The Software Series: Apple Software Updates

The Software Series: Apple Software Updates
Mac Tip #292/06-June-2007

Look under the blue Apple menu in the top left corner of your screen and call up the System Preferences, then click on the Software Update button.

You should check regularly for updates to your Apple software (which includes Mac OS X, the Operating System). On the Update Software tab check the box for Check for updates: and choose a frequency: Daily, Weekly or Monthly.

Your computer will now automatically check for Apple updates at the interval you specified. If any updates are available they appear in a list. Check the Install box beside the ones you want, click the Install button, and follow the onscreen instructions. Each update has a file size displayed.

Note about your connection speed: some updates are small, while others can be very large. If you use a dial-up connection you need to be very careful about which updates you download. Anything over about 5 or 10 Megabytes will just take too long.

If you have a broadband connection then downloading updates should be no problem.

There are 3 kinds of update:

  1. Security updates. These are very important as they improve the safety and security of your computer. They may update parts of the operating system, but they may also update other Apple software such as iChat or QuickTime.
  2. Apple software updates. Some updates may improve battery life in a laptop, or performance in networking, for example, or update other Apple software.
  3. Operating System updates. These are ‘point’ updates. They may update your machine from OS 10.4.8 to 10.4.9, for example. Big updates, such as from 10.3 to 10.4 (Panther to Tiger), for example, you have to pay for.

I recommend trying to keep your machine up to date in all respects, but if you can’t for some reason then the security updates are top priority.

For the other updates, try contacting your local Apple store and asking if they can supply them on a CD. You could expect them to charge a small amount for their time and materials.

Note: sometimes people can have problems with their machine or programs after an update. This is rare, but you may like to wait a few days after an update is available before you download and install it.

Next week: Sparkle and other updates.

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