OS X Server: About the Software Update service

Learn about the configuration options for the Software Update service in OS X Server (Mountain Lion).

Operating modes

Server app in Mountain Lion presents two configuration options for the Software Update service. Choose between Automatic and Manual modes in the Settings pane.

In Automatic mode, your software updates are automatically downloaded and enabled for clients to install. Also, when updates are no longer supported by Apple they are automatically removed from your Software Update server (your server mirrors what is available from Apple's Software Update servers).

In Manual mode, you choose which updates to download and enable for clients to install. The updates on your server are saved until you explicitly delete them. In this mode you have additional options in the Updates pane. There is a checkbox to automatically download new updates when they are posted to Apple's Software Update servers. This option preserves the ability to enable the update later even if it is removed from the Apple catalog. If this option is deselected (unchecked), then updates are listed when they become available, but are not downloaded. If it is selected (checked), all updates are automatically downloaded but not enabled for local clients. In either case, use the gear menu to Download, Download and Enable, Enable, Disable, or Remove any selected updates. If multiple updates are selected and some of the selected updates are already in the state represented by the action, then no action is taken for those updates.

Status of updates

In either mode, the Updates pane shows one of the following Status options for each update listed.

  • Available: The update appears in the Apple catalog and may be downloaded. It is not yet stored locally.
  • Waiting: The update has been requested for download (on-demand or automatically) and is pending.
  • Downloading: The update is in the process of being downloaded. Only one update can be downloaded at a time.
  • Disabled: The update is completely downloaded to local storage, but is not available to clients.
  • Enabled: The update is completely downloaded to local storage, and is available to clients.

If you remove an item:

  • It remains available in the list as long as it's available from Apple.
  • It disappears from the list if the update is no longer available from Apple.

Additional options

Some configuration options that were shown in Server Admin in Lion Server or Mac OS X Server v10.6 are no longer shown in OS X Server (Mountain Lion), such as limiting user bandwidth and offering updates on a custom port. These options can still be read an set using the serveradmin command in Terminal.

Upgrading and migrating

All updates and settings will be preserved when upgrading or migrating from Lion Server or Mac OS X Server v10.6 to OS X Server (Mountain Lion), including those that are no longer visible in the user interface. If your previous settings match the new Automatic mode (Copy all updates from Apple, Automatically enable copied updates, and Delete outdated software updates) Server app will show Automatic mode; any other combination of settings will be shown as Manual mode.

Updates stored in the old default location /var/db/swupd/ will be moved to the new default location, /Library/Server/Software Update/Data/. If you chose a custom location for update storage in Lion or Snow Leopard, updates will be preserved there.

Learn more

  • In Mountain Lion, the Software Update service communicates with Apple's Software Update servers using https, but it continues to provide updates to clients using http.
  • The Software Update service supports clients running Mac OS X v10.6 and later. See this article for instructions about pointing clients to your server.
  • See this article for general requirements for the Software Update service.
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