Install macOS software updates from the Terminal

Apr 02, 2022 · 1 min read · Post a comment
Install macOS software updates from the Terminal

Working on macOS usually requires a manual intervention when applying the latest software updates. This could easily be done from the Terminal, as shown below.


  • Shell environment


Step 1. Open the Terminal and check for updates:

softwareupdate -l

Example output:

Software Update Tool

Finding available software
Software Update found the following new or updated software:
* Label: macOS Monterey 12.3.1-21E258
	Title: macOS Monterey 12.3.1, Version: 12.3.1, Size: 1307192K, Recommended: YES, Action: restart,

Step 2. Download the update without prompting installation.

sudo softwareupdate -d <package_name>


  1. Wrap up the package name in single quotes if it includes spaces. For instance:
    sudo softwareupdate -d 'macOS Monterey 12.3.1-21E258'
  2. To download all available packages, run:
    sudo softwareupdate -d -a

Step 3. Install the package.

sudo softwareupdate -i <package_name>

Step 4 (Optional). Install all applicable packages.

sudo softwareupdate -i -a


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