Friday, September 7, 2012

Is Apple Still Releasing Snow Leopard Updates?

Is Apple still releasing security updates for Mac OS X v10.6 Snow Leopard? Oddly, the answer isn't a simple yes or no.

In the past, Apple typically released security updates only for the current and one previous version of OS X.  However, Apple recently switched from a roughly two-year OS cycle to a yearly cycle, and this may or many not have changed how long Apple will continue releasing security updates for previous versions of its desktop operating system.

So far, Apple has been releasing Java security updates for Snow Leopard since the release of OS X v10.8 Mountain Lion (which was released approximately one year after OS X v10.7 Lion and three years after Snow Leopard). However, Apple has NOT been releasing updates for the Snow Leopard version of Safari, the browser that comes bundled with Mac OS X.

While Microsoft makes known to the public exactly how long its operating systems and software will be patched, Apple makes no such public disclosure.

Read my article at The Mac Security Blog for more information:

Apple's Java Update Surprise for Snow Leopard

UPDATE, 7 Jan 2013: Net Applications has released its Web traffic analytics for December 2012, which indicate that Snow Leopard accounts for just over 29% of Web traffic from Macs—slightly higher than Lion which accounts for just over 28%. Both are only slightly behind Mountain Lion at just over 32%. The percentages are roughly the same when filtering for Macs browsing with Safari.

Given the apparently high percentage of Mac users still browsing Web sites on Snow Leopard, in my opinion it is inexcusable for Apple to no longer release security updates for the Snow Leopard version of Safari. At the very least, Apple should warn these users (and Windows Safari users) that their browser is no longer being updated and is no longer safe to use online.

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