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macOS Big Sur 11.6.1 and Security Update 2021-007 Catalina

Apple has released macOS Big Sur 11.6.1 and Security Update 2021-007 for macOS 10.15 Catalina, patching 21 security vulnerabilities in Big Sur and 18 vulnerabilities in Catalina. Both updates address multiple issues related to malicious files executing arbitrary code with kernel privileges and resolve a logic issue that could allow a person with physical access to a device to determine characteristics of a user’s password in a secure text entry field. We have heard some early complaints of problems after updating Catalina—if you notice any problems after updating, please let us know in the comments. (Free, various sizes, Big Sur release notes, Catalina release notes, macOS 11 and 10.15)

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Comments About macOS Big Sur 11.6.1 and Security Update 2021-007 Catalina

Notable Replies

  1. After Security Update 2021-007 for Catalina, Google Earth Pro is crashing…
    This is the case also for Stellarium and RStudio
    Google Drive for desktop appears to work but with some new flaws.
    After reinstalling Catalina (command-R on startup) without the Security Update 2021-007, Google Earth Pro works again!
    This confirms that the Security Update 2021-007 of Catalina is indeed the cause of the systematic crash of Google Earth Pro…
    Frankly, it is annoying to see that security improvements (which are welcome) completely block the use of competing software…
    So, to continue to use these software, you must accept a higher level of risk !
    The simple truth is that the tests prior to this update were not conducted with the required rigor and efficiency.
    As a result, the affected users have to waste many hours to remove this update or abandon the tools they use…
    I also notice that more than 24 hours after my report (with the sending of a good ten crash logs), the problem is not recognized and there is no commitment to solve it…

    I am running MacOS 10.15.7 on a MacBookPro Intel
    MacUser since 1985

  2. Google Earth Pro is running on my iMac 27" (late 2013) with macOS 10.15.7. Wild guess: GEP “looks” like a Java app, and I fairly recently installed a Java update (Version 8 Update 311). I could be way off, but that’s the only thing that comes to mind.

    At what point in running GEP do you see the crash?

  3. You sent your bug reports to whom? To Apple or to Google?

    It is well known that apps sometimes take advantage of bugs in a system. Either because a developer discovered some cool undocumented side-effect in an API call, or because it was simply a mistake that didn’t get fixed because everything seemed to be working fine.

    If the bug is later fixed and the app breaks as a result, it’s not really the fault of the OS vendor (unless the documented behavior of the API changed - but that rarely happens for a security update).

    While some companies have been known to go to great lengths in order to preserve bugs that major apps rely on, Apple has never done that. As a matter of fact, back in the early days of MacOS, Apple would deliberately change-up undocumented behaviors in order to break apps that violated the rules - in order to teach the developer community to not do that.

  4. Dear David

    I send this report to Apple and Google.

    I don’t know if the fault is with Apple or not.

    I notice that many applications do not work with this security update.

    The least Apple could do would be to inform its users : “if you install this update, some apps (A,B.C.D) will stop working”.

    What is certain is that 48 hours after revealing this bug, Apple has not communicated anything and therefore leaves its users to fend for themselves.
    At this stage, I had to give up the security update !

    Of course, I can also buy a MacBookPro M1…but frankly, my MacBookPro 2012 is still much more versatile and useful tan M1 machines…

    Best regards

    Denis

  5. I’m not sure how those comments under Apple’s post of the security update availability are helpful. One is for MAMP, an open source package that simulates the “Apache/MySQL/PHP” environment on a local Mac for testing and development. If there is a conflict with their software, they usually fix it when their users report it to them. The other is a generic “My Adobe Illustrator crashes.” report, with no details of which version is running on which machine.

    Denis, you have every right to expect Apple to be a communicative and responsive company that supports its users and warns them about expected problems with a software release.

    But on the other hand, if there is anything we have learned in the saga of Apple Inc over these many years (and my Mac use goes back even further than yours, if that’s possible!), it’s that Apple is not that communicative and responsive company, and left those qualities behind when Jobs and Wozniak moved out of the garage where they had been hand-assembling Apple I kits in the 1970s. (Well, Jobs left it behind, and Woz was frustrated by the muzzle.)

    I agree that it would be completely helpful for Apple to tell users before an update that certain things might break if the update is installed, and thus give us a choice about whether to install it. But then again, a security update is serious business, and their stance appears to be that disclosing any information about what it addresses and what is affected by installing it would give aid and comfort to the Very Bad People who spend their time trying to gain access and divert our computers for their purposes.

    So yes, you are not imagining it: you are left to “fend for yourself,” and you have my sympathy. But no: this state of affairs has existed for many years, and I will not hold my breath, nor waste it, in the hope that it will change.

    I do not think it is a matter of Apple blocking “competing software” or wanting to hinder its users. And I do think posting reports in TidBITs Talk is a good way to find workarounds.

    Again, my sympathies!

  6. Has anyone reported problems with the Big Sur update?

  7. A few, but not enough to show a pattern yet. I would guess not any more than usual…

  8. FWIW, I had no problems installing the 11.6.1 update on my 2018 Mac mini.

    There was a black screen (with the power LED turned off!) for what I considered a disturbingly long time (probably a minute or two), but everything installed and restarted OK.

    Apple really needs to fix their installers. I understand the black screens, but do they really have to turn off the power LED? My gut feeling (and I suspect most other people’s as well) always says that the computer is powered off when the LED turns off, but during an OS update, it’s not true.

    In the past (earlier model Mac minis, before the T1/T2 chips), that LED would remain on or would switch to a pulsing mode during low-level firmware updates. If there’s a hardware reason why Apple can’t do that with modern equipment, then I consider it a bad hardware design.

  9. Thanks for those useful comments!

  10. I experienced the exact same updating my 2020 quad-core Intel 13" MBP.

    The long time period in front of a black screen with no user feedback whatsoever is disturbing. Our hardware keeps getting more powerful, and yet, Apple’s updates keep taking longer (and getting larger in download size too). I suspect during these long waits in front of a dark screen many people could be tempted to power off their notebooks (which unlike the Mac mini don’t even have a power LED anymore) assuming something has crashed (not a rare experience either these days, “just reboot it”). And that then actually hoses the update and if you’re particularly unlikely will even brick your Mac.

    I have little doubt Apple needs to improve its update procedure—at the very least an explicit warning about what is about to happen (black screen, no user feedback), how long that could take (an hour in cases), and to under no circumstances force shut down your Mac.

    That said, I’m starting to think general advice should be to wait to update until before going to bed and to hope that giving your Mac ~6 hours to do its various updates will be enough so that nobody gets tempted to assume their Mac has crashed and ending up actually hosing their system.

  11. I sent Apple feedback requesting that they provide some indication that the device is still running during updates. I suggested going back to the pulsing power LED, although that (as you point out) is not an option for laptops.

    WRT overnight updates, I used to do that back when I was using my iBook/G4. Between my Internet bandwidth and the speed of the computer, I would frequently let it update overnight.

    Today, I usually go to lunch. That has always been enough time (about an hour or so) for everything to finish.

    BTW, whose idea was it for the new iPhone 13 to display a maximum-brightness white screen (with black Apple logo and progress bar) while installing an OS update? I started the installation before going to bed and that light woke me up. My iPod Touch (also running iOS 15) displayed a black screen (with white logo and progress bar) and did not light up the room.

  12. Not sure if the OP (@pommier.denis) is still tracking this thread, but if so I just wanted to correct my initial reply. I implied that I was running the Security Update in question, but it just showed up as available today in Software Update, so apparently I am not. Sorry about that. And now I’m afraid to install it because I like Google Earth Pro! :slight_smile:

  13. I had no problem installing the Catalina Security Update but it did break the XLD program which crashes on startup. The author has some newer versions on SourceForge.

  14. Dear Jeff
    The app list affected by this security update is growing every day. See Apple Forum
    I have tested with a Catalina clean install on a new partition … Google earth pro is always crashing …Rstudio also.
    Best regards

  15. None on my 2019 iMac Retina 5K 27-inch. (I wish it had an Apple-bestowed catchy model name. Like “Skippy.” :slight_smile: )

  16. Since updating (ten days ago), Time Machine has not completed a backup on either the Time Capsule or the external drive. Time Machine has run on both, and apparently copied some files, but quit before completing the backup.

    When making such a comment, it would be useful to Reply to the post that included the useful comments rather than replying to the thread.

  17. FWIW @pommier.denis, I have now actually installed Security Update 2021-007 for Catalina, and Google Earth Pro is not crashing. Sorry for your difficulties, and clearly you’re not alone, but for me at least there is no problem.

  18. Dear Jeff
    The bug seems specific for Mac built between 2012 and 2013 (iMac, Macbook, Mini) that use HD4000 Intel graphic card. The GPU driver is broken by this update.
    Many other users claim to Apple to repair the driver.
    Apple told us our Macs are obsolete …despite the problem is not hardware but related with Catalina software, which is supported for these machines.
    Apple don’t care seriously at this time. We hope they reconsider.
    Some users think that Apple is responsible and have to repair what they broke.

  19. Aha. I have a late 2013 iMac 27" with a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 775M 2 GB graphics card. That probably explains why I’m not affected.

  20. It’s now been 15 days. I used the System Preferences > Time Machine command Add or Remove Backup Disk to remove the Time Capsule and then added it. I said to overwrite the previous backup. The new backup made a lot of progress and then quit. I told Time Machine to Verify the backup and it reported no problems. I told Time Machine to Back Up Now and it got to 56.46 GB of 61.53 GB and then quit.

    As I typed this, Time Machine started itself. Interestingly, it said said 56.34 GB of 61.53 GB, then made progress to 56.46 GB (exactly where it stopped before), and stopped. It says Waiting to complete first backup.

    Any ideas?

  21. Both Starry Night and Stellarium fail to launch after this update. My MacBook Pro was manufactured in September 2016 and uses the Intel HD Graphics 4000. I purchased it new from Best Buy in November 2016 and is listed as compatible with Catalina. Apple needs to fix what it has broken.

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