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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!

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