To 10.10 Yosemite, or not to 10.10 Yosemite, that is the Question:

OS X Yosemite 10.10

There certainly has been a lot of speculation on how Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite will change the world and create a even better customer experience, but what does this mean for USB devices and more specifically, USB devices with drivers?

With the bitter/sweet aftertaste of the Mavericks upgrade, Mac customers yet again are worrying about hardware compatibility. Since the leap from 10.8 Mountain Lion to 10.9 Mavericks seemed to be large one, will there be the same anguish of losing full functionality of the current accessory-hardware?

Although we are still in the infant stages of the 10.10 release, and these problems encompass not just Plugable products, we still would like to share a few data points on what was experienced so far.

Ethernet Adapters

There is 10.10 driver support for the USB3-E1000, USB2-E1000, USB2-E100 and the USB3-HUB3ME. If customers loose functionality after upgrading, a re-installation of the driver will help to get back up and running again. This entails removing the current driver (removal script is included in the driver folder), and removing its instance from the “Network” lineup in “System Preferences”. If you have a “Bluetooth PAN” entry or have connected via Bluetooth to the internet before, removing this entry will help simplify your troubleshooting process.

We have also seen other underlying issues that contribute to the symptoms of a non-working Ethernet adapter (see this current Apple Forum thread). At this point there are either file permission issues or the operating system fails to launch network related daemons/services. We recommend running the “Repair Disk Permissions” utility that you can find within your “Disk Utility” on your Macintosh HD to accomplish this. For a detailed tutorial please see this blog post.

DisplayLink USB Graphics Adapters and Docking Stations

The primary challenges relating to USB-graphics that were present in Mavericks (10.9.x) are still problematic in Yosemite. The following are a few key issues can be especially problematic (though the severity and frequency of these issues can vary from system to system):

  • Second connected DisplayLink display may not display an image.
  • Display arrangement does not persist after rebooting when using two or more DisplayLink displays.
  • Some users experience higher than expected CPU usage when a DisplayLink display is connected.
  • Users can encounter intermittent spontaneous instances of being logged out of their account. (This is caused by Apple’s WindowServer process crashing. We’ve documented a fix that helps this behavior in Mavericks here but have not yet successfully reproduced this issue in 10.10 to see if the same fix is successful.)

There is a more comprehensive list of known issues relating to Yosemite on DisplayLink’s Knowledgebase. DisplayLink is still attempting to engage with Apple regarding these issues, and we’ll continue to post updates as they become available.

One positive development of note is that DisplayLink has recently released an updated beta driver (v2.3) for OS X 10.8.5, 10.9.x, and 10.10. It contains some minor bug fixes and adds support for 4K resolutions using DL-5×00 based display adapters such as our UGA-4KDP.

USB Hubs

USB 3.0 hub support on Yosemite has not had any noticeable changes. Overall, users should expect a hassle free experience with any of our VL81x series chipset hubs with all of their devices. One notable exception is some external hard drives may need a firmware update installed from the drive manufacturer. This is nothing new, many Mac users have needed to update their external hard drive firmware for stable operation in older OS 10.x releases, but we always recommend to check if you run into any issues.

Most drives will not have this issue, but we do see it happen on occasion in edge case scenarios. Symptoms to look out for are drives failing to resume from sleep properly resulting in the drive not being ejected (unmounted) properly. Because of this data corruption can occur, and we recommend that if the drive is being used for Time Machine backups, to make sure the external hard drive directly connected to the Mac.

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