Apple releases Mac OS X 10.4.6

Apple releases Mac OS X 10.4.6

Apple has released Mac OS X 10.4.6 through its Software Update servers and as a series of standalone downloads.

This is the first release for which Apple has issued a combination updater for Intel-based Macs.

See below for download links, enhancement listings, and recommended update procedure.

If you are having issues after updating to Mac OS X 10.4.6, please let us know.

Download links

  • Mac OS X 10.4.6 for PPC [65MB]
  • Mac OS X 10.4.6 for Intel [163MB]
  • Mac OS X 10.4.6 Combo for PPC [140MB]
  • Mac OS X 10.4.6 Combo for Intel [191MB]
  • Mac OS X Server 10.4.6 [92MB]
  • Mac OS X Server 10.4.6 Combo [182MB]

Enhancements in this release include:

Finder, networking, and logging in

  • 802.1X login authentication configurations created in Internet Connect can now be used at the Mac OS X login window, too.
  • Addresses an issue in which, when at the login window, the computer would not shut down automatically at a time specified in Energy Saver Schedule preferences; for more information, see this article.
  • Prevents a potential issue in which Mac OS X might stop responding when trying to log in as a FileVault-protected user if the protected Home image file has been damaged or moved; instead, a "You are unable to log in to the user account (name) at this time." alert message appears.
  • Addresses an issue for home directories on AFP servers in which, after failing to burn a disc, an "error -61" alert message would appear when trying to delete the Burn Folder related to the unsuccessful burn.
  • If you change your login password at the Login window, you will now be given an opportunity to apply the same change to your default keychain.
  • You can now copy folders with files to an SMB-based server instead of only the folder being copied and this alert message appearing: "The operation cannot be completed because you do not have sufficient privileges for some of the items."
  • Addresses an issue that could prevent MacBook Pro from printing to wireless printers via AppleTalk.
  • Improves iDisk (WebDAV file system) performance.
  • File and folder names that contain colon or forward slash ( "/") characters in the main directory of an iDisk or WebDAV volume no longer cause issues.
  • Resolves potential issues that could occur when using automatic proxy configuration (PAC) files.

Apple applications

  • Resolves an issue in which Mail could unexpectedly quit when lowering the quote level within a reply message.
  • Addresses an issue in which iChat, on an Intel-based Mac with a built-in iSight camera, could sometimes stop displaying video from the iSight camera until the computer was shut down and started up again.
  • Dragging a movie clip into iMovie 6 on an Intel-based Mac will no longer potentially cause some of the iMovie window to turn black.
  • Disk Utility's repair permissions feature will no longer report "We are using special permissions for..." messages.
  • Updates Calculator so that the percentage button ("%") will no longer divide, under certain circumstances, when you expect it to calculate percentage?this could happen in Mac OS X 10.4.3 through 10.4.5.
  • Resolves an issue that could cause Help Viewer to sometimes display a blank window.
  • Addresses some issues that could cause DVD Player to unexpectedly quit when playing a movie disc on an Intel-based Mac.
  • Terminal windows will no longer fail to open when using the /bin/zsh shell.
  • EXIF data is now exported with TIFF images in Aperture.
  • Aperture will no longer unexpectedly quit when exporting a file with keywords that contain twelve or more Cyrillic characters.
  • Resolves potential issues with several iPhoto Automator actions, such as Import Photos into iPhoto.
  • Includes iSync 2.2 which provides support for additional mobile phones. For more information, see iSync 2.2: Read before updating to Mac OS X 10.4.6 or later, or before first sync.

Third-party applications

  • Resolves an issue in which Blizzard World of Warcraft character graphics could be distorted on an Intel-based Mac with a built-in graphics processor when vertex shaders are enabled.
  • The Command-H key combination now hides QuarkXPress 6 as expected when it is the front application.
  • Addresses an issue for Aspyr Media's True Crime: The Streets of LA game in which game movies are very dim on Intel-based Macs.
  • Addresses an issue for Microsoft Word 2004 in which Word would display a "Word cannot complete the operation because too many files are open" alert message when autosaving a document to a network-based home directory.
  • Improves character graphics appearance for Aspyr Media's The Sims House Party when running with Rosetta on an Intel-based Mac.

Other

  • Makes Mac OS X aware of United States Daylight Savings Time (DST) changes enacted by the Energy Policy Act of 2005.
  • Clicking an unmounted iDisk icon in the Save As dialog window of an application running with Rosetta no longer causes the application to stop with a spinning cursor.
  • Spotlight is now better able to search the content of older Microsoft Word documents.
  • Addresses an issue in which some third-party applications might stop responding or unexpectedly quit when running on an Intel-based Mac if you disconnect or connect a display while the computer is on.
  • Addresses potential vnode reference count mismatches that could lead to a kernel panic.
  • Addresses USB audio issues for PowerPC Macs; for example, latency is improved. Addresses several AppleScript issues, including: Preservation of property values in Script Menu, a potential Bonjour issue with "choose remote application", an invisible "choose application" dialog issue, and improved compatibility with Dashboard widgets and applications.
  • Includes recent Apple security updates.

Update process recommendation We recommend the following procedure when installing Mac OS X 10.4.6.

First, avoid performing any other operations (in Mac OS X or third-party applications) while the update process is occurring. In addition, before installing this security update, make sure all Apple-installed applications and utilities are in their original locations. Moving one of these applications to a different location on your hard drive can lead to an incomplete update. Also, disconnect any FireWire/USB devices before applying Mac OS X 10.4.6 (except for your startup drive, if it is FireWire or USB), then re-connect the devices one by one after the update process is complete and the system has restarted.

If you'd like to take an even more cautious route, use the following process:

  • First create a backup of your startup volume.
  • Drag the folder com.apple.SoftwareUpdate located in /Library/Caches (the Library folder at the root level of your hard drive) to the trash.
  • Download the standalone version of Mac OS X 10.4.6 and save it for later.
  • Startup (restart) your Mac using a drive other than your usual startup drive as the boot volume. This can include an eDrive created by TechTool Pro, or better, an external FireWire. Make sure that this drive includes a copy of Disk Utility (which can simply be copied from your normal startup volume).
  • Launch Disk Utility from the temporary startup drive. Perform a "Repair Disk" operation on your normal startup drive (which should now appear as another mounted volume in the Finder)
  • Again restart, this time booting from your normal startup volume, while holding the "Shift" key to boot in Safe Mode.
  • Apply Mac OS X 10.4.6 and restart when prompted, this time without holding the "Shift" key.

As with previous iterative Mac OS X releases, the startup time after first installing Mac OS X 10.4.6 can be inordinately long. Don't panic if you are stuck at the grey progress screen for several minutes after the update. Subsequent restarts should take place at normal speed.

General purpose workarounds

Three workaround routines will solve many of the issues that are indirectly caused by Mac OS X 10.4.6 installation (i.e. not due to bugs or flaws in the update, but pre-existing system conditions that may be triggered by the updater process).

The routines are as follows:

Delete kernel extension caches, other caches for some issues A number of common issues that crop up after incremental Mac OS X updates can be resolved by deleting specific cache files -- specifically kernel extension caches -- and restarting.

This can most easily be accomplished with a shareware utility like Tiger Cache Cleaner, but also bears a manual process which involves dragging the following files to the trash:

  • com.apple.kernelcaches (a folder in /System/Library/Caches)
  • Extensions.kextcache (a file in /System/Library)
  • Extensions.mkext (a file in /System/Library/)
  • com.apple.ATS (a folder in /Library/Caches/)
  • Files that start with com.apple.LaunchServices (in /Library/Caches)

You will be prompted to enter your administrator password when dragging these files to the trash. You may need to restart after moving them to the trash.

Re-apply the Mac OS X 10.4.6 combo updater A workaround that has proved successful for various problems caused by previous incremental Mac OS X updaters is re-application of the current combination updater (PowerPC or Intel). Doing so overwrites potentially problem-causing files that were not replaced by the "Delta" (adjacent version-to-version) update.

Re-apply the Mac OS X 10.4.6 combo updater from an alternate startup volume

  1. Download and save the Mac OS X 10.4.6 combo updater (PowerPC or Intel).
  2. Startup from an alternate boot volume, such as an external FireWire drive, or use another Mac to boot the problematic system in FireWire target disk mode (connect the two machines via a FireWire cable, and boot the target [problematic] system while holding down the "T" key)
  3. Once booted from an alternate drive, select the problematic volume in the Finder, and "Get Info" -- either by pressing the Command-I keyboard combination or accessing the "Get Info" option in the File menu. Check the box marked "Ignore ownership permissions on this volume."
  4. If you have a third-party disk repair utility like DiskWarrior, use it to re-build the directory on the problematic volume (this step may not be necessary)
  5. Re-install the Mac OS X 10.4.6 combo updater on the problematic drive.
  6. Re-attempt booting from the problematic volume (hold down the option key at startup to select the desired drive)

Feedback? Late-breakers@macfixit.com.

Resources
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