Apple releases 10.5.3 - how the update went

I saw this afternoon that Apple has released the 10.5.3 update and decided that I would update my MacBook. The update itself is 420MB in size and took me about 20 minutes to download using my Verizon FIOS connection. I simply did the Apple / Software Update... route and let it download and install it.

Before I did that I forced Time Machine to do a "back up now" to make sure I had a current picture of my Mac. Once the download was complete it spent some more time doing installs (about 5 minutes or so), then prompted me that it needed to reboot the machine.

The reboot process ran about 5 minutes (spinning gear) before it prompted me to log in. Once that was done I was up and running, though not everything was available immediately. The Dashboard was not available initially and a quick look at iStat menu showed some pretty heavily sustained CPU and disk activity. Dashboard came back after a little while but Spotlight was still out until 12 minutes in because it was "indexing the backup".

I have a 1TB MyBook drive attached via USB that I run TimeMachine against. Since I have a 320GB HD in the MacBook that means a fair amount of data to reindex.

Once Spotlight became available the CPU went on another work bender with MDS and MDWORKER cranking pretty hard. These are used by Spotlight for reindexing and made the machine a bit sluggish while they were working. It was still useable mind you, just really busy.

A full 25 minutes after my reboot the machine was still cranking away with indexing tasks; both MDS and MDWORKER using a sustained 20% CPU. I'm watching my MacBook as I write this on my MacPro and at 38 minutes in the machine is still going through peaks and valleys of CPU usage.

While it's probably safe to shut down the machine or put it to sleep while the MDS and MDWORKER process is happily working away I wouldn't recommend it. Best bet is to perform this upgrade when you can let the machine sit and bake for a while - plan on an hour - then letting it complete everything.

If you have any feedback on the 10.5.3 release that would be of help to others please add it in the comments below!

Update: Over an hour later it's still busy indexing away. Note the iStat results:

Final Update: It took a little over 2 hours for the machine to finally settle down and complete the reindexing process.

Really Final Update: It appears that this was related to having an attached USB based WD MyBook drive (1TB), which I use for Time Machine backups. When I upgraded my Mac Pro the indexing after the final reboot lasted a couple of minutes with very low CPU impact.


Anonymous said…
Hi Dave,

I may be wrong, but it seems to me you was somewhat anxious with what may be your first big update

As an "old" Mac Addict, I started the update, went to the kitchen, prepared the dinner (it's the end of the day here) : Quiche Lorraine with a salad (tomato, corn and olives).

The dinner received a positive welcome and my iMac restarted when we "attacked" the grappes I selected for dessert.

Then I re-logged in and continued what I was doing before the update...

Living with a Mac is so quiet and calm ;-)

Have a nice day

David Alison said…
@Fred: Ha! That dinner sounds incredible. Maybe I do need to just walk away from it for a bit. I'm going to update the Mac Pro as my last act before going to bed this evening so I won't care how long that takes unless it's still busy the next morning.

The only reason I'm even noticing it on the MacBook is that every once in a while the fans kick in because the CPU is pushing so hard.

Hmmm - wife just got home, dinner is likely just around the corner. Fred, I think I'll follow your lead on this one!
Anonymous said…
So I wish you a pleasant dinner four you and your spouse.
I will put the iMac and myself to sleep

Take care

Anonymous said…
Hi David,

This is some good information. I will be installing Leopard on my Mac this weekend. I'm so excited. I haven't read anything about this elsewhere on the web. Do you know of a way to slipstream an update for OS X like you can slipstream a service pack for Windows? Thanks for the info.
Neil Anderson said…
Congratulations, David. Just in the beginning stages of downloading the update myself before toddling off to supper.
David Alison said…
@Sleepy: the only way I'm aware of to install the update other than letting the auto-updater handle it is manually, though I have not done it myself.

@Neil: If you run Time Machine you may want to consider turning it off for a little while immediately following the update. My MacBook was still indexing everything when TM activated and with the volume of changes it had a lot of work to do, all while the re-indexing was going on. Once the indexing is done you can turn TM back on.

@All: I also found this article from Macworld that has more information on the update.
Unknown said…
Obviously we have different Macbooks, because mine came up with a 198GB update.
David Alison said…
@KC: yeah, in hunting around on some other forums I saw ranges of as low as 180MB up to about 475MB. Not sure why it's so different.

You did mean 198MB (not GB), right?
Anonymous said…
Mind you, I just reinstalled Leopard from scratch (I wiped out my main HDD by accident... Don't ask), my update went very quickly, and it only took about 5 minutes for Spotlight to complete what ever indexing it had to do. After that, I was up and running just fine.
David Alison said…
@Vesperdem: My suspicion is that this was due to the backups I have through Time Machine. My WD MyBook drive is not the fastest thing in the world and I could see it working pretty furiously throughout the time mds and mdworker were running hard.

Given that there were a number of Time Machine updates in this release I wouldn't be surprised if all the indexes needed to be rebuilt and as slow as this drive is, especially when dealing with lots of small files, that's where most of the time went.
Anonymous said…
I always download the COMBO updater when updating Mac OS X even if it is only from, say, 10.5.2 to 10.5.3. The 10.5.3 COMBO updater allows you to update from 10.5, 10.5.1 or 10.5.2 to 10.5.3, whereas if you download the update from Software updater that will only update from 10.5.2 to 10.5.3.

The COMBO updater has always been trouble free for me. I strongly recommend you manually download and use the COMBO updater in the future.

The 10.5.3 COMBO updater can be downloaded from
Anonymous said…
Sorry, the link I posted seems to be truncated.

I shall try posting it again.
David Alison said…
Well, I just updated the Mac Pro. It was also a 420MB download though my FIOS connection was operating at full speed and it pulled it down in all of 3.5 minutes. The entire upgrade took all of about 5 minutes from start to finish and within 2 minutes of the final reboot the machine was sitting fully idle and ready to go. I'm now pretty confident that my delays on the MacBook were caused by a rather large Time Machine backup image that was reindexed through a very slow Western Digital MyBook drive.
Devin said…
I haven't had the issues with time you have, and I sat by my MacBook during the whole update. But to be fair, I was away from my Time Machine drive, so maybe that's why.

The one real "feature" I've heard of in this update is the ability in Address Book to sync with Gmail contacts. But they only let you do this if you have an iPhone or iPod Touch. Which needless to say, is pretty messed up.

I love my MacBook and Apple's products in general, but I don't care much for some of the recent decisions by the company. This reminds me of their recent decision to include 4 new apps in all new iPod Touches, but charge existing owners $20 for the update. I could see if it was an upgraded line of Touches, but it was nothing more than a simple software upgrade. They seem to be showing pretty clearly that they'll take better care of you if you keep feeding them money, rather than the other way around, as it should be (as in they take good care of customers, so customers in turn continue to buy their products).
Anonymous said…
I have just updated my Macbook and Mac mini with the 10.5.3 COMBO updater. No problems so far after rebooting twice, as I expected.
David Alison said…
@Devburke: Yeah, I saw that they added the Google contact sync and was also excited, then saw that I didn't have that option. Not sure if it's an iPhone thing or it simply didn't make the cut because it's not in the Help file either.

This is actually a blessing in disguise though. Gmail automatically assumes that anyone you ever send an e-mail to should be auto-added into your address book. If I synced up my real address book - which has 161 of my real contacts - with my Gmail address book I'd be a little overwhelmed. I have 308 contacts in there, over half I don't even recognize.

When Gmail creates an option to not auto-add people to my contacts that's when I'll need it to sync with my local address book.
Anonymous said…
Hi Dave, Michael from Belgium here:
I just did the update on my MacPro, it went well, took less then 5 minutes and everything is running smoothly...
Unknown said…
I was booting a LOT faster with 10.5.2 now that i have .3 it takes 10 seconds longer to boot, and I NEVER once saw that rainbow wheel of death in 10.5.2 but now I see it quite often in .3 :(
Anonymous said…
First things first: I've upgraded both my MacBook Pro and my PowerMac G5 to 10.5.3 within a few minutes each. No problems or delays encountered thus far (I've excluded my Time Machine drive from Spotlight indexing).

Seems to be running just fine. I've never done a re-install on any on my Macs, ever. Only upgrades to the respective previous OS.

devburke: This reminds me of their recent decision to include 4 new apps in all new iPod Touches, but charge existing owners $20 for the update. I could see if it was an upgraded line of Touches, but it was nothing more than a simple software upgrade.

Well, they did upgrade the new iPods substantially, and contrary to hardware upgrades you can actually buy it for your older iPod as well. I don't see much of a problem here, apart from a bit of the "why can't I get everything for free?" attitude. ;-)

This is most probably another case of Apple scrupulously sticking to the Sarbanes-Oxley act, as they did before with the Draft-n enabler for the MacBook (Pro) models which were sold before the protocol became supported. You had to pay a nominal price for the upgrade - or you paid for it in the Leopard OS upgrade. But they couldn't/wouldn't give away software upgrades for free as they had done in earlier times.

With the iPhone, by the way, it's a different issue: Apple reaping a recurrent profit from the official network providers for every iPhone provides the accountable revenue for coninuous upgrades - which have been "free" so far for the iPhone, but which are actually paid for by a fraction of your phone bill.

The iPod Touch has no such recurrent revenue attached to it, so Apple has to(?) actually sell the upgrade for older models while being able to roll the upgrade into newly sold units as a regular product upgrade.

I guess the options backdating issue which earned them extra special attention of the supervisory authorities has prompted them to toe the line very precisely, at least for a while... ;-)
ProMo~ said…
Download 10.5.3 combo : 1 min (FAST! isn't it? :) )
Launch & install : 15 min

I'm glad to fix airport problem.

My airport was instability and flicker.

So I used 10.4.9 's airport kernel files.

and my friend send to Apple about this problem.

I think Apple notice this problem.
Anonymous said…
I'm not sure if you know about this, but your response to my comment made me think that you might not know about it.

You can set "ignore folders" in spotlight so that it doesn't index certain areas. One place that you really shouldn't index is your Time Machine drive. In the System Preferences for Spotlight there is a "Privacy" tab that you can add drives and folders to ignore from Spotlight indexing.

If you don't ignore that drive, you will get duplicate results when doing spotlight searches for files.
David Alison said…
@VesperDEM: I did not know that - thanks! I've now excluded the backup drive. I really appreciate you pointing that out.
Anonymous said…
No problem David, us newbies need to stick together. ;)

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