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Security Update 2019-003 (High Sierra and Sierra)

Apple has released Security Update 2019-003 for macOS 10.13 High Sierra and 10.12 Sierra, patching a variety of security vulnerabilities that were also dealt with by macOS 10.14.5 Mojave (see “Apple Releases iOS 12.3, macOS 10.14.5, watchOS 5.2.1, and tvOS 12.3 and Debuts New Apple TV App,” 13 May 2019). On the high-profile side, the updates patch the ZombieLoad speculative execution security vulnerability, which affects nearly all computers with Intel chips dating back to 2011. As Adam Engst notes in “Apple Patches ZombieLoad Vulnerabilities” (14 May 2019), “The practical upshot is that everyone should install macOS 10.14.5 or Security Update 2019-003 sooner rather than later.” However, some users report having to try multiple times. The security updates also patch vulnerabilities related to CoreAudio, disk images, the Intel Graphics Driver, and the Touch Bar. (Free. For 10.13.6 High Sierra, 1.9 GB; for 10.12.6 Sierra, 852.3 MB; release notes)

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Comments About Security Update 2019-003 (High Sierra and Sierra)

Notable Replies

  1. Another one - sigh - it gets to be a pain when you have 5 computers and want to wait to see if there are any bugs. Remind us in a few months. At least they are finally including 10.12 in the ZombieLoad patch.

  2. To be fair, there’s no “finally” in play, nor is Apple doing anything out of the ordinary. The company always provides security updates to the last two versions of macOS, so 10.12 Sierra and 10.13 High Sierra have been receiving security updates since 10.14 Mojave shipped. And the Security Update came out simultaneously with macOS 10.14.5, so it wasn’t like those who haven’t upgraded to Mojave had to wait for months or something. Apple did everything right in this case, as far as I can see.

  3. No complaint about Apple was intended. I’m a late adopter, sometimes very late when I forget. I only updated yesterday morning - thus the sigh. I don’t see another security update in the app store, so maybe I got lucky and was a very early adopter this time.

    Interesting - this machine does not even show Mohave or High Sierra as options. Too old I guess.

  4. Applying these updates was annoying. In MAS I hit Update All and sure enough it downloaded over 2 GB. After doing its thing it rebooted and all apeared fine. Until MAS showed that the Sec Upd had still not been applied. So I get to download 1.3 GB yet again and go through another cycle of install and reboot.

    This happened on three Macs here. If I’d have data caps or pay by volume, I’d be pissed at Apple. Fortunately, I have unlimited data. I just think it’s a bummer they have no reservations wasting my time like that. Whatever happened to ‘it just works’? It really doesn’t anymore. Tim, take a hint for Pete’s sake. :frowning:

  5. Well said Simon. Just sell me a DVD I can reuse. Our house has 4 portable Superdrives. Sadly, functionality and user needs do not seem to be at the top of their priority list anymore. They still make good hardware though.

  6. Having to install multiple times is troubling—has anyone else run into this?

  7. All Security Updates are Combo updates now (for many years), so you will always see only the latest.

  8. I still run High Sierra, mainly because I prefer to give any new OS (and 3rd party developers) several months for shakedown.
    For me the more annoying aspect of this 2019-003 High Sierra update was that the update “failed to install” when I first attempted to restart after download. It took 4 restart attempts on my 2013 MacBook Pro, and 2 attempts on my 2017 iMac, and long waits each time, before the update finally managed to finish installing itself.

  9. It’s been happening pretty much as Simon describes for at least the last year, on my late-2010 MacBook Pro.

    The first time you hit it, you go through the usual emotions: worry, panic, rage. Since then, I find I can get straight to (moderate) rage.

    So far, on my early-2019 Mini, it hasn’t happened.

  10. After postponing this update for a couple of days (“Ask Tomorrow”), I told the App Store Software Update dialog to go ahead and install the High Sierra security update on my 2013 MacBook Pro. It failed, leaving my SSD unable to find its Startup Disk.

    After some research, I started it up while holding down ⌘+R, and selected the “Disk Utility” option…and learned the drive status was “unbootable”, so I opted to reinstall the OS (which was time-consuming, but successful).

  11. My suspicion is that your disk problems are unrelated to the Security Update, except in that installing it may have revealed some bad blocks or the like.

    I’m guessing from your report that once you reinstalled macOS all your data was still present?

    Regardless, this is a good example of why it’s so important to have a backup before installing anything major.

  12. Yes, no missing data—everything seems to be where I left it :slightly_smiling_face:

  13. Same mix of emotions here. These updates are downright scary. My 2014 Mac Pro has had startup issues forever. Each time I reboot, about ¾ of the way through, the screen goes black. Half of the time, it comes back on after a few seconds and the booting sequence completes. The other half of the time, it never comes back on and I end up doing a hard reset. I find that temporarily unplugging my Thunderbolt drives helps, but it could be just a coincidence.

    Add to this mix the fact that these “security” updates trigger multiple reboots, with the screen going black each time, and you see my problem. It’s downright scary.

    This time, the first time I tried “Update All” from the App Store, the update process went black. I did a hard reset and the update process signalled that it didn’t complete and asked if I wanted to try again. I tried. Still didn’t work. Unplugged everything, waited 30 s, rebooted. Got my normal booting sequence, except that the update didn’t get done. Tried again from the App Store, and this time it visibly downloaded the 2 GB (!), and the scary updating process went farther (a couple of reboots, the “30 min left” thing, etc.). Still, eventually went dark and unresponsive again. (Or is it just that I am not patient enough? I can’t tell. But a dark screen gives no sign that there is ANYTHING going on.) Did a hard reset once more. Somehow, rebooted immediately and jumped right back to where it was when it went black (near the end) and completed just fine.

    Weird. Scary. Extremely unpleasant. And a bloody waste of time.

  14. That normally indicates a firmware update is taking place.

    Not a coincidence. It’s always been considered a best practice to unplug all peripherals except for keyboard and mouse.

    Depending on what all of your updates were, there was a coincidental update involving a Mobile Device update that also required a restart that certain users saw on the same day. In my case, that update was applied with a restart, but the OS update (in my case it was Mojave) did not take place. I had to do an additional restart to get the Mojave update which appears to have contained the same Mobile Device update and would have gone faster if I has simply chosen to do only the OS update.

  15. No, no, this happens with EVERY reboot. The screen just goes black for 5-10 seconds and then comes back on. It’s ALWAYS been that way (as long as I remember).

    The other updates indicated at the same time were a Safari update and an iTunes update.

  16. That’s substantially worse than what I’ve experienced – which I consider bad enough, but it’s still only having to install twice. You have my sympathy!

  17. Yes, of course, I wasn’t clear that I was only referring to what I understood were times when there were two black screens. I must have misunderstood. A normal update these days begins when you agree to or wait for a restart. Then there’s a short period with a progress bar as the downloaded update is copied to an image file, then the actual restart occurs, starting with a black screen. The image is then mounted and the actual install takes place with a longer progress bar. If a firmware update is involved, there is an additional restart. There have been occasions when nothing appears on the screen for several minutes, but it will eventually move on. I can’t explain when or why this happens, but several users have reported such abnormal behavior.

    There was a Safari update (and shortly after a Safari Technology Preview, if you have opted in to that) in mid-May, so that sounds right, but the last iTunes 12.8.2 came out in January, so I suspect what you saw was actually the “iTunes Device Support Update” which only included Mobile Device package to support iOS 12.4 on the same day as the HS Security Update. That particular update was unusual in that it also required a reboot. When I did the install and selected “Update All” it only installed the iTunes Device update after reboot, so I had to re-download and install the OS update again.

  18. Thanks for the details. I suspect that my black screen during startup is device-specific (2014 Mac Pro), but of course I could be wrong. I didn’t keep tabs on how many times the computer restarted during the update process here, but it was several times. And since I get a black screen (sometimes with no further progress) with each reboot, I am sure you can imagine how anxious this makes me.

    You are right about the iTunes update, of course. I did notice that it required a reboot too. This obviously added to the complexity of the process and the level of anxiety it generated.

  19. After Installing this update i have been having issues connecting bluetooth keyboards to my macbook. I have tried 2 different keyboards both have the same issue. The system setting screen says the keyboard is connected but the keyboard is still in pairing mode and will not operate my Mac. I have a work colleague having the same issue with his keyboard.
    Just wondering if anyone else has had this and if there is a workaround.

  20. I had the same problem on a Macbook with High Sierra and I suspect it was tied to 2019-003 but your’s is the only mention I found on the Internet. I tried everything; deleting the Bluetooth preferences file, remove all devices, reset Bluetooth module, creating a new user, boot into Safe mode. Nothing worked.

    The only thing that fixed it was updating to Mojave.

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