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Apple ships second major patch for Snow Leopard

Yesterday afternoon, Apple released Mac OS X 10.6.2, its second maintenance update to the Snow Leopard operating system it shipped in late August. Like most of Apple's decimal-point updates, this large download -- 157.7 megabytes -- installed without any problems, but didn't offer any obvious improvements either. If you haven't found Snow Leopard a groundbreaking improvement, this probably won't change your mind.


Instead, you have to turn to Apple's vague release notes to see what you're getting out of this update. One terse document skims over 10.6.2's changes, a second provides only a little more detail. Both are frustratingly generic when describing problems this patch fixes: "an issue adding images to contacts in Address Book," "a graphics distortion issue in Safari Top Sites," or "an issue that caused data to be deleted when using a guest account."

That last item grossly understates the extent of the problem: In some rare conditions, 10.6 would delete all of a user's data after somebody else logged into the Mac using the optional Guest Account feature. But at least Apple has squashed this bug.

The only real detail comes in a third release note covering this update's security fixes, which specifies what was broken, what risks that entailed and who found the problem. It's somewhat heartening to see that while this note enumerates four problems that are exclusive to 10.6, it also cites 10 that don't exist in 10.6. My colleague Brian Krebs notes some of these issues in his Security Fix blog today.

For more, and more useful, details about the 10.6.2 update, see the Mac newsletter TidBits' evaluation of the changes. AppleInsider, in turn, notes how this patch removes support for Intel's Atom processor -- making it a non-starter for people who have installed hacked copies of Snow Leopard on netbooks with that low-power chip.

Have you installed 10.6.2 yet? Share your own experience in the comments...

By Rob Pegoraro  |  November 10, 2009; 11:44 AM ET
Categories:  Mac  
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I found Snow Leopard the most difficult to install of all Apple upgrades in my experience. It took me three attempts, even after a clean install. Streaming media that previously could be read cannot under this OS. I am also encountering more crashes with Apple and third party software than before. I am not happy.

Posted by: parklane47 | November 11, 2009 3:25 AM | Report abuse

I seem to have had the opposite experience of the previous poster. Upgraded three Macs with the Snow Leopard Family Pack, no problems. I have upgraded two of those three to 10.6.2. Again, no problems. The one issues that I have had with Snow Leopard, and it is a big one, is with Safari. It hangs and crashes frequently. Especially when opening a new tab. I am hoping that has been sorted with 10.6.2.

Posted by: tfvdw2at | November 11, 2009 6:40 AM | Report abuse

The Snow Leopard update was 157MB on my laptop, but it was 499MB on my iMac. Wonder why? I can't tell any difference yet, which is true for most OSX downloads.

Since installing Snow Leopard, I've had more Safari crashes and program freeze-ups. Also, I often need to click on the Airport icon to activate my network when opening my laptop from sleep. Usually, a message box appears saying that Apple has been notified when something crashes. I just trust that Apple will get it right eventually...

Posted by: jbc3 | November 11, 2009 6:49 AM | Report abuse

I miss the "graphics distortion issue in Safari Top Sites." Instead of Safari opening the Top Sites page, it would instead flash a bizarre montage of every graphic I'd opened since my last visit.

Very un-Applesque, but kind of cool.

Posted by: MarkGisleson | November 11, 2009 10:53 AM | Report abuse

My son was thrilled to find that one of the fixes stops it from randomly logging him off ~ a major cause of bad language coming from his room over the past couple of weeks.

Posted by: MAL9000 | November 11, 2009 11:52 AM | Report abuse

I had no installation problems with Snow Leopard or the updates. The only problem that I had was the random logging off and occasional powering down that happened after installing Snow Leopard. OSX 10.6.1 didn't fix it and it's too early to determine if the recent update will cure this problem. I called Apple and they are aware of the problem.

Posted by: NJAnalyst | November 11, 2009 12:34 PM | Report abuse

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