Check for new and updated versions of your software based on information about your computer and current software.

     softwareupdate command [args ...]


       List all available updates.


       Each update specified by args is downloaded, unarchived, and
       installed.  This command requires root.

   args can be one of the following:

      item ...     One or more update names.
      -a | --all   All available active updates.
      -r | --req   All required active updates.

   --fetch-full-installer [--full-installer-version version.number]
       Download the latest 'Install macOS' application to the /Applications folder.
       This option is available in Catalina (10.15) and greater

   --ignore ...
Manage the per-user list of ignored updates. --reset-ignored
Clear the list of all ignored updates. --schedule on --schedule off Enable or disable automatic checking. -h --help Print command usage.


Install all available Software Updates
$ sudo softwareupdate -ia

Download a specific version of macOS:

macOS Catalina:

$ softwareupdate --fetch-full-installer --full-installer-version 10.15.4

MacOS Monterey:

$ softwareupdate --fetch-full-installer --full-installer-version 12.7.1

macOS Ventura:

$ softwareupdate --fetch-full-installer --full-installer-version 13.6.1

macOS Sonoma:

$ softwareupdate --fetch-full-installer --full-installer-version 14.1

The following examples are shown as given to the shell:

$ softwareupdate --list

     ! iPhoto-2.0
         iPhoto, 2.0, 34100K [recommended]
     ! iSync-1.0
         iSync, 1.0, 4840K [recommended]
     ! StuffItExpander7-7.0
         StuffIt Expander Security Update, 7.0, 4420K [recommended]

$ softwareupdate --install iCal-1.0.2

     Software Update Tool
     Copyright 2002-2003 Apple Computer, Inc.

     Installing iCal:
     0...10...20...30...40...50...60...70...80...90...100 Done.

$ softwareupdate --ignore iCal iPhoto

$ softwareupdate --schedule

     Automatic check is on

File: /usr/sbin/softwareupdate

Variable: COMMAND_LINE_INSTALL Set when downloading or installing using the softwareupdate command. Scripts can check for the existence of this variable to determine if they are executing in a command line environment (i.e. there may be no WindowServer available).

“If you stuff yourself full of poems, essays, plays, stories, novels, films, comic strips, magazines, music, you automatically explode every morning like old faithful. I have never had a dry spell in my life, mainly because I feed myself well, to the point of bursting. I wake early and hear my morning voices leaping around in my head like jumping beans. I get out of bed to trap them before they escape” ~ Ray Bradbury

Related macOS commands

install - Copy files and set attributes.
installer - System software and .pkg package installer tool.

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