Disable Google Chrome Automatic Software Update on Mac

Apr 6, 2012 - 17 Comments


Google Chrome automatically updates itself in the background when a new version is out, this takes responsibility out of user hands and makes it simple to keep up to date with the latest version of the Chrome app for Mac.

Generally you should leave automatic update enabled for Chrome, if not for its ease than for the security benefits of having the freshest Chrome browser version pushed to your Mac automatically, but if you want to disable the sizable automatic updates to reduce Personal Hotspot data use or something similar you can do so with a defaults write command.

This tutorial will show you how to disable Google Software Update and Google automatic updates on the Mac, and also show you how to modify and re-enable the Google automatic update feature if you change your mind.

How to Disable Google Chrome Automatic Updates in Mac OS X

This works to stop Google Chrome from updating itself automatically in Mac OS X:

  1. Launch the Terminal, found in /Applications/Utilities/
  2. Enter the following defaults write command and hit return:
  3. defaults write com.google.Keystone.Agent checkInterval 0

  4. Exit out of Terminal and restart Google Chrome

Note that this disables all automatic updates for all Google applications on the computer, not just for Chrome. There may be a way to disable Chromes automatic updating only but I haven’t found it, even Google offers the more broad solution outlined above.

Google Chrome automatic update

Google Chrome also has a launch agent for Mac and other auto update items, named “com.google.Keystone.agent.plist” and usually located in the following locations:


Sometimes users may find those “com.google.Keystone.agent.plist” items in the user Library folder as well.

Note that it’s not just Google Chrome that updates this way, other Google products on the Mac are updated through the same utility, including Google Earth. Thus if you disable the Google automatic updater, all related Google apps will no longer check for updates or update themselves, you’ll need to do it yourself.

Manually Updating Chrome After Automatic Update is Disabled on Mac

Now that you’ve disabled Chrome’s automatic updates, you’ll want to manually update. The easiest way would be to just download the latest version of Chrome from the website, but you can also initiate the update process from the command line by following the steps outlined below:

  • From the Mac OS X Finder, hit Command+Shift+G to bring up the Go To Folder window, enter the following path:
  • /Library/Google/GoogleSoftwareUpdate/GoogleSoftwareUpdate.bundle/Contents/Resources/

  • Locate “CheckForUpdatesNow.command” and double-click on it to launch the Terminal and start the Google software update manually

If you get tired of dealing with manual updates, it’s easy to turn back on again:

How to Re-Enable Google Chrome Auto Updates on Mac

  • Launch the Terminal, found in /Applications/Utilities/ and enter the following defaults write command:
  • defaults write com.google.Keystone.Agent checkInterval 18000

  • Exit Terminal and restart Google Chrome to reactive automatic updates

The number on the end is the number of seconds between version checking intervals, 18000 is the default setting but if you want to be more or less aggressive select a higher or lower number accordingly.

As mentioned earlier, it’s generally recommended as a maintenance tip to leave automatic updates turned on for all applications, Chrome included.

What is the “Google Software Update” process on the Mac?

“Google Software Update” is the utility that runs in the background which allows Google Chrome and other Google products to automatically update themselves to the latest version. What is discussed in this article pertains to the “Google Software Update” process itself, and by changing the update interval you will impact how often that process runs.

Many Mac users notice this when a process called “Google Software Update” begins to run in the background, which on some Macs can cause a spin-up of fans or a spike in CPU usage as the updater runs through itself, downloads a new version of Chrome, and keeps it ready to install. Often this is accompanied by a spike in the ‘lsof‘ process as well. Once Google Software Update has downloaded the latest version of Chrome (or other Google apps) to the Mac, the processes will stop running and the CPU usage should return back to normal again.


Related articles:

Posted by: William Pearson in Mac OS, Tips & Tricks


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  1. Doug says:

    I’ve found the easiest way to do this is to just lock the chrome update folder. The newest version crashes some of my stuff, so until it’s fixed I needed the older version.

    If you go to the folder mentioned above: ~/Library/Google/GoogleSoftwareUpdate.

    Select the folder and get info (Cmd + I). check the “Locked” checkbox. This seems to break the updater. No need to use the terminal for this. Just be sure to go back and unlock it whenever you want to update again.

  2. jason says:

    Hey, Can anyone help me with this chrome reset error issue? I flushed the DNS but nothing happened. I guess there is some problem with the registry. I found this website Chrome ERR_CONNECTION_RESET Error with number of solutions.

  3. Jeremy Borum says:

    Success on a Mac Sept 29, 2017:

    The “official” Google-given method given is this, but it doesn’t work.
    In Terminal: defaults write com.google.Keystone.Agent checkInterval 0

    The most foolproof method is to deny Chrome the permissions it needs to install the update software and run it. Empty these directories:

    Then change the permissions on both folders named GoogleSoftwareUpdate so that there’s no owner and no read/write/execute permissions.

    In terminal:
    cd /Library/Google/
    sudo chown nobody:nogroup GoogleSoftwareUpdate
    sudo chmod 000 GoogleSoftwareUpdate
    cd ~/Library/Google/
    sudo chown nobody:nogroup GoogleSoftwareUpdate
    sudo chmod 000 GoogleSoftwareUpdate

    If you want to be double-certain, then do the same for the folder Google one level up.
    cd /Library/
    sudo chown nobody:nogroup Google
    sudo chmod 000 Google
    cd ~/Library/
    sudo chown nobody:nogroup Google
    sudo chmod 000 Google

    I did this immediately after installing the Chrome version I need for my machine, and it worked perfectly. Now when I check About Google Chrome it gives me the error “Update failed (error: 10)” It’s still trying to update, but it can’t do it any more.

  4. LBoggan says:

    I’ve not done anything with Terminal before. I tried this, but couldn’t really tell if it did anything. Should there be some sort of confirmation after it’s done?

  5. JOHN says:

    I finally got it after 2 hours. latest version of yosemite, everything else above does not work. go to into user profile library which is hidden by default. find the google update folder. find googlesoftwareupdate.bundle item. right click for contents. go to contents and then resources folders. There will be a program there called GOOGLE SOFTWARE UPDATE. erase that and that is it. it is broken

  6. Abhi says:

    This works on OS X (Thanks Ralph for the direction)

    Just rename the folder (note this is in user profile hence tilde)

    Now go to About page and update will FAIL with beautiful error (I never loved exceptions so much)

  7. Ralf says:

    I managed to find a way to completely stop google chrome from auto

    updating itself and you can still re-enable it to update when needed.

    Just follow the steps below:
    1. First, you need to find where the google chrome updater is located

    (they keep on moving it every once in a while), you can either search

    for it with windows search or you can right click on the google chrome

    shortcut then hit “properties” and on the shortcut tab hit “Open file

    location” the “Update” folder usually is in the google folder just 2

    folders back from the location of the google launcher where the

    shortcut will bring you.
    2. Make a backup/archive of the “Update” folder using winrar or any

    similar application you prefer.
    3. Delete the “Update” folder (I’m not sure if you need to close chrome

    first, but to be sure just close any running google application first

    including the updater from the task manager if you can.).
    4. Open chrome, then hit on “The Generals” Button?? which is the former

    “wrench” icon. and click on the “About Google Chrome” button from the

    drop down to see this “Update failed (error: 3)” which will verify that

    the updater is no longer working.

    Then, in the case that you need to update chrome again just extract the

    “Update” folder from step 2 in its proper location (so, make sure that

    you note where that is before deleting the folder) and you will be able

    to update google chrome again.

    Sorry the english,

  8. […] Chrome 21, because Chrome automatically updates itself. (For the technically skilled, there are ways to turn automatic updating […]

  9. Richard Fairbanks says:

    Like Casey, I want to stop Google Chrome from checking for updates when the “About Google Chrome” info window opens. Using the OS X Firewall to block incoming connections for Chrome doesn’t solve the issue. Thoughts? Thanks!

  10. casey: google is not using anything but a few cycles from your cpu. you want to check out google accessing the outside the world? try little snitch: http://www.obdev.at/products/littlesnitch/index.html

    want to block chrome from receiving connections from google? check the os x firewall. it can stop any app from receiving connections other than the ones you initiate. in others words, your web browser will work the same.

  11. Casey says:

    I tried this defaults command, but when I go to the Chrome menu and choose About Google Chrome it looks like it still checks for updates when the info window opens. I’d prefer to block that too… and I have no way of confirming that Chrome is actually not checking for updates otherwise.

  12. Bee says:

    Wow, all those other places I looked and this is the first place to just tell me straightaway how to turn it off. I love Google Chrome but, not so much the automatic updates on my Mac. Normally I hate doing things that involve Terminal but this wasn’t too scary. Thanks for the instructions!! :)

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