OS X: Updating OS X and Mac App Store apps

You can get software updates for OS X and apps from the Mac App Store. In Mountain Lion and Mavericks, use Mac App Store for OS X Updates.

Updating your software in OS X Mountain Lion and later

In Mountain Lion and later, software updates come through the Mac App Store.

Notifications that updates are available

Notification alerts inform you that updates are available.

  • Click “Details” to open the Mac App Store and see details about the updates available.
  • If present, click “Update” or “Install” to install software updates.
  • If present, click “Restart” to install software updates that have already been downloaded, but require the computer to restart.
  • OS X Mavericks lets you select a convenient time to install updates. Click “Later” to postpone updating for now. Click and hold the Later button to see additional options.

do it later

Tip: When you tell Mavericks to “Try Tonight”, OS X installs available updates between 2 a.m. and 5 a.m. Your computer automatically restarts as part of the update process if needed. The next morning when you log in, your apps and windows re-open just the way you left them. This way your computer is up to date, and ready to pick up where you left off.

You may see a badge appear with the number of software updates available on the App Store icon in the Dock.

Updating your software

In addition to clicking “Update” in a notification alert, you can follow these steps to get the latest software updates for OS X and Mac App Store apps.

If you disable Spotlight on the startup volume, some updates may not appear.

  1. Choose Apple () menu > Software Update – If prompted, enter an admin name and password.

  1. The App Store opens and displays any software updates available for OS X and Mac App Store apps. OS X updates will be at the top of the list. Note: Opening the App Store by clicking its Dock icon will only show Mac App Store app updates.

  1. Click “Update All” to install all available software updates. If prompted, enter an admin name and password then Apple ID and password.
  2. Click “Update” to install individual software updates. If prompted, enter an admin name and password then Apple ID and password.

Software Update preferences

You can customize how OS X downloads and installs updates, including updating automatically.

  • In OS X Lion and earlier, choose Apple () menu > System Preferences… > Software Update.
  • In OS X Mountain Lion and later, choose Apple () menu > System Preferences… > App Store.
    software update preferences

Options include:

  • Automatically check for updates – Select this checkbox to have your Mac check for updates automatically.
  • Download newly available updates in the background – Select this checkbook to have your Mac download updates automatically in the background so they are ready to be installed.
  • Install system data files and security updates – Select this checkbox to have your Mac install system files and security updates automatically.
  • Automatically download apps purchased on other Macs – Select this checkbox to have your Mac download apps (from the Mac App Store) that you purchased on other Macs.
    • You will see the Apple ID you have used sign into the Mac App Store after you have signed in.
    • You must be logged in with an admin account to enable automatic downloads.
  • Show Updates or Check Now – Click Show Updates to open the Mac App Store and see any available updates. Click Check Now to check for updates.