A VooDoo fix for Macintosh Text Replacement Sync

Dec13

I’ve recently won a small victory in the battle against the Black Box that is iCloud Sync and currently have a complete and correct set of Text Replacement shortcuts synchronizing across all my Macintosh computers and iOS devices. 

 

Warning: Voo Doo follows. I’m not a true expert on the deep inner-workings of Mac OS. I don’t believe my fix will do any harm, but proceed with caution and always make a backup! (Then make another for good measure. Remember the 3–2–1 rule!)


Executive Summary 

After removing the folder com.apple.InputMethodKit.TextReplacementService from the depths of the ~/Library heirarchy and restarting the computers my current list of Text Replacement shortcuts is available on two Macs that previously refused to synchronize. Both of these Macs legitimately run Sierra, but didn’t start life that way. The folder com.apple.InputMethodKit.TextReplacementService is buried somewhere inside ~/Library. Sorry, I didn’t make note of the full path — I found it using a Finder Search.

Update: A friend in the Ars Technica: Macintoshian Achaia forum reports that the path is ~/Library/Group Containers/com.apple.InputMethodKit.TextReplacementService

 

The Whole, Sordid Tale

For a very long time (I want to say going back to at least iOS 8?) Keyboard Text Replacement shortcuts weren’t syncing consistently across my Macs and iOS devices. I had varying combinations of shortcuts available depending on which device I was using and no way to get the same set to propogate across all devices At times shortcuts would disappear completely, and reappear as duplicates after I’d taken time to recreate them. This was an annoyance because I make heavy use of a handful of shortcuts and because I want access from all of my iOS apps, Text Expander isn’t an option for me. 

I tried numerous proposed fixes without success and refused to try a few that I deemed too extreme, complex and time consuming — particularly given the mixed results reported from the killing of these various rubber chickens. I have an open (for months) support ticket with Apple for months — The engineers were aware of the problem, but no fix was forthcoming. 

With the recent purchase of a new MacBook Pro, I found that the shortcuts weren’t syncing over to it at all. I was temporarily ignoring the problem but in the end I knew this would not stand

Seemingly coincident with the latest round of behind the curtain iCloud adjustments, the system magically started working and after a restart of each device I had a complete set of shortcuts on my iDevices. (So complete that there were multiple entries I’d long ago abandoned and thought I’d purged!) I checked the shortcuts on the new MacBook Pro and was disappointed to find them missing — until I restarted the Mac after which the shortcut list appeared. 

Thus encouraged, I removed the extraneous entries from the Mac. This didn’t take long with multiple selection. Next I made a few adjustments to the shortcuts I wanted to keep. I was really pleased when, in very short order, this corrected master list of Text Replacement Shortcuts propogated to both my iPhone and iPad Pro.  

Next stop was my iMac. Opening the appropriate preferences pane revealed its own special selection of keyboard shortcuts that (previously) weren’t at all in sync with any other devices. Okay, I got this. Restarted. No joy. Grrrr.

I spent a few minutes re-searching the internet for anything new on the topic. Still a lot of noise and no definitive solutions, but I came across an article that through a chain of “logical leap what ifs” on my part led me to doing a finder search that in the end led me to discover a folder buried deep in my user library: com.apple.InputMethodKit.TextReplacementService. This folder may be a legacy preference/cache because a searching for it on my new MacBook Pro (Sierra native) returns null.

I moved the folder to the Desktop and restarted. I immediately opened the Text Replacement preference pane and found the list was empty. However, within a few seconds it was populated with my complete and correct master list of shortcuts. I repeated the this procedure for my account on the MacBook Air I administer for my mother and had the same experience. 

There was one more device in the mix. I keep a 4th gen. iPad at work for reading and light browsing during breaks. The restart trick wasn’t working on that device — most likely because the guest network is accessed through a captive portal. (I speculate that after the device restart, the iCloud Sync Check takes place before the network connection is made.) Last night I brought the 4gen home to do the iOS system update. After the update/restart the shortcuts are present and good to go.

At least for now I have a consisent set of shortcuts across all of my Apple devices and changes made to those shortcuts propogate to the other devices promptly. 

Finally.

If you’re having this problem and  this fix works for you please drop a note in the comments. 

Apple Repair Program for 2011-2013 MacBook Pros With Video Issues

May13

Just a reminder about the repair program for some 2011-2013 MacBook Pros.

https://www.apple.com/support/macbookpro-videoissues/

An affected MacBook Pro may display one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Distorted or scrambled video on the computer screen
  • No video on the computer screen (or external display) even though the computer is on
  • Computer restarts unexpectedly
Affected Models
  • MacBook Pro (15-inch Early 2011)
  • MacBook Pro (15-inch, Late 2011)
  • MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2012)
  • MacBook Pro (17-inch Early 2011)
  • MacBook Pro (17-inch Late 2011)
  • MacBook Pro (Retina, 15 inch, Early 2013)

The last year or so, I have been experiencing weird graphics glitches on my MacBook Pro (15-inch Early 2011).  I have seen many others on the web with the same issues with their graphics cards.  Once Apple started this repair program, I saw that I had been experiencing all these symptoms.  I figured I would need to eventually bring my Mac in and get this fixed before the program ended.  However, I was not looking forward to this because I knew they would need to send it out to the repair depot and I would be without my Mac for 3-5 days.

The last couple weeks it had seemed to be getting worse. My Mac’s screen would completely go black for a second and then come back on.  I would also come to my Mac in the morning to find that it had crashed overnight.  Earlier this week it also crashed during the day when I was working.  Then it got considerably worse.  I was working on it and suddenly the song in iTunes I was playing started skipping non-stop and then the screen filled with vertical lines.

IMG_2961

I forced a shut down and tried to get it restarted, but it was no use.  After several attempts at starting from my SuperDuper! clone, SMC reset, NVRAM reset, single user, verbose mode, and safe mode… nothing worked.  So off to the genius bar I went.

The genius ran MRI (Mac Resource Inspector) and immediately it failed the graphics test.  The Video System Test also confirmed that my Mac had the logic board/video problem.

IMG_2962

Luckily this is the problem covered under the aforementioned repair program, so normally a $310 logic board replacement will cost me nothing.

Just a reminder if you have any of these MacBook Pro models and have experienced any graphics problems and/or unexpected restarts, it doesn’t hurt to take it in and have them run the tests to see if you have this problem as well.

The program covers affected MacBook Pro models until February 27, 2016 or three years from its original date of sale, whichever provides longer coverage for you.

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