Apple’s latest update to macOS Catalina appears to have broken SSH for some users.
The issue is that under Apple’s macOS 10.15.4 update, released on March 24, trying to open a SSH connection to a port greater than 8192 using a server name, rather than an IP address, no longer works – for some users at least. SSH is a Swiss army knife that can be used to securely connect to remote machines to run commands, transfer files and other data, and so on.
The Register asked Hall to elaborate on his findings but he declined, citing the possibility that the problem might be particular to his set up rather than a bug in the software Apple shipped.
Hall demonstrated similar post-publication remorse this last October when he criticized the code quality of macOS Catalina, comparing it to Windows Vista. That sentiment is shared among many other macOS users (eg: “macOS 10.15 is chockablock with paper-cut bugs” – John Gruber). But the responses Hall received from friends within Apple led him to regret that post, too.
We asked Apple to comment but we’ve received no reply. Cupertino seldom addresses public criticism. Until June 2016, Apple even implied in its App Store Review Guidelines that it would look unfavorably on developers who complain publicly about rejected apps. Up to that point, its policy said, “If you run to the press and trash us, it never helps.”
The US government’s renewed antitrust scrutiny of companies like Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google in recent years has perhaps encouraged more caution in publicly declared tech platform policies.
The issue that Hall reported has been noted by others. A post two days ago on Apple’s discussion forum complains, “After that update I am no longer able to open a SSH connection to a port greater than 8192 using server name (instead of IP).” And three discussion participants claim they too have experienced the same issue.
One of these individuals, posting under the user name “webdeck,” filed a bug port in Open Radar, a public iOS and macOS bug reporting site created by developer Tim Burks because Apple hides its Radar bug reporting system from the public.
The bug report reads, “
/usr/bin/sshin macos 10.15.4 hangs if used with the
-pflag to specify an alternate port and used with a hostname. This was not present in macOS 10.15.3.”