MacOS 10.15 Catalina & App store issues

I have several apps in the Mac App Store that work with a USB tethered SLR camera. Up to Mojave, everything was fine; everything worked.
Then comes Catalina, and suddenly, cameras are detected, I can read the pictures from them, delete them, but when I want to take a shot,
it fails without any error message. So I thought I would just edit the text on the App Store and make the first line read (NOT YET COMPATIBLE WITH MACOS 10.15 CATALINA due to internal Catalina bug)
But the problem is, I can only edit the text by submitting a new version. doing that would prompt all existing users to update, and the new version that I can submit, still won’t work, as the bug is an internal Catalina one.
Apple has confirmed they suspect it is a bug, but also now report that they might not answer until 2020.
Meanwhile, customers using Catalina are buying my app that doesn’t work, and post 1-star reviews and complain to me.

With Apple releasing a new macOS yearly, it would make sense if they would allow developers to indicate with which MacOS their apps are compatible
so that new users simply don’t see apps that are known to be not compatible with Catalina. It’s a bit ridiculous that I have to support 5 macOS versions, as all of those are still in use, as older macs cannot be upgraded beyond 10.10.

Now, my only option is to release a new version that still doesn’t work on Catalina, and then in the text state something like “Sorry, we did update this app, but it still doesn’t work on Catalina”. That makes me look like an idiot and like will piss off existing customers that upgrade to a still not working version.

Apple staff you can talk to are always very polite and understanding, but also unable to do much when it comes to features that aren’t available to everyone.

To further add to my frustration, I also have to update software that works perfectly fine still on Catalina, because the previous version is now 3 years old.
In effect, I have to compile and upload a new version, set all the translations (manually) and submit exactly the same app as before, just so that it gets a newer date.
Failure to not release exactly the same as was there before but with a new version release number within 30 days results in the App being taken offline.

Sorry for ranting, but I just needed to get some frustration out.
The Mac App Store can be great, but also a royal pain in the you know where.

You can’t change the description but there is a field called “Werbetexte” in German (advertisement texts?) that you can change.

Have you thought about withdrawing the app from the AppStore until you can get the situation sorted out on Catalina? If you get more 1 star reviews your app won’t be worth much anyways.

[quote=467915:@Boudewijn Krijger]
it fails without any error message. So I thought I would just edit the text on the App Store and make the first line read (NOT YET COMPATIBLE WITH MACOS 10.15 CATALINA due to internal Catalina bug)[/quote]

Whatever the reason that your app doesn’t work correctly on Catalina, you would be best to withdraw it from the App Store until you resolve it, as Beatrix said.

[quote=467915:@Boudewijn Krijger]
Meanwhile, customers using Catalina are buying my app that doesn’t work, and post 1-star reviews and complain to me.[/quote]
With a new version, you can reset your review score.

[quote=467915:@Boudewijn Krijger]
With Apple releasing a new macOS yearly, it would make sense if they would allow developers to indicate with which MacOS their apps are compatible[/quote]
They do, you can stipulate the minimum OS but, at a minimum, you have to support the current version.

If you’re also building with a newer version of Xojo, then you’ll also be building your app against the newer Apple SDKs, which is always a good thing.

@Beatrix Willius . I did change the promotional text, but some customers buy first and read later. Also, that line is not the first; it’s under the preview images, so it can be missed.

I could withdraw the app, but then all non Catalina users that can run the app perfectly fine would also not be able to buy it either.

If I have to choose, I’d rather get some sales and some angry customers than no sales at all.

@Gavin Smith: I hear what you’re saying, but having no sales until Apple sees it fit to fix a Catalina internal bug seems a bit drastic.
It could take them 6 months or longer.
It would also send out a weird signal to existing customers. I know I have to set a minimal version, but I would prefer also being able to set a maximum version. I’m sure that things will only get worse next year, when Apple release a yet more secure and restricted macOS. Meanwhile I have customers on the previous 4 macOS versions that can use the app perfectly fine.

I don’t mind updating my apps with the latest Xojo version, I just don’t like having that as the only way to let a customer know the app is not compatible with a newer system released after the app was released.

Have you filed it with Apple? https://developer.apple.com/bug-reporting/

Catalina has tighter security requirements than previous OSs. I know it’s not what you want to hear, but waiting on Apple making changes that allow my app to work the way it did on previous versions of macOS, isn’t what I’d be doing. I’d be working on making it work with Catalina.

@Gavin Smith : yes I did, and Apple now only reply that they may not reply until 2020. Could be many months before it is fixed. I’m pretty sure a new (undocumented) security layer is preventing the tethering. But what doesn’t make sense is that I can connect to a camera, do wnload and delete pictures. Just not take any, as the shutterbutton is disabled on Canon cameras and software capture commands ignored on all cameras.

probably to keep someone from setting up a covert camera to automaitially take pictures

@Dave S : lol, could be, although with SLR cameras it’s hard to not hear the shutter.

yes, but not all cameras that could/would work with that setup are mechanical SLR cameras these days

[quote=467915:@Boudewijn Krijger]Apple has confirmed they suspect it is a bug, but also now report that they might not answer until 2020.
Meanwhile, customers using Catalina are buying my app that doesn’t work, and post 1-star reviews and complain to me.[/quote]
Aww shit man, I am so sorry to hear this.

I don’t have any suggestions for you, except to make sure that you’re filling in the “Privacy” fields, but then if you’ve spoken to Apple, I would assume that you’ve already tried this.

Are you using the Apple’s ImageCapture API or a third party solution?

Except for when it isn’t. My experience says that it’s more like Russian Roulette.

I have one API that I use, which had it’s behavior changed on 10.14 (the documents haven’t been updated since 2016), regardless of SDK used.

I have another function (which I’ve not dug into yet) where some API in it fails or has also had another undocumented behavior change when the SDK is 10.14, yet it still works (behaves the same) with an SDK of 10.9.

It not hard to see why many developers now only support one or two versions of the macOS, I tried to be clever and support 10.11 all the way to 10.15, and it’s cost me way too much time.

@Sam Rowlands : Thanks Sam, It’s not an easy fix like filling the privacy fields.

I’m using Monkeybread’s excellent plugin, based on the API which works great on all macOS’s up to Catalina.
Looking at how many big companies are struggling with tethering on Catalina, including Adobe, CaptureOne, Canon & Nikon,
I’m fairly confident that new security layers in Catalina broke tethering for all. Apple is admitting they have had several similar bugs reported, but aren’t near a solution yet.

I agree that it is becoming increasingly difficult to support all macOS versions. I think it’s time that besides a minimum required macOS, there should also be a maximum compatible macOS. That would solve the problem of having to update apps to follow Apple’s ridiculous yearly new OS version.

[quote=468113:@Boudewijn Krijger]
I think it’s time that besides a minimum required macOS, there should also be a maximum compatible macOS[/quote]
It will always be their current OS. Why would they do otherwise? It’s their store and your new apps must support their current OS.

@Gavin Smith : [quote] It’s their store and your new apps must support their current OS.[/quote]
Yes it is, and I would, if they did not break stuff and have no workaround. It’s not just their store, it’s also my store and I am making them 30%, so I am also their customer. My point is, how can I make apps work all the time if they keep breaking stuff?

Blood, sweat and tears, if you’re lucky.

You’re caught between a rock and really hard place here, this is the downfall of relying on a single provider to build your application, I know how you feel because I suffer every year with Apple breaking, removing, changing the things that my apps use. The only solution is to own all the code, to not use anyone else’s API for critical functions. Yeah; I know it’s pretty impossible for us single developers to do this, as it requires a ton of work to replace existing functionality (I am very slowly getting there).

Have you posted in the Apple developer forums? Yes it is a ghost town nowadays; but I had the luck of making one new friend last year, who actually knows what they’re talking about, their experience and assistance was invaluable to me being to complete my app.