How to Update Apps on Mac
Ten years ago people didn’t bother to update their software much. If it still works, who cares, right? This type of thinking may cost you dearly in 2021. In fact, every single tip on Mac security today starts with the words “Update your apps.”
Depending on your situation, you can use one of the following ways to refresh your Mac software:
- Software Updates center in Preferences
- Mac App Store
- Dedicated app updater
- Update apps individually
- Use Terminal
Reasons to update Mac software
The older apps get, the more vulnerable they are to security issues and the more likely they are to be incompatible with newer software. Really, it’s a hassle we don’t need.
The key to avoiding frustration and lost productivity for me has been to keep my applications as up-to-date as possible. Sometimes, though, this is easier said than done. Out of the box, my Mac doesn’t have a great way to update apps from third-party developers. And it’s not like I can do my job with just standard apps in the Dock.
Some of these updates are more straightforward than others, which is why a one-stop tool like CleanMyMac X has been a lifesaver for me. Below, I’ll walk you through how to update different kinds of apps on your Mac, and recommend some easy fixes to frustrating problems.
How to update apps on MacBook
The most straightforward way to update apps on your Mac is to use the Mac App Store. This feature collects updates to any app you’ve downloaded, as well as your Mac OS operating system.
When you open the update tab, you’ll always see the most recent available versions of your applications, so there’s no need to compare. Plus, the App Store’s updater makes it a snap to download and install all the updates you need at once.
- Click the Apple logo in the top left corner of the screen.
- Select “App Store” from the drop-down menu (If you have updates waiting, that menu will show you how many).
- You can also open the App Store from the Dock and click the Updates tab to see which of your applications are out of date.
- Click the Update button beside each app to start downloading and installing the update, or hit Update All to do them all at once.
Mac AppStore not updating applications? Here’s what to do
Unfortunately, the App Store method only works for software distributed by Apple and other developers through that store. That means that if you want to update any application that you downloaded from another source, you’ll need to find another method.
Here’s an example of how to update a third-party app popular with Mac users, Google Chrome:
- Click the Chrome drop-down menu in the top left corner.
- Select “About Google Chrome”.
- Chrome will scan for new versions and let you know if you’re running the most up to date version.
- If your version is out of date, click the update button.
Some smaller third party applications might not have a built-in update check. You’ll have to visit the developer’s website periodically to check for new versions. Or, you can install an RSS tracker to monitor the developer’s website for updates, which should make the whole process easier.
How to update apps on MacBook with CleanMyMac X
This method is like a turbo-rocket because it updates all your apps at once. Trying to keep everything up to date ended up sapping my productivity. That’s when I decided to try CleanMyMac X. I was already using this powerful tool to cleaning junk off my hard drive and protecting my Mac from malware, but I decided to give the Updater tool a try.
Right off the bat, Updater felt different. It had the same smooth Mac-style interface as the app store, but it showed updates for ALL the apps I had installed. It also imported developer notes and preview screenshots from the App Store and from other sources so I could see exactly what was going to change.
Having it all in one convenient place saved me a lot of time–I can see myself adding an update check to my normal work routine easily.
Here’s how it works:
- Open CleanMyMac X — download a free version here.
- Select the Updater feature from the left-hand panel.
- Check the boxes next to the apps you want to update, or click “Select All.”
- Click the large “Update” button.
That’s all it takes! I already rely on CleanMyMac X to handle other tasks, and now I can add app updates to the list.
And the last way is to use Terminal
The Terminal app isn't particularly appealing, but it can do almost anything, if you know the right commands. Updating apps is no different.
Open the Terminal app (you can type its name in the Launchpad)
Paste in the following command:
sudo softwareupdate -i -a
You'll be required to enter your password. This command automatically finds available updates for your software much like the Mac App Store method. But be careful using this method — Terminal is a risky nuclear option and you should double check what you're doing.
Okay, these were my favourite ways to update apps on Mac. Hope you've found something useful here.