Question on update mechanics and sizes

Discussion in 'macOS' started by Mivo, May 31, 2018.

  1. Mivo macrumors regular


    Jan 23, 2015
    I'm currently a Windows user, but because of the automatic update system introduced in Windows 10, I have to re-evaluate my options. The main issue is that I live in a rural area where I presently can't get more than 384kbit internet (around 44 kb/s, or 3 GB per day). While inconvenient, it's manageable with some patience and the willingness to leave on the computer over night.

    Windows 10 downloads updates and other mystery data whenever it pleases without user input, regardless of what else is going on at the time, while offering no details on what is going on, such as file sizes. The "metered connection" setting is honored only partially. In addition, every half year there is now a "feature update", which is several GB in size and essentially requires the download of the whole OS again. No way to opt out. It cannot be paused and resumed, and when it fails, which it frequently does, the download starts over. When I set my connection to "metered", the feature updates will not be downloaded, but all security updates now fail also ("download error"), so staying on a previous half-year version is not a viable approach.

    Much as I don't really want to go through the hassle and downsides of switching my operating system and changing my workflow, the Windows situation isn't really acceptable to me and it won't get better. The available alternatives are installing Linux or getting a Mac.

    I'm here to ask about how updates are handled on Macs, because i have no good idea how this works on your side of the OS world. How much control does the user have over the update process? Can OS updates be scheduled, paused and controlled? Approximately how big are regular and major upgrades, and how frequent are they? Is there any transparency in terms of download size and progress?

    I'm familiar with iOS, which isn't necessarily stellar in these areas (iOS updates and app updates can only be paused by turning off wifi), but I hope MacOS (has it been renamed back to MacOS from OSX?) is a little more user friendly in terms of control.

  2. Glmnet1 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 21, 2017
    I think this is the best way to explain how it works:

    I always let it download in the background but you could easily turn it off and download them whenever you want.

    There is one major update every year with new features, this one you have to go in the App Store and get it yourself. It's a big download but it's not forced on you. Some people stay on old version of macOS for quite a while. Those older versions are usually supported with security updates for a few years.

    There are minor updates and security updates too. Those vary in size and I don't remember how big they are on average.

    The updates on macOS are really great and one of the things that I love about it. They are not annoying and when you decide to start one it's usually quite quick. Even the major updates are simple to install and completely free now.

    The only disadvantage IMO, is that after about 8 years, Apple usually declares your computer obsolete and stops supporting it for the big updates.

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