You just switched from Windows to MacOS and would like information on how the update system of the operating system from Apple? Are you trying to download an update from the Mac App Store but the operation is unsuccessful due to an error and you don't know how to solve the problem? Don't worry, if you want, I'm here to help you.

Give me five minutes of your free time and I'll explain how to update mac using all possible and imaginable systems. Therefore, we will see how to update macOS (and the applications installed on the PC) using the appropriate function of the Mac App Store, how to solve the Mac App Store download problems, how to take advantage of Apple Combo updates on its official website and In fact, how to perform a clean installation of the latest version of macOS.

Are many of the names and terms I just listed obscure? Don't worry, if you're new to the Mac world it's normal. But now, for this same reason, don't waste any more time and start working: take some time off, read the instructions I'm going to give you and put it into practice to update your Mac to the latest version of macOS. Everything is free!

Preliminary operations

Before installing an update for macOS, be it an intermediate update (for example, from macOS 10.12.3 to macOS 10.12.4) or a major update (for example, from macOS 10.11.x to macOS 10.12), it is always appropriate make a Backup of your data. Let me be clear, updating your Mac does not involve deleting data, but you know, in situations like this it is always good to be cautious and save all the data that interests you the most.

You can trust to back up your data Time Machine, the backup tool included 'standard' in macOS, you can use a very common HDD external to copy your files and / or you can use services cloud storage like Dropbox, iCloud Drive y Google Drive. The choice is yours. The important thing is not to rush and make a copy, possibly double (maybe one online and one offline), of your data.

If you need help with time Machine, you can check out my guide on how to backup with Time Machine, while if you are looking for a good external drive to save your data to, take a look at my buying guide dedicated to hard drives external

note: If you're about to do a major update, before you go ahead and waste time, make sure your Mac is compatible with the new version of macOS released by Apple. Find this information in the notes version or a simple Google search.

Update Mac

The easiest way to update mac is to contact System preferences, in regards to system updates, and Mac App Store, with regard to downloaded apps from the Mac App Store (those downloaded from external sites must be updated using the special function included in each of them).

Open therefore System preferences (the settings icon located on the dock bar), choose the icon Software update and wait for the search for the latest available system updates. If updates are detected, accept their installation by clicking the button Update now and then following the on-screen instructions.

As for apps, you can check for updates by opening the Mac App Store and selecting the article updates from the left sidebar. If updates are available for an application, click the button to install them, which should be found in the application name.

If you are using a MacOS version earlier than 10.14 Mojave, you should download system updates and app updates via Mac App Store. If properly configured, the Mac App Store can manage all updates automatically, in the sense that it can check for updates, download them in the background and, at the end of the download, you can propose their installation through the notifications that appear on the desktop . The user, at that point, can decide whether to proceed with the installation of the update (which generally requires restarting the PC) or to postpone the operation by clicking on the corresponding buttons.

The update mechanism is the same for both intermediate updates (for example, from macOS 10.12.3 to macOS 10.12.4) which for i major upgrade (ex. from macOS 10.11.x to macOS 10.12). However, installation times and methods change: Intermediate updates install automatically in a few minutes (usually fifteen) without user intervention. The main updates are installed through a special application that is downloaded to the Mac (eg. MacOS Sierra in the case of macOS 10.12) and require, at least initially, user intervention, who must accept the terms of use of the software and select the destination disk of the operating system. Installation times, as you can easily guess, are quite long compared to those for intermediate updates.

Configure Automatic Updates

If you want to configure automatic download of updates for macOS and / or applications downloaded from the Mac App Store, open System preferences (the settings icon on the dock bar), go up Software update and if it's not already present put a check mark next to the item Keep Mac automatically updated.

Then click on the button advanced and put a check mark next to all available items: Search for updates (to activate the automatic search for updates), Download new updates when available (to start downloading updates), Install macOS updates (to activate the automatic update installation), Install app updates from App Store (to enable automatic installation of application updates) e Install system data files and security updates (to enable automatic installation of critical security updates).

If you are using a MacOS version earlier than 10.14 Mojave, you should follow a slightly different procedure: open System preferences and select the icon of App Store from the window displayed on the screen. At this point, depending on your preferences, place or remove the check mark from the following options.

  • Check for updates automatically - to activate the automatic search for updates.
  • Download available updates in the background - to activate automatic download of updates Install application updates
  • Install application updates - to activate search and / or download updates for applications downloaded from the Mac App Store (option available only by activating "Check for updates automatically").
  • Install macOS updates - to activate the search and / or download updates for macOS (option available only by activating "Check for updates automatically").
  • Install system data files and security updates - to allow automatic installation of the most important security updates (recommended).

Install automatic updates

When macOS finds a system update and downloads it, it alerts you with a notification that appears at the top right of the desktop. At that point, as explained above, you can decide whether you want to continue installing the update or postpone the operation a few hours later (for example, overnight) or the next day.

Then click the notification button for the option that interests you, for example Install / Restart to install the update immediately or After postpone it and proceed accordingly. If you decide to install the update immediately, click Download and restart, accept the macOS terms and conditions of use (if necessary) and wait patiently for the update to install on your Mac. The PC will reboot and you will have to wait 15-20 minutes for the update installation to complete . If you decide to postpone the update, you don't have to do anything: you can continue your work normally until macOS asks you again what you want to do with the available updates.

As mentioned above, for major macOS updates, the procedure to follow is slightly different. You must download the application for the version of MacOS that will be installed on the PC (eg. macOS Mojave in the case of macOS 10.14) and, at the end of the download, it is necessary to start the latter to accept the terms of use of the software and select the destination disk.

What to do in case of problems

If the Mac App Store has problems, in the sense that some updates are not downloaded and / or error messages are displayed, you can try restore store cache. The steps to follow are those.

  • Close the Mac App Store y System preferences, if you are running To completely close the store, press the key combination cmd + q at keyboard of the Pc.
  • Open the terminal. If you don't know where to find it, look in the folder more from the launchpad.
  • In the Terminal window, type the command open $TMPDIR../C/com.apple.appstore/and prizes presentar.
  • The folder containing the temporary files from the Mac App Store will open. Take all the contents of the folder and drag it to the folder of your choice (you can also move it to the Recycle Bin if you want).

Now open again System preferences y Mac App Store, try to start checking for updates and everything should run smoothly. If the solution doesn't work, put the cache files back in the folder from where you previously deleted them and try updating macOS through Combo Update. To find out what it is, read the next chapter in this tutorial.

Update Mac through Combo Update

If the Mac App Store updates don't work and / or you want to do a "cleaner" install of the operating system, you can use the Combined update from macOS. If you've never heard of them, Combo Updates are update packages for macOS that include the entire operating system (so they are very heavy) and must be downloaded from Apple's website. They cannot be downloaded from the Mac App Store, and must then be installed "manually".

In addition to "weight," Bundled Updates differ from standard macOS updates due to the fact that they allow you to update any version of the operating system from the latest major version and not just the immediately previous version. In other words, if with Mac App Store updates you can only switch from your macOS version to the next (for example, macOS 10.12.3 to macOS 10.12.4), with Combo Updates you can "skip" the versions intermediate versions and go from a major version to any updates to the latest version (for example, from macOS 10.12 directly to macOS 10.12.4).

Having made these necessary "introductions", let's see how to proceed. If you want to download a Combo update for macOS, go to the Apple website and first click on the item related to the update you want to install (ex. Download - MacOS Sierra Update 10.12.3 Combo ) and then on the button Download present on the page that opens.

A download is complete, open the package dmg containing the combined update ( macosupdcomboxx.dmg ) and double-click the icon macOSUpdComboxx.pkg contained within it.

In the window that opens, click on the button continued for three consecutive times, ax the conditions of use of the software by pressing the corresponding button and clicking on install. Then type the password for your macOS user account (the one you use to access the system) and press first on Install software and then Continue installation, resume y movement to restart your Mac and update macOS.

The PC will restart and the macOS update will be installed. The operation will take longer than a standard macOS update. The data, applications and preferences will remain in place. Issues related to updates downloaded through the Mac App Store should also be resolved.

Mac upgrade by performing a clean install

Si vas a format your Mac and install the latest version of macOS on it, restart the PC and hold down the keys cmd + r during the ignition phase. In this way, you will access macOS recovery mode, through which you will format the disk and install the latest version of macOS by downloading it from Internet.

To format the disk, you can simply use it Disk utility. To install macOS, you need to choose the item instead MacOS reinstallation from the main recovery menu and you must select the disk that you have formatted as the target drive of the operating system.

If you don't have a very fast internet connection or want to format more Macs, you can create one USB with operating system installation files (avoid repeated download of macOS from the Internet) with the Install Disk Creator utility. To use this utility, you must download the MacOS version of your interest from the Mac App Store and you must use a device with at least 10 GB of free space.

A key obtained, you can restart your Mac and boot from a USB drive by holding down the key high from the keyboard and selecting the key (ex. Install macOS Mojave ) from the menu that appears. The rest of the procedure (disk formatting and macOS installation) is common with clean installation through recovery.

For more information, see my tutorial on how to install macOS Mojave where I explained in detail how to install a major version of macOS using Mac App Store, Recovery and USB key. I assure you that it is much simpler than you imagine. Obviously, with disk formatting and clean macOS installation, all files, applications and preferences on Mac are removed. Make sure you make a good backup before continuing!