The macOS and applications installed on your Mac need to be regularly updated. This protects your Mac from malware and helps the system processes work smoothly. Additionally, new updates usually come with new features, fixed bugs, and optimization for the latest system changes.
From this article, you will learn how to update your MacBook/iMac and how to update apps on your Mac.
- How to check a Mac for updates.
- How to update a Mac operating system.
- How to update applications on a Mac.
Important tips when updating software on a Mac
Before you update your Mac, you should do the following:
- Always back up your Mac first.
- Cleaning up all junk files before starting the update is recommended.
- Make sure you have enough free disk space for the new macOS version.
How to check a Mac for updates
Before 2018, software updates for macOS were placed in the Mac App Store. Then Apple replaced the information about software updates in the System Preferences.
- Open System Preferences.
- Click on Software Update.
- The system will check for updates. If a software update is available, you will see the Update Now button. The update will be downloaded. You can then immediately install the update or schedule the installation for that night.
This is also where you can configure the automatic installation of updates. For this, check the box next to “Automatically keep my Mac up to date.”
To view and configure additional options, click the “Advanced” button. Here you can make the following options automatic:
- Checking for updates
- Downloading new updates when available
- Installing macOS updates
- Installing app updates from the App Store
- Installing system data and security updates
How to check the software for updates on macOS Ventura
- Open System Settings.
- Go to the General section and select Software Update.
- Here you will see the information about updates and iff needed, it will show a button to update your Mac.
How to update a Mac operating system
Before you start updating your macOS, it’s always a good idea to make a backup of your drive in case something goes wrong. You can backup your Mac using Time Machine.
Steps to update macOS:
- Open System Preferences.
- Click on Software Update.
- Click the Update Now button.
- Click Continue.
- Your Mac will start downloading the device system update.
- Once downloading is finished, click on Restart Now.
- It may take some time to install new updates. Do not put your Mac to sleep or close it until the process is finished.
How to update applications on a Mac
Generally, after updating your macOS, you don’t need to do any additional steps. All installed applications will still be available on your Mac after the update. However, before you update, make sure your apps will be compatible with the updated version of macOS. This information can usually be obtained from the developer of your application.
To make applications work smoothly on a new macOS, developers update their applications and optimize them. You should also update your applications. How to update your application will depend on whether you downloaded them from the App Store or the Internet.
How to update applications downloaded from the App Store:
- Open the App Store.
- Make sure you are logged into your Apple ID.
- In the left sidebar, click on Updates.
- Here you will see the list of downloaded applications from the App Store. If an application needs to be updated, you will see the Update button next to its name.
- Click on Update in the App Store (if the app you want to update is launched, close it beforehand).
Also, in the Updates section under the application’s name and icon, you can find a brief description of fixed bugs and improvements for the current version of the app.
How to automatically update applications downloaded from the App Store
In order to not manually check your applications for updates, you can set up to automatically update them. To do this, follow the steps below:
- Open the App Store.
- Go to the menu and select Preferences.
- Mark the checkbox for the Automatic Updates option.
After this, the App Store will download and install app updates automatically once the developers commit new versions of their applications.
If you use multiple Macs (for example, a MacBook at home and an iMac at the office), you can automatically download programs and games to each of them. For this, turn on the “Automatically download apps purchased on other devices” option in the Preferences window.
How to update applications downloaded not from the App Store
When you launch an application downloaded not from the App Store, you can see a notification that a new version is available. Usually, all you need to do to update such apps is to click the Update button. The application will download the update and ask you to relaunch the app to install its fresh version.
On the screenshot below, you can see an example of a software update window for Disk Space Analyzer from Nektony.
Even if you close the update notification, don’t worry; you can check any application for an update. For this, complete the following steps:
- Open the app you want to update.
- Go to the menu and select Check for Updates.
- You will see a window with available updates or a message saying that you have the newest.
Different applications may require different steps to be updated. For example, if you use the Chrome browser and a new version is available, you will see the Update button on the top. For some other applications, you might need to go to the developers’ website and check for new versions of their apps.
Now you know how to update the software on your Mac, both the macOS, applications installed from the App Store, and applications downloaded from the Internet. Updates are important for your Mac’s safety and data security and for a smooth Mac performance.
Why can’t I update my macOS?
One of the common reasons why you can’t update your Mac is the lack of free disk space on your Mac for the new system. To fix this, first, remove junk files and free up disk space with MacCleaner Pro. You should have about 15-20GB of free space available to update your system. Also, before starting the update, check whether your hardware is compatible with the new macOS. If you have an older Mac, it might not support the latest update.
What happens if I don’t update my Mac?
Generally, nothing serious will happen if you don’t update your Mac. However, the new features of a new macOS version will not be available to you. Additionally, some applications might work incorrectly or even will not work on old versions of macOS. Further, every new update comes with fixed bugs and a higher level of data protection and security. But if you’re worried about the new version, you can ignore the update.
Why do macOS updates take so long?
The time of the macOS updating process depends on many factors, such as the internet connection speed, the version of the system you use, RAM memory on your Mac and the volume of the new system to be downloaded and installed. Since you can’t use your Mac during the update installation process, you should start the update when you have about 60 min – 1,5 hours of free time when you don’t need your Mac.
How do you update 3rd party apps on Mac?
If you downloaded apps from the App Store, to update them, open App Store → Go to the Updates section from the sidebar and click the Update button next to those apps that have new updates. If you downloaded apps not from the App Store, you can check them for updates individually in the menu bar → Check for updates. Also, when you launch an app and it has an update, it usually notifies you with an appropriate popup.