New emoji, better Auto Unlock, buh-by battery life countdown, and more — what''s new in macOS 10.12.2!

Apple has just released macOS 10.12.2, the latest update to Sierra and one that boasts not only everyone's favorite feature enhancement — new emoji! — but bug fixes, security patches, and performance improvements aplenty.

Auto Unlock

For some of us, Auto Unlock has been near-magic since launch, quickly logging us into our Macs whenever we bring our Apple Watch close. For others, things haven't been so fast or so smooth. With macOS 10.12.2, Apple has gone over the process from setup to time-of-flight to make sure it starts working and keeps working well for everyone.

How to set up and use Auto Unlock on your Mac

Battery Life

Some people have reported that their new MacBooks Pro 2016 haven't been getting the 10 hours of battery life Apple rated them at. While it sounds like Apple is sticking with that 10-hour rating — which is under "normal" usage with the screen mid-bright, no Chrome or similarly resource-hogging apps running, and the embedded Intel graphics being targeted rather than the discreet AMD card on the 15-inch.

What Apple's tweaked is how battery life is displayed. The percentage readout remains, but the time remaining indicator has been removed. It's irksome, but, for now at least, for the best. It's not only almost impossible to accurately predict the time remaining on a system whose load can vary greatly from one minute to the next, the API seemed especially… drunk? lately. Mine would go to 14 hours, back to 7 hours, then to 12 hours, and otherwise being useless for a while now.

Third party app makers I've spoken with have reported similar issues trying to pull the information. So, unless and until it's stone cold accurate, my stress level will do better with it being gone. I just need to learn to judge the percentage on Mac the way I've been doing on iPhone and iPad for years now.

How to fix battery life problems on your Mac

Updated Grab app

Apple's screenshot app, Grab, is being updated to support capturing the Touch Bar, should you have one on your new MacBook Pro. There's a time delay so you can start it, set up the Touch Bar just the way you like it, then have the screenshot saved.

New emoji

The clown face is terrifying. No joke. The rest of the new and newly re-rendered emoji included in macOS 10.12.2 are delightful. They match the new emoji in iOS 10.2 and there's a range of new foods, including bacon (though, sadly, still no poutine!), and a bunch of new professional emoji in both genders. Blogger is a personal fav!

How to use emoji on your Mac

Performance enhancements and bug fixes

Along with the above, Apple is using macOS 10.12.2 to fix other bugs, like the graphics issue some 15-inch MacBook Pro customers have been experiencing. There's the usual performance enhancements and security patches as well.

Here's the full list:

  • Improves setup and reliability of Auto Unlock
  • Allows addition of a Chinese Trackpad Handwriting button to the Touch Bar Control Strip
  • Adds support for taking screenshots of the Touch Bar using the Grab app or Cmd-Shift-6 shortcut
  • Fixes an issue that caused the Touch Bar emoji picker to appear on the display
  • Resolves graphics issues on MacBook Pro (Late 2016) computers
  • Fixes an issue where System Integrity Protection was disabled on some MacBook Pro (Late 2016) computers
  • Improves setup and opt-out experience for iCloud Desktop and Documents
  • Fixes an issue with the delivery of Optimized Storage alerts
  • Improves audio quality when using Siri and FaceTime with Bluetooth headphones
  • Improves the stability of Photos when creating and ordering books
  • Fixes an issue where incoming Mail messages did not appear when using a Microsoft Exchange account
  • Fixes an issue that prevented installation of Safari Extensions downloaded outside the Safari Extensions Gallery
  • Adds support for new installations of Windows 8 and Windows 7 using Boot Camp on supported Macs