Apple has pushed out updates to all its current operating systems (and macOS 13 Ventura) except for tvOS. They’re designed to fix a handful of problematic bugs related to updating, battery life, and Siri reliability, though they may also address security vulnerabilities that Apple discovered on its own—there are no published CVE entries.
iOS 17.1.1 and iPadOS 17.1.1
iOS 17.1.1 addresses two bugs, and iPadOS 17.1.1 piggybacks on one of those fixes. First, Apple says that Apple Pay and other NFC features may become unavailable on iPhone 15 models after wireless charging in certain cars—MacRumors says it was BMW. Second, Apple’s engineers got their act together just in time to fix the Weather Lock Screen widget, which didn’t always correctly display snow. 🌨️
Unless you use wireless charging in your car and rely on Apple Pay, I recommend waiting to install these updates until it’s convenient.
macOS 13.6.2 Ventura
The release notes for macOS 13.6.2 say it “provides important bug fixes and is recommended for all users,” but that doesn’t seem entirely accurate. Apple’s Security Releases page lists macOS 13.6.2 as applying only to the “MacBook Pro (2021 and later) and iMac (2023).” So it’s not recommended for all users, and indeed, my 2020 27-inch iMac isn’t even being offered the update.
However, Mr. Macintosh deserves kudos for discovering in Apple’s Enterprise release notes for Ventura that macOS 13.6.2 also fixes a bug that could cause 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros with Apple silicon to start up to a black screen or circled exclamation point after the built-in display’s default refresh rate was changed.
Plus, although I don’t know where he got the information, Howard Oakley writes that macOS 13.62 addresses two update-related problems:
- MacBook Pro models with Apple silicon could have problems while updating to macOS 13.6.1 that result in a black screen failure mode.
- Some just-released M3 24-inch iMacs shipped with macOS 13 Ventura installed instead of macOS 14 Sonoma. That’s an embarrassing misstep on Apple’s part, but worse is the fact that they couldn’t be updated or upgraded using existing updates.
There’s no need to install macOS 13.6.2 unless you plan to update a MacBook Pro with Apple silicon to macOS 13.6.1 or have just purchased an M3 iMac that came with Ventura. If it were me, I’d install this one just to get it out of the way.
macOS 14.1.1 Sonoma
Apple says only that macOS 14.1.1 “provides important bug fixes and security updates and is recommended for all users.” Given what Howard Oakley says about the M3 iMacs, I suspect that macOS 14.1.1 is designed to allow those users to upgrade to Sonoma.
There’s no telling how many apps would be affected by this bug, so I encourage updating soon, particularly if you notice any unusual behavior with graphics apps.
Nearly every iOS or watchOS update generates squawks from some users about reduced battery life. Usually, those issues resolve quickly as the operating system finishes building caches and indexes. Sometimes, there are actual bugs, though, which seems to have been the case here since watchOS 10.1.1 “addresses an issue that could cause the battery to drain more quickly for some users.”
I’ll be installing this one right away. Unsurprisingly, my new Apple Watch Series 9 has had stellar battery life since I got it, but it nearly ran out of power on my bike ride yesterday. Perhaps I failed to put it on the charger properly the night before, but any time Apple says an update should prevent unnecessary battery drain, I mash the Install button.
HomePod Software 17.1.1
During the pandemic, I installed a lot of HomeKit switches, so we’re accustomed to controlling lights in our house using Siri on an original HomePod (see “Reflections on a Year with HomeKit,” 17 December 2021). When you talk to Siri every time you want to adjust the lightning, you get a feel for how well it’s working. (OK, I’ll admit, as much as I try to avoid it in my writing, we totally anthropomorphize Siri in everyday life, such as when Tonya exasperatedly exclaimed last night, “She’s being super dense today.”)
So yes, although we don’t have hard and fast statistics on it, our sense is that Siri’s reliability for executing common HomeKit commands suffered after the release of HomePod Software 17. Sometimes, we have to ask two or even three times before Siri will recognize the command. It’s not so bad that we instead walk over to the light switch and activate it manually, like an animal, but I’ll be pushing HomePod Software 17.1.1 to our HomePods right away, given that Apple says it “addresses an issue where some HomePod speakers could respond slowly or fail to complete requests.”