Disable Google Chrome Automatic Software Update on Mac
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:
- Launch the Terminal, found in /Applications/Utilities/
- Enter the following defaults write command and hit return:
- Exit out of Terminal and restart Google Chrome
defaults write com.google.Keystone.Agent checkInterval 0
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 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:
- 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:
- Exit Terminal and restart Google Chrome to reactive automatic updates
defaults write com.google.Keystone.Agent checkInterval 18000
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.