Thoughtful, detailed coverage of the Mac, iPhone, and iPad, plus the TidBITS Content Network for Apple consultants.



Pick an apple! 

macOS 10.12.1 Sierra, watchOS 3.1, and tvOS 10.0.1 Mostly Fix Bugs

While iOS 10.1 comes with release notes as long as your arm (see “iOS 10.1 Adds Portrait Mode for iPhone 7 Plus, Fixes Numerous Bugs,” 24 October 2016), the other operating system updates Apple pushed out today are far more modest, primarily fixing bugs and addressing security vulnerabilities.

macOS 10.12.1 Sierra -- Foremost among the three is macOS 10.12.1, which is the first update since the major release of Sierra. Its changes include:

  • Improved compatibility with Fujitsu’s ScanSnap scanning software (see “ScanSnap Conflicts with Sierra Easily Avoided,” 3 October 2016). Fujitsu hasn’t yet commented on how this fix affects the various Sierra problems suffered by the ScanSnap software and PDFs created with it.

  • The addition of an automatic smart album in Photos for Depth Effect images taken on an iPhone 7 Plus

  • Improved compatibility with Microsoft Office when using Desktop and Documents folder syncing

  • A fix for bugs that may prevent Mail from updating when using a Microsoft Exchange account and that could cause Mail to display unnecessary password prompts for AOL accounts

  • Another bug fix that could cause text to paste incorrectly when using Universal Clipboard

  • Improved reliability of Auto Unlock with Apple Watch

  • General bug fixes that improve security and stability in Safari, and the return of Safari’s accessibility option to “Never use font sizes smaller than” when displaying fonts on Web pages

  • Elimination of a “Filter Failed” error when printing to some Canon printers

  • A fix for a bug that could prevent Grapher files from opening

  • For enterprise users, improved reliability of System Image Utility and imagetool when creating network disk images

  • Elimination of 16 security vulnerabilities

macOS 10.12.1 is a 584 MB update available via Software Update; a standalone download isn’t yet available. Our take is that it’s probably worth downloading sooner rather than later for Sierra users, given that this is Sierra’s initial bug fix update. If you haven’t yet updated to Sierra but are planning to soon, hold off for another week to make sure 10.12.1 hasn’t introduced some new problem.

watchOS 3.1 -- For those who have updated to watchOS 3.0, the new watchOS 3.1 might address a few nits, but it’s far from earth-shattering. The main change is a new option to replay bubble and full-screen effects in Messages. Plus, Messages effects can now play even if Reduce Motion is enabled.

Other fixes address bugs that could:

  • Cause timer notifications to appear twice
  • Prevent Apple Watch Series 2 models from charging fully
  • Remove Activity rings from the watch face
  • Prevent Force Touch options from appearing in some third-party apps

As much as it might be hard to imagine security issues affecting an Apple Watch, those problems are real, and watchOS 3.1 addresses eight security vulnerabilities.

The update, which you find in Watch > General > Software Update on your iPhone, is a 61.7 MB download, but remember that your Apple Watch must be in range of your Wi-Fi–connected iPhone, connected to its charger, and charged to at least 50 percent, to upgrade. Note that the update will likely take longer than you expect, so allot at least an hour for it.

tvOS 10.0.1 -- Apple also released tvOS 10.0.1, which you can install on your fourth-generation Apple TV by navigating to Settings > System > Software Updates > Update Software.

It’s tough to say whether there are any new features in tvOS 10.0.1, because Apple doesn’t provide release notes for minor tvOS updates. So far, the update doesn’t seem to include any new features — see “tvOS 10 Adds Dark Mode and More” (13 September 2016). However, tvOS 10.0.1 does boast ten security fixes, so we recommend installing the update soon. After all, we wouldn’t want compromised Apple TVs to start being recruited into botnets!


READERS LIKE YOU! Support TidBITS by becoming a member today!
Check out the perks at <>
Special thanks to John Schwab, David R Miller, Alfred von Campe, and
Colin Brookes for their generous support!

Comments about macOS 10.12.1 Sierra, watchOS 3.1, and tvOS 10.0.1 Mostly Fix Bugs
(Comments are closed.)

Randy Stokes  2016-10-24 23:40
As of 8:37 pm PDT on October 24, I'm still not seeing an update for macOS 10.12.1. I'm running Sierra 10.12 on a MacBook Air mid-2011, but no update available. I've successfully downloaded and installed the updates to iOS 10.1 on my iPhone 6s and iPad Air 2, and am downloading the update to watchOS 3 right now, but no Sierra update appear available yet.
Peter Wochner  2016-11-29 18:05
Since I updated to macOS 10.12 Sierra, I cannot print to my Epson Stylus Photo RX 620 USB printer anymore. MacOS 10.12.1 did not improve the situation. I installed the latest software from Epson. What made things worse is that the extension EPSONUSBPrintClass.kext, which gets installed as well, causes a hangup of the boot process. Therefore, I had to remove this extension. I cannot prove, if this extension is necessary for the print process to work, since the system does not reboot with it.
Am I the only one having this problem?
Dave Kitabjian  2016-12-08 10:15
Yea, so I finally upgraded my main Mac to Sierra recently, now that the dust has settled, ScanSnap has a fix, etc.

One little tiny detail that got very little publicity (I didn't see any): PPTP as a VPN protocol has been yanked.

I found out tonight the hard way. I use my Mac to VPN to work at night to handle emergency situations. I went to connect to my VPN and there was no VPN, and eventually I found the above article.

One key client uses all SSL-based protocols such as SSTP, so none of the built-in protocols will work.

So yes, PPTP was aging and less secure. But I'm going to call lack of SSTP support a strike against their claim at being more enterprise oriented.

And then there's the fact that the installer neither warned me that upgrading eliminated this feature nor even told me after the fact that my critical VPN connection had been silently deleted... I'm going to call those strikes two and three.

Lame. That's the kind of software planning you do when you don't really take your customers very seriously.tail -f /var/log/maillog
Dave Kitabjian  2016-12-08 01:46
For the benefit of the community, I'll provide some follow up.

I tried the free FlowVPN, which supports PPTP, but it simply wouldn't finish the connection process, and none of the log messages were very telling.

Now I'm trying Shimo 4, and it's doing PPTP like a charm. Problem is it's $55, so after 30 days I have to figure out what I'm going to do.

None of this, of course, lets Apple off the hook for their lameness ;-) But it might get you up and running, hopefully with less down-time than I had to go through.
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2016-12-08 10:14
We wrote about this in
Dave Kitabjian  2016-12-07 22:36
Another Sierra upgrade problem (not sure the best thread to discuss this?)

Since upgrading to Sierra, Photos complains that "Photos cannot find the System Photo Library: You can open another library and set it as the System Photo Library in Preferences." the first time it is launched after each reboot.

If I proceed to "Browse..." and open the library, which is stored on an external drive, explicitly, it opens fine. And Preferences shows that "Use as System Photo Library" is already selected.

If I then quit and restart Photos, it remembers and launches the right library fine...

...until I reboot, after which Sierra suffers from amnesia, forgets where my System Photo Library is, and requires me to repeat the entire process again.

The external drive is still set to "Ignore ownership on this volume".

Any suggestions?