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MarckyG

macrumors member
Original poster
Jan 15, 2014
58
16
Germany
I have no idea how to reach out to Apple, but their new Catalina OS is making my work very painful...
I want to know if others are having this problem too.
Same behaviour on my girlfriend's MacBook Air with Catalina, but my 6 years old iMac with Sierra doesn't have this problem.
Mac:
MacBook Pro 16inch
OS:
Catalina 10.15.3



I do video editing and photography and have to deal with hundreds (thousands) of photo or photo sequence files in one folder regularly. The new MacBook Pro 16inch comes with the new Catalina OS and this is causing me such a headache:

When I select a few hundreds DNG photo files in a folder or SD card, the finder freezes, beachballs and takes a few minutes to become available again and select them. During that waiting time, the CPU becomes super hot and the fans spin up to max.



Same when I select simple TIFF files in one folder. Admittedly, cmd+A to select all 2000 TIFF files in the folder is a special use case scenario, but I export and deliver my video color grades as TIFF and it's a normal workflow to me on my 6 years old iMac running Sierra. When I do that on the new MacBook Pro with Catalina, the finder freezes and the fans spin up to max (CPU gets 100 degrees celsius measured with TGpro)... It takes so much waiting until the files are selected and until I can then copy, delete, continue with my work.

This is unacceptable how a much older machine with an older OS handles this without any effort, no fans spin up, the iMac doesn't get hot, there is not one second of delay when I select hundreds, even thousands of photo files in one folder to copy, backup, delete them.

This hinders my work seriously and is frustrating me to the point, when I, as a decades long Apple user, contemplate moving away from the Apple Ecosystem. How can the new OS work worse than the old one regarding such simple tasks as selecting files on the computer's SSD or an external professional RAID?

I wonder if I'm the only one having this problem (might be the only one who has to select that many TIFFs at his work?) and if Mac will ever work as flawlessly as my old iMac with the older OS...
 

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Taz Mangus

macrumors 603
Mar 10, 2011
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You can reach AppleCare at (800) 275-2273. Open a case with a senior advisor. That is what I would do.
 
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mcaswell

macrumors 6502
Dec 22, 2013
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210
Does it only happen with large numbers of DNG and TIFF files, or does it also also do it with a folder of, say, JPEGs or just a bunch of small dummy text files? I ask just out of curiosity as to whether it's somehow related to the size/complexity of the files vs. just the number of files. Maybe someone else can volunteer to do a quick test to verify whether or not they also see that behavior?
 
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MarckyG

macrumors member
Original poster
Jan 15, 2014
58
16
Germany
Little update:
PRAM, SMC reset, secure boot, different user account didn't change a thing.
Same behavior on 2015 MacBook Air with Catalina
No problem with 2013 iMac with Sierra and 2013 iMac with Mojave.
I suspect the new OS now has a problem with selecting a large number of files?

Does it only happen with large numbers of DNG and TIFF files, or does it also also do it with a folder of, say, JPEGs or just a bunch of small dummy text files? I ask just out of curiosity as to whether it's somehow related to the size/complexity of the files vs. just the number of files. Maybe someone else can volunteer to do a quick test to verify whether or not they also see that behavior?

It's difficult to test this with many files. But the simpler the files, the more I can select it seems.
The more complex the files (24MB DNGs versus 6MB TIFFs) the less of them you need to select for the finder to freeze.
 
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MarckyG

macrumors member
Original poster
Jan 15, 2014
58
16
Germany
If others could try to replicate the problem would be very appreciated. If someone wants to try I can provide a folder with a TIFF sequence from a video edit via Wetransfer for example...
 
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If others could try to replicate the problem would be very appreciated. If someone wants to try I can provide a folder with a TIFF sequence from a video edit via Wetransfer for example...
I actually thought about selecting a number of video files, which are from episodes of TV series, to see what happens. Such files are typically MP4, and at least 500 MB in size. Some are larger, like 1 1/2 gig in size. Not sure how many there are, but it would be at least 500. Also, they are on an external SSD. Would that be a meaningful test? And would doing it on my late 2018 Mac Mini be pertinent? (I am running the latest version of Catalina, OS 10.15.4).
 
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mcaswell

macrumors 6502
Dec 22, 2013
386
210
If others could try to replicate the problem would be very appreciated. If someone wants to try I can provide a folder with a TIFF sequence from a video edit via Wetransfer for example...
My MBP16 won't be here until Monday, but once it's set up I'd be happy to try it (I have many DNG files).
 
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MarckyG

macrumors member
Original poster
Jan 15, 2014
58
16
Germany
I actually thought about selecting a number of video files, which are from episodes of TV series, to see what happens. Such files are typically MP4, and at least 500 MB in size. Some are larger, like 1 1/2 gig in size. Not sure how many there are, but it would be at least 500. Also, they are on an external SSD. Would that be a meaningful test? And would doing it on my late 2018 Mac Mini be pertinent? (I am running the latest version of Catalina, OS 10.15.4).
I guess any testing would help here. I suspect the sheer number of files is the problem. So a few hundred videos could be fine but a few thousand TIFF photos might not? We can only try... Trying it with the Mac Mini would help since I suspect this to be a major Catalina problem. As soon as I installed Catalina on our old MBA and iMac the problem occurred there too... Booting into Sierra and no problem.
So when someone else with a Mac Mini could try it would maybe help.
I can still provide a folder with many TIFF photos for a test!

My MBP16 won't be here until Monday, but once it's set up I'd be happy to try it (I have many DNG files).
I appreciate the help and testing! Let me know when it arrives and is set up. Otherwise from this very annoying problem, that's almost exclusive to my workflow and maybe some professional photographers, it's a great machine so far.
 
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I guess any testing would help here. I suspect the sheer number of files is the problem. So a few hundred videos could be fine but a few thousand TIFF photos might not? We can only try... Trying it with the Mac Mini would help since I suspect this to be a major Catalina problem. As soon as I installed Catalina on our old MBA and iMac the problem occurred there too... Booting into Sierra and no problem.
So when someone else with a Mac Mini could try it would maybe help.
I can still provide a folder with many TIFF photos for a test!

Maybe providing the folder might be more accurate, as it would be on the SSD inside my Mac Mini. The movies/video files I mentioned are on an external SSD, but maybe that makes little, if any, difference.

Now that I think about it, selecting those video files, even just a "few" of them, would take up a lot of "space", and with only 8 gig of Ram, it could be problematic.
 
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MarckyG

macrumors member
Original poster
Jan 15, 2014
58
16
Germany
Maybe providing the folder might be more accurate, as it would be on the SSD inside my Mac Mini. The movies/video files I mentioned are on an external SSD, but maybe that makes little, if any, difference.

Now that I think about it, selecting those video files, even just a "few" of them, would take up a lot of "space", and with only 8 gig of Ram, it could be problematic.

Internal or external drives did not make any difference for me.
But I now found out that columns-view might be the problem... I did the same with "list-view" and no problem occured, just a second of delay until the files were selected. I reproduced the behaviour on three Macs... Something might be seriously wrong with the columns view.
 
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MarckyG

macrumors member
Original poster
Jan 15, 2014
58
16
Germany
I did lots of testing with several Macs and now know what specifically in Catalina is the problem:

“Show preview column" unchecked totally eliminated the problem.
So I can confirm on all three Macs with Catalina that the removal of the preview column in columns-view eliminated the load on the CPU...
I can cmd-A all 2000+ files and no delay of problem.

So I now know the problem: The columns view of the new Catalina Finder is the problem. Before, it showed a preview image of the selected file and when you select several the preview column stayed blank (behaviour in Sierra). NOW in Catalina the preview column shows a summary of all selected files and a stack of preview pictures representing the lot. THIS is causing the finder to go haywire... Selecting thousands of files in "list view" or DEACTIVATING the preview column completely eliminates the problem.

Having tested this on three Macs and having a fourth Mac of a friend try and confirm the same thing, I'm now sure this behaviour will happen on any Mac... Just not many people seem to select thousands of complex DNG or TIFF photos in columns-view...
 
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mcaswell

macrumors 6502
Dec 22, 2013
386
210
Just tried this, and indeed when selecting a few thousand DNG files while in column view (which I've never actually used before), I get about a 15-20 second spinning beachball, while selecting in list view does not do this.

I think you're right, I would say it's almost certainly related to that last panel in column view, where it shows thumbnails and metadata. During the beachball, there's plenty of disk activity, so it's definitely working on something. I think it's loading metadata for all those images, and examining to see if there are any common attributes among the images that it can show that in the summary (camera model, color space, white balance, etc.). So, IOW, it's not really a freezeup, it's just the computer trying to assemble what it thinks is a useful summary of information for the group of images.
 
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MarckyG

macrumors member
Original poster
Jan 15, 2014
58
16
Germany
Just tried this, and indeed when selecting a few thousand DNG files while in column view (which I've never actually used before), I get about a 15-20 second spinning beachball, while selecting in list view does not do this.
...

I wish it would be only 20 seconds for me with a few thousand DNGs...
I expressed myself badly, yes it's not a freezup, I was always sure about the computer working on something and therefore giving the beachball.
The CPU activity is extremely high while selecting the files.
So yes, this is the sole problem, the column view's preview column... I wish there was a way to change it back how it worked in previous MacOS versions.
You can press CMD+Shift+P to disable the preview column temporarily, that's a workaround, not a solution.

We now need to somehow get this information to Apple, but my last four conversations with an "advisor" didn't seem like the information is going anywhere and they had me to do several standard checks that I got tired of...
It's like the icons behaviour that changed from Sierra to High Sierra (I think): If you had custom icons for files, the icon service in activity monitor went crazy and made the finder beachball as well on the newer OS. As far as I know nothing improved so far...
 
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mcaswell

macrumors 6502
Dec 22, 2013
386
210
I wish it would be only 20 seconds for me with a few thousand DNGs...
Presumably this would be the result of device speed if you're selecting files on an SD card. But what about other times? Are your files on a spinning disk or an SSD? For my test, they were on an external SSD connected via USB3.

These kinds of problems are always maddening. Since you're probably one of the very few people who are affected by it (since it requires a combination of selecting thousands of image files, and being in column view), getting it to show up on Apple's radar is going to be tough if not impossible (even if a few dozen people here report the behavior). And even if they do take notice of it, it would likely be promptly dismissed as "expected behavior" since column view is intended to load/show this metadata (even if it takes a while).

You're right though, it would be nice if the preview column could be permanently disabled.
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You can press CMD+Shift+P to disable the preview column temporarily, that's a workaround, not a solution.
Wait, are you sure this is temporary? I disabled the preview column, and it seems to be persistent (though I haven't tried restarting yet).
 
Last edited:
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MarckyG

macrumors member
Original poster
Jan 15, 2014
58
16
Germany
Presumably this would be the result of device speed if you're selecting files on an SD card. But what about other times? Are your files on a spinning disk or an SSD? For my test, they were on an external SSD connected via USB3.
I have my DNGs on the super fast internal MacBook Peo 16inch SSD, and TIFFs on an external RAID. They are all fast enough to do 5K video editing. I suspect it's dependent of the power of the computer's CPU, how long the beachball keeps spinning until Finder is available again?

Wait, are you sure this is temporary? I disabled the preview column, and it seems to be persistent (though I haven't tried restarting yet).
For me it is permanent. Sometimes it pops up again, but I'm fine with it since I like this preview column... just have to remember disabling it before I mark files at work.
I tried it with several windows and it seems to affect all open windows and seems to be permanent 90% of the time I try it.
 
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mcaswell

macrumors 6502
Dec 22, 2013
386
210
I have my DNGs on the super fast internal MacBook Peo 16inch SSD, and TIFFs on an external RAID. They are all fast enough to do 5K video editing. I suspect it's dependent of the power of the computer's CPU, how long the beachball keeps spinning until Finder is available again?
Hmmmm... are you i7 or i9? I wouldn't think that would make a huge difference for something like this, but I'm just looking for an explanation as to why my unresponsiveness doesn't last quite as long as yours.
 
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MarckyG

macrumors member
Original poster
Jan 15, 2014
58
16
Germany
Hmmmm... are you i7 or i9? I wouldn't think that would make a huge difference for something like this, but I'm just looking for an explanation as to why my unresponsiveness doesn't last quite as long as yours.
I’m on the i7. It might be a difference in the DNG files, maybe more complex files takes longer...
 
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mcaswell

macrumors 6502
Dec 22, 2013
386
210
I’m on the i7. It might be a difference in the DNG files, maybe more complex files takes longer...
Could be... I'd think disk speed would be the main factor, with perhaps the spinning disk RAID being slower at rapidly accessing a tiny portion of thousands of files (which could be physically scattered across various parts of the platters), though we both tested DNGs on SSDs (and mine were on an external, so presumably a bit slower than yours on the internal).

But perhaps analyzing / sorting / combining all that metadata to display in the preview column takes some CPU effort? I did just test again, and indeed the CPU did go to 100% (on one core) and remain there during the spinning beachball.
 
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claus_yeah

macrumors newbie
Jun 30, 2020
2
1
Did you by any chance find a solution to the problem?
I can confirm the behaviour on mutliple machines, multiplied by trying it over a network on a synology nas.
Disabling the preview column fixes the problem, but I would love to have the preview column back.
 
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MarckyG

macrumors member
Original poster
Jan 15, 2014
58
16
Germany
Did you by any chance find a solution to the problem?
I can confirm the behaviour on mutliple machines, multiplied by trying it over a network on a synology nas.
Disabling the preview column fixes the problem, but I would love to have the preview column back.
Sorry... no solution.
You can press CMD+Shift+P to disable the preview column temporarily, that's a workaround, not a solution.
If I know I will select a loooot of files, I make sure to disable the preview column first. But sometimes forget...
 
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claus_yeah

macrumors newbie
Jun 30, 2020
2
1
That's a pity, but thanks anyway. At least I know now where the problem and kind of a solution is...
 
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