Important note: Major operating system releases are not included in automatic updates. 

To promote device security, the Office of Information Technology (OIT) regularly pushes operating system and applications updates on University Apple devices. University policy requires that devices are updated and patched regularly. Security patches and other operating system updates are released by Apple on a regular basis.

By enabling automatic updates on University-owned Apple computers, OIT is able to ensure that devices run efficiently and securely. Included in automatic updates are minor macOS updates, where the version of the operating system is updated to the next build. For example, a computer running macOS version 10.15.5 being updated to version 10.15.6. Minor releases generally involve minor bug fixes or security updates and rarely have major impacts on the user experience.

This webpage will describe how these processes work to keep your device up to date and also provide insight into what behavior to expect from your device during the update process. 

macOS: Minor Updates and Patching

macOS: Updates Schedule

The general timeline for how updates will be applied to computers is as follows:

  1. An update, or group of updates, is released from Apple
  2. Once per week, University-owned devices will check for new updates and download any required updates
    • Updates are installed in the background and will not interrupt any open files or applications
  3. If an update requires the computer to restart, a notification will appear on the computer
  4. The user can choose to restart their device immediately or defer the restart for up to 12 hours
    • The pop-up cannot be closed without choosing a time for the restart
  5. The computer will restart at the user’s chosen time and finish applying any remaining updates

iOS: Updates and Patching

In addition to updating Apple computers, the Office of Information Technology also enforces operating system updates on University-owned iPhones. University iPhones are configured to check for operating system updates on a weekly basis and install any required updates.

Third-Party Application Patching

The Office of Information Technology also enforces updates on a wide library of third-party applications on both Apple computers and mobile devices. A third-party application is a software application made by someone other than the manufacturer of a computer or device.

Third-Party Application Updates Schedule

Third-party applications are patched according to the following schedule:

  1. An update is released for an application by the developer 
  2. The update is tested internally by OIT
  3. At the end of each week (5:00 PM on Friday), the updates for that week are released to all computers and devices that require the update
  4. The update is made available in Self-Service for the user to install on their computer or device manually
  5. One week after release, the deadline for any required application updates is reached and all required updates will install automatically

For any questions regarding any of the upgrade processes described in this article please contact Technology HelpIf you’re interested in more information about updates from the vendor, please visit this support page from Apple.

Getting Started