Enabling auto updates has practically become the norm on every operating system, whether it be Windows, macOS, iOS, Linux, etc. Enabling auto updates allows your device to update all the software installed automatically in the background without you being worried about downloading the latest software versions. Similarly, if you want to have this feature on your Mac, you can simply enable automatic macOS System updates. Doing this will automatically allow your Mac to automatically download and install both macOS system updates and app updates onto your Mac.
Points of note
Most of us already have auto updates enabled on our smartphones. In rare cases apps may crash after updates, but usually they all work fine. However, it’s not exactly the same on a Mac. Most people will have several applications open at any time on their Mac and automatic background updates can sometimes disturb the proper functioning of these apps. Because of this you’ll mostly be required to close an app you may be using before an update can be installed.
Similarly, there’s a chance an automatic update might not be compatible with your system or may cause the app to start crashing. As a precaution, it’s best for you to make regular backups of your Mac (using Time Machine) in case you need to revert to a previous version of your system.
With all that being said, simply follow the steps detailed below to enable automatic updates for your Mac:
How to enable auto update for macOS
1. Open System Preferences on your Mac. You can do this from either the Dock or by clicking on the menu in the top-left menu and selecting “System Preferences.”
2. Select “Software Update.”
3. Enable the option “Automatically keep my Mac up to date” to enable auto updates for your macOS.
If you click on “Advanced,” you’ll get a bunch of options on what kind of auto updates you want enabled. All options are briefly explained below.
Download available updates in the background – This is already enabled by default on Mac, as macOS automatically downloads all updates in the background and lets you know when they’re available to install. If you disable this option, you’ll simply be notified that updates are available. Just make sure you don’t use cellular data with this option enabled, as your Mac will download any and every update available, which might result in a very hefty phone bill.
Install app updates and Install macOS updates – Enabling this option will allow your Mac to not only download all available updates but also install them automatically. This option isn’t enabled by default.
Install system data files and security updates – This option is enabled by default. It allows critical security updates to be installed on your Mac as a priority as soon as they’re available – so it’s a good option to have it enabled.
Do remember that you’ll need your admin password if you want to enable/disable any of the above listed options. You can also choose to delay OS updates. Additionally, OS updates can also be installed by macOS late at night when you aren’t using the machine. An option pops up in a notification to install updates when you are working, but you can snooze that and have the updates installed at night.