TinkerTool System 8

Known Issues

There are currently no known problems that require additional documentation.

Release Notes

Apple’s approval feature for integrating security components is very immature: With macOS 13 Ventura, Apple introduces a new procedure that requires administrators to use System Settings to control whether to allow an application to install login items on the system or to let a program launch a privilege separation utility at the same time when the main application starts. These functions are immature and are affected by numerous technical defects. This can have influence on TinkerTool System 8, since for security reasons, it always uses the most modern form of privilege separation that a macOS version dictates. Among other things, there are the following issues:

(A) Apple incorrectly suggests that TinkerTool System would add an always-running background service: In the System Settings application, Apple states that Login Item permissions are required for background items that apps add “to perform tasks when the application isn’t open.” This description is incorrect or incomplete. Permission is also required for programs like TinkerTool System 8 that increase security through privilege separation by running a helper program only when the main program is open.

Workaround: We have notified Apple of this bug and hope it will be fixed in future versions of macOS.

(B) Network administrators cannot grant the necessary permission at the start of the program, but only via System Settings: When starting TinkerTool System 8 for the first time, macOS shows a notification that allows administrators to permit TinkerTool System 8 to run a privilege separation utility. This must be confirmed with an administrator’s password. However, password entry only works for locally set up administrator accounts, not for network administrator accounts.

Workaround: We have notified Apple of this bug and hope it will be fixed in future versions of macOS. As a workaround, you can either log in with a local administrator account, or you do not grant permission at first, but exit TinkerTool System 8. If you now grant permission via System Settings > Login Items > Allow in the Background, this will actually work with a network administrator account.

(C) If you store multiple copies of TinkerTool System on your computer in an unusual way, macOS 13 service management may be overwhelmed: Current versions of macOS 13 Ventura are not yet able to handle complex situations when approving utilities. For example, if you keep multiple copies of the program on your computer, or if you have downgraded the program, the permission management may fail completely. This can manifest itself in the following symptoms:

  • macOS does not show a permission notification when launching a copy of TinkerTool System for the first time.
  • TinkerTool System 8 is not allowed to start its security component, although you have given permission to do so. 30 seconds after launching, TinkerTool System 8 pops up an error message that the privileged helper is not responding.
  • The pane Login items in System Settings no longer shows any data or crashes.
  • The pane Login items in System Settings shows an incorrect entry named com.bresink.system.privilegedtool-ts8 together with an info button that doesn’t work.

Workaround: We have notified Apple of this bug and hope it will be fixed in future versions of macOS. You can try to fix macOS Ventura service management regarding TinkerTool System approval as follows:

  1. Delete all copies of TinkerTool System 8 from your computer. No settings or license data will be lost. You don’t need to worry about copies of the program in Time Machine backups.
  2. Open System Settings > General > Login Items.
  3. Make sure that TinkerTool System 8 has disappeared from the Allow in the Background list. It may take several seconds for this to happen automatically.
  4. Exit System Settings.
  5. Copy TinkerTool System 8 back to your computer and start it.
  6. When macOS displays the permission dialog, deny permission and quit TinkerTool System.
  7. Open System Settings > General > Login Items again.
  8. Toggle the switch for TinkerTool System at Allow in the Background so that it is on. Confirm this with an administrator’s account.
  9. Start TinkerTool System 8.

(D) Visual “dirt” will remain on screen when macOS asks for administrator permission to run the privilege separation utility: Whenever macOS asks the user to confirm that a new background item can be started for all user accounts, a visual defect will appear centered in the upper third of the display screen. It is noticeable as a pair of small vertical lines that will continue to remain on screen, floating over all other applications. The lines are in fact a broken window of Apple’s application BackgroundTaskManagementAgent, which is part of macOS Ventura.

Workaround: We have notified Apple of this bug and hope it will be fixed in future versions of macOS. Sign off from your current window session and log in again to clean the screen from such errors.

The privacy feature of macOS that grants TinkerTool System access to the full disk may fail if you have multiple copies of TinkerTool System on your computer: As noted in the chapter Basic Operations: Privacy Policy Settings of your Mac, you have to approve that TinkerTool System has permission for Full Disk Access before you can use all features of the application. When you store multiple copies of TinkerTool System on your Mac however, this approval may fail unexpectedly. TinkerTool System may indicate that it does not have the necessary approval although it was given previously.

Workaround: This is a known design flaw of the Privacy feature of macOS. The protection feature can be confused when working with multiple copies of the same application. Use the following steps to ensure that macOS grants permission to the intended copy of the software:

  1. Identify all copies of TinkerTool System of your computer, e.g. by using Spotlight.
  2. Delete all superfluous copies, keeping the correct one.
  3. In System Settings, go to Privacy & Security > Full Disk Access, authorize as administrator, and remove the entry for TinkerTool System if available.
  4. Re-add the entry for TinkerTool System.

Note that you can always keep backup copies of TinkerTool System on your Time Machine disks. This may not work when using third-party backup applications, however.

The size values for APFS snapshots on inactive operating system volumes can be wrong: Current versions of macOS are unable to determine the private size of APFS snapshots correctly if the snapshots belong to a volume of another macOS installation on your computer. In this case, you may receive a private size of zero and a tide mark at the 4.61 exabyte position.

Workaround: There is no known workaround. Apple’s Disk Utility is also affected by this issue.

If you specify a time interval while querying the system log, specific versions of macOS may return incorrect data in case the time interval is a few seconds around the startup time of a Mac with Apple Silicon: If you use the feature Info > Logs to get an excerpt from the system log and you specify a time interval targeting the first boot phase of an Apple Silicon processor exactly, macOS will often return an incomplete or empty log as result.

Workaround: This is a defect in current versions of macOS. It is currently unknown when and if Apple will fix this issue. As a workaround, you can try to shift the time interval by a small amount, e.g. by 10 seconds after the startup time. In most cases, macOS will then provide the correct excerpt from the logs. Macs with Intel processors are generally not affected by this problem.