How to prevent your Mac from downloading updates in the background

If you’re a system administrator concerned about data usage or network bandwidth, you can prevent software updates from downloading automatically from Apple.

Keeping your software up to date is essential to maintaining the security of your Mac. Updates also offer new features and can improve stability, performance, and compatibility. And when updates download automatically, it's faster and more convenient to install them when you're ready. 

If you're a system administrator and need to prevent automatic download of software updates, such as to limit data usage or conserve network bandwidth, you can use any of these solutions.

Use Software Update preferences

Use Software Update preferences to turn automatic software downloads on or off. This method is available to anyone administering their personal Mac computer. 

Use a configuration profile

System administrators can prevent automatic downloads by using a configuration profile with the AutomaticDownload key set to False in the com.apple.SoftwareUpdate domain.

Use a Terminal command

System administrators can enter this command in Terminal to prevent automatic downloads.

sudo defaults write /Library/Preferences/com.apple.SoftwareUpdate AutomaticDownload -boolean FALSE

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