Last week Apple released its first major update for OS X Mavericks (10.9). The update brings a number of bug fixes for Mail and the voice-command user interface VoiceOver, as well as a Safari browser update. The Mail app has been improved for Gmail support, search and contact-groups features.
The biggest improvement was for Safari 7.0.1, which can be applied either with Mavericks or separately. The Safari patch repairs unresponsive forms on sites such as FedEx.com, makes the credit-card autofill easier to use and streamlines VoiceOver with Facebook. Apple also released fixes to Safari 6.1.1. which includes unexpected support for older versions of Mac OS X.
This article provides details for the security update and outlines concerns, voiced by Apple customers since last October, who have not yet updated to Mavericks because their systems don’t have the necessary processing speed, and are running either Lion or Mountain Lion (Apple’s two previous versions of Mac OS X).
Apple has not provided a Security Update for older Mac OS X systems since Security Update 2013-005 on October 15, which contained a Java update. Mavericks was released on October 22, 2013. According to some technology experts, Apple has no plans to further support Mountain Lion. If this is correct, all Mac OS X users must upgrade to the next version in order to receive Apple support, including security updates.
There is a reasonable concern for waiting to upgrade to Mavericks. Staying on Lion (10.7) or Mountain Lion (10.8) can become risky, as unpatched vulnerabilities on the older systems leave them open to attack.
Information Services & Technology (IS&T) at MIT is no longer offering Mac OS X Lion (10.7) software through its website, but still offers Help Desk support. As of November 18, 2013, IS&T is recommending MIT users, especially those using TSM and SAPgui, to wait to upgrade to OS X 10.9 until these known issues have been resolved.