After another snow day in NYC a customer contacted me about not being able to push macOS updates using his MDM provider. Why is the MDM provider not working? Their support was not that helpful and they blamed Apple for the updates not working. Then I said to myself “update macos from terminal?”

Yes, I assumed to update macOS from Terminal was impossible. But, I wished this can be done without any user interaction.

These are the simple steps. Open your Terminal and run:

softwareupdate --list-full-installers

The above command will give you a list of available macOS full installers updates available. You should see an output like this:

Finding available software
Software Update found the following full installers:
* Title: macOS Sonoma, Version: 14.3, Size: 13073941KiB, Build: 23D56
* Title: macOS Sonoma, Version: 14.2.1, Size: 13066225KiB, Build: 23C71
* Title: macOS Sonoma, Version: 14.2, Size: 13066238KiB, Build: 23C64
* Title: macOS Sonoma, Version: 14.1.2, Size: 12604083KiB, Build: 23B92
* Title: macOS Sonoma, Version: 14.1.1, Size: 12604952KiB, Build: 23B81
* Title: macOS Sonoma, Version: 14.1, Size: 12603757KiB, Build: 23B74
* Title: macOS Ventura, Version: 13.6.4, Size: 11912664KiB, Build: 22G513
* Title: macOS Ventura, Version: 13.6.3, Size: 11915962KiB, Build: 22G436
* Title: macOS Ventura, Version: 13.6.1, Size: 11662168KiB, Build: 22G313
* Title: macOS Monterey, Version: 12.7.3, Size: 12109975KiB, Build: 21H1015
* Title: macOS Monterey, Version: 12.7.2, Size: 12116623KiB, Build: 21G1974
* Title: macOS Monterey, Version: 12.7.1, Size: 12110635KiB, Build: 21G920
* Title: macOS Big Sur, Version: 11.7.10, Size: 12125478KiB, Build: 20G1427

Next, you have some options available to download/install these macOS updates.

Download the latest macOS form Terminal

Run the below command:

softwareupdate --fetch-full-installer

The above command will download the latest macOS to your Applications folder. Once the download is done you can start it by double clicking on it. I’m trying to find a way to run it from the Terminal instead.

Download and install the update

Run the below command:

softwareupdate --fetch-full-installer --launch-installer

The above command will download and start the install windows interface. Follow the prompts.

Download specific update version to install later

Run the command:

softwareupdate --fetch-full-installer --full-installer-version version_number

The version_number is the version you saw from the previous command ‘softwareupdate –list-full-installers’. The text in bold below would be the version number:

Title: macOS Sonoma, Version: 14.3, Size: 13073941KiB, Build: 23D56

If you wanted to install the above macOS Sonoma version 14.3 run:

softwareupdate --fetch-full-installer --full-installer-version 14.3

The above will only download it. You will need to run the installer file from the Applications folder.

Launch the installer right away

softwareupdate --fetch-full-installer --full-installer-version version_number --launch-installer

I need to double check the above since it worked on one mac, but not on another one. More results coming soon. Let me run some more tests. Thanks.

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