Blocking macOS Big Sur Upgrade

The more Apple nags me to install macOs Big Sur, the more I am determined to do it when I’m good and ready. Apple has become intolerably aggressive about users updating their devices in the past couple of cycles, but there are plenty of sane reasons a user might want to avoid that, especially in the first few months. At the moment I want to block macOS Big Sur.  I may upgrade eventually, but I have a simple reason for being cautious. 

I rely on a bunch of hacks for compiling my thesis and managing citations that have caused me headaches to setup, and OS updates have caused problems in the past. Between Pandoc, Zotero with Better BibTex and the various ruby wrappers that automate it, like Pandocomatic and Scrivomatic, I have system that feels precarious While I understand these tools well enough to use them, I am a dabbler not a developer, so troubleshooting them takes up precious time.

Not only have Apple been messing with the Shell in the past couple of upgrades, but they are also deprecating Scripting languages. Some of those changes already happened, but it was messy after the macOS Catalina upgrade, so I’m not going to risk it before I try to automate thousands of citations while compiling a dissertation.In short, first hand experience says macOS updates can break things, as early adopters found during exams! Also, forcing people into things is just not cool. Not to mention all the privacy related shenanigans.

What to do? Well, again Apple are making this harder all the time.

If you just want to get rid of the nagging badge, you can run this in your terminal

defaults write com.apple.systempreferences AttentionPrefBundleIDs 0
killall Dock

Sadly, the mechanism that generates these notifications lives on like a zombie somewhere deep in the system, so you will probably need to run this command again when the nagging comes back. 

If you are concerned you might bork it and accidentally install the upgrade, a helpful man called Hannes Juutilainen has made an app for systems admins that can be used by little people too. Note, you will probably need some minor terminal chops to get rid of it if you do eventually wish to upgrade. The app is called Big Sur Blocker.

Photo by Maria Teneva on Unsplash