My journey on the M1

Picking up from my earlier post Buying a new Mac that has evolved into my initial experiences of living with the Apple Silicon MacBook Pro, this new post is dedicated to it with some new new additions. For anyone outside of the UK, the ‘M1’ was the first motorway built in Britain and last week was the scene of a £5 million theft of Apple equipment from a lorry travelling on it, as well as the name of the first Apple Silicon chip.

I’ve now been using the M1 MacBook Pro as my primary computer since Monday, having set it up manually, with everything being installed as new and no Time Machine restore involved. It has been a surprisingly good experience with some desperately annoying minor issues.

Below I’ll outline with the problems, the good things and the impact of running FileMaker on the M1 Mac and Big Sur.

First the problems:

My trusty Sophos Anti-Virus software is not yet compatible, hence I’m running without AV software for the first time that I can remember. A new version is being worked on.

The same for running Windows, or any form of virtualisation. Again, a new version of Parallels (demonstrated at this year’s WWDC) and presumably others are on the way. Currently I’m having to revert to our pool HP Elitebook 840 for any old FileMaker work.

Using an external display, is proving to be the most disruptive part to my day-to-day work. I made the error of changing 2 things at the same time, replacing a 27” display with a new Samsung 34” widescreen display for the new MacBook, hence I need to do some backward testing. The display is connected via HDMI to a USB-C Anker hub.

Whenever the displays go to sleep/dim for a (as yet unidentifiable) period of time, all of the Display settings are lost. System Preferences and Display settings have to be opened, the arrangement, the primary display, the resolutions all have to be reset. I’ve been using the widescreen at 2560 x 1080, rather than the highest 3440 x 1440, but after the aforementioned occurrence, often the highest resolution has disappeared from the ‘Scaled’ list of resolutions available.

For some reason Apple have removed the ‘Assign to’ option available when holding down the mouse button/trackpad on an app icon in the dock. This allowed a specific app to be set to operate on the chosen screen. Today, I restarted one of our streaming servers, as I thought FileMaker Pro 19 kept freezing on startup, but in reality the windows were open on the widescreen display and a very small dialogue box was 3 feet to the right on the MacBook screen, which I’d missed. A small issue, but it is having a massive affect on my productivity. There is a Window -> Move to.. display menu option, but this is a window by window feature, not an application feature. All of the above have been included in a feedback form to Apple.

Only 1 external display can be connected to the MacBook without 3rd party workarounds, but thankfully Sidecar does allow an iPad to become the 3rd screen if needed, which was a bonus.

The (non-hiding) Dock jumps between displays as it has on previous OS versions.

As now being published online, there are bluetooth issues. My Apple Magic Keyboard has been fine, but the Magic 2 mouse constantly disconnects and reconnects. I’ve reset the bluetooth module and ensured no other device is still paired to the mouse, but have not been able to resolve this.

The other, in my view, unforgivable missing feature is the inability to delay Calendar reminders. The only option available at the moment is ‘snooze’ so I’ve had to abandon use of any alert in Calendar and make more use of Reminders, which retains the 4 remind me later options we were used to in Catalina.

A personal frustration, which I’ve finally notified Apple about, is that we can still not use a HomePod for audio input. It’s brilliant for conference calls for the iPhone or iPad, but we cannot use it for screen share or video/audio sessions from the Mac.

Now the good bits:

Ignoring FileMaker for now (see below), everything I’ve tried to use has worked, and worked well. Rosetta 2 prompts to be installed the first time it is needed and installs in an instant.

Apps optimised for Apple Silicon open instantaneously, Safari, Calendar, Pixelmator Pro for instance appear in the blink of an eye. The Rosetta apps open in about the same time as my 2019 MacBook Air this MacBook Pro will eventually replace (I believe it already has!).

Everything feels quick and snappy and I’ve pretty much forgotten that I’m working on a device bought for testing purposes. For the record, apps used include the Apple default apps, Chrome, Microsoft Edge (I really like this), MS Office apps, Skype, WhatsApp, Pixelmator Pro, Graphic, MS Remote Desktop, Jump Desktop (we’ve had no RDP problems at all with either), Mindmanager, Omnigraffle, FMPerception, BBEdit, Visual Studio Code, Transmit, iMazing, FileMaker Pro (see below).

As far as Big Sur is concerned, we like the new menu bar apps in the top right corner, the date and time, clicked for notifications in the far right, the new IOSish control centre, the one click connect/disconnect for wifi, bluetooth and sound and the battery charge display for devices paired.


FileMaker Pro 19 - we’ve had absolutely no problems with this, even when running a mixture of new and old extensions .

FileMaker Pro 18 Advanced - initially we had a crashing problem, that was resolved by removing Dacons MailIt. Interestingly running new or old versions (see FMPA 17 below) of the extension caused the crash. But is has been running fine without, although we tend to use this for reference rather than development. I’ve been in touch with Dacons, who identified a problem writing to a log file, but I haven’t had time to follow this up with them as yet.

FileMaker Pro 17 Advanced - it ran with extensions without any apparent problems but reliably crashes when entering layout mode, which I’m informed is a Big Sur issue rather than an M1 issue (thanks Patrick).

No older versions tested, but we’ve accepted that, until we get some form of virtualisation, we will need to upload any old systems to our Internet based Windows servers or lug our HP laptop around with us.

Finally FileMaker Go. I’ve decided to put this in another post due to the interest it is likely to generate and not bury it here at the end of this lengthy entry.

I hope the above is of interest and apologies to those that have read the earlier post for the repetitions.



Hi Andy
Thanks a lot for sharing this summary with us.
Regarding AV, I never had one installed on a Mac. Always use it as a Service.
Unfortunately with Big Sur, Litte Snitch will be unable to report the full network traffic. I consider this being a regression.

The Bluetooth issues worries me. I couldn’t work without my Microsoft Surface Arc Mouse.
Not the first time we see connection drop with Apple Magic Mouse.

@EfficientBizz, I use a Surface Arc mouse for when I (used to :joy:) travel. I’ll swap over to it for this afternoon and see how it goes.

1 Like

Another small issue relating to Calendar reminders. Out of habit I look for the ‘Close’ button above ‘Snooze’, but there isn’t one anymore. This has now become an ‘X’ on the top left, hence a click on the reminder opens the Calendar each time.

This isn’t as bad as it used to be, as the Calendar opens instantaneously and there is no waiting, but can be a wee bit annoying until we all get used to click an ‘X’ rather than a named button.

On this subject, I did hear on a podcast recently that someone has given up using the space bar preview on the desktop, as PDFs, screenshots, etc open up so quickly in Preview now, often it is quicker to launch the file rather than use the shortcut.

Maybe you can try ESET? It’s been my av of choice since 2007 I think, before on Windows and now on my mini

Thanks Cecile.

We have a complication in that we merge our business diaries (Office 365) with our private diaries, which includes us, the kids, the horse (jabs, farrier, etc.) and it used to have the dog when he was around. It is no good making a business appointment if you find that you’ve a personal commitment or vice versa.

None of the diaries work particularly well in my view, but at least we can use Calendar to subscript to various accounts that are also the default on all the IOS devices.

All the best

How do Eset anti-virus and calendars conflict? I totally agree with the way you have horse, kids, personal calendars I’d even have a house&car one if I could get around to stop putting off fires and start living an organised life!!

Sorry, my bad for responding without changing my line of thought, of course Eset is AV. We’ve many Sophos licenses on our Macs and cloud Windows servers and it has been very good to us over the years, without being too obtrusive, so am prepared to wait.

Good luck with the life organisation, if you succeed, please let me know the secret :+1: :grinning:

Glad to report, no problems with the Microsoft Surface Arc mouse, only the Apple Magic mouse 2 :confused:

1 Like

I had to leave Eset on macOS a year ago. It always grabbed the same socket that was used to transfer data. Not a problem with data below 1/4 GB - but larger files never made it to the receiver ('socket not available'). We had to temporary disable eset when sending large files (so the transfer worked 100%) but finally I stopped using it.
Beside of this, eset is looking very interesting!

1 Like

I’ve made some progress on the display settings issue. The Samsung display has built in Eco and Off Time Plus settings to conserve power. Yesterday I turned both of these off, hence the control of turning the display off should now be the sole responsibility of the MacBook Pro.

This morning, for the first time, the settings have been retained overnight. However, the widescreen resolution has been set to ‘Default for display’, but is is the 2560 x 1080, which I was using and the 3440 x 1440 was missing from within the ‘Scaled’ list.

A restart has resulted in the original problem. All Display settings have been lost and all have to be changed to my preference again, with the 3440 x 1440 resolution available again.

It still looks like Apple have work to do.

beside of this troubles: What's about performance? How fast is it with FileMaker? Are there any dfferences (not just 'measurable' - 'feelable')?

Markus, I haven’t done much local development as all of ours is streamed from the cloud. However, just using it feels so responsive and I’d go as far to say items running in Rosetta 2 are running as quick and probably quicker than my 2019 Intel MacBook Air (both computers have 16Gb RAM).

Despite the missing things and some of the annoyances, I don’t believe I could bring myself to go back to the Intel machine. I did note on one of the compatibility lists that Adobe InDesign had crosses against both Universal and Rosetta, so maybe a problem with that.

My biggest problem with the new Mac is supporting customers with older systems, hence swapping over to the HP Laptop, but to be honest, anything older than FMPA v17 on the (Catalina) Air was pretty much unusable.

I’ll try to do some side by side tests, but deadlines are looming here :weary:

Markus, a very quick test using a local copy of the inbuilt Inventory template file in FileMaker Pro 19.1.3.

The scripted test created 500,000 records in the ‘Product Details’ layout, setting a UUID in each part number, swapped between the form layout and the ‘Inventory List’ list layout after each record created (Freeze Window was enabled, so no redraw taking place). At the end of record creation, the records were sorted, then Go To Record used to go to the last record and back to the first before reporting the time taken.

It is a bit of an unfair comparison, as the 2019 MacBook Air is a dual core processor, but this would presumable be using a single core, and has a year old SSD drive.

Intel Dual Core 1.6Ghz i5 MacBook Air Catalina - 3 minutes 13 seconds
M1 MacBook Pro - 1 minute 56 seconds (in Rosetta 2)

Depending on your preferred method of calculating performance improvement I believe that is 70% increase in performance or percentage improvement (when rounding up to the next percentage integer), 1.7 times faster with a 41% reduction in time to carry out the tasks.

I wonder what the universal version will do?

I’d love to do the same comparison on a current Intel MacBook Pro (or any current Intel Mac). If anyone has one, I’ve attached the test file, the script was run from the Script Workspace menu.Inventory Test.fmp12 (228 KB)

All the best


Interesting results, Andy. I am curious how FMS will perform when available as a native app.

1 Like

I just have 2 mojave Mac's
6-core Mini 2019, 3:09
8-core MB Pro 15" 2019, 2.54

FM19.1.3. While the MB has no other apps running, the mini is my desktop-workhorse, several apps running (did not make much difference)


FileMaker 19.1.3

Mac mini 2018 3,2 GHz 6-Core Intel Core i7 8GB Ram macOS 10.15.7 02:29min
Mac mini 2020 M1 16GB shared Memory Rosetta2 macOS 11.0.1 01:55min
Mac mini 2014 3 GHz Dual-Core Intel Core i7 16GB Ram macOS 11.0.1 03:21min
and now something completely different:
MacBook Pro 2016 2,9 GHz Intel Core i7 16GB Ram macOS 10.12.6 FMPA 17 03:04min


I was somewhat surprised - the i9 MB with 8 cores wasn't really faster than the i7 Mini with 6 cores (-:

I restarted the MB (did some updates) just before measuring.

FM18 was about the same speed, FM16 was a bit faster, FM15 slighly slower

Impressing, the M1...

1 Like

A new feature I’ve just found, which I assume is Big Sur. I had a Jump Desktop RDP window on the MacBook Pro screen and accidentally selected Window->Move to iPad Pro’ (I have to quickly open the session on the Retina display, otherwise it keeps the widescreen proportions, which needs sorting) and Sidecar automatically activated over WiFi (the USB-C cable is connected to the Magic Keyboard, which I believe is power only) and the window automatically jumped to the iPad display.

This was impressive, the only issue is that when I selected ‘Move back to Mac’ it didn’t make it, with the Jump Desktop window moving to the widescreen display, then I had to select Window->Move to Built-in Retina Display to return it to the Mac. Exiting Sidecar on the iPad had the window jump back to the widescreen and I had to repeat sending it back to the Mac.

I was impressed with the Sidecar activation, but to quote my wife ‘it nearly works’, which she applies to most tech.

1 Like