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I have two MacBook Airs, but I have very limited bandwidth. I would prefer to download updates once and then copy them onto all the other MacBook Airs. How can I download App Store updates once to update multiple Macs?

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    This sounds like something you would use a server to do, though I'm curious to see if it can be done from one client to another as well... – Fyrefly Jul 2 '14 at 20:36
  • Are both of the computers' apps licensed to the same Apple ID (note that the license agreement allows this if the computers are used by the same person)? Also, the "right" way to solve this is with a caching server -- would installing the Server app on one of the computers and making it act as a server be possible? – Gordon Davisson Jul 2 '14 at 20:45
  • @GordonDavisson, yes, both the mba-s use the same apple-id (my apple-id). – thatmaheshrs Jul 3 '14 at 6:37
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There are two types of update.

OS X software updates are updates for the OS and OS components (e.g. iTunes). These used to be delivered through a separate software update app, but since the introduction of the Mac App Store, the OS X updates have been combined with Mac App Store updates in the Updates tab of the Mac App Store. However, the CLI tool remains, giving you more flexibility in Terminal and allow the downloading of updates without installing them, perfect for copying to other machines before the installation takes place.

You can download OS X updates without installing them (which would automatically remove them) so you can copy them, using the following command:

softwareupdate -dav

The 10.9.4 update is distributed externally, outside of the Mac App Store; the Mac App Store just provides the UI for the installation process.

Conversely, for Mac App Store apps, you need OS X Server's Caching service, as the apps are 'non-transferrable' and the app receipt must match the Apple ID that downloaded the app for the app to be updated in the future. However, if you're using the same Apple ID, or don't care about updating the app from the second machine, update the app normally then copy the .app bundle from /Applications to the other Macs as necessary.

  • I am sorry, but, I am a total osx noob. so, please help me understand this. r u saying there are two types of updates? osx software updates and app store updates? but, I received my osx update (to 10.9.4) from the mac app store! given that, are you suggesting that I use "softwareupdate -dav" to download the updates for the os only and then just copy the "*.app" files from /Applications on mba-1 to mba-2? also, do i run "softwareupdate -dav" on mba-1 and then just copy the files out to mba-2 using an external hdd? As a final note, both the mba-s use the same apple-id (my apple-id). – thatmaheshrs Jul 3 '14 at 6:38
  • @thatmaheshrs Yes, there are two types of update. The Mac App Store provides the UI for both, but this wasn't always the case (before the Mac App Store existed). I've edited my answer to clarify, but you seem to have got it right: copy the OS updates after running the command, then copy the .app bundles. – grg Jul 4 '14 at 14:16
  • Beware: not all components of an app are inside the .app bundle. Simply coping the bundle works just for some applications and is not easy to understand which ones – karlacio Apr 22 '16 at 7:51
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http://support.apple.com/downloads/ has most OS and Security updates. http://www.apple.com/itunes/ always has the latest iTunes version. The format is amenable to downloading once, using many times.

For third party stuff, you're pretty much restricted to downloading through the store, but many of those updates can be accomplished on secondary Macs simply by copying the App file from one Mac to the others. This does not always work, but usually will for the simpler Apps.

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