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Thursday, Mar 14, 2013 5:26pm
OS X 10.8.3, Safari 6.0.3, Security Update 2013-001 go live
Following an unusually long development cycle, Apple has finally released the completed version of OS X 10.8.3. The software is mostly a maintenance update -- for instance fixing problems with stuttering sound on 2011 iMacs, Logic Pro freezing when using some plugins, and apps crashing when opening file URLs. It makes several enhancements as well however, such as adding Safari 6.0.3 and upgraded Boot Camp features. The latter now supports Windows 8, and can run on Macs with 3TB hard drives.

The release notes for the update mention that users can now redeem iTunes gift cards in the Mac App Store using the built-in camera if present -- an ability that was added to iTunes when version 11 was released. The free update also fixes the odd "file:///" URL bug that caused nearly any Mac app to crash when the affected URL (with a capital F) was typed into any text-entry field.

OS X 10.8.3 is joined by Security Update 2013-001, a security patch for OS X Lion (10.7 and 10.7 Server) systems, with a separate version for Snow Leopard and Snow Leopard Server systems. Both updates close a number of security vulnerabilities, including ones in components like Apache, Unicode, Messages, and PDF support. A bundled malware tool called XProtect, present in OS X since Snow Leopard, has also been updated.

The updates should be available through Software Update or the Mac App Store, and have now appeared on Apple's support website. The "combo" version of the 10.8.3 update (which is used to update pre-10.8.2 versions of Mountain Lion) is listed at nearly 800MB and is available here. Six different versions of the upgraded Boot Camp drivers for Windows 7 and 8 are listed at the support website: Windows 7 only support for the mid-2011 MacBook Air and Mac mini; Windows 7 only support for the mid-2012 MacBook Pro; a version with Windows 7 and Windows 8 support (64-bit versions only) for the Mac Pro (mid-2009 and later), iMac (mid-2010 and later), MacBook Pro (mid-2010 and later except for the 13-inch mid-2010 model), MacBook Air (mid-2011 or later) and Mac mini (mid-2011 or later).

The remaining three are a Windows 7 only version for the mid-2011 version of the MacBook Air and Mac mini; a Windows 7-only edition for MacBooks (late 2006 to mid-2010), MacBook Airs (early 2008 to late 2010), MacBook Pros (Core 2 Duo 2.4 or 2.2GHz only, early 2008 through late 2011), Mac Pros (mid-2006 through mid-2010) and iMacs (early 2006 to mid-2011), and finally a Windows 7-only version for the mid-2012 MacBook Air and Retina MacBook Pro models. The appropriate version will automatically be offered through Software Update. Windows 7-only updates are numbered 4.x; Windows 7 and 8 combo drivers are versioned as 5.0.x.

Early users reported issues with iCloud access, but this was later discovered to be a hour-long iCloud account login outage that coincidentally happened around the same time the 10.8.3 update appeared earlier today (2pm PST) and was resolved.

A host of more minor bugs have been squashed as well, including an issue that could case Contact cards to be printed out of order or in the wrong location; a fix for the desktop picture to change on its own after restarting or logging out; a rare bug in Messages that could cause messages to appear out of order after waking from sleep; a graphics bug that could cause displays to show glitches or oddities after waking from sleep.

Reliability with Microsoft Exchange accounts in Mail has also been improved, and two issues with Active Directory have been addressed: one that could cause AD accounts to be locked out after accessing the Security & Privacy pane in System Preferences, and one that could cause delays when logging into an AD account on high-latency networks. In addition, compatibility with IMAP servers has been improved in the Notes app, and the Slideshow screen saver can now display photos located in a subfolder.

A fix for an issue that could cause link aggregation to not complete after a restart has also been implemented. Improvements to Xsan reliability have also been added.

In Safari 6.0.3, scrolling in Facebook has been improved, as well as scrolling while zoomed in on a web page. Performance with plug-in content has also been upgraded. Fixes in 6.0.3 include squashing a bug that could cause duplicate bookmarks to appear on iOS devices after editing bookmarks on OS X machines, or cause the inaccurate appearance of an alert that bookmarks can't be changed; an issue that permitted users to access unfiltered search results when searching from Google when Parental Controls are enabled, and an issue that could prevent Safari from restoring the last position on a webpage a user has navigated back to.

The updates are recommended for all users of OS X Mountain Lion. As is normal with system updates, a restart will be required to complete the update, and users should quit all other open applications before applying the update.