Apple updates for every Mac: a summary of the last days

From Thursday 12 November Apple released a succession of important updates and upgrades for macOS. These were complicated by the fact that from around 1800 UTC on 12 November, for a period of 6 hours or so, Apple’s software update servers weren’t working normally, and for many users returned errors. To help you catch up with what was released, here’s a quick summary of each update.

macOS 11.0.1 Big Sur

Although there have been a few reports of problems during installation, once Apple’s servers were working properly this 12 GB upgrade seems to have rolled out quite smoothly to Intel Macs. Apple has published a very long list of all the security fixes in 11.0.1, and this list of its ‘enterprise’ changes.

Apple’s new M1 Macs, when they arrive, will require immediate update from macOS 11.0 which they’ll ship with, at least for the time being, to bring them up to 11.0.1. This is particularly important to be able to restore sealed copies of the System volume.

Firmware versions have changed across most if not all Macs which have been updated to 11.0.1. Apple Silicon Macs should now be running iBoot 6723.50.2; as they don’t have EFI firmware, that should be shown as the firmware version on some models. For those receiving early bird M1 models, I will be updating SilentKnight and LockRattler again to ensure that they work properly with new iBoot versions.

Intel Macs with T2 chips which have been upgraded to Big Sur should show a firmware version of 1554. iBridge 18.16.12561.0.0,0.

Because of these changes, I intend compiling a new page giving firmware version numbers for Macs of both species running Big Sur. This will take me a little while to assemble, though. For the time being, those using my free tool SilentKnight will see their newer firmware versions being reported in green, but with the newer number. SilentKnight is designed to accept that, as it often occurs in systems with beta-releases installed. It will only complain when the firmware found is older than that expected according to its database.

Security data updates

XProtect 2135 brings some small changes to its detection signatures, as detailed here. MRT 1.72 was pushed at the same time; versions 1.70 and 1.71 were never released publicly.

Gatekeeper version numbers are behaving strangely in Big Sur, and seem to be determined by the version installed by the previous system. On a Mac which has never run any version prior to Big Sur (including its betas), it can remain as low as 94. However, systems which have been updated from Catalina and earlier uniformly show 181. I have now changed the value in the database used by SilentKnight to 181. If you have a Mac which still shows 94, don’t be worried, as it looks as if this database is now unused anyway.

Other general updates

Safari 14.0.1 was released on 12 November, and should be pushed via Software Update.

Pro Video Formats 2.2.0 was also released on 12 November, and pushed via Software Update.

macOS 10.15.7 Supplemental Update

Apple has finally posted the standalone installer versions of this recent SU. The Combo version and smaller Delta version are both available now, and were posted on 11 November.

Security Updates for older macOS

Mojave and High Sierra Security Update 2020-006 were made available on 12 November through Software Update. Their accompanying security release notes are here, and include two of the kernel vulnerabilities and the font parser bug already fixed in Catalina. Standalone installers are available:

As these are essentially the same fixes already supplied in 10.15.7 Supplemental Update, there’s no matching security update for Catalina.

This is expected to be the very last security update which Apple provides for High Sierra.

Other service failures on 12 November 2020

Thursday’s software update service failure was accompanied by other service failures, including iMessages, OCSP (at which caused widespread inability to launch apps, even the Developer Documentation service. And it wasn’t even Friday 13th.

(Updated 23 November 2020 with links to standalone security updates.)