Several weeks ago, Apple released a minor update to OS X Yosemite in the form of 10.10.4. While this update brought several fixes for popular applications, such as Safari and the Photos app, there were also a few important updates targeting the reliability of some enterprise-level functions.
The update also includes dozens of CVEs (or Common Vulnerability and Exposure) patches to address known security issues within the OS itself. Let's take a look at five of the more business-centric features affected.
The initial release of 10.10 brought select end users a series of Wi-Fi issues, such as weak signal or drops in connectivity while connected to wireless networks. Though many of the offending issues were cleared up in 10.10.3, some issues still lingering were effectively resolved in this corresponding update, bringing Wi-Fi reliability to an all-time high in Yosemite.
Binding to Active Directory services
Let's face it, Microsoft and Apple's love-hate relationship isn't as great for end users as it could be, but it's not as bad as it used to be. Interestingly enough, though binding Macs to Active Directory domains is a relatively smooth procedure, it still does cause machines to disconnect or "drop off of AD" on occasion. With each release of OS X and its subsequent minor point releases, this becomes more stable, especially when Macs go offline for a period of time without authenticating with the DC.
Outgoing mail delays
Apple Mail is a solid email client—one that's robust enough to scale to meet even the heaviest of email workloads. Combined with its native integration with Spotlight allows for easy searching of archived messages and attachments. However, bugs have been known to affect sending/receiving of email from time to time, and this particular issue resolved in 10.10.4 affected the former to a degree that would cause a noticeable delay in sending outgoing email, sometimes halting it altogether and keeping it queued in the Outbox until the message was recreated and resent.
createmobileaccount Command fix
Though the createmobileaccount command became available a few versions of OS X back, when 10.10.3 was released, the tool effectively became broken and prevented admins from pre-staging home folder accounts using this command. Though workarounds were developed to side-step this issue, 10.10.4 has fixed the tool, once again allowing IT to use it freely when creating new mobile accounts without having to resort to other methods to get the task accomplished.
Migration Assistant reliability
Migration Assistant is a utility used by home and enterprise users alike to transfer data and applications from one Mac to another. Though best practices may typically find compartmentalizing applications from data and settings/preferences in larger corporate environments, SMBs may lack the resources to separate these and rely heavily on Migration Assistant to perform the heavy lifting when transferring an existing employee's work, settings, and apps to a new device. While the time it takes for the utility to complete depends largely on the amount of data to transfer, a known issue was affecting the process, causing it to delay excessively to the point of timing out or freezing outright. Luckily, this issue has been eliminated, allowing migrations to occur in the timely, efficient manner in which they were designed.
As far as updates go, 10.10.4 was a smaller release with minor fixes yet inclusive of some pretty important corrections to frustrating usability issues. The solutions are welcome as they extend the reliability of certain applications while stabilizing the integrity of others.
If you wish to gain more insight into exactly what types of fixes were included in 10.10.4, including detailed information regarding security fixes for CVEs, review the following document provided by Apple describing the security content.
- Pro tip: An even easier way to create a bootable USB Installer for OS X Yosemite
- Pro tip: Troubleshooting 10 known OS X Yosemite issues
- ZDNet: When Yosemite went wonky: Fixing an OS X systems failure
- ZDNet: With OS X 10.10.4, Apple fixes networking issues by going back to the well
Jesus Vigo is a Network Administrator by day and owner of Mac|Jesus, LLC, specializing in Mac and Windows integration and providing solutions to small- and medium-size businesses. He brings 19 years of experience and multiple certifications from several vendors, including Apple and CompTIA.