Some of scanned PDF files have been converted to black pages

I am using CZUR Shine Scanner for archiving my books and data in Devonthink 3. From a few days ago Some of scanned PDF files have been converted to black pages. I don’t know the reason why this situation happened. I am presuming that the installation of macOS Big Sur beta 11.3 may be the cause of this…

Hi there. It would hardly be the first time PDFkit got broken. It would be worth having a look to see whether the PDFs in question display normally using software which does not rely on PDFkit, but which uses its own PDF engine. If indeed the file itself has been changed/damaged (rather than it just being displayed incorrectly), then that really would be something to take note of.

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I have the same problem (Big Sur 11.3 beta and DT3).

  • When opening the PDF files in Preview, the content is briefly displayed and then the pages are overlaid with the black cover (OCR’d layer, I guess). The thumbnails in the sidebar show the content w/o the black layer.
  • Opening those PDF files in PDFPen shows a white page.
  • Opening the PDFs in Adobe Reader shows the content correctly.
  • Also, displaying the PDF files in DTTG on my iPad (14.5 beta) shows them correctly.

Ok, so would you agree this likely has nothing to do with DEVONthink and is more likely due to a regression in PDFKit in Big Sur Beta?

Yes, I assume it’s a bug in macOS.

Yes, this is an issue with the Big Sur beta. Development is aware of this but unless you are explicitly beta testing and reporting, you should not run a beta operating system on a device you need operating as expected.

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I have the same problem.
But is it MacOS that is the cause of this problem?
Indeed, scanning from Preview works very well. Why wouldn’t DEVON work the same way?

Again, I’m assuming you are using 11.3 beta. I’m not sure what you mean when you say “scanning from Preview”, but the threads on this topic imply that the change rendered to the PDF by the OCR stage is what is manifesting the problem (though there may be additional triggers; I have no direct knowledge). As Preview does not perform OCR, that will be your difference.

The fact that Adobe Acrobat can display the “black” pages without ado also suggests the problem is in PDFKit. So, let’s hope that Apple fix it before releasing 11.3. As I said earlier, it wouldn’t be the first time PDFKit got broken…

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My setup (also 11.3 beta) shows the same problem. It also shows with previously working PDFs that have been created before updating to macOS 11.3. All these “blackened” PDFs display fine on DTTG3 on iOS. This makes me believe that this is just display problem which will go away after Apple has fixed the root cause.

The just released macOS 11.3 Beta (20E5196f) fixes the problem. No more black boxes or pages.

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Glad to hear it (though the admonition about beta operating systems still stands :wink: ).

Always happy to bring good news.

(…) unless you are explicitly beta testing and reporting, you should not run a beta operating system on a device you need operating as expected (…)

Sure. I only struggle with the ‘reporting’ aspect. Reporting anomalies to whom, Apple or app developers like DT? If in doubt I usually do both as a FYI. Do you rather not have feedback from macOS beta testers here in this forum?

My request, in absence of a special topic for macOS and maxOSX beta testers (which I’m not sure is a good idea) is for original posters to put in the title of your postings that it relates to Apple’s beta software. Then people like us who don’t beta test won’t bother reading/worrying-about the issue unless it is really interesting.


It’s okay to report things here or in our support system. We just like to make sure people are aware that an issue in an application when running a beta OS could be bad behavior from the beta.

@rmschne’s suggestion is a good one. If you just add something in the subject line, that might be helpful to others.

That makes sense to me, too. Perhaps you could even add a marker like [macOS Beta] to the existing topic title? If possible that is. I have no clue about Discord.

Did the 3rd beta fix this issue? I processed some PNG and PDF files without any issues.

Yes, that’s feasible to do. :slight_smile:

Yes, it fixed it for me. The problem in Beta 2 also affected some older PDFs which were created and imported before Beta 2 was installed. On my system it was only a display issue which disappeared yesterday after updating to Beta 3.