What has changed in macOS Monterey 12.3?

By any measure, Monterey’s 12.3 update is very substantial, introducing major new features like Universal Control and Spatial Audio, changing several bundled apps, and fixing many bugs. Here’s my rundown of what has changed, starting with a summary of Apple’s notes, which are once again helpfully detailed.

Apple’s list of additions to 12.3 includes:

  • Universal Control, although this is still officially in beta
  • Spatial Audio, M1 models only, in conjunction with supported AirPods
  • additional emoji
  • episode filters for Podcasts
  • Visual Look Up, which recognises art, landmarks and more
  • web page translation for Italian and Traditional Chinese
  • improvements to Shortcuts for Reminders
  • addition of notes to saved passwords
  • improved accuracy in battery capacity readings.

Bugs fixed include:

  • News widgets in Today View should open articles properly
  • fixed distorted audio in the TV app
  • fixes in organisation of albums in Photos.

I am shocked to report that two most obvious bugs still haven’t been fixed. The more serious of them is the gaping memory leak in the Finder’s Find command, which has made this major feature next to useless since the first release of Monterey, and was reported to Apple last November (at least).

The other is the inability of the Bluetooth menubar item to report the charge level for Apple wireless keyboards and trackpads when they’re being recharged. It’s hard to know whether Apple doesn’t care about these, or can’t find an engineer competent to address either of them, but I’d be deeply ashamed if I left such glaring bugs in a product for five months.

There are 45 security fixes, detailed here, including four in AppleScript, and five in the kernel. Apple doesn’t remark that any are known to have been exploited in the wild, though.

Firmware updates are installed for all Intel Macs with T2 chips, for iMac19,1 and iMac19,2, and all M1 series Macs. The new T2 firmware is 1731. (iBridge 19.16.14242.0.0,0), and iBoot is 7459.101.2. I have updated the reference tables used by SilentKnight, and three articles here to reflect those changes.

Significant changes found in version or build number in bundled apps include:

  • Books, version number increase from 4.2 to 4.3
  • Home has a major increment in build number
  • Mail, version number increases from 15.0 to 16.0
  • Music has a minor increment in version number from 1.2.2 to 1.2.3
  • News, version number increases from 7.2.1 to 7.3
  • Photo Booth, version number increases from 12.0 to 12.1
  • Photos has a major increment in build number
  • Podcasts has a major increment in build number
  • QuickTime Player has a major increment in build number
  • Reminders has a major increment in build number
  • Safari is updated to version 15.4 (17613.
  • Stocks, version number increases from 4.2.1 to 4.3
  • TV, version number increases from 1.2.2 to 1.2.3
  • Disk Utility, version number increases from 21.0 to 21.5
  • Migration Assistant, version number increases from 12.2 to 12.3
  • Terminal, version number increases from 2.12 to 2.12.5.
  • Finder, version number increases from 12.1 to 12.3, despite its continuing memory leak.

Significant changes in /System/Library include:

  • Many Accessibility components
  • Several Audio Plug-ins in the HAL folder
  • Install.app has a significant increment in build number
  • ManagedClient.app, version number increases from 14.0 to 14.2
  • Photo Library Migration Utility has a significant increment in build number
  • RawCamera.bundle, version number increases from 9.12.1 to 9.12.2
  • ARDAgent, AppleVNCServer and ScreensharingAgent have significant increments in build numbers
  • Siri has an increment in version number
  • Universal Control 1.0 is added to CoreServices
  • Xcode Previews.app 13.3 is added to CoreServices
  • AGX kexts have new versions
  • Many AMD kexts have increased version numbers
  • AppleAfterburner kext has an increased version number
  • AppleEmbeddedAudio kext has an increased version number
  • AppleGL3590FirmwareUpdater is a new kext, possibly to support M1 models
  • AppleGraphicsControl kext has an increased version number
  • AppleIntel graphics kexts are updated to new versions
  • AppleStorageDrivers kext is updated to a new version
  • System kext and all its plugins are updated to new versions
  • APFS is updated from version 1933.80.3 to 1934.101.3
  • Many frameworks are updated, including AVKit, AppKit, CloudKit, CoreData, CoreFoundation, CoreGraphics, CoreImage, DirectoryService, EventKit, FileProvider, Foundation, GameKit, JavaScriptCore, LocalAuthentication, Metal, PDFKit, QuartzCore, QuickLook, Security, SwiftUI, SystemExtensions, Virtualization, and WebKit
  • Python has been removed as expected
  • Ruby framework has been updated to 12.3
  • OpenDirectory modules have been updated
  • Preference Panes updated include Keyboard, Notifications, Profiles, Speech, and UniversalAccess
  • Many Private Frameworks have been updated, including Backup and various Cloud services
  • AirPlay components have been updated
  • Several new Private Frameworks have been added, including ChartSerialization, Chirp, ContextualUnderstanding, DocumentUnderstanding, FlexMusicKit, HumanUnderstanding, Koa, LearnedFeatures, LiveExecutionResults, Nexus, PersonalUnderstanding, Proximity, RemotePairingDevice, and SiriSuggestions.

Many of these exotic new private frameworks appear to be related to Visual Look Up, and some of course to Universal Control.