explore and experiment without risking important files and applications. Keep in mind that beta software can be unpredictable, so it is better to be cautious. Just because an application works on one Beta (1), doesn’t mean it won’t be broken by an update – yes, I’m looking at you, Lightroom Classic and Beta 2!

3. Report Issues: One of the most critical aspects of beta testing is reporting issues to Apple. If you encounter bugs, crashes, or any other problems, provide detailed feedback through the Apple Developer Feedback Assistant. By reporting these issues, you contribute to the improvement of MacOS Sonoma and help ensure a smoother experience for all users when the official release arrives, provided the developers (Adobe!) don’t just say “unsupported”.


Navigating the MacOS Sonoma Developer Beta is an exciting and rewarding experience, but not without risks. By following the essential strategies above, you can explore the new features of this beta software. Remember, the purpose of beta testing is to help Apple identify and fix bugs, not for you to use as daily drivers so your feedback is invaluable. Take care, here be dragons.


  1. 2023-07-03: So Sonoma is not yet ready for me to use full-time. I’m going to roll back to Ventura. This is Apple Silicon so it looks like it’s going to be a more involved process than I’ve experienced previously as I think the Sonoma installation has altered partition settings on the drive that can’t be reversed which means its a bare-metal restore.
    • The plan:
      • Check the Time Machine backup.
      • Get the Ventura installer from the App Store.
      • Make a bootable USB drive.
      • Install macOS Ventura.
      • Restore Time Machine backup.
    • Execution:
      • Backup check: working.
      • Ventura download: Fails via App Store due to a slow and sometimes flaky internet connection and I can’t resume. A search leads me to – a source of signed macOS images for restorations.
      • Bootable USB: As easy as sudo ~/Applications/Install\ macOS\ --volume /Volumes/MyVolume
  2. 2023-07-04: Happy July 4th, American cousins! The execution of the plan continues.
    • Continued:
      • Installation: It took a couple of tries, I was right about having to completely erase the hard drive but I’ve got a backup so things will be okay. All in all, it took about three hours to install.
      • Restoration: Failure. The encrypted backup (hosted on a NAS), won’t mount in the Migration Assistant due to a password issue. Once I remembered the right password – I know, but I keep the most valuable passwords in my head and had forgotten this one a little bit – I then fell foul of a bug. the macOS command line utility won’t change an encryption password: hdiutil chpass /path/to/my.sparsebundle
        Enter password to access "my.sparsebundle":
        Enter a new password to secure "my.sparsebundle":
        Re-enter new password:
        This looks like it works but, it doesn’t. No error message, confirmation, nothing but when you try to access it with the new password, there’s an error.
        I know this because… the sparsebundle mounts just fine, with the old (unchangeable) password via the command line: mount -t smbfs smb://username:password@server/share Which I still can’t mount it in Migration Assistant.
        What I managed to do after mounting it manually was use Finder, which seemed to recognise the mount as a backup, although without any option to access any history, was get my /Users/Name and /Users/Name/Applications directories and copy them to my Desktop so that they were safe.
        The next thing to try is to decrypt the Time Machine sparsebundle and restore from that using: hdiutil convert SRC_FILE -format UDSB -o TGT_FILE
        I’ll leave it running overnight, it’s a 652G folder.
  3. 2023-07-05
    • Continued:
      • Restoration: The decryption failed when the MacBook went to sleep. Having turned all the power saving off, giving it another go.
  4. 2023-07-26
    • Continued:
      • Restoration: Long story short – the decryption worked, but I still couldn’t mount it, so I did a bare metal reinstall of Ventura. Found It surprisingly easy and it allowed me to clear the accumulated cruft held over from a few years of upgrades and devices.

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