Apple Desktop How To

Stop macOS Sierra from downloading automatically in the background

Apple has turned on automatic update downloads for macOS Sierra. Learn more about it, and how to turn them off to save bandwidth.

Starting today, all Mac computers that support macOS Sierra will automatically download the update file from the Mac App Store, according to The Loop.

This move is quite similar to Microsoft. The company aggressively pushed users of Windows 7, 8 and 8.1 to download Windows 10 in an obvious effort to increase upgrades.

Now Apple is doing pretty much the same thing.


What’s good about automatic updates?


If you were to ask me and me specifically, I would say this is a good thing to do. Upgrading to the latest OS benefits the overwhelming majority of stakeholders – from app developers, to accessory manufacturers, Apple itself, and even to users.

The latest version of macOS – macOS Sierra – packs a number of useful features. I feel these would be useful not just for power users, but also for more average, less technically savvy users like your grandparents, uncle and aunt. Such users are precisely the kind who likely won’t upgrade to macOS Sierra automatically, so you need to design a way to improve their upgrade rate.

It is these folks particularly that need updates the most, after all. They never update apps manually, and so when things break in a couple of years, they’re left helpless until a family member takes out time to upgrade everything on their computer.

If you’re a power user who doesn’t like automatic upgrades, there is a pretty simple way to stop them.

Also read: Why did Apple name macOS 12 “Sierra”?

Block macOS from automatically upgrading to Sierra from Mac App Store


It is pretty simple. Launch the System Preferences app, go to App Store, and uncheck Automatically check for updates. This will stop Sierra from downloading automatically in the background.

We recommend you keep automatic updates on UNLESS you really understand what you’re doing, or are concerned about using too much bandwidth. Sierra’s update file comes in around 4-5GBs, so it shouldn’t be a problem for most people.

You should also know…

There are a couple of other things you need to be aware of:

  1. App Store will only download the update. It will ask you if you want to install macOS Sierra.
  2. You can delete the installer to save space.
  3. Your Mac will automatically delete the installer if you’re running low on space
  4. macOS Sierra update will automatically download only on Macs that support it. If you have an older Mac, you don’t have to do anything.