Video walkthrough: changes & fixes in macOS Sierra beta 3

By , Jul 22, 2016

macOS Sierra Auto Unlock teaser 002

Monday, Apple seeded a third developer-only beta of macOS Sierra (build number “16A254g”) to members of the Apple Developer Programfollowed by a version suited for public beta testers 24 hours later.

After spending some quality time with Sierra’s third beta, our own Andrew O’Hara summed up for you guys all the changes and fixes he’s discovered in Sierra’s beta 3 in a hands-on video.

Before we get to it, let me point you to our video walkthroughs of the changes, fixes and new features found in iOS 10 beta 3, watchOS 3 beta 3 and tvOS 10 beta 3.

Video hands-on: Sierra beta 3

In this hands-on video, Andrew goes through some of the more newsworthy fixes and changes in Sierra’s third beta. The video, embedded right below, runs four minutes and 28 seconds long.

Don’t see the video? Watch it on YouTube and please subscribe to iDownloadBlog on YouTube on your way out for more videos from the iDB team, and thanks for watching!

Sierra beta 3 changelog

The following has been changed, fixed and improved in Sierra beta 3:

About This Mac

  • The Storage tab in About This Mac may not load if a volume has been unmounted.
  • The Purgeable and System sizes shown in the Storage tab of About This Mac may be incorrect.
  • Watched iTunes movies, TV shows, and podcasts will not be automatically deleted even though Optimize Storage has been turned on.


  • On systems with AMD graphics, the system print dialog appears as a black box.

Apple Pay

  • Creating an Apple Pay for Web PaymentRequest with shipping address + contact will bring up the payment sheet on iPhone but it will quit unexpectedly.
  • Apple Pay on the web transactions will not complete successfully on MacBook Air and MacBook Pro.

Auto Unlock

  • Users may experience no internet connectivity after a successful Auto Unlock, followed by a reboot of their Mac.

Back to my Mac

  • Back to my Mac cannot be started for some users.


  • The input and output data for the CIImageProcessor API is now ordered so the the upper-left-most pixel is the first byte in the buffer.


  • If your iCloud storage is full, and you have items that have not yet uploaded to the cloud, you need to force quit and relaunch iBooks in order to proceed with a storage upgrade.

Input Methods

  • Using the Trackpad Handwriting feature for Chinese may not work reliably when using trackpads that do not support Force Touch.
  • When using the Pinyin input method to type Chinese, uppercase typing incorrectly produces full-width Latin letters. Additionally, some of the keys may not produce the expected punctuation symbols.


  • Recovery install fails when Safari is used in Recovery environment.
  • Systems with FileVault enabled may hang at the login screen after updating.


  • Files attached to a blank email from 3rd-party applications may not be attached.


  • Adding an attachment, or deleting or moving notes may cause Notes to quit unexpectedly.


  • Search results for people are incorrect.
  • Comment badges may not appear in Shared Albums.


  • Safari may quit unexpectedly if the Smart Search field is clicked with no History or while History is still loading.


  • Users may encounter errors while sending Messages with Siri using relationships or during contact disambiguation.
  • Using Siri to search for Photos taken in a specific location has limited support.
  • When searching for photos with Siri, users may not see search results in the Photos app after it launches.
  • Responses are not supported in Malaysian.

For additional notes and known issues in the third beta, see Apple’s release notes.

It’s called beta for a reason

We already received complaints from some beta testers that the third beta lacks the “Allow your Apple Watch to unlock your Mac” checkbox in Security and Privacy preferences. This happens after an erase install—Apple acknowledges that “it can take minutes” for the checkbox to show up due to first-time iCloud pairing between devices.

macOS Sierra Apple Pay for websites Mac iPhone teaser 001

This is normal, and does not happen on upgrade installs.

Additionally, FaceTime calling between Sierra beta 3 and prior iOS and macOS betas is unsupported, iTunes 12.5 doesn’t display artwork for rented movies, SMB is now the default file-sharing protocol (not AFP), Live Photos refuse to play back in Photos, AirDrop is unreliable, file search queries are not supported for some languages and so forth.

See, they call it a beta for a very good reason…

Check out some of the coolest Sierra features

The first public beta of Sierra was released earlier this month, giving folks who enrolled in the Apple Beta Software Program a chance to play with some of the major new features. To clear up any confusion, let me state for the record that the second public Sierra beta and the third developer-only beta offer the same features.

Some of the more interesting changes in developer-only beta 3 (and public beta 2) include a new default keystroke for Siri, the ability to unlock a Mac awoken from sleep by wearing an Apple Watch, iTunes 12.5 and other tidbits highlighted in the video below.

Check out our write-up for detailed overview of the changes discussed in the above clip.

Of course, we must not forget to mention other headlining features in Sierra:

  • Siri for Mac
  • Deeper integration with iOS through expanded Continuity features
  • Desktop and Documents sync via iCloud Drive
  • The ability to copy and paste text and media from one Apple device to another
  • Photos app with a new Memories feature that uses advanced objet recognition
  • Safari 10 with Picture-in-Picture, native Extensions and Apple Pay on websites

One of the awesome new Continuity features is Universal Clipboard—which works like magic, really—and the ability to have the contents of your desktop and the Documents folder synced via iCloud and available across iOS devices via the iCloud Drive app.

Plus, Apple Watch owners are going to be absolutely thrilled by Auto Unlock.

For more goodies, see our in-depth Sierra previews:

Sierra has a lot to offer so many people should fall in love with it.

Our macOS Sierra Preview series will soon highlight additional features.

Sierra availability

macOS Sierra was initially made available as a developer-only preview to members of the Apple Developer Program in June before releasing for public beta-testing in July.

The operating system will release for public consumption this fall as a free software update via the Mac App Store. macOS Sierra has been confirmed to support a smaller number of Macs.

Compatible Mac models for Sierra include late-2009 and later MacBooks and iMacs and 2010-and-later MacBook Airs, MacBook Pros, Mac minis and Mac Pros. Macs manufactured before 2009 won’t be supported.

Stumbled upon other fixes/changes?

If you’ve happened to discover fixes, tweaks and improvements in Sierra’s beta 3 not mentioned in Andrew’s video or discussed in this article, please post them in comments or ping us at and we’ll update the article.

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  • Tommy Gumbs

    Man, seems like there were a ton of little bug fixes. Glad I am waiting for beta 5ish!

  • Christopher Lim

    Malay is the language for Malaysia… not Malaysian.

  • Agneev Mukherjee

    This has got to be most broken beta…

    • Bill

      When’s the last time you had anything positive to say?

      • Agneev Mukherjee

        When macOS Sierra got Siri!!!

  • Still can’t get Universal Clipboard to work. Any tips? Yeah; Im signed into iCloud; Bluetooth is ON; ….

  • oh; Notes has a text bug; the letters can go funny if you highlight them and hit command

  • Mads Teland

    I have noticed Terminal got a new button with scrollbar on right side of window and white background for scrollbar. I was surprised that you can now divide command window in more command windows in same terminal. You can also exit windows in same terminal with a button under that new button that makes divide windows.

  • MrTarek

    it seems so laggy from the vid

  • Anyone having spotlight issues with Beta 3. I have tried terminal commands but cannot get my hard drive searchable.

  • Is there a way to get Siri on the mac to open a URL or something in Speakable items?

  • Nils Taylor

    Anyone’s desktop and documents files disappear? Mine are gone from my computer, but are still on iCloud Drive. How to restore?