Apple has released the first update to OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion with fixes for a variety of specific issues that have been reported by users since the big cat was released in July. However, the release notes for 10.8.1 fail to mention perhaps the biggest tweak in the update — a substantial improvement in battery life for Mac laptops.
Shortly after Mountain Lion was released, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro owners reported on Apple’s support forums that running 10.8 caused significant battery drainage issues, with some complaining that battery life was reduced to almost half the normal amount. Ars Technica then ran what they called “real world” tests on a MacBook Pro with Retina Display (which, according to Apple, should have an 8-hour battery life on a full charge), and their testing results never yielded much over 5 hours of run time. Then, earlier this week, a Softpedia article quoted an unnamed developer running the 10.8.1 developer seed who said that the update has fixed the battery drainage issues and should return battery life to normal.
In the 10.8.1 release notes, Apple states that the update squashes a bug that prevented iMessages from being sent, improves Mail’s connection to Microsoft Exchange servers, addresses an issue with playing audio through a Thunderbolt display, improves stability with Migration Assistant, and improves 802.1X authentication with Active Directory credentials. The update also fixes problems with connecting to SMB servers that have long names, Safari’s inability to launch when using a Proxy Automatic Configuration (PAC) file, and Pinyin input (used for typing Chinese characters) making the system become unresponsive.
The OS X 10.8.1 update is small: just over 7 MB via the Mac App Store or 24.2 MB via direct download from Apple’s Web site. There is currently no corresponding update for OS X Server, which is now a separate purchase from the Mac App Store.