Disable Automatic Updates (Mac Desktops & Laptops)

Mac has a handful of features that rely on a constant internet connection, these include the update feature.

OS X El Capitan, (10.11) the latest version of the Mac operating system is approximately a 6GB download.

Operating system software and all apps in the Mac App Store will automatically download and update themselves. However if you have metered internet or are living in a data drought you’ll probably want to stop these updates from downloading in the background.

Automatic app updates are controlled by the Mac App Store. To change the App Store’s settings, go to System Preferences > App Store. You can still enable checking for updates, by ticking the AUTOMATICALLY CHECK FOR UPDATES BOX, and leaving the other boxes blank.

Screen Shot 2015-10-18 at 10.22.11 am

This enables you to update when you have access to the appropriate data needed and allows the system to alert you to new updates available but does not download them without your permission.

NOTE: Install system data files and security updates is recommended to be checked.

When you are ready to install the updates go to System Preferences > App Store>Show Updates.

You can then decide on which updates are the most important and click on UPDATE or UPDATE ALL (if you have the required data available).

Important: If you’re going to use this automatic system update option, be sure that Time Machine backups of the Mac are allowed to be made on a regular schedule. Time Machine will do this automatically as long as it’s setup and the backup drive is available. If you do not make regular backups of your Mac, it is not recommended to use an automated system update installation feature.

Installing via a USB Memory Stick

How you handle Apple IOS updates is going to depend on which update it is.  To install onto a memory stick or external hard drive follow the instructions below.  You might be able to do this when you have access to free wifi or a friend / relative who has a larger data plan than yourself.

  • For major upgrades like 10.11 (e.g. El Capitan) your device will download an installer through the App Store
    • copy the installer file from the computer you downloaded it to, to an external drive
    • It’ll show up in the Applications folder when you download it and you can just move that or right-click and copy/paste it to your external drive
    • You can also use that method to create a bootable disk in case you ever need to reinstall OS X on your computers
  • For the minor updates they’ll be posted to the Apple website
    • you just need to download it from there to your external drive

Please note, while all care has been taken in compiling BIRRR documents, we recommend that you check with your system operator before implementing any changes.  Operating software can also be downloaded at any Apple Store, there may be a charge for this.

Tips shared by BIRRR taken from Apple Chat help, October 2015.  While all care is taken compiling these fact sheets, we advise you check with Apple Support if you have issues or concerns.

Footnote: All information compiled by Amanda Salisbury & Kristy Sparrow for  BIRRR and is current as at 18th October 2015.

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