Musicians & Producers: Do NOT Upgrade to Mac OS Sierra 10.12 Yet

If you're awaiting the launch of the new macOS Sierra from Apple and want to upgrade your music studio machine immediately... don't! There's reports of issues with audio unit plug-ins flying in.  
ARTICLE UPDATE: Anyone who has updated to macOS Sierra 10.12 and is experiencing difficulty with UA or Plugin Alliance or any apparently unsupported AU plugins and drivers, please click here to read about a possible workaround to fix things.

I'm not trying to be dramatic here. But, don't do it. At least don't upgrade to the first version of macOS Sierra on your primary music making machine. By the time you read this it might (and probably will be) safe to upgrade. But, just as macOS Sierra is launching around 22nd September. Hold back.

Yes, we know you want to experience Siri on your Mac. Yes, it's lovely to delve into new OS features. Unfortunately, there appears to be a problem with certain audio unit plugins running in Apple's new OS. (Sigh: seems like we have  similar issues every new Mac OS release...).

Hmmm... We've been here before. Just 12 glorious months ago, remember?

We're not certain yet when fixes will be made available... but as a general rule for computer-based musicians and producers: when a new OS comes out...

  • Don't upgrade if you're mid-project / album
  • Don't upgrade until someone else has tested the software, hardware and plugins you rely on with the new OS
  • Don't upgrade on your studio or live machine
  • Backup your Mac/PC before upgrading
  • Keep extra copies of your important projects, settings, files in the cloud or a separate hard drive.

Here's what Plugin Alliance are saying about some of the incompatibility between some plugins and macOS Sierra 10.12:

"We’re writing to let you know that in our qualification of Apple’s new Sierra OS (v 10.12) we have discovered serious problems with many Plugin Alliance products that primarily affect customers who use the Audio Unit format. Our developers are working hard on a solution but at this time we are recommending that all Mac based Plugin Alliance customers do not upgrade to Sierra. We will continue our qualification efforts and expect to announce full support in the near future. We greatly appreciate your patience while we complete our qualification process."

Universal Audio also recommend against upgrading to macOS Sierra immediately:

"Apple has announced that macOS Sierra will be released on September 20th, 2016. UAD v8.7 software is not fully tested or compatible with macOS Sierra, and we recommend that you do not install this update until compatibility is announced. We are currently working on testing and qualifying macOS Sierra for a future UAD software update. 

"UAD v8.7 is tested and compatible with released versions of Mac OS X 10.9 Mavericks, 10.10 Yosemite, and 10.11 El Capitan. Pre-release and beta versions of Mac OS X / macOS are not supported."

Which Plug-Ins Run Well in macOS Sierra?

It's not all bad news or sad tidings though. Simon Bangs from inMusic tells us that all AirMusic tech and Sonivox plugins are working well. Cyril Decay tells us he's been testing 10.12 for a few weeks and is experiencing no more lags in Pro Tools or Logic Pro X. Additionally 32Lives is working great with URS, Abbey Road Plugins, and he's been using "Nebula Pro with Nebula Setups, Slate Digital, Flux, Soundtoys V5, Eventide without any issues".

If you've been testing different AU audio plug-ins in the new OS Sierra, let us know how they are performing for you.

ARTICLE UPDATE: Anyone who has updated to macOS Sierra 10.12 and is experiencing difficulty with UA or Plugin Alliance or any apparently unsupported AU plugins and drivers, please click here to read about a possible workaround to fix things.


Rounik is the Executive Editor for Ask.Audio & macProVideo. He's built a crack team of professional musicians and writers to create one of the most visited online resources for news, review, tutorials and interviews for modern musician and producer. As an Apple Certified Trainer for Logic Pro Rounik has taught teachers, professional... Read More


Sylenth1 64bit also doesn't work in Logic Pro.
Virus TI also doesn't work.
Is the 32 Lives! Compatible with macOS Sierra?
Thx in advance ;)
UAD stuff works perfectly fine on my macbook with sierra. It connects to my Twin Duo right away. I haven't noticed any other issues with plugins. Using vst is never a bad idea! And yes 32 Lives does work!
BD, what is the version of 32 lives?, the 2.0 beta or 1.06?

Jed Fish Gould
Well, this would have been heful as a warning email from UA, instead of the constant reminders that I am running out of time to take advantage of this or that discount on this or that plug in which I already have.

As it is, I AM SCREWED from top to bottom because Apple has made it extremely difficult to remove Sierra.

So. Locked out of my system because no one tipped me off, save this site.
Jed Fish Gould
Btw, this is with iMac
This is exactly why I think it's important that people regularly voice their gripes about Apple's annual OS policy and how it is effecting your software.

Sure nobody likes to hear whining on forums, or sending disgruntled support emails but the reality is that issues like this are only going to become more regular in the future. If it bothers you than RAISE YOUR VOICE.

I personally think the whole industry is moving into seriously bad territory. Apple forces annual OS updates, developers try and keep up, and stop supporting previous OS's much quicker than they once did. IMO this is a scorched earth approach, and I don't see this heading anywhere but straight to hell... I don't see good things ahead when everyone's running around trying to serve Apple when in reality they should be putting them in check...

Not true! This upgrade "catastrophe"your experiencing is expected behavior between OS and 3rd party software developers. It is true that Apple releases OS updates more frequently, but that's only because technology as a whole is progressing faster with demand and expectations of more features. Often, developers are invited to beta testing phases and provided with appropriate developer tools to facilitate updating their software for the new OS environment ahead of time. However, due to time, resources and changes that occur during beta testing phases (which are heavily communicated to developers btw), 3rd party software developers often choose not to develop during the beta test phases. Therefore, if YOU rely on 3rd party software, it's YOUR responsibility to check the support page of the software developer software you rely on. Also, to address your other point, it is customary for a 3rd party software developers to only code and develop software for the latest and recent past version of the OS because it would take too much time to recode and develop updates as new features are introduced. If they did code to all the historic versions of OS, it would take a lot of valuable time and resources as they add new features to their software. So, the moral is, it's important to also try and keep your OS up to date if you want to experience new features from your 3rd party software.

TL:DR - Check 3rd party software support site before updating. - It's your responsibility, not Apple's. 3rd party software customarily only supports the latest and previous OS, because it takes too much time and energy to code for past versions of OS.
Welcome to computer-based audio recording guys! This isn't necessarily Apple's fault, and expected behavior when updating into a major OS. 3rd party software developers can choose to test software in beta phases of MacOS, but often don't because of extended resources and changes through the beta testing process. So, on launch day of an OS, you usually want to check any 3rd party software developers website to assure compatibility before updating. Make this a routine when doing a major OS upgrade.
always in the past I have carbon copied my drive system to an external hard drive before I upgrade. that way, if it doesn't work for now, In system preferences, I use the start up disk to use my clone. once it's up, then I erase my computer drive and carbon copy the user disk back to my computer. no problem. back to previous system.
also, for the future, it's best to clone your drive and then start up that and put the new system on it and you'll know if everything works before you upgrade your computer
I’m on Sierra, and all my plugins work fine, including SPL and Maag plugins from Plugin Alliance. I’m using 64-bit Audio Unit plugins with Ableton Live.
it's way out of beta now. you'd imagine the people at Universal Audio had been testing with a developer account for some time and would have it worked out by now. I think their answer on their site to sierra compatibility is lame. They still have the line about pre release and beta. I filed a support request and got the same answer. They are a big enough company to be onto it I reckon. like I said lame.
It is unthinkable that any company would step up to say, "Please don't upgrade your computer OS to the newer, better, faster and more stable operating system, because we are simply too clueless or apethetic, or both, to update our drivers in a reasonable time frame."

Sierra was not a secret update from Apple. Developers are given months and months to try the new operating system and decide what needs to be done for perfect compatibility. The SIP is apparently the problem part of the OS that stymies your ability to update. Or it may simply be the attempt to make sure no one can use your products in an unauthorized manner. Regardless, there is no other company in the World that is asking me to fall back to an older OS to accommodate their product.

Say this to yourself. Please do not move forward with your life and livelihood, because we can't be on time and professional with the way we approach our business and our products!!

Right now, I have no audio available for my Mac Pro using Sierra, because I bought an Apollo 8. If I had RME or Apogee, or anything else, I would be moving forward with no problems. I also have no UAD Plugins because the DSP required for them is inoperable.

Shame, Shame, Shame UAD!!!!
I understand where your coming from, but to put things into perspective, imagine running a software / hardware company and your entire companies livelihood is to make sure you have rock solid software and support, fielding issues and smashing bugs for your professionals. Let's say your team of developers are a team of 10. You work against the clock, but now MacOS Sierra is here! Do I move my team of 10 or maybe 5 to start rewriting software and drivers for the new OS that isn't even out yet? And, although I could, as things change within the beta phase, we have to rewrite code!? Meanwhile, our current customers are looking to us to support and field issues. This is a very true scenario in 3rd party software support. Logic Pro doesn't have to worry about issues like this because they are owned by Apple and Apogee works very close and tightly with Apple (all Apple Loops for GarageBand and Logic are recorded in their studio).
Shiki Suen
macOS Sierra is an exception. macOS Sierra upgrade deprecated a hell lot of APIs from Snow Leopard. Plus, they decided to give up supporting Java 6. Apple already warned these matters One year ago (see release notes of developer beta 2 & 3 of macOS El Capitan). One year is certainly enough to let people drop support of those old APIs which could surely hinder the performance of macOS.
Shiki Suen
I tested Cubase Pro 8.5 since macOS Sierra Developer Preview 1. It works with me well. However, I never use video functions. Also, others may have different experiences. I suggest those people who using Cubase Pro and macOS El Capitan to wait until official Steinberg announcements in the future.
Sync Music Tech Marketing
I always tell my clients to update selectively and to research before making any updates or purchases saves you a lot of time and problems. I usually like to wait about 6 months before I update my OS this way developers have time to debug their builds. Also always check this site for the latest info too.

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