I've been occasionally (but annoyingly) noticing a situation with Mojave (I've never seen it in OS versions before Mojave) where I know that an app purchased through the AppStore has an update available, but the AppStore will not show that the app needs to be updated. In order to get the update, I have to delete the app and then redownload it.

I first noticed this for Agenda. Then the problem went away for a while, and apps that I purchased through the AppStore updated automatically.

Now it is happening for Ulysses. Specifically, Ulysses had updated automatically to version 16 on my iPhone and iPad, and since it is always updated at the same time on all platforms, I launched the AppStore to check to see whether it had been updated on my MacBook Pro. The app is still at version 15.2. When I launch the AppStore, I see this:

Ulysses update

So it was updated on the AppStore 16 hours ago. Notice how it shows "Open" in the top right of the screenshot? Well, if I click that, it does launch Ulysses -- version 15.2.

  • My guess is the App Store is caching data that delays updates in this case. What does system information or finder tell you about your actual version of the app? Perhaps disconnecting from the internet and restarting will help clarify what’s installed as opposed to what might be on the App Store. If I’m right, you are waiting for the App Store to start updating that app, not that it stopped updating. I've seen this with AssetCache situations and also times when the system (Apple side) has high load - going 48 hours before it catches up isn't unheard of to catch these "missed" updates. – bmike May 27 '19 at 17:19
  • The Finder says version 15.2. By the way, if I delete the app and then download it from the MAS, I'm virtually certain that I'll get version 16. That is what has happened in the past. – odysseus May 27 '19 at 19:27
  • I agree that's super likely. The catalog is being cached somewhere and not consulted when the install happens. It's like it's "saving" the time to check if it's up to date somehow. I've seen this far more commonly on iOS, but macOS is clearly on the same track these days. I was speculating / hoping a restart without network would invalidate that cache so you don't have to delete and re-download. – bmike May 27 '19 at 19:35
  • So you think everything is occurring as expected? What worries me is that searches on the web don't seem to have revealed other people suffering from the same problem … – odysseus May 28 '19 at 7:16

In addition to the auto update issue, I noticed by chance that the App Store showed download arrows for iWork apps -- when they were clearly installed on my MBP’s internal flash drive. I had the insight that something might be wrong with Spotlight. After I rebuilt the Spotlight index, not only did the App Store properly recognize that I had the iWork apps installed, but automatic updating appears to have been restored.

So it’s obvious that the AppStore relies on Spotlight for its update mechanism.

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