Apple Releases macOS 10.12.5, iOS 10.3.2, watchOS 3.2.2, and tvOS 10.2.1
Focusing on bug and security fixes, Apple today updated all of its operating systems: macOS 10.12.5, iOS 10.3.2, watchOS 3.2.2, and tvOS 10.2.1.
As always, it pays to wait at least a few days to install these updates. We haven’t heard of any problems out of the gate, but Apple was so parsimonious with release notes that it’s hard to muster much enthusiasm for updating right away. It’s best to err on the side of caution this time.
macOS 10.12.5 — macOS 10.12.5 Sierra is available via Software Update, where it’s a roughly 894 MB download. Alternatively, you can instead download a delta updater (for 10.12.4, 2.15 GB) or combo updater (from any version of 10.12, 2.15 GB).
Release notes are sparse, but practically long-winded compared to the notes for the other OS updates. Identified improvements include a fix for an issue where audio may stutter when played through USB headphones, a mysterious claim of enhanced Mac App Store compatibility with future updates, and added support for media-free installations of the Windows 10 Creators Update in Boot Camp.
macOS 10.12.5 includes 30 security fixes.
iOS 10.3.2 — The roughly 200 MB iOS 10.3.2 update can be installed in Settings > General > Software Update or via iTunes. However, the release notes say only, “iOS 10.3.2 includes bug fixes and improves the security of your iPhone or iPad.”
Remember when we reported on the bugs that caused Mail to ignore named anchors like the article list at the top of TidBITS issues (see “Mail in El Capitan and iOS 9 Ignores Named Anchors,” 5 January 2016)? Apple did fix the problem in Mail in Sierra at some point, but the company didn’t address it in iOS 10, and it remains unfixed in iOS 10.3.2. If only we could make the case that it was a security vulnerability.
iOS 10.3.2 integrates 23 security fixes.
watchOS 3.2.2 — Don’t expect more detail from the watch OS 3.2.2 release notes, which offer only the even terser, “This update includes improvements and bug fixes.”
You install the 41.7 MB update via the Watch app on your iPhone (in Watch > Settings > General > Software Update). Remember that the Apple Watch must be on its charger, charged to at least 50 percent, and within range of your iPhone, which itself must be on Wi-Fi. Don’t start installing if you’ll want to use the watch again within an hour or so — watchOS updates take surprisingly long to load.
watchOS 3.2.2 features 10 security fixes.
tvOS 10.2.1 — With the tvOS 10.2.1 update, Apple is willing to cop only to “This update includes general performance and stability improvements.” You can get the tvOS 10.2 update on your fourth-generation Apple TV via Settings > System > Software Updates > Update Software.
tvOS 10.2.1 offers 14 security fixes.
I just updated my iPad (Air 2) in the hope that the ignores-IMAP-path-prefix bug in Mail would be fixed.
It was, and the iPad otherwise seems in working order too. Phew.
Hmmm, if the fixes aren't important enough for Apple to list, then they aren't important enough for me to waste time installing them and the possibility they will brick my iDevices.
I'd have to agree with that.
Apple not telling people what they update (a simple list would be fine) but expecting users to just follow blindly is simply rude. No wonder power users are so cautious to update.
From the bug fix standpoint, that's certainly true, and we don't recommend installing it now.
But you really do want to install it at some point, since there are a bunch of security fixes, which Apple does describe.
I read the 30 security fixes for OSX or whatever they want to call Sierra these days. It seems that the same sloppy coding that doesn't enable all the functions in software programs since the last update is responsible for a bunch of holes in the security of most everything. It's a good thing I did a complete backup last night so I can reinstall some previous version in case this update is just like the last one.
Right. Backing up is good to do, or something like that. It should go without saying that heads-up TidBITS readers always back up before applying an update/upgrade, unfortunately that's not the case.
Forewarned is forearmed, however. If you don't back up your system before one of these updates, any trouble you encounter is your own darn fault. Your negligence is not Apple's responsibility.
Of course we'd like to know if you do run into trouble so we can know what to look out for. It's also good to know what's fixed. For instance, has Apple resolved any more of the issues with PDFKit? I would hope to hear about this from some TidBITS contributors who have reported on the problems with recent versions of the macOS and PDF documents.
What I'd really hope is that TidBITS readers would know to have a backup strategy that involves a constantly updated Time Machine backup, a nightly bootable duplicate, and an off-site backup done via CrashPlan or Backblaze. Then, no matter what, it's easy to restore even if things go south with an upgrade. :-)
Totally agree about not knowing about PDFKit. This is the one thing which has totally stopped me from upgrading to Sierra, and I won't do so until I know for certain that the PDFKit problems have been resolved. It really frustrates me that Apple do not acknowledge the problems and address the status of the fixes in their release notes. I know they don't like admitting fault, but I depend on PDFs and need to know the OS is not going to screw them up - I can't afford the hassle of them being broken.
That list of changes is a sight for sore eyes. Long may they continue (and grow in substance)!
Thank you, Apple!
I've now checked in with my sources, and the word on PDFKit changes in 10.12.5 is that there don't seem to be any. No one saw any fixes, either to older bugs or those introduced in 10.12.4.
Obviously others have had better results, but I've tried to install the latest Mac OS update, and the Mac won't complete the installation or boot. I had to boot from a Carbon Copy clone and copy it to the internal disk. I also tried using the recovery disk to do a complete system install, with the same result. I'd be glad if anyone can suggest a solution.