Last Week on My Mac: Apple harvest is coming

In case you were too distracted during last week’s Apple Event by the prospect of an Apple Watch Ultra, or the palm-busting iPhone 14 Plus, Apple also announced that macOS Ventura will be released next month, in October. It could of course be slipped out quietly and completely uncharacteristically, but I sense another Event in the offing, bringing the autumn crop of new Apple silicon Macs.

According to the timetable I glimpsed in the tea-leaves back in early June, next month should bring us M2 Mac minis and iMacs, in addition to macOS 13. Although it’s quite possible that Apple will offer us the first of the higher-performance M2 variants, the M2 Pro and Max, my money remains on those not appearing until the end of this year, or more probably early 2023. Currently, Apple’s order books are bursting with Watches and iPhones, while high-end M1 Macs like the Studio Ultra are still facing significant delays.

There’s one small but temporary disappointment: iCloud Shared Photo Library won’t be in the initial release versions of iOS 16 next week, nor in macOS 13 (or iPadOS 16) next month. Apple now promises this new feature will ship “later this year”.

Otherwise, Ventura looks largely complete and on target. Some of its more radical changes, thinking mainly of System Settings, have a period of evolution to come, smoothing the rough edges that have set so many beta-testers slating them publicly. But the big steps forward in Stage Manager, Passkeys and Rapid Security Response should be ready to use on our Macs in little more than a month.

The first scheduled security update for Monterey, 12.6, is almost ready to ship now, and might be released at the same time as iOS 16 next week. macOS 12.5.1 hadn’t been expected, but became an urgent need when the two vulnerabilities it addresses were known to be exploited in the wild. Alongside 12.6, the other security update due any time now is 11.6.9, assuming that Apple doesn’t intend numbering it 11.7. Catalina isn’t expected to receive any further security updates, now that its maintenance period has lapsed, and further support is terminated.

If you’re still running Catalina and your Mac can stretch to Big Sur or later, you should by now be making plans to upgrade. The one consolation is that macOS 10.15 will continue to enjoy the additional protection from malware delivered by XProtect Remediator, although its remaining vulnerabilities will remain unpatched.

XProtect Remediator received its seventh update last week, and resulted in rare reports of its scanning modules crashing on some Macs. These make themselves obvious in notifications that XProtectRemediatorX quit unexpectedly, where X is the name of that particular scanning target, such as DubRobber. You may also see Problem Reports for each of these, in which case please send them to Apple, and, if you can spare the time, send a Feedback report with them attached as well. If you’re not sure how to do that, I explained it all yesterday.

There may be a simple solution to those crashes, though: restarting your Mac. If they continue to occur after that, try the universal panacea of starting your Mac up in Safe mode; on Intel Macs, that’s a matter of holding the Shift key during startup, but Apple silicon Macs need to be shut down and started up in Recovery before you can opt for Safe mode. Once your Mac has been running in Safe mode for a few minutes, restart it in normal mode again.

The only other problem with XProtect Remediator that I’ve seen reported is stranger: when checking its results using my free XProCheck, a couple of users have seen a series of entries containing only censored private data, marked by <private>, instead of the scan reports they were expecting. We’re currently investigating why that should be happening.

We have busy harvest ahead.