El Capitan gets a big upgrade - are you prepared?

OS X El Capitan has been available for just over three weeks and there has already been a major update to the operating system. This is mainly to fix problems that people were having and some security flaws.

OS X 10.11.1 upgrade

Apple has just posted OS X 10.11.1 and it is big, really big. Over 1GB big.

El Capitan upgrade

You don’t want to download this when you are out at a Wi-Fi hotspot because it could take all day. It is best on a fast and reliable connection and depending on the internet and wireless network speed, it could take an hour for some people to download.

It is always a good idea to have a backup before downloading an update to OS X, just in case something goes wrong. It is fine for most people, but problems do occur occasionally for some people. This is such a big update - well over 1GB of files - it means that a backup is essential, not simply a good idea.

Clone the disk to an external drive using SuperDuper! or something similar. This means that if the Mac will not start for some reason, you can start it from the external disk drive by holding down the Option key just after switching on. You get a list of disks and can select the boot disk. Choose the cloned one if the internal disk won't boot.

So what does it contain? According to Apple:

  • Improves installer reliability when upgrading to OS X El Capitan.
  • Improves compatibility with Microsoft Office 2016.
  • Fixes an issue where outgoing server information may be missing from Mail.
  • Resolves an issue that prevented display of messages and mailboxes in Mail.
  • Resolves an issue that prevents certain Audio Unit plug-ins from functioning properly.
  • Improves VoiceOver reliability.
  • Adds over 150 new emoji characters with full Unicode 7.0 and 8.0 support.
  • Resolves an issue that caused JPEG images to appear as a gray or green box in Preview.
  • There are a lot of security fixes and too many to list. Several of the fixes refer to maliciously crafted websites and web pages could be created to execute code on your Mac. Playing maliciously created audio files, images, archives, disk images and fonts could run code on your Mac. The list goes on and on.

What you have to bear in mind with all these security fixes is that most of them are discovered by security researchers and most are not actually being used in the wild.

Let’s hope this update improves El Capitan’s rating in the Mac App Store. The average for all versions is about 3.5, with the current version scoring just 2 (even lower than in the screen shot I took earlier in the day). That is pretty poor. The main problems are installation installation issues where some people have lost files, software or even everything on the Mac's disk. Let’s says it again, back up before starting! It takes out all the risk.

El Capitan App Store score

It is not hard to find high scores of 4 and 5, so when it does work, people quite like it.

I find it is a bit slow and OS X has been getting bigger and slower for years. The spinning beach ball appears more often than it used to and the Mac takes longer to start up.



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