Software installation Quick Assist

Learn how to install new software on your Mac, update your software and Mac OS X, and troubleshoot installation issues.

Software Installation Quick Assist
Learn how to install new software on your Mac, update your software and Mac OS X, and troubleshoot installation issues.

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Manually installing new software and updates

Installing new software from a disc
Simply insert the CD or DVD in your computer's optical disc drive (if it has one; if it does not, see the note below). In most cases, a software installer will open automatically. If not, double-click the disc icon on your desktop and in the resulting window, look for a file with the word “installer” in the title. Double-click the file to open the installer and follow the onscreen instructions to install the software. You will need to enter an administrator name and password to install software.

Note: If your Mac does not have an optical drive to put a disc into, you can share the disc to your computer from a different computer via Remote Disc. See Sharing DVDs or CDs with Remote Disc and MacBook Air: How to use Remote Disc to share DVDs or CDs on a Mac- or Windows-based computer.

Installing or updating software from a downloaded file
Many software installers and updaters that you download from the Internet are disk image (.dmg) files.

After you download such a file from a website (such as Apple Downloads), an installer window will usually appear.

If you don't see an installer window, simply double-click the downloaded disk image file to mount the disk image on your desktop. Double-click the disk volume that appears and then double-click the installer or updater file to start the installation process.

If you see an application instead of an installer, go to "Installing software from a downloaded file that doesn't have an installer". Follow the onscreen instructions to install or update the software. You will need to enter an administrator name and password to install or update software.

Installing software from a downloaded file that doesn't have an installer
After downloading software, if an installer window doesn't open automatically or you don't see a file with the word “installer” (or similar) in its name when you manually mount the disk image, simply install the software by dragging and dropping the file or folder from the disk image to the Applications (or other) folder on your Mac. These types of files already have all the necessary files pre-installed and don't require a proper installer to install it—or an administrator name and password.

More information about installing or updating software
Many installers will ask you where you'd like to install your software. Updaters may ask you to select the application to be updated if it doesn't find it automatically. The Applications folder is generally the best place to install software. To avoid issues, do not rename applications. If you need additional assistance, look for a text or PDF file of instructions that may come with the installer or visit the developer's site.

Note: If your downloaded file arrives in a compressed format such as a .bin, .sit, .sit.hqx, or .sea.hqx file, double-click the file to expand it first—you'll need software such as Smith Micro StuffIt Expander (a free utility) or similar application.

For help with installing Dashboard widgets, see Installing and removing Dashboard widgets.

Using Software Update

Software Update lets you easily install updates for Apple software via the Internet. See Mac OS X: Updating your software for more information about Software Update.

Top troubleshooting tips

  1. Make sure you have enough disk space
    If you're installing new software, the installation may require a significant amount of space on your hard drive. Check the software's installation requirements to find out how much space is needed, and confirm that your Mac has enough available space on its hard drive before installing. To find out how much space you've got left, double-click your hard drive icon to open a Finder window; your available disk space should appear at the bottom of the window.
  2. Verify that you have administrative access
    You need to be an administrator of the computer to install or update software. If you're the one who first set up the computer, you are the administrator. If someone set up your computer for you and your own username and password aren't allowing you to install software, consult that person for assistance. If you've forgotten your administrator password, see Mac OS X: Changing or resetting an account password.
  3. Make sure that you're entering the serial number / code correctly
    Some software installers require that you enter a serial number or software key (or code) during the installation. You can usually find the number or key printed on the installer disc, disc case, in the manual, or on a certificate provided with the software. If you downloaded the software, the key may be sent in a separate email. You should make note of the number or key before installing the software and be sure to enter the code correctly. If the code is not accepted, make sure you use the numeral 1 or the letter I as appropriate, the number 0 (zero) and the letter O as appropriate, the number 5 for the letter S as appropriate, and so forth.
  4. Check the system requirements
    Make sure that your Mac meets the minimum system requirements to install and use the software. Check the software packaging or the developer's website for specific requirements.
  5. Check the disc on another Mac
    If an installer on a DVD or CD won't open on your Mac or the disc doesn't appear on your desktop, try the disc with another Mac. If it opens elsewhere, use System Profiler to verify that the computer's DVD drive is recognized by the system. Some older drives may only read CDs. Otherwise, your disc drive may need repair (test your disc drive's performance with other CDs and DVDs first before seeking service). If the disc doesn't work on another computer, there could be something wrong with the disc—contact the software developer for assistance or replacement.
  6. Make sure that your Internet connection is working for Software Update
    If your Internet connection or network is down, Software Update won't be able to access the Internet to do its job. Try again later when your connection is back up and running. If you're connected to a network, make sure that your computer is allowed to access Internet locations—consult with your network administrator to find an alternate location to access Software Update or to get information about the proxy server your network uses to access the Internet.
  7. Download the application again
    If you're trying to install from a download, visit the software developer's site and download the installer file again. There could be an issue with your original download and a fresh copy may resolve the issue.
  8. Make sure that you've got the right updater or upgrader
    If you're updating or upgrading software, make sure that the version you downloaded or bought is truly the one you need. Some updates require that you install another update before you can install the latest one. Some upgrades will only upgrade certain versions of an application, which may not be the one you have. Check the developer's website or any included “Read Me” file for installation requirements and other useful information.
  9. Try removing application receipts
    If you're reinstalling an application or updating an existing one, try removing the application's receipts. Look for any receipts that bear the name of the application in the the Receipts folder inside of the main Library folder (/Library/Receipts) and move them elsewhere. Then try installing or updating your software again.
  10. Try installing the software again
    Some of the components in the installer may not have been installed completely in your first installation attempt. If the application or your system upgrade appears on your Mac but isn't working as expected, try installing the software again.

Still having issues?

If the tips above don't resolve your issue, here are some other things to try:

  • Visit our Support site and use the Search tool to search for your issue.
  • Contact the software developer for assistance.
  • Visit Apple Discussions, select your product, and seek advice from others.
Important: Information about products not manufactured by Apple is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute Apple’s recommendation or endorsement. Please contact the vendor for additional information.
Last Modified: Mar 28, 2012
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  • Last Modified: Mar 28, 2012
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