[The title of this post is somewhat more general than the problem at hand, because a general solution, if any, would be useful in other situations.]

There is an update to macOS itself (Ventura 13.3) but I want to do it after Time Machine finishes the current backup.

But, Time Machine says that it will take 18 hours. How can I ask the OS to update itself, unattended, after Time Machine finishes or after 24 hours, say.

Or, would the updater wait for Time Machine to finish? (I don't want to try.)

I don't mind using the command line tool softwareupdate: I could just say sleep $((24*60*60)) && sudo softwareupdate -r, but I don't know how to supply my password to the updater.

2 Answers 2


Running sudo su will log you into a root session in the terminal. Any command you run there will be run with root privileges and there's no time limit to it. You can run sleep $((24*60*60)) && softwareupdate -r in that session.

  • That must be it . . . that's what I thought at first when I saw your answer! I took me some time before I had an opportunity to test it, and I've then found, unfortunately, that the softwareupdate command prompts your password even on the root session!
    – Ryo
    Apr 2, 2023 at 13:59

On Apple Silicon and newer macOS versions you will need to employ MDM - Mobile Device Management capabilities to accomplish your goal.


Executing softwareupdate to install macOS updates such as dot releases, etc. will prompt in the GUI for authorization. But if you do it with MDM then it won't. Mac's enrolled with an MDM grant special permissions to the MDM useful in enterprise environments. There are a number of MDM providers from JAMF to Microsoft to VMware, etc.

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