Mac OS X 10.5.3 is live, adds major new features

The update isn’t for those on a capped broadband connection as it weighs in at 420MB (or 536MB if you choose the combo pack).

While 10.5.3 squashes lots of bugs it also includes a few interesting new features. The first one is the ability to sync your contacts with various different web services in particular Google. If you open Address Book preferences you’ll notice the option to now sync with .Mac Exchange Yahoo and Google. The sync activates when you sync your iPod or iPhone and it’s a two way sync – so be careful and backup your Address Book before enabling this feature as all your Google contacts will end up in your Address Book.

There’s also another new option in Address Book under the File menu called ‘Send Updates’. This function appears to provide functionality to send a message to your contacts with your updated contact information.

But 10.5.3 isn’t about new features it’s about bug fixes. And the list is long. In particular I’m looking forward to improvements in iCal like more reliable syncing and better support for meeting alarms.
There’s also plenty of fixes that should help network admins make Macs better IT citizens – things like improved Active Directory binding and login improved Spotlight searches on AFP volumes the ability for clients to change their password at login when bound to a 10.4 Open Directory server.

Lastly Time Machine has been improved and now has better support for applications including Aperture libraries and also plays better with Time Capsule.

As for whether it fixes the major graphics glitches in the latest MacBooks and MacBook Pros — the jury is still out. Some users have said it does while others have said it doesn’t.

Regardless — it’s clearly a great update in terms of the number of things it does fix. Fire up software update (which has also been given an update in 10.5.3 to better reflect progress) to download the update or head over to Apple to download the package (a better way to go if you’re deploying on multiple Macs).