Managing software updates for Apple devices
You can control how software updates appear for supervised iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple TV devices enrolled in a mobile device management (MDM) solution. Your options for managing updates vary depending on which operating system version a device is running.
On Mac computers running macOS 10.15.6 or earlier, you can restrict updates only for the operating system. Supplemental, security, and non-OS updates (such as Safari) aren’t restricted.
Options for macOS 10.15.5 or earlier
Force only a minor OS software update delay.
Options for iOS, iPadOS, macOS, and tvOS
These options are available in iOS and iPadOS 11.3 or later, macOS 10.15.6 or later, and tvOS 12.2 or later.
Force an OS software update delay (major or minor).
Define a time period for the delay (described below).
You can prevent devices from offering over-the-air software updates to users until a specified period of time has expired since those updates were published by Apple. When you implement this restriction, the default delay is 30 days since update publication before the update is visible to managed supervised devices. However, you can specify a custom value, anywhere from 1 to 90 days. This delay applies to all OS updates, although MDM has the ability to send specific updates to devices irrespective of the above restriction.
When an update has been available long enough for the specified delay to expire, that update is offered to users as part of the standard software update notifications and update process. If the devices are enrolled in Apple School Manager or Apple Business Manager, the user won’t need to review and accept updated OS terms and conditions on the device to complete the update.
Release dates for iOS and iPadOS software
If permitted, users can still update their devices with Apple Configurator 2, iTunes (in macOS 10.14 or earlier) or the Finder (macOS 10.15 or later).
The iOS and iPadOS software update release and deferral dates are listed here.
iOS and iPadOS version
90-day deferral limit
For example, you have an iPhone fleet running the latest version of iOS 13 and you have applied a deferred software update payload of 90 days to all of them. As the table above illustrates, iPhone users began to have iOS 14 offered to them on 09/16, 2020, as 90 days had passed since the launch of iOS 14.
Note: If there is no passcode on the device, you can complete the installation remotely using your MDM solution. If the device has a passcode, after MDM sends the update to the device, the device queues the update, and the user is prompted to enter their passcode in order to start the installation.
Release dates for tvOS software
The tvOS software update release and deferral dates are listed here.
90-day deferral limit