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Posted 20.01.20

Using softwareupdate to get the macOS Installer in macOS Catalina

In a world where Mac Admins are relaying more and more on Device Enrolment workflows, where people what to create ‘automated’ tasks its good to see that Apple are putting tools in our hands.

macOS Catalina saw a new option for the softwareupdate command line tool that will download the latest ‘Installer App’ to your /Applications folder, which is useful for other Admin tasks.

Since macOS Mojave system software updates were moved back to system preferences within an Software Update pane (prior to this is was done in the Mac App Store for a number of OS versions) it makes sense that we would use the softwareupdate command line to achieve tasks with system updates.

What do you have to do?

To pull down the latest version of the app simply launch Terminal and type softwareupdate –fetch-full-installer (this can of course be automated and deployed remotely through scripts). Your Mac will start to download the latest version of the app. You’ll find that it takes a little while for the app to appear in the /Applications folder, how long depends on your internet connection, at last check macOS Catalina weighs in at ~9GB

Grabbing the latest installer is often the only thing that we’ll need but there is the odd occasion where you want an earlier version. Theres a second option that can be used in conjunction with –fetch-full-installer to download a specific version.

softwareupdate –fetch-full-installer –full-installer-version 10.14.6

The above command will download the installer for macOS Mojave version 10.14.6.

There are a few other options that you can use with softwareupdate and that work prior to macOS Catalina. To find out the full list type man softwareupdate in Terminal.

The one other option that I want to sign post is the –ignore option. This will cause the Mac to ignore any software that you define. For example many people are not ready to move to macOS Catalina yet but it will show up in the Software Update pane in System Preferences. Using the command softwareupate –ignore “macOS Catalina” will stop this from showing in the System Prefs pane until you are ready to roll out Catalina.

To revert this command so you are ready to update or update type softwareupdate –reset-ignored

Whether you are simply trying to update your Mac estate centrally or move them on to the next macOS, the new addition to softwareupdate its really useful for Mac Admins.

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