Update macOS software: steps to follow on your Mac — 2022

It is extremely important to keep your Mac fully updated to the latest version of the operating system available. These, in addition to including visual innovations, also improve the stability, performance and security of the computer. If you are new to the Mac world, you probably do not know very well how to carry out this update process, which is really simple, as you will see in the extensive explanation that we will give you in this article.

Things to know before upgrading

Before you proceed to update your Mac, if you have never done it before or if you do not know exactly the details of this process, we advise you to first read a series of aspects that we consider fundamental and that we will explain in the following sections.

Reasons to upgrade a Mac

Apple regularly releases software updates for each and every one of its devices, even if some of them are not that recent. In the case of Macs, it was not going to be less and the main reasons why it is recommended to update are the following:

    Visual updates:Although it is not so common to find it in each update, in the big ones there is always some outstanding aesthetic novelty that changes with respect to the previous one. New functions:again this is more frequent in large versions and can be functions of all kinds and even new native applications that arrive in the macOS environment. Security patches:each and every version of software for Mac incorporates important security measures that prevent the computer from malware, correcting many vulnerabilities that don't always come to light. Error correction:bugs of all kinds are resolved, sometimes more serious and other times simpler and that have not even been widely detected. Performance improvements:Although it is true that in older equipment the passage of time is noticeable, in the end Apple also tries to optimize the resources in these equipment so that everything runs as smoothly as possible within the possibilities that each Mac has.

MacBook Air M1 icon

Are there risks to updating macOS?

Really there are more risks for not updating as we mentioned in the previous section. In large versions there is some risk that some Applications not work as well as they should or not work at all. This is because the developers must have implemented the necessary improvements to make their software compatible with the new Macs. However, this problem is usually resolved quickly. Another possibility by which we could have an unpleasant experience is that of the performance and especially the management of battery , since it is possible that in the first versions a greater consumption is experienced in the MacBook.

Instability is also a point to take into account, although Apple tries to speed up the development of macOS as much as possible to release a final version that does not cause problems. Any other errors or bugs could be directly related to the computer and not to the software, so it could appear in any version. In any case, it is recommended whenever you make a backup before upgrade , either through Time Machine, which is the official tool that Apple has, or manually saving your important files on an external drive or in a cloud storage service.

mac time machine backup

How often do updates come out?

There is no official software release schedule defined by Apple, neither for the Mac nor for the rest of its devices. However, we can observe its history in recent years to see how there are certain patterns that are repeated every year. At WWDC, which is Apple's conference for developers, a new version is presented each year (macOS 11, macOS 12...), then it is released between September and October to the public. Once it has been launched, what we consider intermediate versions (macOS 11.1, macOS 11.2…), which usually arrive every 1-2 months, bringing less news than the big versions, but always with important improvements.

What is not defined in any way are the versions released on time to correct some performance or security problem considered urgent (macOS 11.1.1, macOS 11.1.2...). These are not planned and in fact they do not even have previous beta versions for developers, so it is impossible to define how often they will be released because they may not even be released. Sometimes even known as complementary versions , which have the same numbering as the previous one and their weight is very low, also focusing on correcting certain problems.

Will it take a long time for the computer to update?

When you proceed to update any device, you must be clear that the procedure is divided into two stages: download and installation. During the first we find that the Internet connection It is an extremely important factor, since if you do not have it, you will not be able to download the update from Apple's servers. The speed you have will also be essential when it comes to taking more or less to finish this process. The weight of the update It is also linked to it and it is that the greater the amount of data, the longer your Mac will take to download and install it.

macos 11.4

Of course, there are times when regardless of what speed you have and how much the update weighs, you could suffer some other delay. This is given when apple servers crash because there are thousands of people simultaneously trying to update their equipment. This occurs especially in the first hours of the launch, so it is advisable to always update after a few hours so as not to encounter so much traffic. In any case, this is a process that should not exceed 45 minutes in general.

macOS update procedure

The way to update an Apple computer is the same, with the already mentioned download and installation phases. However, depending on which version you have, you will have to follow one or another route in order to start the process. We will explain all of this in the following sections.

If your Mac already has macOS Mojave (10.14) or later

When Apple released macOS Mojave, version 10.14 of the system, it changed the path to follow to update the equipment. This section was added to System Preferences, so if your current version is Mojave or later, you should always follow these steps to update your Mac:

  1. Access System Preferences on Mac.
  2. Click on the section 'Software update' that we find in the third line of options.
  3. At the time of access, it will start looking for a new update, although you can force this search by clicking on 'Command + R' .
  4. When an update jumps you must click on ' Update now ' or 'More information' to see the update notes for this new software version. update macOS

In this same tab you will find both macOS updates such as Safari, iTunes, Books, Messages... Also at the bottom we can mark the option 'Keep my Mac used' so that these updates are installed automatically as soon as they are available.

On computers with macOS High Sierra (10.13) and earlier

The way that Apple had traditionally had to allow updating its computers is different from what we find today, since there is no section in System Preferences. This does not make it impossible to update or that the procedure will not be the same in broad strokes, you will only have to follow these steps to do so:

  1. open the App Store of the Mac
  2. At the top click on the tab 'Updates'.
  3. If there is an update available, it will appear in this tab and you will simply have to click on ' To update ' to start downloading it and then it will be installed.

As you have already seen, the method to update a Mac is extremely simple and that is why there is no excuse for not having a computer updated to the latest version available. If you want to check the version of the operating system that you have on your computer right now, you can do so by clicking on the 'Apple' menu in the upper left corner and then clicking on 'About this Mac'. Here you can consult this information that can be very useful.

Problems that may occur

Of course, no system is completely perfect. This means that on some occasions, although few, there may be some inconveniences when performing the update on your device. In this case we are going to analyze some of the most common problems that can be found during this update process, so that you can have the solutions in case you have any of these problems.

Update does not appear in Preferences

There may be a situation where the macOS update is not reflected in System Preferences when searching. In this case, the first thing you should do is be completely sure that the version you want to install is released on all Macs. You can check this on the Apple website, but also in the specialized media that give different information about the company, including updates.

Similarly, it may also appear that a message appears informing you that this update could not be updated. In this case, what you are going to always keep in mind is that you must be constantly on the internet to be able to connect to the company's servers. Likewise, what you will always be able to do is restart the computer in order to force the process to be executed.

Computer freezes when updating

Another of the big problems that can arise always occurs when the new version of macOS is being installed on the computer. In this case, what will mainly happen is that a black screen appears and the installation bar does not progress directly. This is something quite critical and this is where you will be able to find the importance of the backup in all its splendor. Almost always when this happens, the information ends up being deleted, and that is why it is always required to restore the information through an external unit that contains this lost information.