The Software Series: Sparkle and other updates
Mac Tip #293/13-June-2007
More and more programs these days include an automatic check for updates. Many of them use a sub-program called Sparkle, while others, such as Microsoft Office, use their own system.
For each program you use check the Preferences to see if you can set it to automatically check for updates. In the screenshot you can see that NetNewsWire 3 includes an option to check daily for updates, and also a button for an immediate check.
The web browser Opera, on the other hand, doesn’t have a setting, but you can check for updates any time by choosing Check for updates from the Help menu.
iTunes has a Check for Updates… menu item too, but it’s under the iTunes menu, so you can see you might have to search around a bit.
If you use Microsoft Office look in the Applications folder for Microsoft AutoUpdate.app. Double click it to start it up and you’ll see you can choose how and how often to check for updates to Office.
There can be many reasons why an application might be updated: to add new features, to fix problems, or to improve security.
In general terms it’s a good idea to try to keep your software up-to-date, but if you find that difficult for some reason at least watch out for the security updates.
At those sites you can also read the opinions and comments from others about the software you’re interested in (and contribute your own opinions too, of course).