Mac OS X Catalina will be released in a few days, so how can I block updates to that OS so it doesn't get downloaded and, ideally, I don't even get prompts to upgrade.

I have 32-bit software I intend to keep on using, so I can't update since this version of OS X will support 64-bit apps only.

  • 1
    I've never known Apple to force a full version upgrade. They tend to keep pushing reminders at you. I won't be able to test for Catalina as I have no machine that is compatible.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Sep 1, 2019 at 8:15
  • From what I've gathered, it seems Mojave does the right thing and does not force upgrades like Windows does. High Sierra doesn't automatically update, either. Relevant information for Mojave here: apple.stackexchange.com/questions/372379/…
    – OMA
    Commented Oct 15, 2019 at 15:02

7 Answers 7


No way to solve the problem via the terminal using:

sudo softwareupdate --ignore "macOS Catalina"

The reminder reappears after few days.

It seems that I solved by removing the SoftwareUpdateNotificationManager launcher.

Namely, from /System/Library/LaunchAgents, move com.apple.SoftwareUpdateNotificationManager.plist to /System/Library/LaunchAgentsIgnored.

Additionally (but it is not clear to me if really needed), I changed the notification configurations in /System/Library/UserNotifications/Bundles/com.apple.SoftwareUpdateNotification.bundle/Contents/Info.plist.

Namely I changed the flags in


Namely the UNSuppressUserAuthorization flag. However the effect of these flags should be investigated.

A more drastic solution could be to remove the SoftwareUpdateNotification Manager from the core services.

Note that, in order to make these changes, you must boot from another disk, otherwise System is read only.

  • 1
    I can confirm that only the move (first step) is required to prevent the notification. However the notification will reappear if you select "Software Update" in system preferences. Commented May 29, 2021 at 22:26

You can not block major updates after 10.15.5

Before that update (and similar Summer 2020 updates to older OS - namely the 2020-03 update for High Sierra and Mojave, this command no longer works), you can ask Apple’s Software Update to ignore specific available upgrades to macOS Catalina:

  • Open Terminal (in the Utilities folder in the Applications Folder)
  • Run sudo /usr/sbin/softwareupdate --ignore "macOS Catalina"
  • Enter your login password if asked, hit Enter and you should get confirmation that “macOS Catalina” updates will be ignored.

Later, when you decide you want to allow the updates again, you can use:

sudo /usr/sbin/softwareupdate --reset-ignored

(With the Software Update preferences pane open, you can see the effect straightaway.)

  • 1
    My Mac still shows the update badge in System Preferences overview and "1 update" in the apple menu on the top left. Software Update says "Your Mac is up to date", on the good side :) Commented Oct 29, 2019 at 1:41
  • 8
    To get rid of the update badge, too, enter defaults delete com.apple.preferences.softwareupdate LatestMajorOSSeenByUserBundleIdentifier, then go to Software Update prefs to search again for updates. After that, both badge and menu indicator should be gone.
    – not2savvy
    Commented Dec 30, 2019 at 11:10
  • thanks it work for me.. and also thank to @not2savvy !
    – Jawaad
    Commented Jan 27, 2020 at 16:46
  • 4
    Another option to get rid of the "1 update": defaults write com.apple.systempreferences AttentionPrefBundleIDs 0;killall Dock. Found here: macworld.com/article/3447396/…
    – totaam
    Commented Feb 19, 2020 at 9:40
  • Unfortunately, neither Roughblah's answer nor not2savvy's comment work for me, but @totaam's comment does. Thank you!
    – OMA
    Commented Jul 4, 2020 at 18:32

if your OS version is "mojave 10.14.6", you will get the displays:

Ignoring software updates is deprecated.

The ability to ignore individual updates will be removed in a future release of macOS.

And I has fixed it by run

defaults delete com.apple.preferences.softwareupdate LatestMajorOSSeenByUserBundleIdentifier
softwareupdate --list

(Taken from https://tinyapps.org/blog/202005070700_remove_catalina_notification_badge.html)

  • 2
    Didn't "fix it" for me. Once I went into Software Update and checked for updates, the notification was back. Commented Jun 16, 2020 at 18:48
  • The only working fix for me in Mojave 10.14.6 seems to be totaam's comment in the above post.
    – OMA
    Commented Jul 4, 2020 at 18:35

System Preferences -> Software updates -> Advanced. You will see options to toggle download and update choices.

It's hard to delay notifications more than a day.

  • If you untick 'Check for Updates' then it also unticks 'Install System Data Files and security updates'. Does this mean there's no way to opt out of OS update reminders, but still get security updates?
    – Marcus
    Commented Sep 21, 2019 at 12:40
  • As far as I know, you can still download and install security updates by manually checking in the "Updates" tab of the App Store app. BTW, in High Sierra there isn't any "Software updates" icon in the System Preferences window. The icon to use there is the one called just "App Store".
    – OMA
    Commented Oct 3, 2019 at 8:30
  • @Marcus one could regularly check the security webpage of Apple, sign up for newsletters if any.
    – anki
    Commented Oct 3, 2019 at 9:46
  • @OMA Mojave sends all updates via system preferences I think.. Not App Store
    – anki
    Commented Oct 3, 2019 at 9:46

FYI - after installing the late May 2020 Security Update for 10.14.6, Catalina showed up again in Software Update, and redoing the previous fix makes no difference. In fact, it throws up this message:

"Ignoring software updates is deprecated. The ability to ignore individual updates will be removed in a future release of macOS."

It would appear that this change has already taken effect.


If you are on an earlier major version, such as High Sierra or Mojave, and all you are interested in is how to "block updates" to Catalina, ie prevent the upgrade from automatically occuring, then you don't need to do anything.

At least as of Sep 2020, Apple does not force major version upgrades. Even if you have Sys Prefs > Software Upgrade > Automatically keep my Mac up to date checked, or all of the options under Advanced (including Install MacOS updates) checked, your machine will not will automatically install Catalina.

Apple has gotten very naggy about pushing the Catalina upgrade lately, even deprecating the ability to ignore the update prompt, per @Robughblah's answer. But you still have to click on 'Upgrade Now' in the Catalina upgrade prompt in System Updates for it to occur.

If by "block updates", you are interested not just in preventing the upgrade, but in preventing prompts to upgrade to Catalina from appearing in Software Updates at all, Apple have made that harder, but there is still a way, outlined in my answer here.


Not sure if this works in macOS Catalina, but in Mojave you can uncheck Install macOS updates in System Preferences > Software Update > Advanced.

With this method you'll still be notified that macOS wants to update to the next OS release, but you won't be forced.

advanced settings of macos mojave software update panel

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