MacUpdater: Centrally search for and install updates for programs on the Mac

MacUpdater icon

My reader Dirk recently asked me to use the app "MacUpdater"Drew your attention because he is very enthusiastic about the software. When I promised to test the app and write a report about it, Julian - the app programmer - received an email on the same day with the offer, that he would like to provide me with a free license code for the full version because a user of his app would have told him that I would like to try it out.

@Dirk: Thanks for the excellent organization. @Julian: Thanks for the license code. As a rule, however, I am happy to pay the cost of the apps - especially when it comes to apps from "small" developers who need financial support. And - I can say that much in advance - the app is definitely worth the 10 euros that MacUpdater costs once.

What does MacUpdater actually do?

To explain it briefly: The MacUpdater app knows over 40.000 Mac apps and scans your applications folder for these apps and then checks whether there are any updates for them. With over 5.000 of these programs you can then initiate the updates directly in "MacUpdater" and do not have to call up and update each app individually.

In principle, the function here is similar to that in the AppStore under "Updates", except that MacUpdater operates all programs on the Mac, while the AppStore only has apps on the screen that you have installed via the AppStore. And unfortunately in most cases these are the very few programs on a computer.

The MacUpdater software shows directly in the dock how many apps are waiting to be updated (screenshots: Sir Apfelot).

The MacUpdater software shows directly in the dock how many apps are waiting to be updated (screenshots: Sir Apfelot).

Why do you need MacUpdater?

The MacUpdater software and also Mac apps such as the freeware NEU I've known for years, but none of these apps made it onto my Mac until now. So far, my instinctive argument against MacUpdater has been that in many cases you can do the updates in the software itself. Usually apps check with the Sparkle Framework at the start, whether there is a new version and then they suggest the update, if one is available. The disadvantage is that the updates are only offered when you start the software again. If you have something urgent to do, this is not the best time ...

In addition, not as many apps update automatically as I thought. My first scan with MacUpdater showed me that: 56 out of 94 apps on my Mac are out of date and need an update. To be honest, that surprised me and at the same time convinced me that MacUpdater makes perfect sense.

At the bottom of the MacUpdater window is the info line, in which you can see how many updates are available.

At the bottom of the MacUpdater window is the info line, in which you can see how many updates are available.

It is not uncommon for managed problems to present security holes

Obsolete software is not only a restriction in comfort, because you do without new features. Much more important are the plugged security holes, which can often be found in the small program updates. Just remember the Flash Player, which was already known as a changing security problem in the times of Steve Jobs, because the installation of the updates didn’t work as quickly as new security holes were found. At this point a reference to my old post "Flash gives itself the fatal blow".

My test of MacUpdater

If you want to try out a software like MacUpdater, a situation like mine is exactly right: I have niche software like Aja System Test as well as classics like Adobe Creative Cloud or banking apps like MoneyMoney. Here MacUpdater can show what it can do.

Since I have even installed the CleanMyMac X app, which also has an "updater" function, you can also directly compare what outdated software both apps find here. More on that at the end of the article.

CleanMyMac X also offers to take care of updates. You can read below what it brings compared to MacUpdater.

CleanMyMac X also offers to take care of updates. You can read below what it brings compared to MacUpdater.

The first scan for updates

If you run MacUpdater after the installation, it needs a few minutes (about 2 to 3 for me) to check which apps are installed on the Mac and which updates are available. By the way, the software has been localized in German for a few months, so that you don't have to deal with the English user interface (but with my Denglish it does!).

Once the scan is complete, you will receive a more or less extensive list of the apps that are available in the new version. There are different buttons on the right in the list:

  • "Update app"
    MacUpdater can perform the update here - also automatically for many apps at the same time.
  • "Upgrade app"
    This button appears when there is a major version jump (for example from 2.3 to 3.1).
  • "Open updater"
    This appears for me, for example, with Photoshop and Illustrator, because the Adobe Updater has to import the updates for the Creative Cloud. But you will still be informed about it and get a button that leads you directly to the updater.
  • "Manual update"
    Here you have to go to the developer's website and download the update yourself. However, MacUpdater offers the link to the software's homepage.
In the main window of MacUpdater you can find all scanned apps and filter for existing updates. Here you can also see the four different buttons that are available depending on the update.

In the main window of MacUpdater you can find all scanned apps and filter for existing updates. Here you can also see the four different buttons that are available depending on the update.

This is how the update works

If you click on "update app", the update will be imported directly. If MacUpdater has determined that it is a big version jump, there is the button "upgrade app" and you get a message that this may be a chargeable update if the app is commercial. If it is a small update and only the version number after the point changes (e.g. from 5.23 to 5.65), the updater continues directly and shows the progress in the list.

If you start several updates in a row, MacUpdater takes care of them one by one and always shows the progress next to the app that is currently receiving an update.

If you start several updates in a row, MacUpdater takes care of them one by one and always shows the progress next to the app that is currently receiving an update.

You can also click directly through all the buttons in the list. MacUpdater then takes care of the update one by one and only makes one update at a time. So the Mac remains usable and you can do other things. Only now and then does an installer window appear from some programs that want admin access. Otherwise everything happens in the background and does not interfere with your work.

If the app is not currently supported by MacUpdater, you will find a note that it is a manual update. MacUpdater also offers a link to the software's homepage to make the update as easy as possible.

If the app is not currently supported by MacUpdater, you will find a note that it is a manual update. MacUpdater also offers a link to the software's homepage to make the update as easy as possible.

If you would like to find out more about an update, you can even have a look at the changelog in MacUpdater. A click on the little info button ("i") opens a window with the available information.

With many apps, you can even look at the release notes of the corresponding updates. If MacUpdater cannot display these directly, you will definitely find a link to the release notes on the website of the developer of the corresponding app.

With many apps, you can even look at the release notes of the corresponding updates. If MacUpdater cannot display these directly, you will definitely find a link to the release notes on the website of the developer of the corresponding app.

Another practical feature is the backup function that can be activated. Here you can set, for example, that you want to keep the last five versions of the software loaded as a backup. This can be helpful, for example, if a new version turns out to be very buggy and you would like to downgrade again.

Here you can see the setting options for the backup option to keep old versions of apps.

Here you can see the setting options for the backup option to keep old versions of apps.

Difference between the free and commercial version

With the free trial version, ten apps can be updated in this way. Only after activating the "Pro" version, which costs 10 euros (one-time), can you update more than ten apps. I find the price for the app - in times when every text editor starts a subscription model - more than reasonable, as the developer is constantly looking after the expansion of the database behind MacUpdater. If you have software that is not recorded - which should rarely happen with more than 40.000 apps in the database - you can write Julian and he will make sure that MacUpdater also has this software on its screen in the future.

Why there is no update-all button ...

What MacUpdater doesn't have is a button that simply starts all updates that are possible. You have to filter the list for "outdated apps" and "updates only" and then press all buttons individually. With 30 to 40 apps, as in my case, this is a bit complex, but the developers explain that they deliberately chose not to use this button.

MacUpdater is not intended to become the one-click solution as it would encourage the wrong approach to updates. The users should find out about the updates before pressing the button. The software should make this way more comfortable - nothing more. Carelessly installing all available updates would inevitably lead to problems sooner or later.

The best settings for MacUpdater

From my point of view, the settings are not optimally selected after installation. I think most Mac users should be fine with the selection I made. This is not a must, but my suggestion.

My settings in the "General" tab.

My settings in the "General" tab. I activated the 32-bit box in order to already know which apps will no longer run under macOS Catalina. In any case, an update has to be made before installing the new macOS version in autumn.

 

My settings in the "Update and Scan" tab.

My settings in the "Update and Scan" tab.

Compare MacUpdater and CleanMyMac X

I have the software CleanMyMac X in use, which among other things also has a function called "Updater". However, this is not really competitive because during MacUpdater I found almost 60 updates on my Mac at CleanMyMac X only 7 updates offered. Also the free software "NEU "seems - according to statements of a number of users in forums - to have significantly fewer apps on the screen than MacUpdater. So if you are serious about updating, you can't avoid MacUpdater.

Compared to MacUpdater, the update function of CleanMyMac X feels like a gimmick. While MacUpdater found 56 updates for me, CleanMyMac only showed 7 apps.

Compared to MacUpdater, the update function of CleanMyMac X feels like a gimmick. While MacUpdater found 56 updates for me, CleanMyMac only showed 7 apps.

Download from MacUpdater

You can download the free trial version here on the CoreCode website:

https://www.corecode.io/macupdater/

If you have any more questions about MacUpdater, this is the FAQ page of the software a good place to go.

PS: I'm trying to get two or three license codes for the raffle from Julian from CoreCode. Whoever wants to take part can subscribe to my weekly newsletter. There, the raffles for products and licenses take place at irregular intervals.

PPS: I just got a message from Julian. The three licenses are with me and will be raffled shortly.

Reader's question: Is there a risk that MacUpdater will install a compromised update?

After this article appeared, my reader Charly sent me another question:

I once had MacUpdate Desktop https://www.macupdate.com/desktop#tpt=1

But there were problems with malware in modified files, you remember?

Is that impossible with MacUpdater?

My answer:

Thanks for your question.
This is really good, because it would in principle be possible for someone to blame you with something infected. However, the MacUpdater also gets the updates directly from the manufacturer. That means, if it is infected there, you would be affected either way - even if you downloaded it manually from their website.

The developer of MacUpdater is even planning to add a feature that gets a checksum from the developer. This allows the software to recognize when the update has been changed in any way.

In practice, in my opinion, there is no more or less risk than loading the updates manually from the software developer's homepage.

 

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1 comment

  1. Kurt H. says:

    I think MacUpdater is a really great program that is worth the money.
    Congratulations to Julian for this achievement!
    I highly recommend it.

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