What’s really in the High Sierra 10.13.2 update

As expected, the macOS High Sierra 10.13.2 update contains a great deal more than the three relatively minor improvements mentioned by Apple in its release note, and its modest list of security fixes. Among the many updated apps are:

  • App Store
  • Contacts
  • iBooks
  • Mail (which is brought to version 11.2, build 3445.5.20)
  • Maps (2.0, 2127.22.9.27)
  • Messages (11.0, 5500)
  • Photos (3.0 3251.12.190)
  • Preview
  • Safari (11.0.2, 13694.
  • Time Machine (1.3, 29.3)
  • Console (1.0, 2.0.49)
  • Disk Utility (17.0, 1635)
  • Keychain Access (10.0, 55237.1.1).

You can compare those and other version and build numbers with those for 10.13.1 in this article.

Several of the utilities tucked away in the /System/Library/CoreServices folder have been updated; these include Directory Utility, Network Utility, RAID Utility, and System Image Utility. A lot of Automator Actions are also updated, as are most panes in System Preferences.

All those who have updated should use LockRattler to check that their versions of MRT remain at 1.26 and XProtect at 2097. Because 10.13.2 was built prior to the recent release of their separate security updates, the version of MRT which it contains is still 1.25, and XProtect data files are still at 2096.

When update installers operate correctly, they should leave more recent updates like those to MRT and XProtect alone. However, High Sierra has had previous problems in doing so, and it is possible that applying the 10.13.2 update could undo those more recent security updates on some systems. LockRattler is available from Downloads above.

Looking at internals, there is of course a new kernel, which includes some seven security fixes, most kernel extensions (KEXTs) are replaced, and the DAS Daemon (responsible for scheduling Time Machine backups among many other tasks) has been updated. Perl is now at version 5.18. There are widespread changes to private frameworks, as well as to pretty well all Swift support dylibs.

The majority of command tools in /usr/bin are replaced, as are those in libexec and sbin. This brings new versions of almost all the major command tools, including log.

APFS is brought up to version 748.31.8. In 10.13.1, it was at version 748.21.6.

A few font updates are included, most notably Apple Color Emoji. As hinted at in its release notes, Apple has provided new ScreenReader Braille drivers.

High Sierra 10.13.2 brings new versions of boot.efi and apfs.efi too, and there are some EFI firmware updates. However, these may repeat those in previous updates: I will be checking version numbers later and will update the list here if there are any changes.

I also note that the 10.13.2 installer doesn’t appear to make an automatic snapshot prior to updating, something that 10.13.1 did. I will check this later, but users may wish to make a manual snapshot of their own before applying the update, in case they need to revert to 10.13.1.

I hope that gives a rather better account of the 2 GB update which makes up 10.13.2.