Apple Releases Software Update 10.5.6 for Mac OS X

December 16, 2008 | Chris Maxcer | Comments 1

By Chris Maxcer

Apple has released 10.5.6 for Mac OS X. The update features about three dozen improvements and fixes ranging from making MobileMe a true push application to improving the performance and reliability of the Chess game in Mac OS X (seriously).

The update nears 200 MB for specific Macs, as noted in Software Update, but the downloadable version from Apple’s support web site is a whopping 372 MB. The combo update, which has additional updates that will catch users up from 10.5.1, comes in at 668 MB.

Early reports show that adopters have been flooding online discussion forums — apparently a good many users who update via Apple’s built-in Software Update application have seen the update process hang during installation. Those who install via the standalone or combo update versions downloaded directly from Apple’s site have expressed a better success rate — even after failures via Software Update.

Apple also recommends that user backup their computers prior to installing any updates — and that users who have third-party system software modifications may “experience unexpected results”.

While Apple’s Time Machine provides backups, it’s hard not to love the fully bootable backups you can get using third-party solutions like Bombich Software’s Carbon Copy Cloner or Shirt Pocket’s SuperDuper!

If your update does fail, recovering your system exactly as it was before the mess with either of these tools is relatively easy.

In any event:

The 10.5.6 Combo Update is available here:

The 10.5.6 Update is available here:

And finally, here’s a list of the key enhancements:

Address Book

  • Improves reliability of Address Book syncing with iPhone and other devices and applications.


  • Improves the reliability of AirPort connections, including improvements when roaming in large wireless networks with an Intel-based Mac.

Client management

  • Improves reliability of synchronizing files on a portable home directory.
  • Fixes an issue in Mac OS X 10.5.4 and 10.5.5 in which managed users may not see printers that use the Generic PPD.
  • Client computers that use UUID-based ByHost preferences now respect managed Screen Saver settings.


  • Addresses an issue that could cause an encryption alert to appear in the chat window.
  • Setting your iChat status to “invisible” via AppleScript no longer logs you out of iChat.
  • Resolves an issue in which pasting text from a Microsoft Office document could insert an image rather than text.


  • Includes general improvements to gaming performance.
  • Includes graphics improvements for iChat, Cover Flow, Aperture, and iTunes.
  • Includes fixes for possible graphics distortion issues with certain ATI graphics cards.


  • Includes overall performance and reliability fixes.
  • Improves Connection Doctor accuracy.
  • Fixes an issue that could cause messages identified as junk to remain in the inbox.
  • Fixes an issue that could cause Mail to append a character to the file extension of an attachment.
  • Addresses an issue that could prevent Mail from quitting.
  • Improves reliability when printing PDF attachments.


  • Contacts, calendars, and bookmarks on a Mac automatically sync within a minute of the change being made on the computer, another device, or the web at


  • Improves Apple File Service performance, especially when using a home directory hosted on an AFP server. Important: If you are using Mac OS X 10.5.6 (client) to connect to a Mac OS X Server 10.4-based server, it is strongly recommended that you update the server to Mac OS X Server version 10.4.11.
  • Improves the performance and reliability of TCP connections.
  • Improves reliability and performance for AT&T 3G cards.
  • Updates the ssh Terminal command for compatibility with more ssh servers.


  • Improves printing for the Adobe CS3 application suite.
  • Improves printing for USB-based Brother and Canon printers.

Parental Controls

  • Addresses an issue in which a parentally-controlled account could be unable to access the iTunes Store.
  • Includes general fixes for time limits.
  • Resolves an issue that prevented adding allowed websites from Safari via drag and drop.

Time Machine

  • Fixes issues that could cause Time Machine to state the backup volume could not be found.
  • Improves Time Machine reliability with Time Capsule.


  • Improves compatibility with web proxy servers.


  • Includes Mac OS X security improvements.
  • Addresses inaccuracies with Calculator when the Mac OS X language is set to German or Swiss German.
  • Improves the performance and reliability of Chess.
  • Improves DVD Player performance and reliability.
  • Performance improvements for iCal are included.
  • Fixes an issue when running the New iCal Events Automator action as an applet.
  • Adds a Trackpad System Preference pane for portable Macs.
  • Improves compatibility with smart cards such as the U.S. Department of Defense Common Access Card.
  • Updates time zone data and Daylight Saving Time rules for several countries.

Filed Under: Mac


About the Author: Chris Maxcer is editor and publisher of He's been writing about the tech industry for years. While he enjoys wicked cool gear and design, there's something to be said for turning it all off — or most of it — to go outside. To contact him, take a firstname.lastname guess at

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I upgraded a 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo black MacBook from 10.5.4 to 10.5.6 with the big combo update (didn’t try Software Update) . . . and it worked great for me! No problems so far. . . .

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