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A few days ago a hacked version of a Google Chrome extension I use was distributed via Chrome's automatic extension updates.

Is it possible to stop Google Chrome from automatically updating extensions?

I've seen instructions on how to do block Google Chrome itself from updating, and how to block individual extensions from updating, but those were for Windows, not Mac OS X.

I'm currently running Chrome 60.0.3112.50 beta, under OS 10.12.5.

Thanks for any assistance.

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Yeah, it can be blocked. There is an extension to block auto-update by extensions. See https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/extension-update-disabler/pfijgddffdeabjfpkfikmkfdpaleebek

Disclaimer: I wrote it. At this instant, I am its only user, so exercise caution.

It provides an enable button and a disable button, which enable/disable all extensions from auto-updating. It works by updating the manifest files to prevent/enable the extensions from finding their auto-update site.

  • 1
    That link is dead. – James Apr 20 '18 at 14:10
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The "official" Google-given method given is this, but it doesn't work. In Terminal

defaults write com.google.Keystone.Agent checkInterval 0

The most foolproof method is to empty these directories:

/Library/Google/GoogleSoftwareUpdate/
~/Library/Google/GoogleSoftwareUpdate/

Then change the permissions on both folders named GoogleSoftwareUpdate so that there's no owner and no read/write/execute permissions.

In terminal:

cd /Library/Google/
sudo chown nobody:nogroup GoogleSoftwareUpdate
sudo chmod 000 GoogleSoftwareUpdate
cd ~/Library/Google/
sudo chown nobody:nogroup GoogleSoftwareUpdate
sudo chmod 000 GoogleSoftwareUpdate

If you want to be double-certain, then do the same for the folder Google one level up.

cd /Library/
sudo chown nobody:nogroup Google
sudo chmod 000 Google
cd ~/Library/
sudo chown nobody:nogroup Google
sudo chmod 000 Google

I did this immediately after installing the Chrome version I need for my machine, and it worked perfectly. Now when I check About Google Chrome it gives me the error "Update failed (error: 10)"

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If the chrome extension that you do not want to update is on Github (which many if not most of them are), you can simply:

(1.) clone the Github repo,

(2.) reset the head to the version that you want, and

(3.) enable Developer Mode at chrome://extensions/

(4.) select the "Load unpacked" option from chrome://extensions/, and then select the folder enclosing the source code for the extension.

I recently used this technique to downgrade my version of Reddit Link Opener, which no longer supports users who have opted out of using that site's redesign. This worked for me on MacOS, but should work on all platforms.

If the extension is loaded as an unpacked extension (in the manner described above), it will NOT auto-update to a newer version.

  • Thanks. I’ll give that a try next time if I hit this issue again. – Richard Cosgrove May 28 '18 at 17:41

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