I am using the command softwareupdate -i -a to download and install macOS updates for macOS Sonoma. After successful download the command does not return:

Software Update Tool

Finding available software
Downloading macOS Sonoma 14.1.1
Downloading: 100.00%
Downloaded: macOS Sonoma 14.1.1

How can I proceed to update my system via the terminal?

I am trying to automate updating the whole system, this is my first stop - updating the OS.

1 Answer 1


I would restart and then observe if the update processed. If not, try

softwareupdate -i -a --restart --agree-to-license

You can dump the internal state at any time with softwareupdate --dump-state and look in /var/log/install.log file any time the console app doesn't show enough detail if you stream the logs and search for softwareupdated.

  • just restarting the system did not trigger the update, I ran the suggested command with the options to restart and agree to license and the mac restarted and installed the updates. thanks. Also something to note the option --restart can only be used with root privileges.
    – Human
    Commented Nov 15, 2023 at 17:57
  • Agreed @Human - I hate to tell people sudo since they need to know what that means and be comfortable doing their research. copypasta can be a terrible thing. Also, I've never had --agree-to-license be necessary, but it's there and why not script it in case you get stuck. Best of luck and feel free to answer / edit mine if you find it needs a tweak going forward.
    – bmike
    Commented Nov 15, 2023 at 23:53

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