What has changed in Monterey 12.4?

The update to bring Monterey to version 12.4 is substantial, and brings many changes across macOS.

Apple’s release notes (which should soon appear here) state that the Podcasts app has been improved, and now includes a new setting to limit episodes stored locally, and automatically delete older ones. This update also introduces communications safety settings in Messages, with safety warnings, as Apple has previously explained. Those features are part of the parental control system.

Apple’s release notes for Enterprise include two more changes which could be relevant. This fixes a bug which prevented links to Microsoft Teams opening from Safari. It also fixes a problem with Intel Macs where, after attempting a password reset, returning to the login window required entering the firmware password.

There are no less than 54 security fixes, detailed here, including five for kernel vulnerabilities and five bugs in the Intel Graphics Driver. Security notes for Big Sur 11.6.6 are here, and for Catalina Security Update 2022-004 are here.

There’s a separate Studio Display Firmware Update which Apple states refines the built-in camera, improving its noise reduction, contrast and framing. That update isn’t normally offered in Software Update until after updating that Mac to 12.4, although Apple intends that display updates won’t be dependent on prior macOS updates being applied.

Firmware updates are provided for T2 Macs, bringing them to 1731., iBridge 19.16.15071.0.0,0, and for M1 series Macs, bringing iBoot to 7459.121.3. I have already updated those in my firmware database, accessible using SilentKnight. Other Intel Mac firmware updates will be added there in due course.

Universal Control has been updated to its first full release. This isn’t compatible with the beta shipped in 12.3.1 and its matching versions of iOS and iPadOS. To use this new version with devices, they must too be updated to this new release version, as explained here.

Apple provides a separate detailed list of changes brought in Shortcuts.

The following bundled apps appear to have changed significantly:

  • App Store, build number
  • Books, to version 4.4
  • Mail, build number
  • Maps, build number
  • Music, to version 1.2.4
  • News, to version 7.3.1
  • Photo Booth, to version 12.2
  • Photos, large increment in build number
  • Podcasts, build number
  • Safari, to version 15.5 (17613.
  • Stocks, to version 4.3.1
  • TV, to version 1.2.4
  • Boot Camp Assistant, build number
  • Migration Assistant, to version 12.4.

The following items in /System/Library are among those which appear to have changed significantly:

  • Several Automator actions
  • Managed Client app
  • Screen Time
  • Siri, to version 3105.3.1
  • Software Update
  • Universal Control
  • Kernel extensions updated include several AGX and Apple Intel graphics, AMDRadeon, ANE Load Balancer, Embedded Audio, Apple Storage Drivers, USB Audio, and System.kext
  • APFS is updated to 1934.121.2
  • many public frameworks including Metal, Virtualisation and WebKit
  • Dock, Profiles and Speech preference panes
  • Many private frameworks including Biome, several Cloud services.

However, 12.4 doesn’t fix or alter in any way the memory leak seen in the Finder’s Find feature, nor does it display charge levels during recharging of Apple wireless input devices. I’m cautiously optimistic that it may have addressed some of the bugs in Disk Utility, but will examine those in more detail over the next few days.

[Updated 0620 GMT 17 May 2022 with detail on Universal Control and Shortcuts.]