Safer Internet: Offline: Software Updates

Why?

  • reasons+ 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
  • ? Storage: increase or decrease
  • - Potential bugs or app incompatibility / unavailability
  • - Change/procrastination (in general): possible unwanted/missing features; different user interface; learning time
  • - What to update? time to do updates; slow update servers

Quotes

Basic

  • updating itselfBackup -- both incremental and clone -- both before cleanup and before actual installation; see Backup section
  • Allow enough time for backup, download and install -- and if things don't go well, for troubleshooting or restoring previous system version
  • Update your system and application software, especially related to browser, security, cloud, network
  • If you keep your device up-to-date, it should be easier to cope with incremental system & app releases
  • Minimize number of applications and add-ons, esp. if infrequently or not used -- see Erasing section
  • Each user will have different risk vs. benefit tradeoffs
  • Install updates and applications only from official store, or reputable developers -- don't jailbreak!
  • Do not update browser extensions, e.g., Flash, or apps when prompted via a browser popup -- use app store, or app or extension's own 'Check for Updates' command
  • Save $ by purchasing apps only once for each family device
  • iOS: Settings > (your acct) > Family Sharing
  • macOS: System Preferences > iCloud > Manage Family
  • protect me from bad thingsLook 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

Incremental

  • upgrade itIncremental or standalone security updates and bug fixes, e.g., .1, .2 (.0 = major); usually no new features
  • You can usually wait a day or two -- or even longer if no security fixes, or bug fixes for your particular device -- to avoid:
  • buggy releases, esp. for older devices -- rarer now due to wider beta testing by developers and daring users
  • 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 (but why not remove if unneeded or offload if easily re-downloaded?)
  • browser extensions: once installed, most browsers check/update automatically

Android

iOS

  • 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 > (your acct) > iTunes & App Store > Password Settings > Free Downloads > Require Password: off
  • [Refs:iOS]: "Hacking Team hack reveals why you shouldn't jailbreak your iPhone"

macOS

  • 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:Office]: "Microsoft Office 2016 15.xx and Office 2011 14.xx"

Windows

Major OS updates, e.g., macOS 10.x.0, iOS x.0

  • everything movedUsually about once/year
  • iOS: usually no security or bug fixes are provided for older versions, so you should upgrade 'as soon as possible'; usually less complex than desktop upgrades
  • macOS: incremental security fixes are still provided for previous system and browser for 1-2 years, so if there are really major changes, e.g., app incompatibility, user interface makeovers, missing features, performance issues, you could delay your upgrade -- though not indefinitely; probably better to wait than have to downgrade later
  • Generally, you could wait a week or two for ".1" version to be released to avoid major bugs, especially if there are no critical security fixes and there are significant changes, e.g., file system
  • When you are ready to upgrade:
  • Read articles here about latest version, e.g., Android, iOS, macOS, Windows, or buy Take Control e-books to find out more about what's changed, compatibility/adequacy of your hardware (to run new os) and of apps (with new os), cleanup & backup steps, new features that you might actually like to have (or old features that might be removed that you can’t live without), installation advice
  • Remove unused applications and browser add-ons -- see Erasing section
  • Check App Store for incremental or other updates to OS and apps (including Safari, iTunes for macOS); backup!
  • Check if new OS version is incompatible with any important applications you have, e.g., upgrade info, release notes, vendor sites
  • macOS: (apple) > About This Mac > System Report > Software > Applications: 64-bit(Intel) -- some 32-bit apps may still continue to work under High Sierra.
  • iOS10: Settings > About > Applications: 'these apps may slow down your iPad and will not work with iOS 11 if they are not updated'
  • For incompatible apps, consider upgrading version or finding a (free) alternative.
  • Instead of Microsoft Office 2011, which may not work with macOS 10.13 (High Sierra): HS 32-bit app incompatibility; plus, Microsoft has stopped providing support and security patches
  • offline apps: Microsoft Office 2016 -- $$; Steve's spouse upgraded to this
  • macOS/iOS iWork suite: Pages, Numbers, Keynote -- free; Steve switched to these
  • Open Office, LibreOffice, NeoOffice -- free
  • cloud-based storage & office suite (via browser): Microsoft: OneDrive: Word, Excel, PowerPoint Online -- free;
    Office 365 -- subscription; includes apps (And,iOS,Mac,Win), 1Tb OneDrive cloud storage, 60 Skype minutes/mo.
  • Google Drive: Docs, Sheets, Slides -- free
  • Apple's iCloud: iWork (Pages, Numbers, Keynote) -- free
  • Backup -- create a bootable clone (in case something seriously goes wrong); see Backup section
  • [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]: "macOS 10.13 High Sierra Now Available: When Should You Upgrade?"
  • [Refs]: "Why You Should Upgrade (On Your Own Terms)"

Replace?

  • obsoleteStrongly consider replacing your device if security/privacy problems are no longer patched in your OS version
  • usually if your computer OS is > 2 major versions behind; still ok: macOS: -1: 10.12 (Sierra), -2: 10.11 (El Capitan); Windows: -1: 8, -2: 7
  • usually if your tablet/phone OS is 1 or more major versions behind; i.e., iOS 10, Android 6
  • Your device doesn't support a newer OS -- or needs extra memory that you cannot (or do not want to) add
  • Apps you rely on are no longer provided/supported on your old OS -- and no updates are available
  • In the meanwhile, use an actively maintained browser, e.g., Firefox, Chrome -- rather than built-in browser, i.e., macOS Safari, Windows IE; and consider using the device only for casual (non-encrypted) browsing
  • [2] You could switch to a different OS, e.g., Windows <--> macOS; Android <--> iOS -- or Chromebook or 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"

Intermediate/Advanced

  • no dinner[2] Update software/firmware on other devices, e.g., router, smart TV
  • [3] Install test/beta official OS versions -- if you are a developer, bugged by a bug, can't live without a new shiny feature, or crave living on the 'bleeding edge'.
  • [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

References

Android

Current: Android 8.0 (Oreo); 9/4/2017; 9.0 (?) -- Fall 2018

Misc.

iOS

Current: iOS 11.1; 10/31/2017; 10.0 (and earlier): no updates; 12.0: expected 'Fall 2018'?

Misc.

macOS

Current: OS X 10.13.1 10/31/2017; 10.11-10.12: expect security updates; 10.14: expected 'Fall 2018'?

Misc.

Microsoft Office

Replace, Switch

Windows

Current: Windows 10 (Fall Creators) 10/17/2017; End-of-life XP(4/2014), Vista(4/2017); 7-8: expect security updates

Misc.