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Mac OS X 10.3.3: Improvements, Troubleshooting; more

Mac OS X 10.3.3: Improvements, Troubleshooting; more

Last evening Apple released new versions of Mac OS X and Mac OS X Server (10.3.3).

According to Apple, key improvements in the consumer version of Mac OS X 10.3.3 include:

  • network volumes are now available in the Finder sidebar and Desktop for convenient access
  • improved file sharing and directory services for Mac (AFP), UNIX (NFS) and PC (SMB/CIFS) networks
  • improved PostScript and USB printing
  • updated Disk Utility, DVD Player, Image Capture, Mail and Safari applications
  • additional support for FireWire and USB devices
  • improved compatibility for third party applications
  • previous standalone security updates and Bluetooth Update 1.5

A Knowledge Base article (#25711) details further enhancements.

Key improvements for the Mac OS X Server 10.3.3 include:

"improved reliability of AFP, SMB/CIFS and NFS file services enhanced Server Admin, Workgroup Manager and Network Image Utility applications improved Open Directory authentication performance, Active Directory integration and Kerberos support updated QuickTime streaming and broadcast services for compatibility with 3G phones added support for background rebuilding of RAID mirrors, and network VLAN tagging updated to Samba version 3.0.2 and MySQL version 4.0.18 improved PostScript and USB printing additional support for FireWire and USB devices improved compatibility for third party applications and devices previous standalone security updates "

Both releases are available via Software Update.

Additional improvements

Performance boosts Several readers have remarked on the overall speed gain apparent in Mac OS X 10.3.3, with some specific third party apps shedding their previous sluggishness:

Paul S. Randall writes "Mail and Safari launch immediately. Microsoft Excel launches immediately, even with huge spreadsheets (2MB). The best thing with Excel is password protected documents. In 10.3.2 I'd have a very long delay with password entry, no longer."

Duplex networking Apple says that Mac OS X 10.3.3 fixes issues, such as a lost network connection, that could occur when connecting to a network device that forces the network speed and/or duplex setting noted in mid-February here on MacFixIt.

New devices supported Mark Rougeux reports that Mac OS X 10.3.3 adds support for his HP 5MP attached to a dual 2 GHz G5 via a USB-Parallel cable.

AppleOnboardAudio.kext and G5s We previously reported significant issues with optical audio on some Power Mac G5s that have been upgraded to Mac OS X 10.3.2. General symptoms include the volume control, input menu and airport icons disappearing from the menu bar, and very slow operation. The culprit in this issue was the extension AppleOnboardAudio.kext in Mac OS X 10.3.2, Replacing the version of this file included with Mac OS X 10.3.2 with the version included with Mac OS X 10.3.1 (or 10.3.0) seemed to resolve the problems on a number of systems.

It seems that this issue has been fixed in Mac OS X 10.3.3. Tony Aguila writes "The problem with AppleOnboardAudio.kext and the G5 has been fixed. It did not indicate so anywhere, and I was afraid I was going to have to go in and replace that file again after the update. But, the stalling problem is gone. Everything else seems fine... so far."


diskutil still broken Kristofer Widholm notes that the command line diskutil is still broken under Mac OS X 10.3.3. "Running diskutil in single user mode (which can come in very handy if you need to troubleshoot your system from Darwin) causes the message 'Carbon Lazy Values, Total Size [nnnnn]' to be printed, and then the utility hangs. This has been broken since the first version of Panther, despite Apple having acknowledged the bug.

Keep Apple-installed applications in their original location If you've moved certain applications out of the Applications, or Applications/Utilities folder (or into subfolders), the Mac OS X 10.3.3 installer may have problems properly updating them.

One MacFixIt reader describes a problem that occurred after moving several Bluetooth utilities:

"After previously installing Bluetooth 1.5 I'd moved the three utilities Bluetooth File Exchange, Bluetooth Serial Utility and Bluetooth Setup Assistant into a sub-folder within my Utilities folder (i.e. /Applications/Utilities/Bluetooth). When I ran the 10.3.3 update (both from Software Update and the full stand-alone installer) it helpfully recreated them in the Utilities folder.

"So far so good. But the applications that get installed are incomplete - they are missing panels, gifs, buttons, all sorts of things - but especially their custom icons."

Problems with the new release? Drop us a line at

  • Mac OS X 10.3.3
  • #25711
  • Mac OS X Server 10.3.3
  • noted in mid-February
  • More from Late-Breakers