Apple releases macOS Ventura 13.5.1 to fix a location permissions bug
Apple has released macOS Ventura 13.5.1. The update is a minor one that addresses a bug related to location permissions.
What was the issue
Users who were on macOS 13.5 Ventura had complained that the location permissions that are usually displayed under System Settings > Privacy and Security > Location Services, but there wasn't anything to manage here, as the page was blank. In other words, no apps had been granted permission to use the services. MacRumors reports that the bug had affected first party apps from Apple, such as Maps, Safari, Weather, etc., as well as apps from third-party developers.
Another issue with this bug was that it also impacted apps that were newly installed, i.e. post the OS update, macOS would not grant them location permissions either. This is not only a way to grant location access to apps, it is also a privacy feature because it allows you to control which apps can detect your location. The services use your computer's Wi-Fi network to identify your approximate location, which is what apps can see, too.
macOS Ventura 13.5.1 released
The build number for macOS Ventura 13.5 is 22G90. Despite weighing a hefty 700 MB in size, the latest update does not contain any other fixes. Apple's security update page has a note that says the new version does not contain security fixes for any CVEs. An update that fixes a single problem maybe quite strange, but the weirder thing here is that this isn't a new issue that popped up out of the blue. Users have reported about the location permissions bug since July.
For reference, Apple released macOS 13.5 to the stable channel in the last week of July to fix a couple of zero-day threats. The Cupertino company has clearly had plenty of time to fix the locations manager issue, so why did it delay the fix by nearly a whole month? It is possible that the developers at Apple could be focussing their efforts on polishing up iOS 17 and watchOS 10. Apple is set to release both operating systems on September 12, along with the new iPhone 15 series and Apple Watch Series 9. That might explain why updates for Macs may have taken the back seat for now. I'm not defending that, I'm just pointing out what could be the reasons for delaying important fixes. Surely a trillion-dollar company has more than enough resources to support current operating systems faster, at least to ensure that it isn't plagued by bugs that affect the usability of the device or apps. Apple should have done better here.
Anyway, if you were impacted by the bug, you should update your computer to macOS 13.5 as soon as possible to fix the location permissions bug. The fact that the location permissions manager is accessible should serve as a confirmation that the issue has been resolved.
Based on the release schedule for previous versions of the operating system, Apple could release macOS Sonoma in October. It is unlikely that the company will roll out new features for macOS Ventura anymore, all we will get are security patches and bug fixes until and after macOS 14 is released.