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macOS 10.12.2 Sierra Focuses on New MacBook Pros

Apple has released macOS 10.12.2 Sierra, which brings a few small new features and a solid set of bug fixes, some of which improve Sierra’s behavior on the recently released MacBook Pro with Touch Bar. You can get the 1.2 GB update most easily via Software Update. Alternatively, you can instead download a delta updater (for 10.12.1, 1.94 GB) or combo updater (from any version of 10.12, 2.05 GB).

If you own one of the new MacBook Pro laptops, it’s probably better to update sooner than later, but for everyone else, we recommend waiting at least a few days to see if there are any unanticipated problems with the new version.

The macOS 10.12.2 update features a number of changes aimed squarely at the new MacBook Pro, including the addition of a Chinese Trackpad Handwriting button to the Touch Bar, support for taking screenshots of the Touch Bar, fixes for various graphical issues and System Integrity Protection, and a fix for a bug that caused the Touch Bar emoji picker to appear on the primary display.

To take a screenshot of the Touch Bar, press Command-Shift-6 — the screenshot will appear on your Desktop. You can also use the updated Grab utility to take a timed screenshot by choosing Capture > Timed Touch Bar (Command-Shift-T).

In 10.12.2, Apple has responded to widespread complaints about battery life in the Touch Bar-equipped MacBook Pros, but probably not in the way you would have hoped. Instead of improving battery life, the company has instead removed the battery life estimate from the battery menu bar item. Apple told TechCrunch that the battery life in
those laptops is fine, but the battery life estimates were wrong. Whether or not it’s hard to predict battery life accurately, many people find that the new MacBook Pros never come anywhere close to Apple’s advertised battery life of “up to 10 hours.”

Conspicuously absent from Apple’s release notes is any mention of the problems plaguing the new MacBook Pros when copying large quantities of data over USB connections (“Some 2016 MacBook Pros Suffering USB Drive Problems,” 5 December 2016). However, in the reader discussions on that article, it came out that Apple was trying to address the problem in the betas of 10.12.2. We haven’t yet been able to confirm that the release version of
10.12.2 includes a fix, but if you’ve been experiencing issues with Time Machine or when trying to back up with apps like SuperDuper and Carbon Copy Cloner, give 10.12.2 a try right away.

For all other supported Macs, macOS 10.12.2:

  • Improves the setup and reliability of Auto Unlock

  • Improves setup and opt-out experience for iCloud Desktop and Documents folder syncing

  • Fixes a bug with the delivery of Optimized Storage alerts

  • Improves audio quality when using Siri and FaceTime with Bluetooth headphones

  • Improves the stability of Photos when creating and ordering books

  • Fixes a bug that prevented incoming Mail messages from appearing when using a Microsoft Exchange account

  • Fixes a bug that prevented installation of Safari Extensions downloaded outside the Safari Extensions Gallery

  • Adds support for new installations of Windows 8 and Windows 7 using Boot Camp on supported Macs

  • Fixes a bug that prevented some screen resolutions from being available on third-party displays

  • Adds support for more digital camera raw formats

macOS 10.12.2 also adds a number of fixes for enterprise users:

  • Improves performance when searching the Global Address List for a Microsoft Exchange account in Contacts
  • Improves reliability of Calendar when using delegate calendars and snoozing Microsoft Exchange events

  • Improves support for smart card authentication at the login window

  • Allows 802.1X clients configured to use System Mode to automatically reconnect to the network when users log out

  • Resolves an issue with pushing VPN payloads to MDM clients via a configuration profile

  • Improves management of background software updates and Safari Internet plug-ins via configuration profiles

  • Allows administrators to disable a security feature that requires confirmation before connecting to certain network volumes

  • Fixes a Calendar issue that prevented delegated calendars from appearing in the Calendar shortcut menu when Control-clicking an event

  • Fixes a bug that prevented the Partition Disk function of System Image Utility from working when deploying a system image over the network

  • Fixes a bug in Xsan 5 where a rolling failover might prevent Xsan clients from accessing files on the volume

  • Prevents a potential kernel panic when searching a DFS namespace in Finder.

Finally, the macOS 10.12.2 update includes 49 security fixes.

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