Some Hidden Changes In 10.5.3

/ 31 May 2008

Last night at around 6:04 pm I took my chances and installed the recently-releassed Mac OS X Update v10.5.3 onto my MacBook. Ever since, I’ve been finding minor tweaks and new features that are good to note here (some were mentioned in other places, some weren’t).

First of all, in System Profiler: The Power section was reorganized to place the Battery Information section above the rest. I guess Apple received feedback asking them to make this change, it is well-appreciated by me at least.

Also evident from System Profiler, but not a direct change in the application, was that the version number of the Darwin Kernel changed from 9.2.2 in 10.5.2 to 9.3.0 in 10.5.3. This makes perfect sense because at least 5 kernel extensions (none involving Airport) were changed in the update.

As was reported at The Unofficial Apple Weblog (TUAW) and Google’s Mac blog, you can now have your Mac’s/ iPhone (or iPod Touch) Address Books sync to your Google Account’s Address Book as your iPhone or iPod Touch syncs. That activation of the sync aligns perfectly with the reports that the feature is only available to users that sync either an iPhone or iPod Touch. It may also work for .Mac (or rumored renaming to Mobile Me) users as well.

Spaces got some key improvements that are welcomed by me at least. New in the Spaces tab of the Exposé & Spaces System Preferences preference pane is a checkbox that says “When switching to an application, switch to a space with open windows for the application”. With this checkbox checked (and it’s checked by default) Spaces functions as it always has, on an application-basis, but, if you uncheck this checkbox Spaces functions on a task-basis. So, it means that instead of switching Spaces when using command-tab or the Dock icons, it will just activate that application so you can start a new window in that space (oddly and annoyingly Finder is an exception). That is exactly the way I would have wished Spaces to function, I’m quite pleased that it is now possible.

Though it is hard for me to be certain (as it never happened consistently anyways), I think the annoying Mail bug with dragging attachments to it’s Dock icon and two compose windows opening, the second containing the attachment, has been fixed in Mail v3.3.

Those are about all the hidden (but well-appreciated) changes that I’ve seen so far in 10.5.3. Most of the reported problems (Mac not booting, iTunes crashing, etc.) have not been experienced by me. Enjoy, Alex.

Update 1: The Airport issues that I had in 10.5.2 are persistent in 10.5.3. I know that the problem is software, likely the kernel, because I’d seen it on one other MacBook. That said, there’s not much I can do except wait it out again (and maybe report it myself?). At least nothing else seems to be hurt, so the update didn’t make things worse, it just didn’t fix the topmost bug on my list of bugs I’d hoped that it would fix.

Update 2: Apple inexplicably changed all my iCal publishing to .Mac in the database upgrade post-10.5.3 install. Annoying as I had to redo all of it.

Update 3: It turns out that one of the Airport changes was a firmware update for Airport Extreme Cards from v1.3.4 in 10.5.2 to v1.3.5 in 10.5.3. Could this mean that my Mac’s Airport issues are less linked to the card and more linked to the network? Considering that it only happens at home anyway.