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I like to keep my system up to date and the Mac App Store is great in that it automatically notifies you when updates are available for apps downloaded from it. However, I'm after an easy way to get notified of updates for all of my apps not downloaded from the Mac App Store. I'm talking about things like Skype, Spotify, Firefox etc. without having to go and start up each app first and let it do its own update check.

I've seen sites like OldVersion and OldApps which do have information about the latest versions of apps and their release dates, which could potentially be "scraped" to obtain this information, but they don't seem to be updated terribly regularly as far as I can tell.

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3 Answers 3

AppFresh helps you to keep all applications, widgets, preference panes and application plugins installed on your Mac up to date.

http://metaquark.de/appfresh/mac

AppFresh for Mac license for $14.99

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+1 for AppFresh, great app. –  Maury Markowitz Jul 23 at 19:13

Macupdate Desktop does this for $20/year.

The MacUpdate.com website is the most actively updated website for Mac software that I know of. They often notify me of updates to software before I'm even aware that they are available, even if it is popular software that I use frequently.

The app can be set to automatically run even X hours or days. In addition, you can choose to be notified by email when certain apps are updated.

For each app that it finds out of date, you can choose to either download it and manually install it, or download and install it automatically from within the app. You can also tell it to "Download and Install All."

The app is not perfect (obviously… what app is?), and sometimes it isn't aware of a particular app, but overall it is the best solution that I am aware of for keeping non-MAS apps updated.

(Aside: I tinkered with trying to write my own script to check for apps and update them, but it's pretty tedious and you pretty much need to write a separate process to check each app, so spending $20/year to have someone else do it seems like a pretty good deal to me.)

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If my system ever broke down, this is the tool I'd use. Well worth the cost if you have a lot of software to manage in an office setting and don't have a dedicated IT staff to keep on top of things. –  bmike May 17 '13 at 19:21

My system is to not install apps that don't have a mechanism for alerting me of their update status.

I have an email account (or you could use rules) and RSS technology to keep track of seldom used apps. Most apps I use regularly also have internal update notifications similar to Apple's for iTunes and MAS/OS updates.

That bypasses the need to devote time and resources to track something the developer should have solved. Just as we don't accept cars that don't have check engine and low fuel warnings, software should be expected to be miserly of our time for routine maintenance and error conditions such as not checking for an update regularly.

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