Got a 2023 Mac Pro (M2 Ultra) earlier this year, which forced me to upgrade my OS from Monterey to Ventura (and now Sonoma).

It started as soon as I got the 2023 Mac Pro and migrated all my stuff from my previous Mac, which was still running Monterey. The Mac Pro purchase effectively forced me to upgrade to Ventura, since the 2023 Mac Pro cannot run Monterey. Upgrading to Sonoma (at Apple's request) has only made the problem worse

Ever since then, have been experiencing a recurring problem that starts happening after several hours of uptime.

There is a whole cluster of symptoms, but the most obvious and common ones are the following:

  1. It becomes impossible to edit pictures (HEIC, PNG, JPEG) in Preview. For example, I open a full size HEIC pic from my iPhone and I go to resize it down to 1000 pixels wide. Sometimes I get visual artefacts while the Resize dialog is open (note the grey boxes here):

    enter image description here

    And then when I press OK either I get a blank (instead of a small picture):

    enter image description here

    Or the picture is resized, but then it is impossible to save it. I get an error that says “The document could not be autosaved”:

    enter image description here

    And even if I try to revert the change, I get "The operation could not be completed”:

    enter image description here

    This does not just affect Preview. In this state, I find that when I open pictures in a third-party image editor like Pixelmator Pro or Affinity Photo 2, the app displays a blank (empty artboard) right away instead of the actual picture, even before I try to resize it.

    Crucially, in Affinity Photo 2, there is a setting to disable Hardware Acceleration (under Performance).

    enter image description here

    If I disable it, quit and relaunch the app and then try to open a picture file, it works fine. Hence my suspicion that this is a bug involving hardware acceleration.

  2. Another very common symptom in macOS when the cluster of symptoms starts happening is that, in various apps, buttons in dialog boxes become invisible which makes them impossible to read. This happens, for example, in the Notifications dialog box in the Podcasts app:

    enter image description here

    This affects regular buttons and also checkboxes, which disappear altogether when they are checked and reappear when they are unchecked. If I leave the dialog box open and switch to something else, the buttons reappear in their background form. They disappear again when I bring the dialog back to the foreground.

  3. There are many, many other symptoms that start occurring at the same time, once the Mac is in this state. For example, screen recording stops working altogether. The Maps application also starts acting up. Zooming in and out no longer works, things start flickering like crazy, or going completely black.

    I have, much more rarely, also seen video corruption in Firefox or Google Chrome, which can be alleviated by turning hardware acceleration off in these apps and relaunching them. Otherwise, quitting and relaunch the affected app does not help at all.

    However, I have found that:

    • Quitting a “big” app like Safari temporarily alleviates some of the symptoms. But when I relaunch Safari the problem starts happening again.
    • If I quit all running apps, the problem disappears for a longer while. But when I relaunch things, the problem comes back after a while.
    • If I reboot the Mac completely, then I am OK for a few hours, and then eventually the problems start reoccurring.

I have been in contact with AppleCare and have had to try all kinds of things. None of the things they have made me do have helped so far:

  • I did a 100% clean install of macOS on a new volume. I need about 20 third-party apps just to be able to function for my work. But I did only reinstall the essential ones, and even that was enough to cause the problem to start happening again (within less than 48 hours).
  • And, because of the Affinity Photo 2 scenario, and also the rarer video corruption in Google Chrome and Firefox, which are the only apps I know where hardware acceleration can be turned off, usually with dramatic improvement, it seems that it is a bug that involves hardware acceleration.
  • I have run the hardware diagnostic on the Mac Pro and there are no reported issues.

That said, if it is not a hardware defect, I have yet to come across a single report of any other Mac user experiencing the same thing. I had been running the same software on a 2020 Mac Pro for years before this new purchase without any such problem.

Like I said, Apple has been unhelpful so far. Their requirement to completely eliminate third-party software and try to reproduce the problem is quite unrealistic.

I usually (successfully) help other Mac users fix their problems. But I am at a loss here. Is there really no hope? So I am now turning to this community of experienced Mac users. Maybe someone has some ideas.

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    – bmike
    Commented Nov 24, 2023 at 18:03

1 Answer 1


The answer is going to be two fold. It’s in your interest to exhaust Apple support and keep erasing and reinstalling half the items you tried last time and then repeat. To get their help past this spot, they have already captured your diagnostic logs and which apps cause this so they may or may not be working on a fix and not letting you know.

Eventually you will try a clean reinstall and either the first program installed causes this glitch or the core OS glitches.

The latter is best for you since then Apple has all they need to fix it. Otherwise, you're hoping someone at Apple can guess which of your items is causing this lock up and try somehow to reproduce it in their labs on their hardware. It's not impossible, but I would guess it's not high on their list of bugs to squash. If Preview dumped a core or crashed, they probably would be investigating that as the many crashes come in and get filtered for the ones affecting the most customers. Something cosmetic like this, might get lost in the sea of other issues unless there's monitoring and reporting of whichever graphics subsystem is causing these glitches in multiple apps.

You’re doing an amazing job documenting things. Keep that up and live with it as best you can. At some point you may just have to live with it when your investment of time troubleshooting no longer makes sense.

Until this is reproducible (and your documenting it here ensures it will be up for everyone to see and find) by you or someone else, it’s going to be a challenge to fix.

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