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New in Mountain Lion: Software Update

19 June 2012 3,089 views 12 Comments

in os x mountain lion, apple's long-serving software update app function gets subsumed by the Mac App Store.

Here is one of the simpler and yet potentially far reaching changes coming in Apple’s OS X Mountain Lion, which will ship in July for $19.99. Whereas Software Update still holds down its familiar spot under the system-wide Apple Menu, clicking it in Mountain Lion launches the Mac App Store.

And, as you can see in the screen cap above, this does have an immediately apparent advantage in that you can view details about all of the available updates at a glance. Moreover, whereas Apple’s traditional Software Update app minimizes to a download progress indicator, the Mac App Store display continuously displays the details while your updates download (below).

Software Update also holds its place of honor (image immediately below) in System Preferences and this is where you can set how often your Mac automatically checks for new software and what it should do when it finds some. However, OS X and apps sourced through the Mac App Store won’t install automagically — you must agree and provide an admin password before installation occurs.


See also: Mac App Store in OS X Mountain Lion

Further, as the Mac App Store is also the gateway for Apple and third-party applications, it’s also the place where you find, download and install updates — a process that can be nearly hands-free if you so choose.

With all software updates, both apps and operating system, coming via the Mac App Store, users gain serious convenience and peace of mind — everything’s either an Apple product or has been vetted/inspected by the company. Wow, game changing tech.

Keeping your options open

Yes, OS X Mountain Lion’s GateKeeper app still offers the option to download third-party apps, both the signed (i.e. more secure) and completely free range varieties, but many users will choose to live within Apple’s beautiful and highly secure Mac App Store walled garden.

Will Apple eventually pull the plug on free range apps? It’s not inconceivable as app discovery, download and updates only occur in the iOS App Store for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.

Yeah, users can and do “jailbreak” their i-things, but that’s a risk and hassle the vast majority of i-thing users don’t consider and a locked down Mac software ecosystem would likely engender high levels of compliance (and highly convenient security), as well.

Ready to make the leap to OS X Mountain Lion?

os x mountain lion software updates are unified in the mac app store -- secure, convenient and very locked down.
Image via AnandTech.

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