Apple has seeded the sixth beta version of macOS Sierra 10.12.4 to registered developers on Monday — just six days after releasing beta 5.
macOS 10.12.4 is more of an incremental update to the Sierra operating system. Its main feature is the addition of Night Shift to the Mac platform — a feature that changes the screen color to a warmer palette, which aims to reduce the effect that exposure to blue light has on sleep. The feature was first introduced to iPhones and iPads in iOS 9.3. Night Shift for the Mac is available in the Notification Center, or via Siri voice activation.
In addition, users on macOS Sierra 10.12.4 can now ask Siri about cricket scores, schedules and player rosters. There’s also dictation support for Shanghainese, as well as an updated PDFKit API. Since beta 2, Apple has added iCloud Analytics as an opt-in step when the Mac is being set up. The Mac App Store has also gained Touch Bar support, and the Touch Bar’s volume slider now indicates volume level visually. 10.12.4 also contains a number of bug fixes and improvements.
The OS update’s release notes don’t indicate any other major changes or front-facing features, suggesting that the latest beta build mostly contains bug fixes and under-the-hood performance tweaks. It’s worth noting that it’s rather rare for Apple to release more than six beta versions of an OS before rolling it out — but it’s not unprecedented. OS X 10.8.3, for example, reached 10 beta versions before its official release.
Although not specifically a change or feature, macOS 10.12.4 also contains a number of code references to a new generation of currently unreleased Mac computers.
In any case, the frequency of the recent beta releases suggests that Apple is gearing up to rollout the final product sooner than later. macOS Sierra 10.12.4 beta 6 is currently available to download for registered Apple developers and public beta testers.