I've updated to Illustrator 2021.
Ever since updating I've noticed that the Pathfinder function - more specifically the Unite and Merge -
create groups instead of connecting two shapes together.
This is extremely weird as this behavior is occasional and not consistent.
I've included a video for you see it in action.
Any input would be appreciated.
If you are using it on discrete shapes, Unite will create groups.
I'm sorry, what do you mean by "discrete shapes" ?
I've used Illustrator for over 4 years now ?
In that time Pathfinder has never before created groups.
Shapes that are not overlapping one another.
This has been the case at least as far back as CS5.
They are overlapping.
Look carefully at the first video.
Please share the file or an example file containing an equivalent situation.
That's the trouble.
This behavior (like I outlined in my original post) I cannot recreate, I don't know what's causing it.
If I try connecting two (overlapping) paths or compound paths even within the same file on the same layer I succeed most of the time.
I can't tell what's going on with your shapes from that video. Can you share the file?
If you copy those objects into a new file, do they behave the same?