Skip to main content

How to update apps you didn't download from the Mac App store

As a Mac user, it's likely that at least some of the apps you have didn't come from the Mac App Store. While you can just head to the store's Update tab to download the latest version of your store-bought apps, updating third-party software from outside the Mac App Store can require a little more effort.

While these instructions don't hold true for every non-App Store Mac app, here are the common ways of keeping these apps up-to-date.

How to update a non-App Store app

Checking for an update often requires just a quick trip to the Menu bar.

  1. Open your chosen app.
  2. Click your app's name in the Menu bar at the top of the screen.
  3. Click Check for Updates.

  1. Click Download and Install if there is an available update.

How to setup automatic update checks

Setting automatic update checks removes some of the mental load of maintaining your favorite apps.

  1. Open your chosen app.
  2. Click on your app's name in the Menu bar at the top of the screen.
  3. Click Preferences.

  1. If available, click the Update tab in the app's Preferences window. In some apps, you may have to head to a tab labeled Advanced.
  2. Check the box next to something like Check for updates or Check for updates automatically.

  1. If available, choose an option for how often the app should check for new updates, usually hourly, daily, weekly, and monthly.

Questions?

Looking for more information on updating apps downloaded outside of the Mac App Store? Let us know in the comments.

Joseph Keller is the former Editor in Chief of iMore. An Apple user for almost 20 years, he spends his time learning the ins and outs of iOS and macOS, always finding ways of getting the most out of his iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Mac.

1 Comment
  • For the less technologically-inclined, macOS can be quite confusing if you have a mix of Mac App Store apps and ones downloaded from websites. Thankfully application updates are usually set to automatic by default in the apps downloaded from websites so having two different ways to update apps isn't as apparent, but you still have issues like the fact that if you long press on the Launchpad to get the jiggly icons, you can only remove apps downloaded from the Mac App Store this way. This could really confuse someone who is new to the Mac