How to update your Mac: top tips

One of the most important things you can do to keep your Mac secure and running smoothly is to update the operating system and all the apps you use. If you keep everything updated, you will always have the latest security patches installed and, more importantly, the most recent bug fixes in place. Failing to keep your Mac up to date can lead to problems that include your Mac running slowly, hanging, or crashing. Or, much worse, it could become infected with malware due to the lack of the latest security patches. In this article, we’ll show you how to update your Mac. As a bonus, we’ll explain how to update apps and address the most common error message encountered when trying to update macOS. Let’s go!

Why update your Mac?

There are lots of reasons why you should update your Mac. Here are the most important ones:

  1. It means you have the latest security updates installed.
  2. Your apps are less likely to conflict with the macOS or each other, and so they are less likely to crash.
  3. You will have access to the latest features that are supported on your Mac.
  4. Your Mac will run more smoothly.

Those are four very good reasons, and there’s no downside except for the few minutes you’ll have to spend updating.

How to check which version of macOS you have

Not everyone can install the very latest version of macOS. If you’re running an earlier version — say Monterey — you will still be able to update it but won’t have access to the latest features in Ventura. You may be able to install Ventura, and if you can, you probably should. But it’s possible that your Mac may be too old to be compatible. To check which version of macOS your Mac is running, click on the Apple menu and choose About This Mac. You’ll see a window open and list some information about the Mac. At the bottom is the version of the macOS that’s currently installed.

Now that you know which version of macOS your Mac is running, you may want to know what the latest macOS update version is available. The easiest way to do that is to go to, click on Mac at the top of the window, then macOS.

How to update your Mac

Now that you know where to find the latest MacBook update, it’s time to learn how to install it. The method for updating macOS is slightly different for Macs running macOS Ventura than it is for earlier versions. We’ll show you both.

Here’s how to install MacBook software update on a Mac running macOS Ventura:

System Preferences - Software Update

  1. Click on the Apple menu and navigate to System Settings.
  2. Select General, then Software Update (If there is an update available, it may also be highlighted on the main System Settings screen).
  3. Wait for macOS to check for an update, and if there is one available, follow the on-screen instructions to install it.

If you have a Mac with pre-macOS Ventura, follow these steps to update Mac operating system:

  1. Click on the Apple menu and choose About this Mac.
  2. Click Software Update.
  3. Wait for it to check for an update, and if there’s one available, follow the on-screen instructions to install it.

Whichever version of macOS you’re running, there will be an option to install updates automatically. It’s a good idea to turn this on so that you don’t have to remember to update manually.

How to update apps on your Mac

There are a couple of different ways to update apps on your Mac, depending on where you downloaded them from.

App Store

Apps you downloaded from the App Store need to be updated using the App Store. Luckily, it’s easy to do it:

  1. Open the App Store app.
  2. Click the Updates section in the sidebar.
  3. Either click Update all or click Update next to each app you want to update.
  4. To update apps automatically, click on the App Store menu and choose Settings, then select the box next to Automatic Updates.
AppStore Updates tab

Developer’s website

Apps you downloaded directly from the developer can be updated from the developer’s website. Here’s how:

  1. Open the app you want to update.
  2. Click the app name in the menu bar.
  3. Select Check for updates.
  4. Wait for the app to check, and if there is an update available, click install.
  5. If you want updates to be installed automatically, select the box ’Automatically download and install updates in the future’ or something similar if this option is available.

The easiest way to update all your apps

If updating all the apps you use one at a time seems like a lot of work, there is a much easier way than opening them one at a time and checking for updates. CleanMyMac X has an Updater module that scans your Mac, notes all the apps that are installed, and then checks with their developers to see if there are any updates available. You can then update all those for which there are updates available with one click. Or you can click on each app and read about the new features in the update. You can download CleanMyMac X for free here and install it. Now, follow these steps to update apps in one click:

Updater module of CleanMyMacX

  1. Open CleanMyMac X and select Updater.
  2. To update all the apps for which it has found updates, select Update All. Alternatively, select some specific app.
  3. Click the Update button.

You can find out more information on how to update your Mac here.

What to do if you see the message “no update available”

If you are sure there is an update available for macOS or for an app you use and when you check for updates, it says “no update available,” there are a number of things you can do.

1. Wait for a while

    This is the easiest first step if you don’t urgently need to install the update. Sometimes, updates are withdrawn temporarily or servers get really busy. In those cases, you may well see a message telling you there are no updates available, even when you know one has been released. In other cases, the update may be rolled out gradually, region by region. So it’s worth waiting for a few hours and trying again.

    2. For macOS updates, check Apple’s status page

    Apple has a page on its website where it displays the status of all of its online services, including update servers. Checking this page will tell you if update servers are working properly. The web page is here.

    Look for the “macos Update” entry. If there is a green light next to it, it’s working properly.

    3. Check your internet connection

    When you click “check for updates,” your Mac connects to the servers of the software developer. If your internet connection is slow or not working, it won’t be able to connect and may return a message telling you there is no update available. If you couldn’t complete step 2 and view Apple’s status page, that’s a clue that there is a problem with your internet connection. Try and access a few more web pages and see what happens. If you can’t connect, try the steps below:

    • Turn Wi-Fi on your Mac off and then turn it on again
    • Restart your Mac
    • Restart your router
    • Contact your broadband provider

    If the problem is your broadband connection, you could use your iPhone as a hotspot and use its mobile network to download and install an update. However, you should only do that if you really need to update now, as it may use lots of bandwidth.

    4. Restart your Mac

    If your internet connection is working well, try restarting your Mac. That may solve the problem without you having to do anything else.

    5. Carry out maintenance on your Mac

    Flush DNS cache in Maintenance

    There may be a problem with your Mac that’s preventing it from checking for updates. Carrying out routine maintenance may fix the problem. For example, flushing the DNS cache may allow it to connect to the correct server. The easiest way to carry out maintenance on your Mac, including flushing DNS cache and running macOS maintenance scripts, is to use the Maintenance module in CleanMyMac X. Just go to Maintenance from the sidebar with the app open, select the routines you want, and click Run.

    6. Update apps manually

    If nothing above works and you still can’t update apps by checking for updates, the final option is to try and update manually. For apps, this means going to the developer’s website, looking for the support section and searching for the latest update, then downloading it and installing it manually.

    7. Repair your startup disk

    If you still can’t update macOS, restart your Mac in recovery mode, select Disk Utilities, then your startup disk, and click First Aid. If that doesn’t work, you may need to reinstall macOS from the recovery partition.

    For more detailed instructions on how to address this error message, check our comprehensive article about how to update my Mac when it says no updates are available.

    Updating your Mac is an important part of maintaining it to keep it running smoothly and safe from malware. If you do it regularly — or better still, automatically — it won’t take very long. Follow the steps above to perform Mac system update and fix any problems you encounter.

    Laptop with CleanMyMac
    CleanMyMac X

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