Stop Software Update from Bugging You in Mac OS X

Nov 15, 2012 - 16 Comments

Stop Software Update from bugging you in Mac OS X

Keeping software up to date is one of the top maintenance tips for Macs, but sometimes those Software Update notifications can be just plain annoying. Whether you’re just trying to focus on work, or the update that’s bugging you is irrelevant to your needs, here is every possible way you can stop software updating from haranguing you, broken into temporary and permanent solutions.

Temporary: Swipe to Ignore the Notification Temporarily

Very much a temporary solution, you can swipe right on the Notification banner to ignore it for a few more hours. If you have an update waiting for you in the App Store, you will have to do this at least once or twice a day. This is the best approach for when you’re trying to work and you don’t have time to install a software update when it bugs you, but you want to be reminded again to install it later the same day.

Swipe to Ignore a Software Update Notification

Temporary: Disable Notification Center for the Day

Option+Clicking on the Notification Icon button will turn it grey, disabling Notifications for the day. You can also temporarily turn off Notifications by swiping down from the Notification Center and flipping the switch to OFF. Notifications will resume again the next day as usual. This is best for when you want to not see the Notification reminder for a full day. The primary downside to this approach is that it temporarily disables all notifications, not just Software Update.

Disable notifications for the day to hush Software Update for 24 hours

Semi-Permanent: Hide a Specific Software Update

If you’re getting pestered about a Software Update you don’t need, have no use for, or just don’t want to install, you can also choose to selectively hide that update in the App Store. This is a half-permanent solution because that update will never bug you again, but the update will always be available to you should you want it sometime down the road. Doing this is easy:

  • Open the Mac App Store, and choose the “Updates” tab
  • Right-Click on the update you want to hide, and choose “Hide Update”

Should it be needed, you can reveal the hidden updates again by pulling down the “Store” menu and choosing “Show All Software Updates”.

Hide a Software Update from the App Store

Semi-Permanent: Turn Off Automatic Software Update Check

This is not recommended, mostly because keeping software up to date is an important means of maintaining a Mac. Nonetheless, if you’re completely fed up with Software Update pestering you, you can always disable the automatic checking feature. This leaves you to manually check for updates yourself, something which is easy to do, but also easy to forget.

  • Go to System Preferences from the  Apple menu, then choose “Software Update”
  • Uncheck the box for “Automatically Check for Updates”

If you choose this approach, remember to manually look for updates once a week or so either by opening the App Store or using the Terminal.

Disable automatic checks for software updates

A decent compromise for this is to instead turn off automatic downloads.

Permanent: Install the Update

Installing updates is really the best way to handle them, if you can spare a few minutes this is always the best approach. Consider the Software Update notifications as a good opportunity to stretch your legs, grab a cup of coffee, make a phone call or two, or just take a break from whatever you’re doing. Keeping everything updated to the latest version insures maximum compatibility, stability, security, and is just good practice.

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in Mac OS X, Tips & Tricks, Troubleshooting

16 Comments

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  1. Andrew says:

    # crontab -l | grep software
    0 4 * * * /usr/sbin/softwareupdate -ai

    Deal with it automatically in the middle of the night. I haven’t seen Software Update bother me in a very long time.

  2. justin says:

    my mac hasn’t told me i have updates since i updated it to mountain lion even though i have it set to say i do…

  3. Paul says:

    There must be an alternative because I had an update pending for a couple of weeks recently and I only dismissed the reminder once…usually I click on details to see what it is and then just close App Store if I don’t want to do the install right away. The dock icon has the (1) indicator but it doesn’t remind me again…

  4. Les says:

    Actually the notifications I get for software updates on my Mac OS X aren’t bothersome at all. They are quite unobtrusive, actually. All that shows up is a little barely noticeable box in the upper right hand corner. That isn’t any big deal at all.

  5. tracyhaynes says:

    This is royal, royal pain. Messes me up when I’m using Photoshop, After Effects or anything else where I need the majority of the screen. I’m just turnin’ the darn thing off.
    Yeesh.

    TH

  6. Vidar says:

    The “notification center” is the most annoying, idiotic, thing I’ve ever seen. I thought growl was bad, but this is just unbelievable.

  7. BOBBY says:

    Grrrr.

    I just want notifications turned off, permanently.

    I still want to auto-check for updates.
    I still want them downloaded in the background, and installed if important.

    Guess there’s no way to do this. In iOS land, on the other hand, there’s a whole management system for notifications, right?

  8. HvT says:

    Hiding does not work in Mavericks for the new iWork apps, nor for iMovie. Right-clicking does nothing at all, and ^click starts the update. Any terminal command for this?

  9. PNB says:

    Holy crap. I thought the update pop-up was annoying.

  10. bozo says:

    Its hopeless… every day I get reminded of what I DO NOT WANT TO INSTALL.

    New Numbers and Pages are awful apps, the worst that Apple has come out with — destroys all our older files and years of spreadsheets we’ve worked on.

    Apple — you take the cake for arrogance and stupidity !!!

  11. Chuck says:

    I have three applications on my mac purchased by another Apple ID that I don’t have the password for (I bought the MacBook used.)

    I don’t see any “Hide Update” button. In fact nothing happens when I right click.

    Thoughts?

  12. Casey says:

    Came here to disable the annoying notification for a useless update. Should have known it would say to just install the update /facepalm

  13. Brian Harvey says:

    I am running 10.7.5. I keep getting nag screens about how I can upgrade to Mavericks for free. They couldn’t pay me enough to do that — I want a computer, not a tablet! I wish I could downgrade to 10.6 but it doesn’t run on my Air.

    Anyway, this nag screen has no close button, it’s not an application, and I don’t know how to get rid of it. The App Store solution doesn’t work. Any other ideas? Thanks!

  14. Gary says:

    I did the OS update when it became available and several of my very expensive apps quick working. I went to a lot of work to rewind my system back to the OS that everything works on. I do not want to take my machine forward regardless of what Apple idiots say is best for me. So I would really like to get the update off my notification reminder and never see it again. (It point let me type the period any larger.)

  15. Gary says:

    Auto correct sucks as well. point->won’t.

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