Preference setting can balk OS X Mavericks installation

Preference setting can balk OS X Mavericks installation

Summary: A recent Apple Support Note tells a strange tale: That an "incorrect" Date & Time preference setting can screw up a OS X Mavericks install.


An Apple Support Note released this week warns upgraders that an OS X Mavericks installation can be stopped cold by an "incorrect" Date & Time setting.

Here's the symptom:

After entering in an Administrator name and password for the OS X Mavericks installer you see the following message:

"This copy of the Install OS X Mavericks application can't be verified. It may have been corrupted or tampered with during downloading."

According to the note, this message may surface if "the date and time aren't set correctly on your computer." What does this mean? Well, after quitting the installer, you have to reset the Date & Time pref.

Make sure the "Set date and time automatically" checkbox is selected and the appropriate region is chosen in the field to the right of the checkbox.

Alternatively, manually set the date and time to an accurate setting (for example, the date should be set later than Oct 1, 2013).

So, the problem appears to be the date, more than the time. There was also some additional information.

If the message reappears after checking the computer's date and time, the OS X Mavericks installer has likely been corrupted or altered during downloading. Try re-downloading the installer from the App Store again with a different network connection or location.

In addition, I suggest that customers check the automatic Time Zone setting in the Time Zone tab. Location Services is a longtime Mac feature and help keep the system time correct for applications such as Mail. Location Services (the Time Zone) and the Date & Time prefs can effect other Mac services such as Back to My Mac.

Some Mac managers may be interested in setting up a local NTP (Network Time Protocol) servers. On his computing blog, Philipp Klaus, a physics student at the University of Frankfurt/Main, Germany, recently posted a how-to article on the process. It's for OS X 10.8 Snow Leopard, but should work in recent flavors of the OS.

Meanwhile, at the JAMF Nation discussion groups, Chuck FastGM3 posted a script to place several custom NTP servers in the Date & Time pulldown list. It's a long discussion, so scroll to the end if you're interested.

Now, any Mac user can put a non-Apple time server into the Set date and time automatically field. It just looks strange since you type over the Apple server info and then hit Return. The system connects to the time server each hour, at x:54 o'clock.

Topics: Apple, Operating Systems, Servers

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  • Time...

    ...has always been a tricky affair for Apple; first the yearly DST bug and now this.
    Jokes aside, this is a pretty glaring issue considering it rises from such a basic feature.
  • I suspect that this is due to certificate validity

    Certificate validity is based on the time stamp of the certificate when compared to the system time. I've often gotten these kinds of problems on computers where the system time is out of whack. Either the computers weren't set up to update time automatically, or the computers weren't recently connected to the Internet and their CMOS batteries had wound down and thus their time settings were defaulting to 1969 or somesuch old date. And this wasn't limited to OS installs, but also to website SSL certificates. And in reply to Ghest, it's not only Apple that had this problem, but I do remember that Microsoft actually had DST changeover dates hard coded into Windows/Outlook, so that when the Feds changed the dates for DST changeover, we all had to do a workaround while waiting for Microsoft to send out an OS and Office update to fix the problem.
  • OS X 10.8 is not Snow Leopard (and requiring subject headings is dumb)

  • I remember a similar bug in Windows

    With Windows/Microsoft Update, if the clock is not set properly, Windows won't find any updates.

    With Mac, I has issues with the feature to set my Time Zone bases on Location. I live on the East Coast of the US and my Mac auto-set the Time Zone to Pacific. I didn't even realize the issue until I noticed that at 3:30AM it was getting light out. So I had to turn of the Auto-Set Time Zone based on Location as for whatever reason it wasn't working.

    These security certificates also prevent you from installing software after the certificate has expired. Of course by setting the clock back, you can install the software.

    I remember several years ago when the game Gears of War came out for PC. They screwed up the security certificate and the game couldn't be played unless you set the clock back. They eventually fixed it but it is a pain that the game can't auto-update because of this.
    • Hashing

      It may use the Date as an encryption hash for the download socket.
  • MSN Messenger

    MSN Messenger also had issues if the date/time was out.


    " Date & Time prefs can effect other Mac services such as Back to My Mac."

    that should be "affect" not "effect"
  • Another Mavericks Issue is RAM

    Another Mavericks Issue is RAM. I ran into it almost immediately. Also, you can see that others are having other RAM issues:

  • ntp polling: I think you are misinformed

    > The system connects to the time server each hour, at x:54 o'clock.

    This is not how ntpd works. Why do you think the polling interval is one hour? What you are describing sounds like a crappy cron entry calling ntpdate. This is a terrible idea and not how OSX works. For as long as I can remember (NB: not a diehard mac user) OSX uses ntpd from the ntp reference implementation. The polling interval is dynamic. Hardcoded poll intervals are terrible for ntp servers. Do you really think apple's infrastructure receives ntp polls from every OSX installation around the same time every hour of every day?
    Douglas Calvert