How to Stop macOS Sierra Automatically Downloading to a Mac
Apple is now automatically downloading macOS Sierra to Macs that are running a prior version of Mac OS X and which are compatible with Sierra. While this may be convenient to some users, not everyone may want to have macOS Sierra show up unexpectedly, or use their bandwidth to download a large file without explicit approval, thus we’ll show you how to stop macOS Sierra from automatically downloading to a Mac.
To be perfectly clear, only the macOS Sierra installer file is automatically downloaded to a Mac. It does not automatically install Sierra onto the Mac. Thus even if the updater downloads to your computer, you can still delete it and ignore the update if you don’t want to install Sierra for whatever reason.
Preventing macOS Sierra Automatically Downloading to Mac
- Open the Apple menu and go to System Preferences
- Choose “App Store”
- You have two different options to prevent macOS Sierra automatically downloading, pick one of the following depending on your situation:
- Uncheck “Automatically check for updates” – this prevents the Mac from checking for any software update to the OS, apps, or security updates. This is generally not recommended unless you manually stay on top of updates yourself since it broadly ends all software update checks
- Uncheck “Download newly available updates in the background” – this will allow the Mac to check for software updates, but they will not automatically download to the computer. This is a better choice for many users, since they will be notified of a software update but they can make the decision themselves about whether or not to download and install it
Next, you might want to visit the /Applications folder to see if the “Install macOS Sierra.app” updater has downloaded to the Mac already. If you find the installer file and don’t want it, delete it. This file takes up about 5GB of space so if you have no intention on using it to update to Sierra or to create a USB Sierra boot installer drive, there is little reason to keep it around on the Mac.
Yes, you can always re-download the “Install MacOS Sierra” update application from the Mac App Store, even if you delete it from the Mac.
When did Apple start automatically downloading Mac OS updates?
The Automatic Downloads feature has been around for years now. In fact, if you visit your Mac App Store settings and discover the options are already off, you may have toggled the settings before to stop Mac software update nagging or to stop automatic downloads to conserve bandwidth, and many systems administrators turn these features off to manage workstations as well. On the other hand, many users have turned on these features if they like the download and automatic install features.
Of course if you already did install macOS Sierra, then the update will not re-download itself, but future software updates to Sierra will.