How To Update Your Mac And All Of Its Apps

Updating your Mac is easy. And if all you do is download apps from the Mac App Store, keeping those updated is easy, too. But if you want to make sure everything on your Mac has the most recent features and security fixes, we have a few tips that can help you out.

How to keep macOS updated to the latest version

Your Mac should let you know when you need to install updates. However, you can always check by clicking on the Apple icon in the top-left corner of your screen, clicking on System Preferences, and clicking on Software Update.

Make sure that box is checked so your Mac will download and attempt to install updates for you. You should also click on Advanced and make sure everything is checked there, too:

What about beta updates?

If you want to live on the wild side and try out newer macOS features (and fixes) before everyone else, you have two options.

  • Apple’s public beta for macOS

First, sign up for the official Apple public beta for macOS. You’ll have to download and install a beta utility on your Mac—as easy as installing an app—and you’ll then run a Software Update to install the latest public beta version. This might be slightly less stable than a regular version of macOS, but it’ll likely give you less grief than …

  • Apple’s developer beta for macOS

I like running the developer beta because I have no fear and I have yet to encounter a Mac-destroying bug (knock on wood). Normally, getting access to a developer beta requires you to give Apple $150 a year as part of its Apple Developer Program. Or you can do what I do: Visit and download the macOS beta profile. Install it on your Mac, run a Software Update, and you’ll have the latest preview version of macOS that developers get to play with. Apologies, in advance, if something screws up.

How to keep your Mac’s apps updated to the latest versions

If you install apps on your Mac from the App Store, all you have to do is launch the App Store app and click on the Updates tab. In fact, you’ll see a big, red notification on the App Store icon in your Dock whenever you have updates that you need to download and install. This process seems pretty easy, but don’t blow it off.

While you’re in the App Store app, click on “App Store” on your Mac’s menu bar and select Preferences. Make sure your apps are set to automatically update, which makes this entire ordeal even simpler.

How to keep the rest of your Mac apps updated to the latest version 

You probably have plenty of apps on your Mac that you didn’t download from the App Store. If you’re lucky, they’ll come with some built-in tool for keeping them updated. If not, or if you want to make sure you have all the latest updates for your various apps at the same time, you have a few options.

Install your apps via Homebrew

If you can use a package manager like Homebrew to find and install the apps you use, perfect! Updating everything you’ve installed is as easy as typing in a few simple Terminal commands.

Use another app to scan for updates

I’ve been a fan of Latest—which you can also install via Homebrew—but other apps like the paid-for MacUpdater are useful for making sure everything installed on your Mac is as updated as it can be. I’d give the first one a try and see how well it does; if you need to pay $16 for a little more firepower, there you go.


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