Mac OS X 10.6.5 Released; What to Do if You Have Major Problem After Updating

Apple has released Mac OS X 10.6.5, a significant update for Mac OS X 10.6.x (Leopard). The new release includes these enhancements, among others:

  • improve reliability with Microsoft Exchange servers
  • address performance of some image-processing operations in iPhoto and Aperture
  • address stability and performance of graphics applications and games
  • resolve a delay between print jobs
  • address a printing issue for some HP printers connected to an AirPort Extreme
  • resolve an issue when dragging contacts from Address Book to iCal
  • address an issue where dragging an item from a stack causes the Dock to not automatically hide
  • resolve an issue with Wikipedia information not displaying correctly in Dictionary
  • improve performance of MainStage on certain Mac systems
  • resolve spacing issues with OpenType fonts
  • improve reliability with some Bluetooth braille displays
  • resolve a VoiceOver issue when browsing some web sites with Safari 5

The new release is available via Software Update in both standard and Server editions, and via the following download links:

What to do if you have a show-stopping problem right after updating

There is a routine that will eliminate 99% of show-stopping issues after any  incremental Mac OS X update. If you’re experiencing such a problem (i.e. a disruption of your workflow), start with option #1 and continue to work your way through the process until your problem is resolved.

Option #1 — try this first

Download the Mac OS X 10.6.5 combo updater, which weighs in at 977.21 MB, but is a troubleshooting godsend. Quit all open applications and run the installer.

Option #2 — if option #1 fails, try this.

Booting your Mac in Safe Mode then simply restarting normally is one of the most overlooked, most effective procedures for solving a variety of issues after an incremental Mac OS X update. The reason for its efficacy: booting in Safe Mode forces a disk directory check, clears potentially problematic cache files and performs other routines, detailed here.

To boot in Safe Mode, hold the Shift key while your Mac is starting up. After booting in Safe Mode, simply restart normally (without holding the Shift key) and check for persistence of the issue.

Option #3 — if options #1 and #2 fail, try this.

Downgrade to Mac OS X 10.6.4. Although this option eliminates important security fixes included in Mac OS X 10.6.5, along with any other enhancements, it may be the best option if a problem is interrupting your workflow and options #1 and #2 prove ineffective.

Reinstall (if you don’t have a current Time Machine backup). Insert your Snow Leopard installation disc, then restart while holding down the C key. When prompted, choose the normal “Install” option. Make sure to select “Preserve Users and Network Settings.”

After installation, you’ll be left with an earlier iteration of Mac OS X 10.6.x (most current retail discs include Mac OS X 10.6.2), but an otherwise largely intact system. Download the Mac OS X v10.6.4 Update (Combo) and apply it if your disc has an earlier version of Snow Leopard. You may need to restore some saved username/password information, browser information, etc.

Restore from Time Machine Backup. If you have a current Time Machine backup,connect the Time Machine backup disk, then insert your Snow Leopard installation disc, then restart while holding down the C key. After selecting your language, go to the Utilities menu and choose”Restore from Time Machine Backup.” Choose your Time Machine backup disk and choose a backup iteration directly prior to when you installed the Mac OS X 10.6.5, and continue with the process.


  1. says

    I upgraded this morning on my MacBook and after doing so, cannot use either Mail or Entourage as the spinning ball of colourful doom appears when I go to receive emails!!! Come on Apple, you should address issues like this before releasing an upgrade! I shall try the above fixes and report back with my findings.

  2. says

    After installing the update, neither Apple Mail nor Safari could make an internet connection via airport. All my non-apple software (Skype, Firefox, Dropbox) worked fine. I’m still talking to Apple support who asked me to use System Profiler to send them all my console logs. They got that, so System Profiler was able to connect as well. I’m typing this while they have me on hold to scan the info that was sent.

    I’ll provide more info when I know more.

  3. says

    The first line in your article reads:
    “Apple has released Mac OS X 10.6.5, a significant update for Mac OS X 10.6.x (Leopard).

    I gently point out that OS 10.6.x is SNOW LEOPARD.

  4. says

    Just bought my mac book a few weeks ago.. thinking it was the best thing ever… now this stupid ass update has me thinking otherwise… you dropped the ball on this one apple :(

  5. says

    I have a problem with the overall premise of your article but I still think its really informative. I really like your other posts. Keep up the great work. If you can add more video and pictures can be much better. Because they help much clear understanding. :) thanks Isobe.

  6. says

    Im also having issues – Only Apple Apps are working. Safari wasn’t either working until i changed back to 64 bit. Im downloading the combo to reinstall – hope i can get my black macbook working again as it should. This is a pain in the butt. Thank you apple.

  7. says

    So I’m having a lot of the same problems as well. After upgrading from Tiger to Snow Leopard all of my Apple software that require internet connection (Safari, iTunes, AirPort Utility, …) won’t work if I’m connect to the internet wirelessly. But if I plug my ethernet cord in everything works just fine. Of course, what’s the point in having a laptop if you can’t use the internet and basic applications wirelessly? After being on the phone with Apple Support for 2 hours and going through some steps and re-installing Snow Leopard, the only solutions their “genius’s” could offer was doing a clean install. I guess I’ll try some of the tricks you’ve listed here, and if that doesn’t work I’ll go for the clean install. Either way, I’ll let you know what happens. Also, if anyone else has a solution to this problem please post.

  8. says

    After upgrading to 10.6.5, I have noticed that Time Machine is acting completely weird. I click on the icon on the menu bar, and tell it to backup now, it starts. When I click on it again, the animation stops, the popup reads “Waiting to backup” with the option to backup now available. I go System Preference -> Time Machine and it says that it is backing up. Since the icon isn’t spinning, I cannot stop the backup unless it is from the system prefences pane. It also stops backing up after 55 GB, even though I have more to backup.

  9. says

    Purchased a new MacBook Pro 5 months ago. Updated to 10.6.5 and noticed my wifi started dropping out. Sometimes it will work fine for a few hours then starts disconnecting and reconnecting. Airport says No IP Available but still shows connected to my router.

    My other (PC) laptops and iPhone connected to the wifi have no issues.

    I have changed the security settings on my router and adjusted channels nothing seems to correct this.

    Took my MacBook to the Genius Bar last night. Only suggestion was to create a new profile and test. (Failed) Then reinstall and test.

    I’m in the process of installing the 10.6.5 combo updater to see if that fixes but judging from everyone else’s comments this probably wont fix it.

    My last resort is to format and reinstall. Please reply if reformatting helped with any one else’s issues.

  10. says

    Just finished reinstalling 10.6.5 combo.

    My problem still remains with my Airport connection dropping in and out.

    Next test is to go back to 10.6.x

  11. says

    OSX 10.6.5 made my Audio/Midi stop working.
    My Usb midi interface (an old Emagic AMT8) didn’t show up.
    After starting up from another HD with OSX 10.6.4 everything started working again.
    So it seems I have to downgrade one step!

  12. says

    Here is how I fixed my problem. Went to Frys and purchased a Wireless USB Network adaptor and that worked like a charm. I was so sick of trying every fix on the internet. I also called apple support and got the same canned response .(Check your router/wireless security/ maybe its your ISP) and so on. Then after they finished i asked them why the USB adaptor works and Airport keeps dropping connections. If it was the router or ISP the same problem should appear on the USB adaptor as it does on the Airport. The response I got was an appointment to have my Airport Card checked out. I can bet that once I take my Mac in they will not find any issues with the card or they might just replace it, but until someone from Apple recognizes this as a problem nothing will solve the issue until new OS update comes out.

    I’m just glad I was able to find a wireless USB adaptor that works with a Mac. Sure its a bit on the ugly side but it works great.

  13. says

    I downloaded 10.6.5 and I was getting spinning beach balls
    everywhere – on all applications. I called Apple Care and even
    brought my computer in to the Apple Store. On top of that I did 20
    days of trouble shooting on my own once I realized that these
    professionals had absolutely no idea what the problem was. I fixed
    everything by reinstalling Snow Leopard and and getting the combo
    update to 10.6.4. Everything is now working like a charm. Thanks
    for wasting my time Apple!

  14. says

    Possible solution:

    I had this problem – network apps (safari, chrome, firefox, software update, entourage, mail, sophos update) all froze – spinning ball. Finder kept freezing and systems prefs froze on network related apps (sharing, mobileme). This was on two identical Mac Pros (2.26×2 6G RAM) in two different buildings and different network subnets. Curiously, I had a correct IP (DHCP allocated on mac) and I could ping other machines on the network in terminal. My Mac Book Pro – had NO problems at work or home.

    Reinstalled back to 10.6 and then crept up the updates (and did the combo separately) which proved that 10.6.5 was the killer on both. Ran with 10.6.4 for a while and tried 10.6.6 when it arrived – also a killer.

    Today, reinstalled on a new drive from scratch and succeeded on 10.6.5 and 10.6.6. Then started adding and restarting normal apps hoping it was solved. Office, fusion, chrome, all fine – big data transfers (300 G of various files from my backup disc) all fine. The killer was… tada – MobileMe !!!! I’ve replicated this experiment now to convince myself and will never use MobileMe again! Lots of loss productivity and stress but at least my macs are clean :)

    As an additional note, under 10.6.6 MobileMe would not switch off and the systems prefs screen froze whenever I tried (as did the sharing app when I put sharing on!). Option-right-click on the menubar icon for MM and clicking, disabling and resetting everything I could (plus restarting) eventually let me switch it off on the second system and my system miraculously went back to normal! The first system, I just reinstalled and never turned it on… both are currently fine.

    The brief issue with sharing has not been explored – I don’t have the time and I just won’t use it any more.

    Hope this helps someone if they are sharing my frustration – I never found a solution online (permissions, zapping etc etc – nothing helped)….

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