Safer Internet: Offline: Software Updates


  • updating itself+ Security patches for system, built-in apps (e.g., browser, mail), other network apps
  • + Other privacy / security settings or other features
  • ? Performance: speedup or slowdown
  • - Change (in general): possible unwanted/missing features; learning time
  • - What to update? time to do updates; slow update servers
  • - Potential bugs or incompatibilities -- or unavailability?



  • updates readyUpdate your system and application software, especially related to browser, security, cloud, network
  • BACKUP first -- both incremental and clone; see Backup section
  • Minimize number of applications and add-ons, esp. unused -- see Erasing section
  • Install updates and applications only from official store, or reputable developers -- don't jailbreak!
  • Look for install options -- often checked by default -- that might install unwanted extensions or adware, or change settings (home page, search engine); e.g., Oracle's Java installer
  • system: e.g., Android, iOS, macOS (formerly "OS X"), Windows
  • apps: e.g., Adobe Reader; Microsoft Office; Skype
  • add-ons, which customize/extend an app, esp. a browser
  • plugins: e.g., Adobe Flash; Oracle Java -- or consider uninstalling altogether
  • extensions: e.g., Adblock Plus, HTTPS Everywhere
  • brainHow to check your OS version:
  • iOS: Settings > General > Software Update / About : Version
  • macOS: [apple] > About


  • upgrade itIncremental or standalone (security) updates, e.g., OS X 10.12.x, iOS 10.x
  • If not "critical" (and few new features), you can usually wait a day or so to avoid:
  • buggy releases, esp. for older devices -- rarer now due to wider beta testing
  • slow stores / upgrade servers
  • individual apps: check for updates upon startup (preference), or manually (via menu)
  • probably ok to ignore updates for apps that you never use, e.g., built-in apps like GarageBand
  • browser extensions: once installed, most browsers check/update automatically
  • 2 things: updates, taxes[Refs:iOS:Current] iOS
  • iOS: Settings > General > Software Update
  • iOS: App Store > Updates
  • iOS users may want to use iTunes to update iOS: easy to backup first
  • for OTA (over the air) updates via WiFi or cellular
  • < iOS9: update can fail due to low device memory
  • ≥ iOS9: update can be slower; apps are removed/reinstalled if needed to create temporary space
  • Allow easier installation of free apps?
  • iOS: Settings > iTunes & App Store > Password Settings > Free Downloads > Require Password: off
  • [Refs:iOS]: "Hacking Team hack reveals why you shouldn't jailbreak your iPhone"
  • reading[Refs:macOS:Current] macOS
  • [apple] > About > Software Update
  • macOS: App Store > Updates -- macOS and selected apps
  • macOS: System Preferences > App Store: download/install, password
  • adobemacOS: Safari > Preferences > Extensions > Updates : Install Updates Automatically
  • macOS: Microsoft Excel > Help > Check For Updates
  • macOS: Firefox > Firefox > About Firefox
  • macOS: Adobe Reader > Help > Check For Updates
  • macOS: System Preferences > Flash Player > Advanced > Updates
  • [Refs:macOS]: "Microsoft Office 2016 15.xx and Office 2011 14.xx"


  • everything movedMajor OS updates, e.g., 10.x.0, iOS x.0
  • Check if new OS version is incompatible with any important applications you have, e.g., release notes, vendor sites
  • Remove unused applications and browser add-ons -- see Erasing section
  • If no critical security updates, you might wait (a few days/weeks) for ".1" version to be released to avoid major bugs, performance slowdowns (esp. for older devices), user interface makeovers, etc.
  • [2] Check disk permissions, repair (if necessary)
  • macOS (< 10.10): Disk Utility > Repair Permissions -- or run Maintenance (or Onyx) utility
  • [3] Restart from Recovery partition; check main disk; repair (if necessary)
  • macOS: restart w/ cmd-R > OS X Utilities > Disk Utility > Repair Disk
  • [3] Check hardware, e.g., memory
  • macOS: restart w/ D key; diagnostic runs automatically
  • [Refs:macOS:Current]: "How to Prepare for & Install macOS Sierra"
  • [Refs]: "Why You Should Upgrade (On Your Own Terms)"


  • obsoleteStrongly consider replacing your device if security problems are no longer patched in your OS version
  • usually if your computer OS is > 2 major versions behind; still ok: macOS: -1: 10.11 (El Capitan), -2: 10.10 (Yosemite); Windows: -1: 8, -2: 7
  • usually if your tablet/phone OS is 1 or more major versions behind; i.e., iOS 9, Android 6 no longer supported
  • Your device doesn't support a newer OS -- or needs extra memory that you cannot (or do not want to) add
  • In the meanwhile, use an actively maintained browser, e.g., Firefox, Chrome -- rather than built-in browser, i.e., macOS Safari, Windows IE
  • [3] You could consider replacing OS, e.g., Linux
  • When purchasing a new device, especially a subsidized or less expensive one, request that vendor remove pre-installed bloatware, crapware, adware
  • patchesIf you're switching between different OS (versions or vendors), check if migration tools are available for contacts, bookmarks, settings, photos, accounts, etc.
  • When donating / discarding old device -- see Erasing section
  • [Refs]: "This Chart Shows How Long iOS and Nexus Devices Get Updates"
  • [Refs]: "Interactive Comparison Charts: Laptops, Phones, Tablets"
  • [Refs:Android]: "The Real Crapware Problem Is on Android: handset makers, wireless carriers"
  • [Refs:Windows]: "The Complete Guide to Avoiding (and Removing) Windows Crapware"


  • no dinner[2] Update software/firmware on other devices, e.g., router, smart TV
  • [3] Install test/beta official OS versions -- if you're bugged by a bug, need early access to features, or are a developer
  • [3] Update web site management/blog software on your host -- after data backup, and testing in non-production environment, e.g., Content Management System (CMS), e.g., Drupal, WordPress



Current: Android 7.1.1 (Nougat); 12/5/2016


Current: iOS 10.2.1; 1/23/2017


Current: OS X 10.12.3 (Sierra) 1/23/2017



Current: Windows 10