MacOS Security Prompts Need a Rethinking

Jason Snell, writing at Six Colors:

Last month I wrote about how Apple’s cascade of macOS alerts and warnings ruin the Mac upgrade experience. [...]

This issue was brought home to me last week when I was reviewing the M3 iMac and the M3 MacBook Pro. As a part of reviewing those computers, I used Migration Assistant to move a backup of my Mac Studio to the new systems via a USB drive. Sometimes I try to review a computer with nothing migrated over, but it can be a real slowdown and I didn’t really have any time to spare last week.

Anyway, by migrating, I got to (twice) experience Apple’s ideal process of moving every user from one Mac to the next. You start up your new computer, migrate from a backup of the old computer, and then start using the new one. There’s a lot that’s great about this process, and it’s so much better than what we used to have to do to move files over from one Mac to another.

And yet all of Apple’s security alerts got in the way again and spoiled the whole thing. Here’s a screenshot I took right after my new Mac booted for the first time after migration.

I went through the exact same thing. Except if I had taken a screenshot of all the security-permission alerts I had to go though, there would have been more of them — and Snell’s screenshot looks like a parody. Back in the heyday of the “Get a Mac” TV ad campaign, Apple justifiably lambasted Windows Vista for its security prompts, but that’s exactly the experience you get after running Migration Assistant on a Mac today. It’s terrible.

Don’t get me wrong: Migration Assistant is borderline miraculous. It’s a wonderful tool that seemingly just keeps getting better. But MacOS itself stores too many security/privacy settings in a way that are tied to the device, not your user account. There ought to be some way to OK all these things in one fell swoop.

As Snell says, setting up a new Mac should be a joy, not a chore. Migration Assistant takes care of so much, but these cursed security prompts spoil the experience.

Wednesday, 29 November 2023