Apple releases major version of macOS around the fall season of every year. Generally, this is combined with other product updates and iOS release. Major macOS version will have numbers like 12.6 and have a unique name like Mojave or Ventura. You will get many exciting features with the major macOS versions. To make use of the new features and keep your system secured, you need a software update to download and install the latest version. You can also try the beta macOS version to preview the features before they are available for public use.
Back & Forth
In earlier days, MacBook has Software Update option available under System Preferences section. Later, Apple moved the Software Update for operating system to the App Store. You could simply go to ‘Updates’ section of the App Store to download and install the new macOS till macOS version 10.13 High Sierra. But again Apple rolled back this Software Update option under ‘System Preferences’ section. And finally, it is available in ‘General’ section of System Settings app from macOS Ventura or later versions.
How to Software Update in macOS Monterey or Earlier?
Now you can update all apps by going to ‘App Store > Updates’ section. But for updating operating system, go to ‘Apple Icon > System Preferences…’ and click on ‘Software Update’ option.
When you open ‘Software Update’ option, Mac will start checking for the available updates. If there is an update available, it will show the version. You can click on the ‘More info…’ link to get the details of the new version.
If you have automatic update enabled, you will see a message saying that your Mac will try to update the software automatically.
Automatic Vs. Manual Update
The software update section has a check box ‘Automatically keep my Mac up to date’.
Enabling this will automatically download the new software update whenever available. You will get a notification before the installation starts.
You can disable the automatic update to download the software manually when you need.
Download & Restart
Click on the ‘Install Now’ button to start the process. You will be prompted with a confirmation message like below. Click the ‘Download & Restart’ button to start the software download.
The download will take time based on the size of the update. After completion of the download, your Mac will restart and install the new software.
When you are able to login back, go back to the ‘Software Update’ section under ‘System Preferences’. You will see that your Mac is up to date showing the latest macOS version.
Customizing Automatic Update
Click on the ‘Advanced’ button to customize the auto update options.
You can enable or disable:
- Check for updates – this will allow your Mac automatically check for software updates.
- Download new updates when available – enabling this will automatically download the update.
- Install macOS updates – automatically install the macOS update, you will be prompted before installation with an option to postpone later.
- Install app updates from the App Store – auto app updates, you need to enable the option from App Store preferences also.
- Install system data files and security updates – automatically install security patches.
You can select the options based on your need. For example, you can only select downloading the macOS update and not installing automatically. Or disable app updates to check and update apps from App Store manually.
Software Update from About This Mac
There is alternate way to go to the software update section. Go to ‘Apple menu > About This Mac’. Click on the ‘Software Update’ button to go to the same software update section and follow the instructions as explained above.
App Updates from App Store
When you update macOS to major version, we recommend to update all your apps from App Store. Open App Store and go to the menu ‘App Store > Preferences’. Here you can enable ‘Automatic Updates’ so that your Mac will install the app updates without asking you.
If you have disabled automatic updates of apps, then manually go to ‘Updates’ section and download the updates. Note that major version of macOS is also available as an app in App Store. You can download the app and reinstall in your Mac, in case if your system files are corrupted.
Updating macOS Ventura or Later Versions
Apple changed the macOS interface and revamped the system preferences section. Though the process is same like earlier version, you may find the interface looks different in macOS Ventura or later version.
- Click the Apple logo and select “System Settings…” option (earlier it was “System Preferences…”). If there are any updates available, you will see a notification here.
- Select “General” section from the left sidebar and then click “Software Update” option from the right pane.
- System will automatically check and show the available update. Click on the “Update Now” button.
- Provide your system admin password and start downloading the software.
Click on “Automatic updates” option to enable or disable automatically downloading installing macOS.