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How to Update macOS on Your Mac: 9 Quick Steps

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Last updated: September 6, 2023

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Apple regularly releases new macOS versions packed with improvements, bug fixes, and exciting additions. These updates not only optimize the functionality of your Mac but also ensure compatibility with the latest software and hardware advancements.

In this step-by-step guide, I will show you how to update macOS on your Mac successfully to use your device to its maximum potential.

Before We Begin

Updating your Mac to the latest macOS version is essential, but it doesn’t update the apps you downloaded. That’s where MacKeeper comes in. With its comprehensive set of features, MacKeeper helps you update apps on your Mac and uninstall the ones you don’t use.

9 Steps to Update macOS on Your Mac

Keeping your Mac’s operating system up to date is crucial for optimal performance, security, and access to the latest features. Let’s see how you can update macOS on your Mac in 9 quick steps.

1. Check Compatibility

Before you can update macOS on your Mac, you must check the compatibility of your Mac with the latest update. Checking compatibility involves verifying whether your Mac meets the requirements for the latest macOS version.

If your Mac meets the compatibility criteria, proceed with the rest of the steps to update your Mac’s operating system to the latest macOS version.

macOS updates often come with specific system requirements, and not all Mac models can run the latest version. You can use a macOS compatibility checker to verify your system’s compatibility.

Here’s how you can check the compatibility of your Mac:

  1. Click the Apple menu in the top-left corner of the screen and select About This Mac.
click apple icon and select about this mac
  1. It will show you your Mac’s system information, like its name, release year, chip, memory, serial number, and current macOS version.
about this mac info
  1. Visit Apple’s website or search for the system requirements for the specific macOS version you want to install.
  2. If the system requirement match your Mac’s system info, you can proceed with the download and install process.

2. Back Up Your Data 

Before you update macOS on your Mac, it’s necessary to create a backup of your important files and data. This ensures even if something unexpected happens during the update process, you won’t lose your valuable information.

Here’s how you can back up your data on Mac using Time Machine:

  1. Connect an external hard drive or SSD to your Mac.
external hard drive connected to macbook
  1. Click the Apple icon in the menu bar and select System Settings.
click the apple icon and select system settings
  1. Click General and select Time Machine.
click on time machine
  1. Tap the Add Backup Disk button and choose the external hard drive you connected.
click add backup disk in time machine
  1. Once selected, Time Machine will automatically start backing up your data.

3. Connect to a Stable Network

After backing up your data, ensure your Mac is connected to a stable internet connection. Connecting to a stable network ensures your Mac can download the macOS update files without interruption, reducing network-related issues during the update.

Here’s how you can connect to a stable network on Mac:

  1. Click the Wi-Fi icon in the menu bar at the top-right corner of the screen. A drop-down menu will appear showing available Wi-Fi networks.
click the wi fi icon in the menu bar
  1. Select your preferred Wi-Fi network from the list.
select a wi fi network from the list
  1. If prompted, enter the password for the selected network to establish a connection.
  2. Once connected, ensure the Wi-Fi icon in the menu bar shows a strong and stable signal to indicate a reliable internet connection.

4. Open System Settings

You can access different settings and preferences on your Mac, including the Software Update settings in System Settings. Here’s how to open System Settings on Mac:

  1. Click the Apple menu in the top-left corner of the screen. A drop-down menu will appear.
  2. From the drop-down menu, select System Settings. This will open the System Settings window on your Mac.
click the apple icon and select system settings

5. Choose Software Update

After opening System Settings, you can navigate to the Software Update settings to check for and install the latest macOS update. Choosing Software Update allows you to access the settings specifically related to updating your Mac’s operating system.

Here’s how you can choose software update:

  1. In the System Settings window, click General in the left sidebar.
  2. Look for Software Update in the right pane and click it.
click general and select software update
  1. It will open the Software Update settings, where you can manage and initiate the process of updating your Mac’s operating system.

6. Check for Updates

Checking for updates allows you to verify if a newer macOS version is available for your Mac. Here’s how you can check for software updates on Mac:

  1. In the Software Update settings, you will see information about the current macOS version installed on your Mac and any available updates.
  2. To check for updates, click the Check for updates button. Your Mac will now connect to Apple’s servers to search for the latest macOS version available for your Mac.
  3. The Software Update settings will display the available updates, including the latest macOS version.

7. Download and Install macOS Update

After checking for updates and identifying an available macOS update, you can proceed to download and install it.  Here’s how you can download and install the macOS update:

  1. In the Software Update settings, if an update is available, you will see an option to download and install it. Typically, you will find a button labeled Update Now.
  1. Click the Update Now button to initiate the download process. The macOS update files will start downloading to your Mac.
click the update now button
  1. Once the download is complete, the macOS installer will automatically launch. 
  2. Your Mac may restart multiple times during the installation.
  3. Once the installation is complete, your Mac will restart with the latest macOS version.

8. Follow the On-Screen Instructions

After the macOS update is installed and your Mac restarts, you will be guided through the setup process. Here’s how you can follow on-screen instructions:

  1. Depending on the macOS version and any changes or improvements made, you may be greeted with a welcome or login screen.
  2. If you see a welcome screen, follow the on-screen instructions to set up your Mac with the latest macOS version. 
  3. If you see a login screen, enter your credentials, such as your username and password, to log in to your Mac. 
  4. Depending on the update, you may be asked to sign in with your Apple ID to access services such as iCloud, the App Store, or other Apple features.

Find out what to do if you forgot your Apple ID password.

  1. Follow the on-screen instructions, make selections, and provide the necessary information as the setup process guides. 
  2. Continue through the setup process until you reach the desktop of your Mac, indicating that the post-installation and setup steps are complete.

9. Set Up Your Mac

Setting up your Mac involves the final steps to configure your system after updating to the latest macOS version. Here’s how you can set up your Mac after updating macOS:

1. Explore New Features

The updated macOS version may contain new tools, settings, or functionalities. Take some time to explore these additions, such as new system utilities, accessibility features, or integration with other Apple devices or services.

You can refer to Apple’s official documentation, release notes, or online resources to learn about the changes and enhancements.

2. Verify System Settings

After updating your macOS, your customized system settings may reset to default. So, double-check your system settings to ensure they align with your preferences.

Adjust display, sound, trackpad or mouse settings, energy-saving options, and other areas as needed.

3. Install Additional Software and Update Apps

Depending on your requirements, you may need to reinstall or update specific applications that were removed or affected during the macOS update.

Here’s how to use MacKeeper to update apps on your Mac:

  1. Download and install MacKeeper on your Mac.
  2. Launch MacKeeper and click the Update Tracker tab in the left sidebar.
click update tracker under performance 1
  1. Click Scan for Updates.
click scan for updates 1
  1. MacKeeper will scan your Mac for outdated apps and display a list. To select an app, check the little box next to it or click Check All to select all apps.
select individual apps or click check all 1
  1. Click Update All.
click update all in update tracker 1
  1. Wait for the updates to complete. Depending on the number and size of updates, this can take a while.
wait for the updates to complete
  1. You’ll get an Update Completed notification. Click Rescan if you want to update more apps.
click rescan to run the scan again 1

What Else Can MacKeeper Do?

Besides installing app updates, MacKeeper has many other valuable features to optimize your Mac, like cleaning junk filesremoving login items, and freeing up your Mac’s RAM. Check out my detailed MacKeeper review to learn about these features.

4. Restore Data on Your Mac

If you backed up your data before the update, you can restore your files and documents to their appropriate locations.

After you update macOS on your Mac, use the backup method you previously employed, such as Time Machine or cloud storage, to retrieve your data and place it back on your Mac.

Get Ready to Explore New Feature After macOS Update

Now that you know how to update macOS on your Mac, you may need to learn more about macOS features to get the most out of your device. Here are some things you can try after updating your macOS:

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Can I update my Mac directly to the latest macOS version without installing intermediate updates?

    Yes, you can update your Mac directly to the latest macOS version without installing intermediate updates in most cases. However, check the system requirements and recommendations provided by Apple for each macOS version to ensure a smooth update process.

  2. What if I encounter an error or issue during the macOS update?

    If you encounter an error or issue during the macOS update, check your internet connection and try the update again. If the issue persists, restart your Mac and try again. If the problem persists, check Apple’s website for specific error messages or contact Apple Support for further assistance.

  3. Will updating macOS erase my data?

    Updating macOS should not erase your data, but creating a backup of your files is good before proceeding with any software update. While rare, unforeseen issues during the update process can potentially lead to data loss.

Hashir Ibrahim


I'm Hashir, a tech journalist with a decade of experience. My work has been featured in some of the top tech publications like MakeUseOf and MakeTechEasier. I have a bachelor's degree in IT, a master's in cybersecurity, and extensive knowledge of Apple hardware, specifically MacBooks. As the senior writer at MacBook Journal, I write in depth guides that help you solve any issues you have with your mac and unbiased reviews that help you make the right buying decisions.



Hi there! I'm Ojash, a tech journalist with over a decade of experience in the industry. I've had the privilege of contributing to some of the world's largest tech publications, making my mark as a respected Mac expert. My passion lies in exploring, using, and writing about MacBooks, and I enjoy sharing my expertise to help others make informed decisions and get the most out of their MacBook experience. Join me as we delve into the fascinating world of MacBooks together!

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