By popular request, I have now added a new tool to my free utility Mints, in version 1.8, which provides instant access to Software Update information about the versions of firmware and recovery systems installed.
Mints is a unique collection of tools for looking deep into different systems within macOS, either to investigate problems or for research. Most of those tools involve the Unified log, but it’s not a general-purpose log browser like Ulbow. Instead it does the work for you, and only shows entries likely to be relevant to the subsystems you’re interested in. Those currently cover:
- privacy protection using TCC
- Time Machine
- App Store
- Look Up
- scheduled and routine background tasks using DAS-CTS
- Spotlight search, with a test of its function.
In addition, Mints gives access to various system information that is otherwise not easy to come by, covering the Mac itself, its keychains, Mach Absolute time, and it can check for Universal binaries.
This new button, Software Update, searches log entries over the last 24 hours to discover listings of firmware versions, recovery systems, and other details, which it then displays.
Depending the Mac model, this can include its normal firmware, firmware version and build for the T2 chip or BridgeOS, and a lot of additional information for Apple silicon Macs. If you’re running Ventura beta, you’ll discover this includes information about its new patch update system as well.
Note that the Recovery system referred to here is that stored in a hidden container for Recovery that isn’t the regular Recovery system in Monterey. Instead, this is a backup copy known as Fallback Recovery. Apple silicon Macs running Monterey and later normally use a copy of Recovery that is paired with the boot system and stored in the same container as that boot volume group. Only when you put your Mac into fallback Recovery, using a double-press-and-hold of the Power button, should it boot into that copy of Recovery in the hidden container on its internal SSD.
The way that fallback Recovery is intended to work is that, each time you update macOS, the previous copy of Recovery is copied into that hidden container to become the fallback, and the fresh Recovery system is installed into the paired Recovery volume. When that works correctly, fallback Recovery should contain that older Recovery system, and should save you from having to run Recovery over the Internet, as on Intel Macs, when the primary paired Recovery doesn’t work.
Assuming you have started your Mac up within the last 24 hours, and have just installed a macOS update, the new Software Update button will show two sets of firmware and recovery versions: those from before the update, and those after. Compare the two to see what has been updated, and which version of Recovery is now available as a fallback.
Mints comes with a comprehensive 33-page Help book, and is now available from here: mints18
from Downloads above, from its Product Page, and via its auto-update mechanism. You’ll find links to a whole series of articles about Mints’ individual features on its Product Page.
I hope you find this new version fascinating to say the least.