Set up automatic Software Updates

Set up automatic Software Updates
Mac Tip #420, 20 January 2010

Keep your Mac’s software up to date, without even trying. Or stop it from updating at inconvenient times. Here’s how.

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Software Update settings.

Software Update settings.

Manual check for updates

Call up the Software Update… menu item (under the Apple menu) to manually check for updated software.

A progress window appears. After some time a results window appears. It may advise you that no updates are available, or list updates you can select and install.

It’s fine to check manually, but you need to remember to do so regularly otherwise you could miss important security updates.

Schedule Checks

Go to the Software Update item in System Preferences to set up automatic updates.

Choose an interval from the Check for updates dropdown menu: daily, weekly or monthly.

Also choose whether the Mac should automatically download available updates ready for you to install.

If you simply use your Mac at home or in the office with an always-on broadband connection and no concerns about data and bandwidth then that may be a good option.

You may prefer to turn that option off if:

  • you often do presentations. (In fact you should manually check for updates or turn off update checks before doing a presentation so your work won’t be interrupted).
  • you are travelling and don’t have reliable or regular Internet access.
  • your Internet connection is costly or slow.
Installed software updates.

Installed software updates.

Installed Software

Click the Installed Software tab to see a list of software that has been installed or updated via Software Updates.

The list shows the date the software was installed, the name, and the version number. This may be helpful for troubleshooting if you’re having problems with your Mac.

Share your experiences with Software Update below.

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