What has been updated in Sierra 10.12.6?

The update to Sierra 10.12.6 is likely to be the last version of Sierra – unless there are major problems encountered with it.

Although one of the smaller updates to Sierra, it is 1.1-1.2 GB in size, and installs around 2 GB of files. Among the apps which are updated are:

  • App Store, which comes to version 2.2.1,
  • Automator, Calculator, Calendar, Chess, Contacts, DVD Player,
  • Dictionary, FaceTime, Font Book, Image Capture, iBooks,
  • Mail, which is at version 10.3,
  • Maps, Messages, Notes, Photo Booth,
  • Photos, which is at version 2.0,
  • Preview, QuickTime Player, Reminders,
  • Safari, which is brought to version 10.1.2, including WebKit fixes,
  • Stickies, System Preferences, TextEdit, Activity Monitor,
  • AirPort Utility, which comes to version 6.3.7,
  • Audio MIDI Setup, Bluetooth File Exchange, Boot Camp Assistant,
  • ColorSync Utility, Console, Digital Color Meter,
  • Disk Utility, which comes to version 16.3,
  • Grab, Grapher, Keychain Access, Migration Assistant,
  • Script Editor, System Information, Terminal,
  • VoiceOver Utility.

Other significant components which are updated include:

  • many Widgets,
  • many Automator actions,
  • System Image Utility,
  • Finder,
  • Installer,
  • MRT,
  • ManagedClient,
  • Photo Library Migration Utility,
  • RemoteManagement (ARDA, VNC server, Screensharing),
  • most Kernel Extensions (KEXTs),
  • APFS support, which should add normalisation support and is therefore valuable and important for APFS users,
  • most Preference Panes,
  • most frameworks, public and private.

One significant vulnerability which has been addressed in 10.12.6 is the Broadpwn bug, which allowed an attacker to run code if a vulnerable Broadcom Wi-Fi chip was present, without having to infect the Mac or attack its Wi-Fi network. This required the attacker to be physically close to the Mac, though.

Several Mac sites are expressing the opinion that 10.12.6 only addresses the 35 security issues which Apple has declared, and makes few or no other changes. That simply doesn’t add up to the 2 GB of updated files, and the lists above of those which have changed. This update was certainly not as major as 10.12.5, but it wasn’t just a quick security fix either.

It would really help if Apple had the decency to tell us what has changed, other than vaguely saying that it improves the “security, stability, and compatibility” of macOS. That is simply patronising.