What’s changed in Big Sur 11.2?

The update to macOS 11.2 is similar in size to the previous update from 11.0.1 to 11.1: around 3.25 GB for an Intel model, and almost 4.2 GB for an M1 Mac. It appears to include firmware updates for all compatible Macs.

Improvements listed by Apple include:

  • increased reliability of Bluetooth;
  • no more black screens on external displays connected to the M1 Mac mini using an HDMI to DVI converter;
  • fixed the saving of edits to Apple ProRAW images in Photos;
  • fixed iCloud Drive, which could be disabled altogether after disabling the Desktop & Documents option in iCloud;
  • System Preferences should now unlock reliably with an admin password;
  • the Globe key should now display the Emoji & Symbols pane correctly.

Apple lists separately changes aimed at enterprise customers, of which one is important for a great many using software firewalls and more: Network Extension Content Filters can now monitor network traffic from Apple’s own software. This is an important change for those using Little Snitch and similar products, as it means that Apple’s code no longer goes unmonitored.

Details of security fixes included are here. They include a fix to a bug in APFS in Big Sur found by Thomas Tempelmann, two bugs in Crash Reporter, nine in ImageIO and still more in Model I/O, and three in the kernel. However, there’s no mention that I can see of the old bug which might still be lurking in sudo.

Rosetta 2, including all the components in oah, has also undergone update as part of the same installation,

Although Apple still releases standalone installers for Security Updates to Catalina and Mojave, because of its sealed System volume, Big Sur updates aren’t currently available in that form. Those wanting to update offline should download the whole 11.2 Installer app through the App Store. If this causes you problems, please let Apple know, so that it understands the demand for standalone installers, and may reinstate them.

Apps which have changed version number include:

  • Bluetooth File Exchange, 8.0.2 to 8.0.3
  • Disk Utility, 20.0 to 20.1
  • Migration Assistant, 11.1 to 11.2
  • Music, 1.1.2 to 1.1.3
  • News, 6.2 to 6.2.1
  • Safari, 14.0.2 to 14.0.3
  • Stocks, 3.2 to 3.2.1
  • TV, 1.1.2 to 1.1.3.

Apps which have significantly incremented build numbers include:

  • App Store
  • Dock
  • Find My
  • Home
  • Mail
  • Maps
  • Notes
  • Photos.

Among the other system files which have significant changes in build and/or version number are:

  • Bluetooth Preference Pane
  • Bluetooth Setup Assistant and BluetoothUIServer (in CoreServices)
  • AVB Audio Configuration
  • AirPlayUIAgent
  • JavaLauncher (CoreServices)
  • NotificationCenter (CoreServices)
  • Paired Devices (CoreServices)
  • RawCamera (CoreServices)
  • Setup Assistant (CoreServices)
  • Siri (CoreServices)
  • Software Update (CoreServices)
  • AMD and AMDRadeon kexts
  • AppleHIDKeyboard kext
  • AppleIntel graphics kexts
  • IOBluetoothFamily kext
  • System kext
  • SQLite is updated to version 3.32.3
  • APFS, which goes from version 1677.60.23 to 1677.81.1
  • many public and private frameworks.

The update itself can be quite traumatic on an M1 Mac: my Mac mini suffered extreme video dysfunction for several minutes. Some have also report it taking longer to install than previous updates, although that wasn’t my experience.

I wish you success updating, and hope that all your Bluetooth problems have finally been solved.