How to Install macOS Updates without Installing MacOS Monterey?

Oct 26, 2021 - 4 Comments

How to install macOS updates without upgrading to MacOS Monterey

Wondering how you can install updates to existing macOS installations, like macOS Big Sur and macOS Catalina, without jumping ahead and installing MacOS Monterey?

While MacOS Monterey is available to download now for anyone who wants to install it, not everyone may be ready for the update. Fortunately, Apple offers system software updates and security updates to the most recent two prior generation system software versions, in this case macOS Big Sur and macOS Catalina, so if you’d like to you can install updates for those versions of system software and avoid Monterey.

This is pretty simple, but you’d be forgiven for not seeing how it works because the buttons look like text and are very small.

Getting Current macOS Updates Without Upgrading to MacOS Monterey

This works for both MacOS Big Sur and macOS Catalina:

  1. From the  Apple menu, go to “System Preferences”
  2. Choose “Software Update”
  3. Look for the tiny blue text “More Info…” button under the text saying ‘Other updates are available’ and click on that
  4. Installing macOS updates without installing Monterey

  5. Select the updates you wish to install, and choose “Install Now”
  6. Getting macOS updates without installing MacOS Monterey

  7. Separately, make sure that “Automatically keep my Mac up to date” is unchecked (or adjusted via Advanced so that ‘Install macOS updates’ is not enabled)

In the screenshot examples here, macOS Big Sur 11.6.1 was installed while avoiding installing the full MacOS Monterey 12.0.1 update.

For macOS Big Sur, you’ll be able to find system updates like macOS Big Sur 11.6.1, Safari updates, Security Updates, and others.

For macOS Catalina users, you’ll be able to find available Safari updates, and Security Updates.

Going forward, the updates to both macOS Big Sur and Catalina are likely to be limited to simply Safari updates and Security Updates, as Apple usually puts development effort into refining the latest generation of operating system, in this case being MacOS Monterey.

Disabling ‘Install macOS Updates’ Automatically to Avoid MacOS Monterey

If you use the automatic software update feature in MacOS, and you want to avoid MacOS Monterey for the time being, do the following: From the  Apple menu, choose “System Preferences” and go to “Software Update”, then click on ‘Advanced’, and toggle off the ‘Install macOS Updates’ option to avoid waking up to MacOS Monterey installed one morning.

turn off automatic macOS system software updates

If you have it configured like in the screenshot above, macOS will check for available system software updates, and install important system data files, but will not automatically install macOS updates like Monterey.

If you’re not quite ready for MacOS Monterey, or you’re waiting for a later release, no worries, but don’t ignore the available security updates and other software updates for your current macOS version.

Are you staying on your current version of macOS? Any particular reason? Share your experiences and thoughts in the comments.

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

4 Comments

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  1. Spike says:

    Yeah but no.

    Every time I deselect the Monterey update, and just select the latest Catalina security patch – following the procedure above which IS the correct procedure – the System Preferences screen just greys out as it attempts to download and install Monterey. Somebody at Apple screwed up patching – again – what a surprise.

    My solution was to search for the Catalina patch and download its DMG directly via a browser from the Apple website.

  2. Me too says:

    Me too … “More” had just some tiny update and no update to latest Big Sur. I have Big Sur 11.0.1 and wan to update to 11.3+ as Xcode can’t be installed at 11.0.1. And I tried upgrade to Monterey and it have stability issues – crashed and rebooted 7 times in 2 hours. So I did restore backup to BigSur 11.0.1 (I had 11.3 or up before upgrade to Monterey, but unfortunately my backup is older). And now no way to get 11.3 … Huh …

    • Paul says:

      From Software Update click on “More Info” and you’ll find macOS Big Sur 11.6.2 or whatever available from there to install directly, I just installed Big Sur 11.6.2 using this, it 100% works.

      Just do not click the big “upgrade now” button next to Monterey, that will install Monterey.

  3. ori says:

    Hi
    I dont have the Big Sur option. I had some security updates and after restarting when I click the more info button it just goes to Monterey webpage

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