Fix OS X El Capitan Beta Updates Not Showing in Software Update
If you’re a Mac user who is beta testing OS X El Capitan, either as part of the OS X Public Beta program or as a registered Mac Developer, you may have come across a situation where the latest available update does not appear for you in the Mac App Store as it should. For example, let’s say you’re trying to access OS X 10.11 Public Beta 6 and it won’t show as available, but you know it hasn’t been installed on the Mac yet. Usually this can be resolved by going to the Updates tab and hitting Command+R to refresh the updates, but if that doesn’t work you may need to manually intervene and set the software update download catalog again.
Remember, you will only want to do this if you’re actually testing the OS X El Capitan betas, if you attempt to set the software update catalog manually to a beta feed, you will likely break OS X updates and they won’t show up at all. Also note there are two different URLs to choose from, depending on if the Mac is set up to be a testing the OS X Public Beta, or the OS X Developer Beta (or if you happen to be enrolled in both beta programs, you can switch between the two using these commands, but that’s sort of off topic). Finally, be certain that you have not manually opted out of receiving beta updates through System Preferences, which also could be preventing the proper beta updates from displaying.
Whether you’re in the Public Beta program or the Developer Beta program, open the Terminal app and enter the appropriate command string from the choices below:
Public Beta tester? Set the OS X Public Beta catalog:
If you’re part of the Mac OS Public Beta testing program and want to set that as the appropriate software catalog stream, use this:
sudo softwareupdate --set-catalog https://swscan.apple.com/content/catalogs/others/index-10.11beta-10.11-10.10-10.9-mountainlion-lion-snowleopard-leopard.merged-1.sucatalog.gz
Registered Mac Developer? Set the OS X Developer Beta catalog:
If you’re a registered Mac Developer and you want to set the Mac Developer Beta software catalog stream, use this:
sudo softwareupdate --set-catalog https://swscan.apple.com/content/catalogs/others/index-10.11seed-10.11-10.10-10.9-mountainlion-lion-snowleopard-leopard.merged-1.sucatalog.gz
The OS X 10.11 seed catalog URL is as follows:
sudo softwareupdate --set-catalog https://swscan.apple.com/content/catalogs/others/index-10.11-10.10-10.9-mountainlion-lion-snowleopard-leopard.merged-1.sucatalog.gz
Confirming the Software Update Catalog Change Worked
Once you have set the catalog to the appropriate URL, you can quickly verify the change was effective by using the softwareupdate command to list all available updates:
You can then either return to the App Store and install the beta update as usual, or if you want to stay in the Terminal app you can install OS X updates from the command line too by specifying the package to install.
How to Reset to the Default OS X Software Update Catalog
If you messed up the syntax or otherwise just want to reset back to the default software update catalog stream, use the following command string:
Again, you will only need to do this if you attempted to refresh the App Store with Command + R and it did not work to display the available beta software update.
Thanks to Tolakipaki and ‘CONFIRMED’ for offering the specific update strings and accompanying details in our comments section, and to SixColors for offering a similar solution a few months back. Why the updates stop appearing at random for some users isn’t really clear, but fortunately it’s an easy solution.