Schedule and Install Updates on Your Mac

April 12, 2011, By Christian Cawley

No operating system is perfect – if it were, we would never need a new one! In truth, new advances in computer hardware, changes in the way we use the web and the discovery of operating system and web browser vulnerabilities means that companies such as Microsoft and Apple have to develop updates and revisions to their software.

Newcomers to Mac OS X may not be aware of this, but the operating system features a very simple update system that allows you to get the most recent updates downloaded and applied to your Mac with the minimum of fuss.

With these updates applies your Mac will be more secure and more functional than before, so it is very important that you are aware of the Software Update utility, how it works and how you can schedule an update to take place.

Install and schedule updates on your Mac

Using Mac Software Update

To start using the Apple Mac OS X Software Update tool, go to the Apple menu and select Software Update….

The update tool will quickly check for updates on the Apple update servers and list those that are currently available, along with the file size. If you need to find out what a specific update will actually to, select the update title and read the details that are displayed at the foot of the Software Update window.

Updates can be selected and deselected via the Install column; simply clear a checkbox to skip installing and then click the Install Items button in the bottom right corner to begin downloading the updates and let Mac OS X install them.

Schedule Mac Updates

The above steps, once complete, will result in the updates being applied – but this is method is limited to your own actions.

Wouldn’t it be better to never have to manually update again? Luckily you can – Mac OS X features an update scheduler that allows you to instruct the Software Update tool when to check for updates.

To schedule updates in Mac OS X, head to Settings > System > Software Update, where you will find the Scheduled Check tool which will allow you to Check Now as well as Check for updates either Daily, Weekly or Monthly. By default updates will be automatically downloaded, however you can disable this by clearing the checkbox in the Download updates automatically option.

With your settings configured, close the window – the Mac Software Update is now scheduled.

Dangers of Not Updating

There are countless reasons why you should take advantage of the updates that Apple provide for your Mac, not least to shore up your computer from online threats such as fake websites and other related phishing attempts.

However the dangers of not updating go beyond security concerns. Without the most recent updates installed, issues that have been reported with any previous update will remain unresolved, and these can impede upon your Mac use. New hardware that you purchase for your Mac might not work as intended, and even games and iTunes might fail to work correctly.

As such, follow the steps listed here for staying on top of your Mac Software Updates and enjoy as close to trouble-free and secure computing as possible!

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