I used to love FileHippo.com for keeping a lot of my well-loved tools on Windows up to date with its tool that you could check to scan your current program versions (both freeware and paid - in the case of paid it still works to download the latest installer as your license is still located in the system - I assume it would work for Mac too), and a simple repository on the site to directly download the new updater installer files from once the results screen online shows you what you can download and update.

Common apps monitored by FileHippo would be VLC, uTorrent, Firefox, Chrome (all the way up to dev channel), CCleaner, Adobe Reader, Adobe Air, DivX, Safari, Skype, Thunderbird - and all these apps I now have on the Mac too.

Is there anything like this for the OS X world?

MacUpdate.com looks great, but it doesn't seem to officially offer an equivalent 'update checker' app from looking at its website.

And as for Apple's Mac App Store solution, that doesn't cover the apps I listed above so could not be considered an adequate solution, unless all those players unanimously participated in that ecosystem which I don't think is the case.


3 Answers 3


Coincidentally, FileHippo isn't necessary for the vast majority of those apps you listed. Tons of Mac OS X apps use a framework called Sparkle for self updating.

Don't download Sparkle, it won't do you any good. It's a developer tool intended to be added as part of the application's code. The point is that Sparkle (or some other self-updater) is already part of the application.

  • VLC self-updates via Sparkle
  • I'm fairly certain uTorrent does (I'm a Transmission guy, personally, which also self-updates via Sparkle)
  • Firefox/Thunderbird each have their own self-updaters possibly written by Mozilla
  • Adobe has their own software updater framework
  • Skype self updates though I don't remember the process
  • and Safari updates come from Software Update/Mac App Store.

I don't personally know about CCleaner, DivX.

These apps "phone home" when you open them in order to determine if there is an update or not. If there is, you get a nice little dialog prompting you whether you want to update or not, and there is usually also a changelog to inform you of what's changed.

If you let it take it's course, the process begins:

And then you're done.

Yes, this is only one app at a time, but it only happens when you use it, which really is preferable IMO. Things that update versions automatically out from under you can really throw you off. At least with this process you know when it's happened.


I think Mac Informer Client is a good alternative.

  • 1
    Thanks, good find, though the program seems really buggy and poorly written. got one application to update but there's stalls left right and center, e.g.: i.imgur.com/DRVxwHX.png - plus, I'm trying to figure out a way for it to not auto install but just download the update files for you, so it's more in your own control! One to watch and hope it improves, I guess.
    – user46942
    Commented May 28, 2014 at 2:34

Since the advent of The App Store, sites like osx.iusethis.com and apps like AppFresh have gone the way of the Dodo (although much of iusethis is still available according to a cursory googling: iusethis.luo.ma)

Steer clear of MacUpdate Desktop (sound reasoning).

App Checkers™ are and always will be dubious. Especially on the Apple platforms for reasons stated by Jason (namely Sparkle Framework popularity and the officiation of an App Store).

But so far, as stated by Saeed, the Mac Informer desktop app seems to serve the same utility its' predecessors and the Filehippo checker.

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