Mac Software Updates

Written by Nathaniel Strauss

Last published at: December 15th, 2022

Apple Software Updates

Apple Software Updates can be installed by any user through System Preferences > Software Update. When Self Service detects there's an available update it will display the Apple Software Updates option. Clicking on it will open the Software Update window. It's the equivalent of going to System Preferences > Software Update.

By default, updates are automatically downloaded when they become available. Macs will do their best to auto-update overnight when plugged into power, but if a user is actively using the computer they must still choose to update their Mac when prompted through Notification Center. 

On newer model Macs, deployed starting school year 2021-2022, you may also see a prompt like the one below while running an update. The system is asking for the same password you use to log into the Mac. It's similar to an iPhone or iPad asking for a passcode before starting an update.


Apple Software Upgrades

Upgrades are for major versions changes. For example, moving from macOS Monterey to Ventura. There are usually not accessible through the regular Software Update screen because they are major upgrades, not minor point release updates. Upgrades from one operating system to another may need to occur through Self Service. See How to Upgrade to Ventura for more information.

District Software Updates

Non-Apple software updates are considered district software updates. Things like Google Chrome, Microsoft Word, and similar are all district managed software. Three times per day an automated process runs which packages new software and makes it available in Self Service. New versions are almost always available the same day they are released. If the installed version on a Mac does not match the latest available version, that software displays in Self Service as an available update. Selecting Update All on District Software Updates will update everything. Otherwise individual apps can be updated.

Microsoft AutoUpdate

Microsoft Office updates once a month. Updates will do their best to install silently in the background. Otherwise the user will be prompted. Run the update. Yes, you will continue to be prompted if you don't install the update.

Alternatively Office apps can be installed through Self Service. Microsoft AutoUpdate is faster as it supports delta updates - ~100-200 MB per app instead of over 1 GB.

Other Updaters

Some apps have built in auto-updaters. Where possible, those have been disabled. Updates should be done through Self Service when possible. If an app prompts for an update most likely it will require admin rights to install to the Applications folder. Open a help desk ticket ( if this is happening and it may be possible to disable. In other cases the update prompt can't be disabled. If that happens cancel the update dialog prompt and install the update through Self Service.