Ask LH: How Can I Stop My Mac Updating When I'm On Holidays?

Hey Lifehacker, Overseas data charges are expensive, so I want to stop all my MacBook apps from checking for updates while I'm away and wasting precious data. I know this can be done on an app-by-app basis, but that is rather tedious, especially when it has to be re-enabled on return. Any way of doing this on a system-wide level? Thanks, Mac Mover

Photo: Sergey Galyonkin

Dear MM,

It is indeed possible to batch-disable automatic updates on Macs running OS X. Here's OSX Daily with the skinny on how it's done:

    Stop OS X Mountain Lion from Automatically Downloading App and OS X Updates:

  • Open System Preferences from the Apple menu
  • Select “Software Update” and click the lock icon to unlock the preferences
  • Uncheck “Download newly available updates in the background”

If you hate being pestered by update alerts, you can also uncheck “Automatically check for updates” which will disable the function completely. However, you'll then need to periodically check for updates manually; something that is easily forgotten about. Hope this helps!

Cheers Lifehacker

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    Wow, surprised Windows does this better than Mac. Windows 8 you can set it to not download over metered connections. It even warns me if I have programs running in the system tray that will upload/download information when I connect to my 4G.

    That only applies to the Mac App store - not apps sourced elsewhere. There's only two options to prevent them, switch them off individually - or install a firewall (like little snitch etc) that will block everything.

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