Apple Is U2ing macOS Installers to Users Running Older Versions of its Operating Systems

Remember when Apple forced a U2 album into the iTunes libraries of everyone in the world? How did that work out for the company? And for the band?

Well, as Jim Dalrymple is reporting on The Loop, Apple will start forcing downloads of the macOS Sierra installer to users who have not yet updated to the new operating system. This is wrong in so many ways.

  • You may have a metered internet connection, and this installer may put you over your quota and cost you money.
  • You may simply not want to upgrade to macOS Sierra.
  • You may not have much bandwidth, and downloading this installer could cause problems.

Now, the upgrade itself isn’t automatic; you still get to choose whether you install it or not. But I consider it wrong, terribly wrong, for Apple to use my bandwidth without my approval. I currently have decent internet access: 16 Mb/sec. But a year ago, I had less than 4 Mb/sec, and I would not be happy if there were a download in the background, which I might not be able to stop, clogging up my tubes.

So, right now, go to System Preferences > App Store, and make sure that Download newly available updates in the background is turned off.

No, Apple, this is just wrong. There is no valid reason to do this.

24 thoughts on “Apple Is U2ing macOS Installers to Users Running Older Versions of its Operating Systems

  1. What are you complaining?
    System Preferences > App Store: uncheck ‘Download newly available updates in the background’

    Your reasoning applies equally to 10.11.x upgrades, those can rather big in size. The last few ones always downloaded automatically for me. I haven’t heard many complains about that.

    (your headline sounds like Apple is downloading the 10.12 upgrade to users with Macs that are not eligible / compatible).

    • Oh, my… What about people who have their settings to download updates, but still don’t want to download a 5 GB installer? Or who find that it puts them over their bandwidth cap? Or have a new Mac and find that, perhaps, that setting is on by default? (I think you get asked shortly after installing OS X or macOS Sierra whether you want updates to download automatically; I assume most users just click Yes.) Boo hoo to them?

  2. What are you complaining?
    System Preferences > App Store: uncheck ‘Download newly available updates in the background’

    Your reasoning applies equally to 10.11.x upgrades, those can rather big in size. The last few ones always downloaded automatically for me. I haven’t heard many complains about that.

    (your headline sounds like Apple is downloading the 10.12 upgrade to users with Macs that are not eligible / compatible).

    • Oh, my… What about people who have their settings to download updates, but still don’t want to download a 5 GB installer? Or who find that it puts them over their bandwidth cap? Or have a new Mac and find that, perhaps, that setting is on by default? (I think you get asked shortly after installing OS X or macOS Sierra whether you want updates to download automatically; I assume most users just click Yes.) Boo hoo to them?

  3. You’re complaining because your computer is doing what you have told it to do???
    Give me a break! Change your system preferences. I would complain if it didn’t download updates when I had set it to do sol

    • There we go again. Assuming that everyone knows all the settings on their computers. Try to think about the “average” users, perhaps your parents or grandparents, when you spout things like that.

      • If a Mac user asks for updates to automatically download, that is EXACTLY what happens… The update to macOS Sierra will download as the user requested… NOTHING MORE (it DOESN’T install itself!)!

        But this setting to automatically download (only!) is OFF by default. You are given the option of turning it on the first time updates are available for your new Mac.

        So if the user NEVER requested that updates download automatically, then there is nothing for them to “turn off”!

        Your “parents and grandparents” are NOT receiving downloads that they didn’t specifically ask for, and they DO NOT NEED TO SEARCH THEIR SETTINGS FOR SOMETHING THEY NEVER SWITCHED ON IN THE FIRST PLACE!

        • Lots of people are reporting that this setting is on by default. If I recall correctly, you get a brief notification after installing OS X asking if you want them to be on. There is no explanation of what that means, nor how much data they may consume. IS THAT CLEAR?

        • I don’t know if you have to administer the Mac of your parents or not. But with every OS update, it’s always the same things: “why is app not working anymore?”, “why can’t I do this anymore?”; “why is it slower?”, etc. In the mind of the end user, an OS update is just improvements to the existing features or the addition of new features. It’s not the removal of them or new problems.

          Updating the OS to a new major version should not be considered the same thing as running a system security update or a minor system update.

          Same thing for iOS, I’ve never said I wanted iOS 10 to get downloaded automatically. And I certainly didn’t say that I wanted to be bothered by daily blocking reminders about this update ready to be installed and that I should really consider installing it.

          The OS vendors should not consider my bandwidth to be theirs.

  4. You’re complaining because your computer is doing what you have told it to do???
    Give me a break! Change your system preferences. I would complain if it didn’t download updates when I had set it to do sol

    • There we go again. Assuming that everyone knows all the settings on their computers. Try to think about the “average” users, perhaps your parents or grandparents, when you spout things like that.

      • If a Mac user asks for updates to automatically download, that is EXACTLY what happens… The update to macOS Sierra will download as the user requested… NOTHING MORE (it DOESN’T install itself!)!

        But this setting to automatically download (only!) is OFF by default. You are given the option of turning it on the first time updates are available for your new Mac.

        So if the user NEVER requested that updates download automatically, then there is nothing for them to “turn off”!

        Your “parents and grandparents” are NOT receiving downloads that they didn’t specifically ask for, and they DO NOT NEED TO SEARCH THEIR SETTINGS FOR SOMETHING THEY NEVER SWITCHED ON IN THE FIRST PLACE!

        • Lots of people are reporting that this setting is on by default. If I recall correctly, you get a brief notification after installing OS X asking if you want them to be on. There is no explanation of what that means, nor how much data they may consume. IS THAT CLEAR?

        • I don’t know if you have to administer the Mac of your parents or not. But with every OS update, it’s always the same things: “why is app not working anymore?”, “why can’t I do this anymore?”; “why is it slower?”, etc. In the mind of the end user, an OS update is just improvements to the existing features or the addition of new features. It’s not the removal of them or new problems.

          Updating the OS to a new major version should not be considered the same thing as running a system security update or a minor system update.

          Same thing for iOS, I’ve never said I wanted iOS 10 to get downloaded automatically. And I certainly didn’t say that I wanted to be bothered by daily blocking reminders about this update ready to be installed and that I should really consider installing it.

          The OS vendors should not consider my bandwidth to be theirs.

  5. I was surprised to find this setting on for me! I certainly never switched it on myself. I can only assume it got put into that mode in one of the updates. (I’m on El Capitan.)

  6. I was surprised to find this setting on for me! I certainly never switched it on myself. I can only assume it got put into that mode in one of the updates. (I’m on El Capitan.)

  7. Presumably an unwanted background download of Sierra would appear in the Downloads folder, which is probably available in the Dock already, and so would need just one action to drag straight into the Trash bin. Or are you expecting Apple to also be sneaky and conceal it in some out of the way and/or hidden location somewhere on your drive a la Microsoft with their unrequested Windows 10 downloads?

  8. Presumably an unwanted background download of Sierra would appear in the Downloads folder, which is probably available in the Dock already, and so would need just one action to drag straight into the Trash bin. Or are you expecting Apple to also be sneaky and conceal it in some out of the way and/or hidden location somewhere on your drive a la Microsoft with their unrequested Windows 10 downloads?

  9. It’s already a pain in the butt for updates that I want, especially having two Macs (one with a partition.) Generally, I wait until Apple produces an installer and download that, but I can’t imagine the multiple Mac family who has this setting still enabled. For me, it was enabled by default. I removed the check, and then reset it, so I wouldn’t have to do this, “sudo softwareupdate –background-critical,” all the time. Yesterday, I disabled it again when I heard the news.

  10. It’s already a pain in the butt for updates that I want, especially having two Macs (one with a partition.) Generally, I wait until Apple produces an installer and download that, but I can’t imagine the multiple Mac family who has this setting still enabled. For me, it was enabled by default. I removed the check, and then reset it, so I wouldn’t have to do this, “sudo softwareupdate –background-critical,” all the time. Yesterday, I disabled it again when I heard the news.

  11. Nice to see you post this, Kirk. I couldn’t agree more. When I started discovering Sierra installers on unsuspecting clients’ computers, I was as shocked as you. What makes it so bad is that they prompt you to “turn on automatic updates” after the first round of updates on any new computer, but they don’t explain just what that could mean in cases like this!

    Shame on you Apple. This isn’t cool at all.

  12. Nice to see you post this, Kirk. I couldn’t agree more. When I started discovering Sierra installers on unsuspecting clients’ computers, I was as shocked as you. What makes it so bad is that they prompt you to “turn on automatic updates” after the first round of updates on any new computer, but they don’t explain just what that could mean in cases like this!

    Shame on you Apple. This isn’t cool at all.

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