Apple is just about to release Big Sur 11.5 update

At around 1725 UTC today (20 July 2021), I announced in this article that Apple had released the macOS 11.5 update. A little later, when others reported that they couldn’t download it, I amended my announcement as follows:

Apple may have just released the 11.5 update to macOS Big Sur. It’s of modest size, weighing in at just under 3 GB for M1 Macs, and probably just over 2 GB for Intel models. There’s some doubt at the moment: although this wasn’t announced as the second release candidate, and presented links to the release notes and security notes, this might in fact prove to be RC2 and not the full release. I’ll confirm this as soon as I can.

Apple has improved Podcasts Library with a tab to show all shows or only those followed, and has fixed a bug in which Music didn’t update play count and last played date properly, and enabled Smart cards to work fully when logging in to M1 Macs.

I’ll post further details later, as I get them. I suspect there’ll also be security updates for Mojave and Catalina.

I apologise, but I have been the victim of a misrelease. The M1 Mac mini on which I found this update is registered in Apple’s beta-programme, so receives notifications of both regular updates, and betas. Shortly before announcing this release, it suddenly informed me via Software Update that a new version of macOS 11.5 was available.

Being cautious, I checked which version it was offering, and it stated clearly 11.5, build 20G71. There was no information which suggested for a moment that this was anything other than the full release. Specifically, it did not state that it was the second release candidate (RC2), which had been released to beta-testers 24 hours previously (and hadn’t shown up on that Mac either). Furthermore, Software Update offered me additional information for this update, which included details of changes, and links to the regular public pages where release notes and security update notes are published. In short, this was presented as the full release version of 11.5.

Having now completed this update, it describes itself as “macOS Version 11.5 (20G71)”, and makes no reference to it being a pre-release version or RC2.

Either this is the full release, which hasn’t yet been made available from Apple’s public update servers, or it has been badly misrepresented as being a full release. I therefore apologise to all of you who have been mislead by this extraordinary situation.

As soon as I know any more about the full release, I will post another article here to keep you up to date. I suspect that what eventually turns up will be very close if not identical to build 20G71, but we’ll have to wait and see.