I would like to know how to update from 10.10.0 to 10.10.5 just by using single user mode. Is this possible and if so how would you go about doing so.

Why would I do this?...

Linked to my other question I was interested if updating in single user mode would make it faster and more secure.

Hope the question makes sense

Single user mode can be easily accessed by holding command + S

2 Answers 2


This article explains how to use the command line softwareupdate tool to perform updates: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT200113.

I tested it on my system and it appears to work as a local user as long as you have sudo access to your system.


Single user mode disables many of the system demons and processes needed to run an update.

Instead of that, I use the createistallmedia tool to make a bootable installer on a USB drive and I boot to that OS that is exceptionally limited and controlled by Apple and exists only to run the installer.

The downside of this method is that you need apple to release an installer based on 10.10.5 and it's also a bit of chicken and egg problem if you start asking which operating system do you trust to create the installer in the first place.

See https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201260 for details on which build corresponds to which numbered release.

  • What do you mean by 'an installer based on 10.10.5'. Do you mean by the update being distributed as a .app?
    – Racing121
    Oct 26, 2015 at 21:13
  • Apple uses build versions - so you can look at the installer's Info.plist to see what version of OS is installed by the installer. I'll add a link to my answer.
    – bmike
    Oct 26, 2015 at 22:15

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