While the new Mac operating system, macOS 13 Ventura, has been available for download on October 24, this doesn’t mean Apple doesn’t care about protecting legacy systems like macOS 11 Big Sur or macOS 12 Monterey.
Minor security updates were released for both legacy systems at the time of the release of macOS 13 Ventura on the penultimate Monday, upgrading macOS Monterey to version 12.6.1 and macOS Big Sur to version 11.7.1.
Full protection only with macOS 13
However, in a revised manual entry for the new Mac operating system, Apple pointed out what Mac administrators have known for some time: While the old systems continue to receive security updates, not all known security vulnerabilities are addressed in the earlier versions.
Only the latest operating system enjoys full protection.
Apple justifies the neglect of the older macOS versions, which are only 12 or 23 months old, with architecture and system changes that would sometimes create dependencies that could no longer close the security gaps.
Upgrade or Update?
Also interesting is Apple’s reference to the distinction between software upgrades and software updates. Version jumps that affect the version number after the dot, ie the jump from macOS 12.1 to macOS 12.2, are considered “software updates”. Apple calls the update from macOS 12 Monterey to macOS 13 Ventura a “software upgrade.”
Until the release of macOS 12.3, the two update types differed in part in that regular users could only perform updates, but upgrades required administrator accounts. Since macOS 12.3, all Mac users can upgrade.