Sibelius and Mac OS X Mavericks


Mac-OS-X-Mavericks-LogoToday Apple released OS X Mavericks (10.9) as a free upgrade to any Mac user currently running 10.6.8 or higher. Sibelius users interested in upgrading to Mavericks should note the following information, posted a short while ago by Avid’s Sam Butler on the chat forum:

As you may have heard, Apple have recently released the latest version of their operating system, Mavericks.

At this time, Sibelius is not fully supported on the new OS. For compatibility information for Sibelius, Pro Tools and Media Composer, please see the following article:

In short, Sibelius 7 and Sibelius 7 First should be OK although the text in dialogs will be slightly different so may not appear correctly. Also, you may find you can’t route the audio from Sibelius to a ReWire host, such as Pro Tools.

Sibelius 6 seemed to be OK although we didn’t fully test it. We expect the same workarounds for registration are needed though along with the same problems with ReWire that Sibelius 7 has too.

Sibelius 5 and earlier simply won’t run, as on the previous version of Mac OS X.

I’ll post news as I have it if anything changes.

The specific issues, according to Avid, are:

  • Font Substitution in dialog boxes appear using Mac OS X 10.9. The system font used by Sibelius has been changed in Mac OS X 10.9 such that the text in dialogs is not displayed correctly.
  • Unable to use Sibelius as a ReWire device with Mac OS X 10.9. Although it may be possible to start Sibelius as a ReWire device in Pro Tools and other applications, Sibelius is unable to send the audio to the ReWire host.

Avid officially says on the Knowledge Base page that “It is not recommended to use Media Composer, Pro Tools or Sibelius with Mac OS X 10.9 (Mavericks) as they are not supported at this time.”

However, if you do decide to take the plunge and run Sibelius 6 or 7 on Mavericks, feel free to post your experience in the comments. When Avid issues more information, we’ll post it on the blog.


  1. Phil

    Thanks! I’ll be watching!

  2. Kmacattack

    So far i have no operating problems. Everything seems ok. But the one thing that I don’t like is the dual monitor implementation. I used to be able to spread sibelius across both monitors so I could see everything. Now it grays out half and won’t let me make Sibelius any larger. I put 10.9 on my older mac mini and it actually sped it up a bit. Protools 11 is also working

  3. Troubadix

    So, when will they support it? With Sib 8? The beta of Mavericks has been published months ago….

  4. Peter

    Amazing that Avid Pro Tools is NOT prepared for this. But comes as NO surprise..

  5. Frédéric Chiasson

    Peter : I wouldn’t be so nasty. Apple has the bad habit of releasing new OS versions without noticing developers properly. I remember David Spreadbury leaving remarks about how Apple did not inform them soon enough about a programming language change for another new Mac OS X.

  6. BobW

    Mavericks developer versions have been available for MANY months. Avid is just slow with new OS’s (Pro Tools user too).

  7. JK87

    On my mac, Sib 7 doesn’t work… every time you want to load a file the program crashes! Not good when you have a deadline…. stupid fault for allowing automatic upgrades….

  8. Ramplou

    Sibelius 7 First fonctionne totalement.

  9. Bennett Paster

    If anyone tries Sib 6.2 with Mavericks, please let me know if it works. I’d love to get a new MBPro, but I’m not ready to upgrade Sib past 6 right now- it works great for me at 10.6.8. I’m curious to know if it’s possible to wait a bit longer to see if Sib 8 ever comes out, plus I’m not too excited by Sib 7’s interface redesign. Thanks!

  10. wilhelm

    @Frédéric: This is not about being nasty. Apple has provided Developer Previews (which avid has access to) for several months.

    This clearly shows the incapability of Avid.

    And the fact that Sibelius 7 opens at all on 10.9 is not at all Avid merit but rather mere happening by accident.

    It’s pretty sad to see sibelius see in such disastrous state. Which it would have never been sold. But that’s not the way the story goes.

    Time to look at Steinberg and MakeMusic solutions.

  11. CHR

    SIbelius 7 first fonctionne aussi chez moi même si je n’ai pas tout testé.
    La police de texte semble différente…

  12. Peter

    Yea french, hos smart you are..

  13. Peter

    And for the record I do think Sibelius 7 is a powerful working tool. Great sounds and easy to use ( when it works) but I don’t like the way thins are handed by Avid. And if you use Sibelius 6 upgrade to 7. I promise, you will not regret it!

  14. Bennett Paster

    6.2 still does everything I need and I’d rather not learn the new 7 interface till I’m sure the program has a viable future. So, is anyone tries 6.2 with Mavericks, I’d be super-appreciative of a report. Thanks folks! I’m hoping for the best on all fronts.

  15. Kintech

    @Kmacattack If you prefer the old behavior, uncheck the “Displays have separate Spaces” checkbox in the Mission Control preference pane.

  16. Philip Rothman

    Hi everyone,

    It’s possible that the font issue may be related to the Qt framework:

    Hopefully Avid can issue a fix for this and the ReWire issue in due course.

  17. Koen

    Sibelius 7 slowed waaaay down on Mavericks, to the point that even scrolling in a simple SATB choir score gets laggy. Please fix this, Avid!

  18. Arne


    Any news regarding Sibelius 6 specifically on the new operating system?



  19. Brian P.

    Many of these comments are a bit bewildering. I will certainly join many of you in a general frustration with Avid’s treatment of Sibelius, but it doesn’t justify that frustration be misdirected so illogically.
    So it’s not compatible yet? Sure just like much other software has not over the course of, oh I don’t know, every major OS update in the history of OS updates? Officially, none of the many pro audio companies I work with have confirmed total compatibility yet. How many months have they had to work on it? I don’t know, is there a defined time-limit on how long it takes to make software compatible? Present company included, most of us know nothing of computer programming. Many here have made that naively, and childishly obvious.
    Most importantly when has it ever not been against all advice to AVOID major upgrades upon release, and instead, wait until all your equipment is officially supported? It is amateur to do otherwise.

    1. Bob

      So Brian, what do you do if you buy a new Apple computer today?

      I have been a pro tools user for years and they seem to be the slowest updaters in the pro audio marketplace. Yes, we can’t update right away, but professionals that have a computer failure or need to update due to a project they need the new processing power for can’t use a new computer since it comes with the new OS installed. Yes, they could figure out how to downgrade (usually possible) but that is a time waster too.

      So, maybe Apple updates too often? Or pro audio companies need to prioritize their software teams and testers to work on the New OS changes ASAP.

      This is not childish but a simple matter of priorities and project management.

      1. Brian P.

        That’s an excellent question, Bob. My answer is to buy a used/refurbished model. Is it the perfect solution? No. But it is definitely viable, and acceptable. There are a number of places that would offer this. Perhaps even the Biz team at the Apple store can work with these issues?

        You’re probably right about pro audio companies, and the need to put forth more effort.

        I wasn’t referring to the state of being disgruntled as childish. The overall tone throughout many responses certainly has been.

  20. Peter

    Yes Brian Avid clearly state that you should not upgrade your software. In fact you should not update anything at all according to them. And many professionals only use their computers for one purpose. And then it is ok. But we are many out there who use our computers to other things as well. I for one always want to have the latest products available at all time.

    I agree with Bob this is only a matter of prioritizing. And there would have been plenty of time o have a fix both for Silbelius 6,7 and Pro tools.

  21. Ricardo Matosinhos

    Sibelius is no longer a priority. It was a great program, now it’s time to switch…

  22. Troubadix

    I tried it on my old Laptop (MacBook Pro 3.1 – Mid 2007 with 4 G RAM with OS X 10.9). I don’t use Rewire. It runs without any problem, even with big scores…

  23. BobW

    Troubadix – what version of Sibelius? 6? 7?

  24. Aleks

    I agree that was enough time for AVID to fix at least few incompatibilities.
    I need basic function of making pdf-s. The hole menu for exporting scores im pdf format is failed. Doesn’t work.

  25. Aleks

    Sorry, that was not all right.
    PDF export is without problems. Only if You use OS X Dialog for making PDFs, it will fail.

  26. Troubadix

    …Sibelius 7

  27. Don Patterson

    Well, it’s running, but the fonts in the tool pallet are different and the applications runs quite slowly. Avid should have seen this coming. Great news for MakeMusic. Glad I’m “bilingual”. Looks like Finale is the one to buy.

    Dear Avid,

    Please get your act together and do something about this. This is my livelihood. Your product is very expensive and your users deserve better.

    Thank you,

    MSgt Don Patterson
    Chief of Music Production and Chief Arranger
    “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band

  28. Steven R

    I do not blame people for being upset with avid right now. However, with the way most apple products work, once there’s a major update, apple tends to start fading out the older programs as far as updates to older software goes, so it DOES make sense to want to switch sooner rather than later. On the other hand, it would probably be in Avid’s best interest to get on this ASAP. There are thousands of users who use both pro tools and sibelius for professional use who are now out of luck. It is not fair for users to pay a very large amount of money for a program by a company that is slow with updates.

  29. Richard Gwilt

    Everything else on my macbook pro feels much zippier, runs really nicely. Sibelius 7 looks weird (yes, I know, it’s Apple’s fault for changing the system font, or something), and it runs SLOW, and is a major energy drain. AVID, find out what’s up , and sort it SOON please. It’s not as if Maverick’s a surprise or anything.

  30. Michael Koschorreck


    I agree with Brian P. in that the professionals among us probably should know that one does not lightly change a running system. On the other side, being kind of a software/app/update aficionado myself I understand that many users couldn’t wait to start using Mavericks. But how important and how much of vital necessity is it for the use of other professional software to change to Mavericks immediately?
    In any way, I think the smartest thing to do here is to make a bootable backup of your system for example with Carbon Copy Cloner before one changes over to Mavericks. That way only a couple of hours would get wasted if one had to switch back to the older OSX.

    I would definitely hate to have to buy another expensive software (like Cubases coming scoring app so many seem to be longing for) and spend hours and days if not weeks to get back into the same fluent workflow I have been with Sibelius.

    So Avid: please give us more info and an update soon.

  31. Paul Dunderdale

    I had to upgrade to Mavericks for other applications. I use Sibelius 7, and should perhaps have checked this forum before I upgraded. Nevertheless, having upgraded to Mavericks I find that Sibelius is running well enough with the 29 stave score I’m editing.

    The first problem I encountered was that the sounds needed to be reset for each instrument is Mixer (boring!), and the Audio Engine had to be reset. Later, I went for dinner, and the computer fell asleep: so did Sibelius: the ribbon disappears each time I play the score and doesn’t return. The score will play, but the notes, when selected, don’t. Possibly other problems, but I restarted so avoid finding out.

    I’m lucky in that I no longer make a part of my living with Sibelius, but I have a huge investment in time, learning and scores with the programme. I really don’t want to start learning another notation app, but it seems inevitable now.

  32. Ben Trigg

    Sib 5 “simply won’t run”? Works fine for me in Mavericks, only bug being that playing the score sometimes causes it to crash, admittedly annoying, but far from “simply not running”. All the same, the new OS was made very obvious to developers, so would be good to see the Sib team keeping up with the curve

  33. Peter

    I recently upgraded to Maverick and Sib. 7 is affected by it. Trying to drag a score and inputting notes is very slow and very frustrating to work with.

  34. Andy LeGrand

    My experience with Sibelius 7 and Maverick: I don’t seem to be having some of the issues that others are but a few items:

    -Quick Start doesn’t show the latest works. As in ANYTHING that I’ve worked on since the upgrade. I have to open with Finder.

    – Playback start has a few bugs. Sometimes the play icon is “pressed” but nothing happens. Sometimes it just simply will not play – restart Sib.

    – A little slower with text and entry.

    – When Exporting some file types: attempting to change the file location in the pop-up finder locks the software.

    – Several mid-composition involuntary shut-downs.

    A bit aggravating, but I’m sure AVID will update.

  35. Marinho Nobre

    The magnetic layout is failing from time to time. No re-wire. Page breaks does not respond properly, neither do system breaks. In sum, it s a bit of a mess with Mavericks. What I m having a real hard time trying to understand is WHY Avid does not have a prompt update for all Sibelius 7 users at this time. Are we having to wait months for another costly update on 8 ? Are we just going to be left hanging as if everything was really ok ? As if Sibelius itself wasn’t already in enough trouble with the entire community, I guess someone out there forgot to care. :(

  36. Alan Knight

    I think it’s important that potential customers should be warned off: Sibelius no longer appears to be a product that is actively supported in a meaningful sense, at least on OS X.

    Months after the release of an OS update (which was available to developers for months before that), they have failed to update their product to keep it working, unlike all other competent vendors.

    It would be foolish for others to buy and rely on software that might in future be out of action for a long periods of time because the vendor fails to keep pace with simple underlying platform changes.

  37. MCleveland

    Running Sibelius 7 on Mavericks. Slow scrolling. Slow selecting notes. Frustrating to use!!! iMac, 2.7 Ghz, i5 processor, 8G ram.

    Used to be great before running on Mavericks.

    Statement by Avid regarding compatibility:

    I should have checked that page before upgrading to Mavericks!

  38. William Yates

    Just bought a new iMac for uni so had no choice about mavericks ando now it doesn’t work at all. I just get unspecified error 1 :(

    1. Peter

      I find that verry strange. I have mavericks on both iMac and Macbook pro and it all works fine on both machines….

  39. Alan Knight

    It’s now clear Siblius is abandonware. Do not make the mistake of buying this software which Avid no longer supports.

  40. Shepherd

    1) FYI, his name is Daniel Spreadbury, not David ;-)

    2) There will be no Sib 8, they are working on patches to 7 which will be called 7.5

    3) Steinberg’s notation software that Daniel is developing for them is 5 years away last I heard. So don’t hold your breath for that I’m afraid.

    4) Pro users don’t use Sib 7. No one I know of anyways. Making the Mavericks compatibility issue even more dire.

    5) Which is worse? Switching to Finale or simply sticking with an older OS? Why do so many feel they have to follow the apple carrot (so to speak) and grab the latest updates. For pro users this is always very risky.

    6) Avid is notoriously slow in adaptiing to OS changes. All the more reason to stick with an old one. 10.8.6 was perfect. I went to 108.5 after a cple years thinking things must be stable, but it sucks. Was going to go to Mavericks to hope to solve the slowness of ML, but after reading this forum I’ll stick with what I have. Perhaps I’ll even go back to an older computer just for Sib 6 and stick with 10.6.8 Sighhh.

    7) Don’t hate Avid, hate Apple for abandoning Pro users. ie: Logic Pro etc. Most pple I know are tired of Apple shenanigans and are switching to CuBase for sequencing at least. But the new QB only works in 10.8.5+ Always some dilemma with these a-holes.

  41. Shepherd

    Sorry typo…meant 10.6.8 was perfect…not 10.8.6

  42. MJM

    My issue is with (dare I say) Sibelius 5.4 on OS X Mavericks. The program itself operates normally with one exception… every time I want to hear playback of the notation, the program crashes. Anyone know of a fix for that?

  43. Kaminofen-Fan Peter

    Hi, I’d to admit that I’d seen the same effect of a slow mac after the installation of maverick 10.9.0.
    I installed maverick on my Mac Pro (2008 edition), my macbook and my iMac 27” – always the same effect that my macs run slower than before the installation.
    I searched the net for a solution for the last couple of months without any success.
    Finally I choose to reinstall maverick 10.9.1 – and the problems on all mac were gone – magic

  44. Betuel

    I use Pro tools 8 HD and interface I/0 192 but is not compatible with maverick what can I do?

    need help because Avid do not do it

  45. David Hobbs

    I have the same issue as MJM. My Sib 5 crashes when I try to use Playback. I recently upgraded to Mavericks. None of the programs I use but Sib has issues. Thinking of going to Finale. The news here is rather disheartening.

    1. Philip Rothman

      David, this post is from October of 2013, so it’s outdated now. The Mavericks issues were resolved with an Apple update in February 2014; see this post.

      Yes, Sibelius 5 crashes on playback in Mavericks. It was also released in 2007. As a Finale user as well, I can tell you that Finale products released from that time are also unsupported in Mavericks, so it’s not really an apt comparison. Switching to Finale doesn’t seem like the most straight-line solution in your case, unless you need some of Finale’s features which Sibelius doesn’t have. Better, as Michael says, to download the demo of Sibelius 7.5.1 and see how you fare first.

  46. Michael Koschorreck

    Hi David,

    before making the big step of switching to Finale I suggest you load the demo version of Sibelius 7. I had been using Sib5 and 6 to my content at the time, but… once you go seven, you’ll never leave heaven ;)

    Kind regards,

  47. David Hobbs

    Hi Guys
    Thanks for your advice. I will try the demo. I’m not a pro but do like to arrange music for different types of ensembles. I have never needed a lot of the features that I had in Sib2 and then Sib5. Would I be better served using Sibelius First rather than going to 7.5? For me, it seems like there are a lot of features I pay for but never use. Thanks!

    1. André Ramplou

      Sibelius First is fine and works well with OS 10.9.4

      1. Philip Rothman

        If you already own Sibelius 5, you may as well upgrade to Sibelius 7.5. It has all of the features of Sibelius First, and the difference in price for the upgrade is only $20. Plus, Sibelius First hasn’t been updated in a while, but Sibelius 7.5 was just recently updated.

  48. David Hobbs

    I appreciate the advice!

  49. Thomas Nikolajsen

    Just did a clean install of osx mavericks.
    And now i can’t install sibelius 6.2 -At the end of the install i get a message like ” could not install sibelies – contact the software producer”… any advise or do i really have to upgrade?

    1. Philip Rothman

      6.2 should run fine on Mavericks. If you post a screenshot of the problem to the official Sibelius chat page, perhaps someone can help:

  50. Derek Williams

    We’re having an issue at Edinburgh University (where we’re still on Sibelius 6.2) with Mavericks 10.9.4. If changes are made to a score, and then the application is Quit, and OK to “Save changes?” a corrupt file is created that cannot be loaded.

    1. Philip Rothman

      Derek: I can’t reproduce this. Does this happen with all your files?

  51. Benny Rietveld

    Yesterday I had to get myself a MacBook Pro. It’s running 10.9.4. I was on a MacBook Air running 10.8.x, on which Sibelius 6.2 was running fine. On my new machine, I get no rests, note heads, time signatures, etc. Lines seem to work however. All the fonts I had on the original machine are present on the new machine, and in the same places.
    Any advice?
    Thank you!

  52. Lou Johnson

    Sib 7 will not open files on IMac. Says “Unspecified Error,” and none of the discussions or solutions on the web work the way they try to indicate. Anyone have solutions or experience with this situation?

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