macOS 10.12.2 Users Urged to Avoid Using 'Work-in-Progress' Preview App to Edit PDFs

preview-appMac users running macOS Sierra 10.12.2 are being urged to avoid using Preview to edit PDFs until Apple fixes several bugs in the app that can cause corruption issues in the document format.

The recommendation comes from TidBITS publisher Adam Engst. Writing on the online Apple newsletter website, Engst backs up fellow developer Craig Landrup's claim that Apple's decision to rewrite the PDFKit framework for macOS 10.12 has broken basic functionality that PDF-related developers rely on, such as compatibility with ScanSnap and Doxie scanners.
It pains me to say this, speaking as the co-author of "Take Control of Preview," but I have to recommend that Sierra users avoid using Preview to edit PDF documents until Apple fixes these bugs. If editing a PDF in Preview in unavoidable, be sure to work only on a copy of the file and retain the original in case editing introduces corruption of any sort.
As to why issues have arisen in Apple's native Preview application, Engst quotes approvingly the DEVONthink developer Christian Grunenberg, who characterizes the rewritten version of PDFKit in Sierra as a "work in progress":
Apple wants to use a common foundation for both iOS and macOS. However, it was released way too early, and for the first time (at least in my experience) Apple deprecated several features without caring about compatibility. And to make things worse, lots of former features are now broken or not implemented at all, meaning that we had to add lots of workarounds or implement stuff on our own. And there’s still work left to be done.

10.12.2 introduces new issues (it seems that Apple wants to fix at least the broken compatibility now) and of course fixed almost none of the other issues. It’s not only DEVONthink — a lot of other applications (such as EndNote, Skim, Bookends, and EagleFiler) are also affected.
Apple previously removed functionality in its iWork suite for Mac to conform with iOS, but re-introduced most of the missing features in a later version. Whether Apple plans to do the same with an update to Preview is still unclear. Meanwhile, until Apple fixes the issues with the native Mac app, Engst recommends Smile's PDFpen as an alternative for PDF manipulation of all sorts, with Adobe’s Acrobat DC being a more expensive option.

Related Roundup: macOS Sierra
Tag: Preview


Top Rated Comments

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2 weeks ago
They really don't give a **** about macOS anymore. I think they even won't make any major upgrades in the near feature. They changed the name so it feels right with the other products, copied everything from iOS that makes you stick to iCloud and that's it. What was the last time you were really impressed by a new macOS feature? Now even those features start to become buggy and non-working.
Rating: 33 Votes
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2 weeks ago

They really don't give a **** about macOS anymore. I think they even won't make any major upgrades in the near feature. They changed the name so it feels right with the other products, copied everything from iOS that makes you stick to iCloud and that's it. What was the last time you were really impressed by a new macOS feature? Now even those features start to become buggy and non-working.

Give them a break!! I mean, they've got both developers working on it.
Rating: 20 Votes
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2 weeks ago
No, Apple did NOT put the missing features back into the iWork suite. Correct your article!!!

Also, this is another example of Mac OS suffering for the benefit of the iOS roadmap. Apple need to get their collective heads out of their leadership's asses.

Stop releasing broken software!!!
Rating: 18 Votes
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2 weeks ago

They really don't give a **** about macOS anymore. I think they even won't make any major upgrades in the near feature. They changed the name so it feels right with the other products, copied everything from iOS that makes you stick to iCloud and that's it. What was the last time you were really impressed by a new macOS feature? Now even those features start to become buggy and non-working.

I've stopped at El Capitan for the time being. I have very little invested in cloud services, and sadly nothing else Sierra offers interests me.
Rating: 17 Votes
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2 weeks ago

This is a very minor issue and will be fixed as has been said elsewhere. There is nothing to worry about here.


Corrupt PDF forms filled out in an education or business environment doesn't seem minor to me, actually seems catastrophic.
Rating: 15 Votes
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2 weeks ago
As a previous 10 year Mac user I'm more and more happy every day that I recently ditched Mac and switched to Windows 10. Not everything is perfect (of course), but many things are really awesome and I definitely don't get the constant feeling of being on a dying, neglected platform.

My shiny new iPhone 7+ is probably my last Apple product. Because Mac was THE central Apple product for me. Without it I have no reason to sick with the pathetic, greedy and lazy Apple anymore. I might stick with iPhone, but because I'm definitely dumping all Apple apps/services - I'll stick around ONLY if iOS 11 allows to choose default apps from other superior companies. If not - good bye. Yes, I know, I won't let the door hit me.
Rating: 14 Votes
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2 weeks ago
Really is looking like Apple want to go all in for iOS. OS X days are numbered imo.
Rating: 14 Votes
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2 weeks ago

More on this from a really good developer blog:

http://mjtsai.com/blog/2016/12/21/more-macos-preview-pdf-trouble/

http://mjtsai.com/blog/2016/10/03/automatic-download-of-macos-sierra/

I'm honestly surprised that they shipped something as broken as they did. Did they not learn from the whole discoveryd/mDNSResponder fiasco?

Apple doesn't learn anymore under Tim Cook :/ sad truth
Rating: 12 Votes
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2 weeks ago
Well, typical Apple way... at least since some time: Release half-baked software, screwing up things that worked just fine for ages, and then debug "live" during very long periods of time. More and more, MacOS cannot be trusted as a production system, nor can anyone count/base his business on "reasonable" continuity assumptions :-(((
Rating: 12 Votes
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2 weeks ago

This is a very minor issue and will be fixed as has been said elsewhere. There is nothing to worry about here.


An operating system bug that can permanently corrupt PDFs is a minor issue? One which was identified over two months go while the OS was sill in beta?
Rating: 12 Votes
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