I recently bought a new macbook pro with Lion, had some problems and had it checked by Apple people. It was returned to me but the software update server seems to have been changed and will not update. How can I change to the official one? I would like to avoid the 2 hour drive. Thanks!!


5 Answers 5


It depends on exactly how they changed the update server setting. If they did the obvious thing, this should delete the setting (so it'll go back to normal):

sudo defaults delete /Library/Preferences/com.apple.SoftwareUpdate CatalogURL

If that doesn't work, it's possible it's configured as a per-user (rather than system-wide) setting, in which case this should do it:

defaults delete com.apple.SoftwareUpdate CatalogURL

On system newer than 10.10

sudo softwareupdate --clear-catalog

Before driving to the Apple technician, you can type the following Terminal command:

defaults read /Library/Preferences/com.apple.SoftwareUpdate CatalogURL

This will tell the the URL that SoftwareUpdate is checking.

  • 1
    Would you be willing to expand slightly on this? We are looking for good, in-depth answers. Perhaps you could include the steps needed to get to this point? Feb 22, 2013 at 1:53
  • On OS X 10.8.2, when testing the above answer, I get this error: The domain/default pair of (/Library/Preferences/com.apple.SoftwareUpdate, CatalogURL) does not exist
    – gosmond
    Feb 22, 2013 at 4:39
  • @gosmond: that means that your computer will use the default -- Apple's servers. Feb 22, 2013 at 5:34
  • @GordonDavisson, OK, then machead should make that clear in the answer, so that people who try the command aren't left scratching their heads by an apparent "error" in the output.
    – gosmond
    Feb 22, 2013 at 6:59
  • 1
    FYI, The domain/default pair of (/Library/Preferences/com.apple.SoftwareUpdate, CatalogURL) does not exist is the error i get when i type the complete defaults string. it would be good to tweak this so it actually works.
    – esaruoho
    Apr 10, 2020 at 15:57

The above is almost, but not quite correct. It should be

sudo rm /Library/Preferences/com.apple.SoftwareUpdate.plist

Followed by a reboot.

this will delete whatever server your Mac is looking at to get software updates and will let it default back to the Apple one. I've just done this on an iMac running El Cap which was trying to get updates from an in-house update server that was disconnected years ago.

  • 4
    There is no "above" on Stack Exchange; answers are presented in a random order, though organised by score, & may move over time.
    – Tetsujin
    Aug 25, 2016 at 10:27
sudo defaults rm /Library/Preferences/com.apple.SoftwareUpdate.plist

then reboot

  • what is defaults doing there? it should be sudo rm
    – esaruoho
    Apr 10, 2020 at 15:57

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