Bugs & Fixes: SandboxCleaner cleans up QuickTime component crashes

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Do you use third-party Mac applications to access video or photo files? If you are using versions of these apps obtained from the Mac App Store, have the apps been crashing lately, often on launch? If so, here’s what’s likely going on:

Numerous video-related software packages, such as Flip4Mac Windows Media player and CamTwist Studio, are either comprised almost entirely of QuickTime components or install QuickTime components as part of a larger application. If you have any QuickTime components installed, you’ll generally find them in the /Library/QuickTime or ~/Library/QuickTime folders.

These components don’t work only with QuickTime itself, but may similarly interact with other video- and photo-related third-party software. And here’s where the app-crashing problems usually crop up. These crashes have been especially a bother for Boinx software, the maker of several popular video-based programs, such as iStopMotion and FotoMagico. Boinx claims this QuickTime component conflict is the cause of a “significant portion of the crashes reported with the sandboxed versions of FotoMagico and iStopMotion.” After some detective work, Boinx determined precisely why this was happening.

The latest versions of these Boinx applications sell via the Mac App Store and thus meet Apple’s sandboxing restrictions. Some QuickTime components, not obtained from the Mac App Store, interact with these programs but are unaware of the imposed restrictions. This is especially true for older versions that pre-date sandboxing. As Boinx further explains:

“Some QuickTime components use shared memory to exchange images with an application. If the application is sandboxed, this memory is not allocated. Other components try to open temporary files which is also not allowed by sandboxing. Before sandboxing, none of this would matter. However, these restrictions can now cause a component to crash. Making matters worse, because OS X treats these components as plug-ins for the application that is using them, they can also cause our applications to crash.”

The solution is either to uninstall the offending component or update to a newer version that is compatible with sandboxing (assuming such an update exists). But how do you know what components need removal or updating? Here’s where Boinx come to your aid. They just released a free utility called SandboxCleaner (see image above). The app scans your hard drive and identifies likely troublemaking components. Once identified, the app directs you to either disable the component (via steps detailed on a FAQ page) or go to the developer’s website and download a compatible updated version. Either way, that should put an end to QuickTime component-based app crashes.

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