Friday, September 1, 2023

How Software Update Works in Ventura

Howard Oakley:

When all the settings for automatic updates are turned off, the user should in theory be offered all updates as they become available, and be able to choose which to download and install manually from those offered in Software Update. Unfortunately, that isn’t what happens, as some available updates aren’t listed by Software Update, but only available by other means.

For example, a Mac that is still running macOS 13.4, and hasn’t received any updates to security data such as XProtect and XProtect Remediator, will only be offered the 13.5.1 macOS update following a manual check triggered by opening Software Update settings. Although XProtect and XProtect Remediator updates are delivered and installed individually, they aren’t listed in the updates available. If the 13.5.1 update is installed when automatic updates are all disabled, XProtect and XProtect Remediator aren’t updated, and aren’t offered as updates by Software Update settings.


Software Update settings are in urgent need of revision, to protect users from inadvertently falling behind with updates to important security components.

Howard Oakley:

Under Apple’s unstated policy, Big Sur has already been consigned to the past, and is now unsupported. Monterey has entered its second and final year of security-only updates, where Ventura has now joined it. But what can we expect Ventura to get over the next year: will those updates include Rapid Security Responses (RSRs) too?


Apple has clarified this only yesterday, in an updated support note about RSRs. That makes clear that we’re unlikely to see an RSR attempting to patch the kernel for a while, as they’re targeted primarily at Safari, WebKit and “other critical system libraries”. It also states that “New Rapid Security Responses are delivered only for the latest versions of iOS, iPadOS, and macOS, starting with iOS 16.4.1, iPadOS 16.4.1, and macOS 13.3.1.”


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