os x 10 11 el capitan bugs and how to fix them

OS X 10.11 El Capitan Bugs and How to Fix Them

If you have not already upgraded to the new OS, experts recommend waiting…

Reports of Bugs

Apple recently released Mac OS X 10.11 El Capitan, and if you have not already upgraded to the new OS, experts recommend waiting until many of the bugs have been resolved. Many experts recommend waiting for a short period before upgrading, for almost all new operating systems, or operating system iterations, as there are always a few unknown problems with any software release. This is especially true for any pro user that uses third party software for design, audio, or video production, as compatibility problems may occur with third party apps.

Reports of Bugs

There have been many reports of bugs in El Capitan, ranging from minor annoyances such as non-functioning apps, and maybe an external drive having problems mounting, to more serious problems with systems that no longer boot and lost data.

The good news is that most of these issues will be resolved with upcoming software updates.

OS X Patch Updates

Apple is already testing the next version, of OS X 10.11 via a public beta with bug fixes and other updates. However, the OS X 10.11.1 release date has not been confirmed, and is most likely weeks away.

Read on for a list of common OS X El Capitan problems that you can fix on your own without a trip to the genius bar. Some of these are common Mac problems that happen after a major update, while others are tied specifically to OS X El Capitan.

Installation Problems

How to Fix El Capitan Installation Problems

OS X, the new version 10.11 “El Capitan”, like the previous versions, is available as a free purchase from the App Store, you should be able to download and run the upgrade on your system. If the installation process starts properly, you should see the OS X installation window that instructs you to begin the upgrade process, but there may be instances where this does not appear, or does not work when you attempt the upgrade.

Steps to Fix El Capitan Installation Bugs

This is a common problem for many Mac users, the initial upgrade to the new OS may fail for one reason or another.  If the computer restarts after what you thought was a completed install, but it is still running OS X Yosemite, try the following steps:

First Step to Try After Installation Failure
  • Try running the OS X El Capitan installer again.

Grey Screen / No Boot

If you are stuck on a gray screen during the OS X El Capitan installation you can try to simply wait it out, which works for some users. If that fails you may need to try booting into safe mode. Try these steps recommended by Apple:

  • Start or restart your Mac.
  • Immediately after you hear the startup chime, hold down the Shift key.
  • You can release the Shift key when you see the Apple logo appear.

This process may help you get into your Mac where you can take further troubleshooting steps, or restart your computer.  If the above steps do not take you into Safe Boot mode, then you may need to restore a backup from Time Machine and try the upgrade again.  There is a possibility that the installation is failing due to corruption in your User files, you can avoid this problem by doing a fresh clean installation of the OS and then using the Data Migration tool to transfer your data. The Data Migration tool will resolve any corruption during the transfer process in most cases.


Why Does This Happen?

In many cases when the OS fails to upgrade correctly, there is a problem with the installer. The El Capitan installer could contain corrupt system files, or processes being used by the OS during the upgrade may be the cause for OS installation failures.

In either case you may be able to resolve this problem by re-downloading the software from the App Store and attempting to ugprade after that should work.  Incompatible third party software can also cause OS installation failures as well. You should check the vendor’s website for third party applications installed on your Mac, and verify they are 10.11 compliant.

Some apps may not support 10.11 yet and could be affected by the new technologies used in El Capitan, one such feature is the System Integrity Protection (SIP).

System Integrity Protection (SIP)

System Integrity Protection (SIP), also referred to as rootless, is a security feature of Apple’s new OS X 10.11, El Capitan. This function protects certain system processes, and files and folders, from being modified or tampered with by other processes.

SIP also protects the specific processes, folder and files, even against commands executed by the root user or by a user with root privileges (sudo). Apple states the root user can be a significant risk to the system’s security. This is especially true on systems with a single user account where that user is also the administrator.


Apple’s new way of managing access to essential system files via El Capitan’s, System Integrity Protection (SIP) feature may not be compatible with older third party software.

Although this feature may seem like a hindrance it was put in place to manage malware attacks, as they are becoming more of a problem for Macs. Many malware infections are contained before they can cause too much harm by the built in anti-malware in OS X and technologies such as Gatekeeper.

Before the latest OS 10.11, El Capitan, anyone could modify, or enable modifying the core system files by entering their admin password.  But System Integrity Protection in El Capitan has enabled the new version of the OS to go “rootless”.


SIP makes sure the vital system files are safe from modification by you or anyone else. This feature is meant to reduce the likelihood that you accidentally infect yourself with malware, or that a third party gains access to your Mac or core files by escalating privilege exploits remotely.

However, if you use system-modifying utilities or system extensions that modified the core files and changed the way OS X works, you may notice that they no longer function or need to be updated. The System Integrity Protection feature on OS X is enabled by default, but it can be disabled.

El Capitan Battery Life Problems

Why Are You Experiencing Battery Life Problems?

One common problem that some Mac users experience after the El Capitan installation is bad battery life right after the upgrade. One reason why you may be experiencing bad battery life right after upgrading for a day or two, is the computer may be using extra power while Spotlight is running to index files. This process on average takes a couple days but your Mac should go back to having normal battery life after this.

Resetting the System Management Controller (SMC)

Before resetting the SMC:

Try each of the next steps in order before attempting to reset the SMC. Additionally, test to see if the issue is still occurring after completing each troubleshooting step.

Steps to Take Before Resetting the SMC

  1. Force quit any application that is not responding, by pressing Command-Option-Escape.
  2. Put your Mac to sleep by clicking the  menu and choosing the Sleep option. Next try to wake the computer up after it has gone to sleep.
  3. Restart your Mac by choosing Restart from the Apple menu.
  4. Shut down your Mac by choosing Shut Down from the Apple menu.
  5. If your Mac does not respond, force shut down the computer by pressing and holding the power button for 10 seconds. (Note: You may lose unsaved work in any open applications.)

If you are on a Mac notebook that is having issues related to power or the battery follow these steps:


  1. Unplug the power adapter from your Mac and also from the power socket in the wall for several seconds.
  2. Shutdown your Mac. 
  3. Physically remove and re-insert the battery (if it is removable)
  4. Restart your computer.

Steps to Reset the SMC

If you have completed the above troubleshooting steps and are experiencing the following symptoms you will need to perform a SMC reset.

Loud Fans

  • The fans are running at high speeds even though the computer is not experiencing heavy usage and is properly ventilated.


  • The keyboard backlight on your Mac laptop is behaving erratically.
  • The Status Indicator Light (SIL) or Sleep Indicator Light appears to behave abnormally.
  • Battery indicator lights are not portraying accurate information.
  • The backlight on the display is not responding correctly to ambient light changes on Macs with this feature.


  • The computer does not respond when the power button is pressed.
  • A portable Mac does not respond properly when you open or close the lid of the laptop.
  • The computer sleeps or shuts down unexpectedly.
  • The battery does not charge properly.
  • The MagSafe power adaptor LED does not indicate the correct activity.

System performance

  • The computer is running slow even though it is not experiencing abnormally high CPU usage.

  • Application icons “bounce” on the Dock for an abnormally long amount of time when launched.
  • Applications not functioning correctly or not responding after being opened.

How to reset the SMC On Mac laptops with a non-removable battery

  1. Shut down the Mac.
  2. Plug in the power adapter to a power source and then to your computer.
  3. On the built-in keyboard, press the (Shift-Control-Option keys and the power button at the same time for 5 seconds.
  4. Release all the keys and the power button at the same time.
  5. Press the power button to turn on the computer.

The LED light on MagSafe power adapters may change states or temporarily turn off when you reset the SMC.

Use Safari Instead of Chrome

Memory Usage of Safari is Better

Some experts recommend using Safari, it is possible that you actually get better battery life by using Apple’s built-in web browser, rather than Chrome or Firefox in OS X.

Ways to Optimize Your Mac for Better Battery Life

While Apple optimizes its own built-in apps on OS X to extend the battery life, many third-party apps are not as efficient. If you use a lot of third-party apps, it is possible that one or more of them may be consuming a lot of resources and running down your battery more quickly.

You can see which apps are using up the most battery life on your MacBook by clicking on the battery icon on the menu bar in the upper-right corner of the screen. This will show a pop-up window with a section called Apps Using Significant Energy that will list the apps that OS X states are using a lot of energy.

You can also use Activity Monitor, a OS X utility that can show you what apps and services are using up the most CPU power.

To do this, go to Applications > Utilities > Activity Monitor to open it up. Once there, select the CPU tab,

You can sort the list of apps by CPU percentage with the highest percentages first. This will provide you with info on which apps and services are using up the most resources.

Customize Energy Saver Settings

If you want more control over how your MacBook acts when it is only on battery power, there is a setting in System Preferences that allows you to do that.

Open System Preferences and click on Energy Saver. You will be able to determine when the screen should shut off when your MacBook is not being used. You can also shut off your hard disks on the Mac when they are not in use under the same Energy Saver window.

Discover Resource-Hogging Apps

Dim the Screen Brightness

One way to save battery life on your MacBook running OS X El Capitan is to dim the brightness of the screen whenever you can.

OS X features allow you to disable automatic screen brightness in the settings and to configure it manually so that the screen does not increase

the brightness automatically when you do not want it to. To do this, go into System Preferences:

  • Click Displays
  • Uncheck Automatically adjust brightness

You could extend your battery life by at least an hour if you dim down the display, instead of having your Mac adjust the brightness for you. The screen is considered one of the biggest battery hogs on your MacBook.

WiFi and Bluetooth Problems in El Capitan

Fixing Wi-Fi Issues in OS X El Capitan

Some users with OS X El Capitan may encounter wireless networking issues after updating to 10.11. Typically, the WiFi problems cause dropped connections or slow speeds.

For most Mac users who are experiencing WIFI issues in OS X El Capitan follow these steps to resolve the issues:

Remove Existing Wi-Fi Preferences in OS X and Start Fresh

If you have been experiencing Wi-Fi problems on El Capitan, first try restarting your router and modem to make sure the issue does not stem from there.


At this point for many Mac users, your Wi-Fi may be working great, but for some users, you may now need to create a custom network location.


If that does not resolve the problem…

Turn your WiFi off by going to the WiFi icon in the top right side of the menu bar and turn Turn WiFi off. Then, in the same menu, go to Network Preferences and then click the Advanced button. A list of all the networks you have previously connected to should show up. Delete the network you are having problems with and then try to reconnect to it.


If that does not resolve the problem…

Turn your WiFi off by going to the WiFi icon in the top right side of the menu bar and turn Turn WiFi off. Then, in the same menu, go to Network Preferences and then click the Advanced button. A list of all the networks you have previously connected to should show up. Delete the network you are having problems with and then try to reconnect to it.


Modifying plist Files

If you are still having WiFi problem, then follow the next steps:

  • Create a new folder on your Desktop for your current WiFi preferences
  • Turn WiFi off from the menu in the upper right corner of OS X.
  • Go to the Finder and press Command+Shift+G to invoke the Go To Folder command, next choose the following path exactly:


  • /Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration/

Once you are in that folder, locate and select the following files:

  1. com.apple.airport.preferences.plist
  2. com.apple.network.identification.plist
  3. com.apple.wifi.message-tracer.plist
  4. NetworkInterfaces.plist
  5. preferences.plist


  • Copy all of these files into the folder you created in step 1 on the desktop, after you are confident that you have a backup you can delete them.
  • Reboot the Mac
  • Turn on Wi-Fi from the menu again in the upper right corner of OS X

Create a New Wi-Fi Network Location with Custom DNS

  • Quit any open apps using Wi-Fi or networking functions such as Chrome, Safari, Mail, etc.
  • Go to the  Apple menu and select “System Preferences”
  • Choose “Network”, and then pick Wi-Fi from the list showing in the window


  • Choose the “Location” menu and select “Edit Locations”, next click the [+] plus button to create a new location, and give the new location a name and click “Done” to add it to the list
  • Next join the WiFi network and authenticate with the router password as usual
  • Select the “Advanced” button in the low corner of the Network preferences window, and go to the “TCP/ IP” tab, and choose “Renew DHCP Lease”

Renewing the  DHCP Lease

  • Next go to the “DNS” tab, and on the list of “DNS Servers” showing, click the [+] plus button and add a new DNS server* – you can use and for Google DNS but you can also choose whatever you want
  • Next, pick the “Hardware” tab, and then choose ‘Configure’, and finally, click “Manually”
  • Change “MTU” to “Custom” and set the MTU number to 1453, and click “OK”
  • Last, choose the “Apply” button to set your network changes
    • If you’re not sure what DNS to use, you can find the fastest DNS servers for your situation by using a benchmarking utility. The fastest servers are usually Google DNS and OpenDNS, but results may vary per region.

The wireless connectivity should now be working for most Mac users on OS X El Capitan. If all else fails try a SMC reset or a PRAM reset (holding the Command, Option, P and R keys while powering on your Mac and waiting to hear two chimes before releasing the keys and letting the Mac boot to the desktop.)


Bluetooth Problems


  • If you’ve been having Bluetooth problemson El Capitan, try these steps:
  • Un-pair and re-pair your devices via the Bluetooth system preferences menu.
  • Disconnect every USB device you have plugged directly into the computer and then shut it down. Wait 5-minutes before turning it back on.
  • Reset the SMC and the Parameter RAM (Pram).

Fixing Mail in El Capitan

If you are having Mail problems after the El Capitan upgrade, there are a variety of ways to fix it, depending on what the issue is.


  • If Mail is refusing tofetch new emails for example, try rebuilding your mailbox after you have backed your data.
  • If Mail is stuck in an “optimizing your Mail database” loop, try creating an offline backup of your emails before deleting and re-adding that account to the Mail app.
  • If Mail keeps freezing when you try to launch it:


    • Turn the Wi-Fi off and make sure you are disconnected from the Internet. Open the Mail app
    • Go toMail -> Preferences ->Account
    • Disable each one of your accounts individually before closing down the Mail app
    • Turn the Internet back on.
    • Open Mail back up and re-enable each Mail account one-by-one
    • Allow each account to download their inboxes completely before enabling the next one


If you need more help after trying these fixes, you may need to restore your data from a Time Machine back up or reinstall El Capitan, OS X 10.11.



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