No, Apple is not updating your Mac without your permission – and it’s not the first time, either

“The fear-mongering… starts with the headline, ‘Apple updates Macs for first time without asking — to foil hackers,'” Gene Steinberg writes for The Tech Night Owl. “And, no, I am not posting the link. You can easily look it up if you want.”

“But it’s not the first time. It happens any time those malware detection strings are updated or added to. As for regular software updates, consider the options offered in the App Store preference pane in OS X Yosemite. You have four interrelated options under, ‘Automatically check for updates,’ that include the options to download updates in the background, install app updates, OS X updates, and system data files and security updates,” Steinberg writes. “The NTP bug fix clearly fits into the latter category.”

“What this means is that you can uncheck any of these options at any time and not receive any relevant updates unless you go direct to the App Store and select the ones you want. You have full control, and Apple isn’t going to infringe on your privacy. But if you choose to have everything done in the background, so be it,” Steinberg writes. “If you want to be cautious, just say no. It’s a real simple process… When people want to tell you that Apple might be doing something suspicious in pushing updates to your Mac behind the scenes, they are just plain wrong.”

Read more in the full article here.

Related article:
Apple releases OS X NTP Security Update; Mac users advised to install ASAP – December 22, 2014


  1. Sensationalism followed by an educational insight. That’s one nice thing when two or more media groups are out to foil each other. You can sit on the sidelines, watch the show and eat popcorn.

  2. Am I one of the few who was happy that I didn’t have to worry about my Mac running at home because the update just happened automatically? I didn’t even realize it was automatic until I went to install it and saw the message that it was done already.

    I’m quite ok with automatic security updates.

      1. You seem to like to like talking about heads up butts…you need to get out more. Yes that’s right, turn off your Mac, stand up, turn around and take a few steps to door and breath the fresh air.

        1. I’m prepared to bet I get outdoors and get a hell of a lot more fresh air than you do, numbnuts, which is why I’m more than happy to have (the occasional) security updates done automatically without my noticing, or having to sit clicking ‘OK’ buttons every time I open up the computer, like Windows users do.

    1. Dear Feather, you ass: The ONLY people I ever see stating that ‘Macs [not Mac’s] are secure’, as in never getting malware, are asinine TROLLS like you.

      Yes Macs get malware. I have a list of them all. We’re at #111 right now. What’s great about Macs (and all iOS devices) is that they get ORDERS OF MAGNITUDE fewer malware than either Windows or Android.

      order of magnitude
      1. the approximate size of something, esp measured in powers of 10: the order of magnitude of the deficit was as expected, their estimates differ by an order of magnitude.

      IOW: Quite a lot.

      1. Derek, I’m sure your a nice person but please don’t confuse yourself as being an expert because you use a Mac and read MDN articles. You might also want to take some fresh air in as I can smell a lot of bullsh*t coming from your direction!

  3. I really tire of ignoramuses who bitch and moan about dumb ass things like this. Let them go get a Windows PC and see how secure they are after that. You can never make everyone happy, and I hope Apple never tries to. I’m glad that Apple pushes out updates, and unlike these idiots, I know how to turn off the automatic updates. If you’re too stupid to actually get to know your Mac and its features, you deserve to have problems. Period.

  4. “… consider the options offered in the App Store preference pane in OS X Yosemite.”

    I think this could have been worded better. It could lead to people thinking there is a “Preferences” feature in the menu bar of the App Store.

    Better to say that these options are under Yosemite’s “System Preferences” in the “App Store” section.

    That said, I wondered why this automatically downloaded, and lo and behold that option was checked on my MacBook Pro and I didn’t realize it. But I think I will leave it enabled.

  5. Yeah, exactly. The update installed automatically on my MacBook Air but I had to accept it on my Mac Pro. I disabled auto updates on the Mac Pro because it interfered with overnight backups.

    It would be interesting to run a scorecard on the level of accuracy of articles written about Apple. My guess is that more than 90% of articles are either pure speculation, wrong in part or totally, and deliberately, false.

    1. As we figured out in the previous article about the NPT update, it’s automatic updating on OS X 10.10.1 Yosemite. It’s DIY update on Mavericks and Mountain Lion.

      On Lion and earlier, you have to find the NTP update, compile it yourself, then apply it. I have a link for both a Test and the Update for those interested. I tried to post it 5 times on the 24th, but WordPress didn’t like it and rejected it every time. It may well have lowered its tolerance of link posts to a mere ONE versus the previous lousy TWO. Beats me.

  6. Security updates we all should be automatic. They are watching our backs for buying their computers. Any other update should be up to us. At least this is a smart move not like they screwed up with “The Interview”.

    1. If Apple can maintain auto-updating as a locked-down, safe event. That’s fine with me! The XProtect updating has worked perfectly so far on Macs. What’s scary is that Windows has had its update process HACKED such that malware has been planted on Windows boxes. Before we *smirk* at the usual Windows INsecurity, it’s important to be certain that OS X can’t allow the same. Apple has obviously been very good at it (with one sort of hard to accomplish Trojan exception on iOS). We’ll see how it goes. At least Apple is limiting these auto-updates to critical security updates only.

    1. Are you being sarcastic?

      Just to be clear, the article is pointing out that people have foolishly written exactly what you wrote when in fact, you have the option of denying automatic updates, even security ones.

      FFS it’s literally the title of this post:
      No, Apple is not updating your Mac without your permission

    2. See my post just above your’s Daniel. The ‘possibilities’ have happened on Windows already. Being wary is a good thing. But being paranoid about Apple dumping crap on us is not such a good thing. They have dumped us with bad DIY updates in the past. (Hint: iOS 8.0.1, the horror update). But Apple is only pushing critical security updates at this point. That’s fine with me. It’s already been working prefectly for YEARS via Apple’s XProtect anti-malware system.

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