OS X: Updating OS X and Mac App Store apps
Learn how to get software updates for OS X and apps from the Mac App Store. In Mountain Lion, use Mac App Store for OS X Updates.
Click a section below depending on which OS X version you are updating.
Updating your software in OS X Mountain Lion
In Mountain Lion, Mac App Store delivers OS X Updates instead of the Software Update app.
Notifications that updates are available
Notification alerts in Mountain Lion inform you that updates are available.
- Click "Details" to open the Mac App Store and see details about the updates available.
- If present, click "Update" to install software updates.
- If present, click "Restart" to install software updates that require a restart.
Tip: You can dismiss the Notification Alert by clicking it and swiping to the right.
You may see a badge appear with the number of software updates available on the App Store icon in the Dock.
Updating your software
In addition to clicking "Update" in a notification alert, you can follow these steps to get the latest software updates for OS X and Mac App Store apps.
Important: If you disable Spotlight on the startup volume, some updates may not appear.
- Choose Apple () menu > Software Update… – If prompted, enter an admin name and password.
- The App Store opens and displays any software updates available for OS X and Mac App Store apps. OS X updates will be at the top of the list. Note: Opening the App Store by clicking its Dock icon will only show Mac App Store app updates.
- Click "Update All" to install all available software updates. If prompted, enter an admin name and password then Apple ID and password.
- Click "Update" to install individual software updates. If prompted, enter an admin name and password then Apple ID and password.
Monitoring the progress of installing software updates
After a software update had been started, the following progress indicators will appear:
- The blue progress bar and download stats within the App Store app
- The blue progress bar under the Launchpad icon on the Dock. Tip: To see the Launchpad bezel containing download stats, hover your cursor pointer over the Launchpad Dock icon.
Software Update pane of System Preferences
Use the Software Update System Preference to customize software updates.
Choose Apple () menu > System Preferences… > Software Update.
Note: If needed, click the padlock icon in the lower left and enter an admin name and password to unlock.
- Automatically check for updates – Select this checkbox to have your Mac check for updates automatically.
- Download newly available updates in the background – Select this checkbook to have your Mac download updates automatically in the background so they are ready to be installed.
- Install system data files and security updates – Select this checkbox to have your Mac install system files and security updates automatically.
- Automatically download apps purchased on other Macs – Select this checkbox to have your Mac download apps (from the Mac App Store) that you purchased on other Macs.
- Note: You will see the Apple ID you have used sign into the Mac App Store after you have signed in.
- You must be logged in with an admin account to enable automatic downloads.
- Show Updates or Check Now – Click Show Updates to open the Mac App Store and see any available updates. Click Check Now to check for updates.
Important: You should install OS X updates as soon as possible.
Secure connection to Apple's update servers
Mountain Lion uses HTTPS to make a secure connection to Apple's Software Update servers. Some web proxy configurations may prevent this secure connection. See this article for more information or consult with your local network administrator.
Updating your software in OS X Lion, Mac OS X v10.6, or earlier
Getting updates immediately
- From the Apple () menu, choose Software Update.
Apple menu in Mac OS X v10.6.6
- Software Update checks for available updates. In the Software Update window, select the items you want to install, then click Install. Usually, you should install all available updates.
- Enter an administrator account name and password.
- After installation is complete, restart the computer if required.
You can repeat these steps to see if more updates are now available. Because some software updates are prerequisites for others, you may need to repeat these steps several times to complete the software update sequence. Note: Mac OS X v10.5 and later can automatically run Software Update checks in the background and let you know when an update is available for your computer.
Updating apps that were purchased from the Mac App Store
Software Update does not show updates available for apps that were purchased from the Mac App Store. To update your purchased apps, open App Store on your Mac, then click the "Updates" view at the top of the App Store window. This will show all available updates for apps currently installed on your Mac.
Note: OS X Lion updates come from Software Update as described above.
Scheduling an update
The Software Update pane (in System Preferences) lets you schedule automatic checks for updates. By default, it automatically checks for updates weekly. You can change the interval from weekly to daily or monthly, or you can turn off scheduled checks if you want.
Mac OS X v10.5 and later allows you set Software Update to download important updates automatically. You will be notified when the updates are ready to be installed.
Hiding certain updates
Sometimes you may see an update in the Software Update list that you don't need. You can hide it if you want to.
Using standalone installers from Apple Support Downloads
Sometimes a standalone installer may be more useful than the automatic Software Update feature. Examples include when you:
- Anticipate needing the file again later.
- Need to install on multiple computers and need a portable file.
- Have a faster Internet connection available to you at another computer.
- Have no Internet connection on a computer that needs the update.
You can get standalone copies of many Apple software updates from Apple Support Downloads.
Carefully read the stated system requirements before using a standalone installer. Be sure to install updates in the correct order when applicable, or only on compatible computers when applicable.
Reference releases; update vs. upgrade
Mac OS X v10.1, 10.2, 10.3, 10.4, 10.5, 10.6 and OS X Lion themselves are not free updates, they are reference releases, also called upgrades. The OS X Lion reference release can be purchased in Mac OS X Snow Leopard via the Mac App Store. See also Update, upgrade--what's the difference?