Apple releases Mac OS X 10.5.2

Apple released Mac OS X 10.5.2 on Monday, an update that addresses several common complaints regarding some new Leopard features, while also adding new features and fixing numerous bugs.

Among the major changes is an update to Stacks, the feature of OS X's Dock that allows quick access to items within folders. In 10.5.2, users can view any folder in the Dock as either a Folder or a Stack, and view content as either a Fan, Grid, or List. Pre-Leopard versions of Mac OS X provided only a List view; previous versions of Leopard provided either a Fan or Grid view based on the number of items in a Stack.

Another widely criticized feature of Leopard was the addition of a translucent menu bar and menu items; the 10.5.2 update adds an option to the Desktop & Screen Saver preference pane to turn translucency off. Menu items are also less translucent (regardless of how you set the menu bar preference), making them more readable.

 

Menu items in 10.5.1 (left) are more transparent than those in 10.5.2 (right).

An addition to Apple's Time Machine backup feature, which was introduced in Leopard, provides a menu bar item for accessing Time Machine features. In addition, the update addresses a bug that would prevent some external drives from being recognized by Time Machine.

Users of newer digital cameras will want to note that this update adds RAW support for several cameras, which have been added to Apple's complete list of Leopard-compatible RAW formats.

This update also improves several programs bundled with Mac OS X. iCal, Apple's calendar program, now accurately reflects responses to recurring meetings and fixing a problem in which a meeting may have remained on the calendar after being cancelled. Apple's iChat instant-messaging client is no longer disturbed by Time Machine when calculating idle times, offers improved AIM 6 video compatibility, and has had numerous other bugs squashed. The update to Apple's Mail application fixes several bugs, improves the accuracy of Data Detectors, and fixes an issue that may have prevented RSS feeds from being delivered in Mail. Mail also now automatically disables version 1.1.2 and earlier of the unsupported GrowlMail plug-in, which according to Apple was causing compatibility "issues."

According to Apple's detailed release notes, this update also addresses "connection reliability and stability" on AirPort Networks; improves performance of some Apple Dashboard widgets while fixing a buggy interaction between Dashboard and Parental Controls; adds Back to My Mac support for more third-party routers; adds iSync support for two Samsung phones; improves Parental Controls stability and fixes several bugs; improves PDF scrolling in Preview; fixes several printing bugs; improves the accuracy of the systemwide grammar checker; and "improves general stability when running third-party applications."

OS X 10.5.2 also incorporates the CD and DVD Sharing feature previous provided as a separate installation option on the install disc that shipped with the MacBook Air. When users check CD and DVD Sharing in the Sharing preference pane, users of MacBook Air systems or any Mac running 10.5.2 can "borrow" that Mac's optical drive for copying files or installing software.

A complete list of release notes is available. Mac OS 10.5.2 is available via the Software Update mechanism in Mac OS X or via direct download.

Once you install and restart your computer, you'll notice another update that becomes available. Leopard Graphics Update 1.0 "improves the stability and compatibility of your Mac," according to notes accompanying the update. The update requires Mac OS X 10.5.2.

(Updated 2:24 p.m. PT to include more detail about major feature updates. Updated 4:01 p.m. PT to include information about the Leopard Graphics Update. Updated 4:13 p.m. PT to add information about CD/DVD Sharing. Rob Griffiths and Jason Snell contributed to this report.)

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