I am planning to use a MacBook without registering an Apple ID account. I don't need to install applications from app store, so it is not an issue. But I wan to receive OS updates.

Is it possible to receive OS updates when using a MacBook without having to sign in for Apple ID?

  • Updates can mean several things so I’ll address both. Do you have a specific practical question or are you seeking general info on the process? – bmike Nov 20 at 13:11
  • @bmike I am trying to understand what restrictions I will have to deal with if I don't use Apple ID. Updates and Upgrades are an important aspect. – Sasha Shpota Nov 20 at 13:18
  • It’s easy to do the experiment. Set up a new VM or Mac and never sign in :) hopefully my answer helps with your measurements and answers. – bmike Nov 21 at 17:25

Yes and no. Upgrades can require an ID, updates do not.

With an MDM, you can push out most apps and updates without any Apple ID needed on the machines. Also in the yes, many but not all OS updates are pushed from the device channel and not the user channel of the App Store.

No for some cases if the machine is older. It really depends on exactly which Mac you have and which specific build of OS you want to install and if you install it from an already set up user account or if you install from recovery.

The easiest way to check is to go to this page in Safari browser and then try to download whichever OS installer you want.

Another less easy way to test is to use recovery and reinstall the OS on top of your existing one. You will quickly know if that machine needs an Apple ID (less likely) or if it’s in the clear (more likely). You only lose some time with this test as the programs and data remain x especially if you pick to reinstall the same OS version and do not upgrade.

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    Thank you (+1). Does this mean that without Apple ID I won't be able to upgrade say from Mojave to Catalina but updates like from 10.15.4 to 10.15.5 are possible? – Sasha Shpota Nov 20 at 13:19
  • Yes, because you need an Apple ID to download from the App Store - an update doesn't require you to log in. – Rene Larsen Nov 20 at 16:47

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