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How to update your Mac software

Ready for some Mac tips? Updating software on your Mac is an essential maintenance task that you should perform regularly. It can defend your Mac from malicious attacks, improve sluggish system performance, and fix bugs that can cause random crashes.

Today, I’ll give you a complete guide on how to update your Mac to the latest macOS version and how to prepare your computer for it. I also show how you can update your apps, both manually and automatically.

How to update your macOS

Let’s start with a macOS update. Before updating your Mac, you need to make sure your computer is ready for the upgrade. There are a few things worth checking before you download a new version of macOS. If you follow them all, you are less likely to have problems after the update.

The first thing you should do is to check your Mac for compatibility and required free space. As with the previous versions, the latest one is available for a limited list of Mac models. You can see if your Mac can run it on Apple's website. Your Mac also needs to have a required amount of memory and storage space. So double-check the macOS requirements before installation to avoid any issues.

To find out your current macOS version, Mac model, memory, and storage space.
  • Choose About This Mac from the Apple menu.
  • Head to the Overview and Storage tabs to check the details.

Does your Mac fit the requirements? Share your results in the comments below. Let’s move forward!

Clean up your Mac

Before installing a big update to the system, you should also clean it up first. This step is important if you want to install a new version quickly and avoid glitches of the new macOS.

To give your Mac a thorough cleanup, you need to get rid of log files, old caches, and other system junk. Sounds like a lot of work, right? Actually, it’s easy as a pie. Mac cleaners like CleanMyMac X can help you do the job with ease.

All you need to do is to download CleanMyMac X.

You don’t risk anything, it’s free.

  • Once you install CleanMyMac X on your Mac.
  • Launch the app and hit Scan to find all the extra files you can delete.
  • When the analysis is over, you'll see a total amount of data that can be removed safely. CleanMyMac X also checks Mac for threats and defines optimization tasks.

How to update your Mac software

  • Click Review Details to see a full list of items found by CleanMyMac X. 
  • Switch between categories and deselect anything you don't want to remove.
  • When you're ready, click Run to complete the cleanup and let CleanMyMac X optimize your Mac’s performance.

How to update your Mac software

Done! Now, your machine is in great shape and ready for the big update.

Back up your Mac

Also, it’s a good idea to back up your data. Luckily, Apple makes it easy to back up your Mac using Time Machine, so there is no excuse not to do that.

To create backups with Time Machine

You need to have an external storage device.

When you connect an external drive directly to your Mac, you might be asked to use it to back up with Time Machine.

  • In that case, check Encrypt Backup Disk
  • Click Use as Backup Disk. If Time Machine does not ask you to use your drive then follow these steps to add it manually.
  • First, head over to System Preferences in the Apple menu.
  • Then choose Time Machine.

How to update your Mac software

  • Click Select Backup Disk and pick your external drive from the list of available options.

How to update your Mac software

  • Then check the box next to Encrypt backups and hit Use Disk.

How to update your Mac software

If the disk you selected isn't formatted as required by Time Machine, you will need to erase it first. After you select a backup disk, Time Machine immediately begins backing up your data. After it’s done, you’ll see a notification.

  • To start a new backup later, choose Back Up Now from the Time Machine menu in the menu bar.
  • Use the same menu to check the status of a backup or > skip a backup in progress.

Connect to the Internet and plug in your Mac

Finally, here’s the last step before the update — get connected! It takes time to download & install macOS then make sure you have a reliable internet connection. If you're using your MacBook, plug it into AC power. Great! Now your computer is ready for downloading and installing new macOS.

Download and install new macOS

Are you upgrading right from the previous macOS version? If so,
  • Go to Software Update in System Preferences (in the left corner)to find the latest upgrade.

How to update your Mac software

  • Click Upgrade Now and follow the on-screen instructions to begin your upgrade.
If you’re using an earlier macOS version, upgrade to the newest release from the App Store instead.
  • First, open the App Store and go to the Updates tab or find needed macOS manually by Search.
  • Then click the Get button.

How to update your Mac software

  • Once the download is completed, the installer will open automatically. Click Continue and follow the on-screen instructions.
  • Your Mac will restart when it’s done.
Congratulations! Now you have a new macOS.

How to update Mac apps manually

First, I’ll show how to do that manually via the App Store or the native updater. After that, we’ll see an easier, automatic way.

  • The App Store’s updater makes it a snap to download & install all the updates you need at once.
  • When you open the Updates tab, you'll see the most recent available versions of your apps.
  • Click Update next to the app to update only that one.
  • Hit Update All to update them all at once.

The biggest drawback of this method is that it works only for software distributed by Apple and other developers through that store. Still, some popular third-party apps like Spotify notify you when new versions are available, sending you a link where you can get a new version. Some even offer background installers that can auto-update, leaving you one less thing to worry about.

But smaller third-party apps might not have a built-in update check. So, you’ll have to visit the developer’s website from time to time to check for new versions.

How to update Mac apps automatically

The above may sound like a bit of a hassle. That’s when it’s time to try CleanMyMac X’s Updater feature. It had the same smooth Mac-style interface as the App Store, but it shows available updates for all the apps you had installed. Updating all your apps at once with CleanMyMac X will save you a lot of time. Here’s how it works.

  • Open CleanMyMac X and select Updater from the sidebar.
  • Check the boxes next to the apps you want to update or choose Select All. Lastly, hit the Update button.

How to update your Mac software

That’s all it takes! Now your Mac is fully updated! I hope this article was helpful for you. give it a share and comment on what else you want to learn about Mac use. More tips and tricks are coming soon!

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