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OS X Mountain Lion 10.8.3 hands-on; minor software update glitch encountered

Sections: Features, Hands On / First Looks, Mac Software, Mountain Lion, Operating Systems

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Mountain Lion 10.8.3

Apple released OS X Mountain Lion 10.8.3 on Thursday. I downloaded and installed the update last evening via Software Update, and that went reasonably smoothly except that my first attempt at a (mandatory) restart after the App Store app’s prompt still yielded OS 10.8.2.

Why? Beats me. After a re-scan by the App Store program, Software Update indicated that the update still needed downloading. I clicked the button, but this time the progress bar advanced from start to finish in about 30 seconds, followed by reappearance of the restart prompt. The second restart attempt proved the charm, and after the upgraded system sorted itself out for about 10 minutes behind a grey screen with the Apple logo, the log-in screen popped up and the boot-up completed nicely.

 

I rarely use Software Update for operating system updates, my usual (and still preferred) mode being to download the freestanding update installer and apply that with all other applications quit. However, I’m trying to preserve what’s left of dwindling hard drive free capacity on my late 2008 Core 2 Duo MacBook while I decide which way to go with a system upgrade, so I went with Software Update for this one.

The entire process took about an hour and a half; the 540.46 MB main update download proceeding in the background while I did other stuff, and taking about 50 minutes. So far, Mountain Lion 10.8.3 seems to be a smooth and solid performer on the old 2.0 GHz MacBook, although it’s early days yet.

Apple says the Mountain Lion 10.8.3 update is recommended for all OS X Mountain Lion users and includes features and fixes that improve the stability, compatibility, and security of your Mac, including:

  • The ability to redeem iTunes gift cards in the Mac App Store using your Mac’s built-in camera
  • Boot Camp support for installing Windows 8
  • Boot Camp support for Macs with a 3TB hard drive
  • A fix for an issue that could cause a file URL to quit apps unexpectedly
  • A fix for an issue that may cause Logic Pro to become unresponsive when using certain plug-ins
  • A fix for an issue that may cause audio to stutter on 2011 iMacs

The Mountain Lion 10.8.3 update also includes an update to Safari 6.0.3 (about which there’s more below).

For detailed information about the security content of this update, visit support.apple.com.

You can also download the manual update installer, which, as noted, is my preferred mode. This is a useful option when you need to update multiple computers but only want to download the update once. And if you keep the installer on file, you’ll have it if you ever need to do a system reinstall (happily a rare occurrence in recent years, but it can still happen).

The standalone installers are available from Apple Support Downloads.

Here’s more detail on what’s changed in OS X 10.8.3, which adds:

  • The ability to redeem iTunes gift cards in the Mac App Store using your Mac’s built-in camera
  • Boot Camp support for installing Windows 8
  • Boot Camp support for Macs with a 3 TB hard drive
  • A fix for an issue that could cause a file URL to quit apps unexpectedly
  • A fix for an issue that may cause Logic Pro to become unresponsive when using certain plug-ins
  • A fix for an issue that may cause audio to stutter on 2011 iMacs
  • A fix for an issue in Contacts that may cause cards to print out of order
  • A fix for an issue that may cause the desktop picture to change after logging out or restarting
  • A fix for an issue in Messages that may cause messages to appear out of order after waking from sleep
  • A fix for an issue that may cause the screen to display incorrectly after waking from sleep
  • Improves compatibility with IMAP servers in the Notes app
  • Allows the Slideshow screen saver to display photos located in a subfolder
  • A fix for an issue in Contacts that may cause addresses to print in the wrong location
  • Reliability improvements when using a Microsoft Exchange account in Mail
  • Xsan reliability improvements
  • A fix for an issue that could cause Active Directory accounts to be locked out after accessing the Security & Privacy pane in System Preferences
  • A fix for an issue that could cause link aggregation to not complete after a restart
  • A fix for an issue that could cause delays when logging into an Active Directory account on high latency networks

Safari 6.0.3 Changes

As noted above, Safari 6.0.3 is included in the OS X Mountain Lion v10.8.3 Update and contains fixes that improve performance, stability, and security, including:

  • Improves scrolling on facebook.com
  • Improves scrolling while zoomed in on a webpage
  • Improves performance on webpages with plug-in content
  • A fix for an issue that could cause the inaccurate appearance of an alert that bookmarks can’t be changed
  • A fix for an issue that could cause duplicate bookmarks to appear on an iOS device after editing bookmarks with Safari in OS X
  • A fix for an issue that permitted users to access unfiltered search results when searching from google.com when Parental Controls are enabled
  • A fix for an issue that could prevent Safari from restoring the last position on a webpage a user navigated back to dates.

Safari 6.0.3 requires OS X Mountain Lion v10.8.2. You can check it out at support.apple.com.

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