With OS X Mountain Lion 10.8.3 Update and the included Safari 6.0.3, Apple has squashed numerous nagging bugs, many of which were extremely specific and were thus overlooked in the larger 10.8.2 release from nearly six months ago (see “OS X 10.8.2 Eases Notification Center, Messages Frustrations,” 19 September 2012). The free update is available via the Mac App Store, with delta (540.46 MB — from 10.8.2) and combo (793.69 MB — from any version of 10.8) updaters now ready for download from the Apple Support Downloads site. Although we haven’t noticed any problems yet, we recommend holding off on the update for at least a few days until we’ve seen if it introduces any new issues. Let’s take a look at the details.
Ding dong, the file URL bug is dead! See “A Simple Text String that Crashes Most Mac Applications” (4 February 2013). This bug was minor, but embarrassing, so it’s nice that Apple has addressed it.
The Contacts app fixes several printing-related bugs, including one that caused cards to print out of order and another that caused addresses to print in the wrong location. We still mostly print with BeLight Software’s more-capable Labels & Addresses, so we’ve not run into these problems (see “Labels & Addresses Restores Holiday Card Sanity,” 12 December 2008).
If you use Boot Camp in favor of VMware Fusion or Parallels Desktop, and you want to stay up to date with the latest developments on both sides of the fence, 10.8.3 adds support both for installing Windows 8 and for Macs with 3 TB drives.
Eye candy lovers will be pleased to learn that 10.8.3 finally brings back to Mountain Lion’s Slideshow screensaver the capability to display photos from subfolders, and also fixes a bug that could cause the desktop picture to change after logging out or restarting. If you’ve noticed wackiness on the screen after waking from sleep, that should be a thing of the past too.
Listen up for two audio-related fixes, one that prevents an audio stuttering problem on 2011 Macs, and another that could cause Logic Pro to become unresponsive when using certain plug-ins.
On the networking side, 10.8.3 promises reliability enhancements when using a Microsoft Exchange account in Mail, claims improved compatibility with IMAP servers in the Notes app, prevents Messages from displaying messages out of order after waking from sleep, and includes fixes for two Active Directory bugs that could cause delays on high latency networks and lock out users after accessing the Security & Privacy pane of System Preferences.
Safari 6.0.3 improves performance when scrolling on Facebook and while zoomed in on a Web page, plus while viewing Web pages with plug-in content. Also included are bug fixes for an erroneous alert claiming that bookmarks can’t be changed, duplicate bookmarks on iOS devices after editing them in Safari on the Mac, incorrect access to unfiltered search results when searching Google with Parental Controls enabled, and a problem that prevents Safari from restoring the correct page position when you navigate back to a previous page.
As always, both 10.8.3 and Safari 6.0.3 address numerous security vulnerabilities. Safari 6.0.3 fixes no less than 15 WebKit memory corruption bugs, plus a pair of cross-site scripting attacks. 10.8.3’s security fixes span the gamut, addressing components and apps such as Apache, CoreTypes, International Components for Unicode, Identity Services, ImageIO, IOAcceleratorFamily, the kernel, Login Window, Messages, PDFKit, and QuickTime. Plus, the update no longer allows incorrect SSL certificates.
There’s also mention of a malware removal tool that Apple says will run on installation and will remove most common variants of malware — you’re alerted only if malware is found.
As noted at the start, although the changes in both 10.8.3 and Safari 6.0.3 are welcome, there’s no telling if Apple has inadvertently introduced new problems, so unless you’re being vexed daily by something that these updates fix, we recommend holding off on this update until early adopters give the all clear.