Heads Up To macOS Catalina and High Sierra & Mojave Users…. You Can’t Ignore Software Updates Anymore

I’m sure that most users when they see a prompt on their macOS computer to apply some sort of software update, they ignore it most of the time. Now to be clear, you likely shouldn’t. But that’s not how the real world works. And it seems that Apple is aware of that which is why they’ve implemented this change in High Sierra, Mojave, and Catalina. I noted that this was in the release notes for the 10.15.5 update for Catalina:

Major new releases of macOS are no longer hidden when using the softwareupdate(8) command with the  --ignore flag
This change also affects macOS Mojave and macOS High Sierra after installing Security Update 2020-003.

Now this doesn’t sound like a big deal. But it is. If you run High Sierra, Mojave, or Catalina, the Software Update section of System Preferences will display a prominent upgrade button for Catalina and a notification badge on the System Preferences icon in the Dock. If you didn’t want that, you could always run this command (at your own risk of course) in the terminal to stop this from being displayed:

 softwareupdate –ignore “macOS Catalina” 

Now with the updates that Apple has released earlier this week, this command no longer works. And the likely reason for this is that Apple wants to ensure that users update to newer versions of macOS as soon as possible. Which makes sense as Apple would like to ensure that a certain amount of “herd immunity” exists within the macOS community. Though I am going to go out on a limb and suggest that there are users who have set up their Macs in a way that installing a software update would create some sort of major problem for them. At the moment, I do not see anything that indicates that Apple is forcing software updates on their users. But Apple does have the ability to do that. For example, when a serious root level exploit surfaced a few years ago, Apple forced a fix onto those who didn’t instantly apply said fix when it was released the next day. But I suspect that if they went there, users would revolt.

As a result of this seemingly innocuous tidbit, I am going to read through the release notes in more detail as clearly there’s more here than meets the eye.

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