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Set Software Update check frequency in Mountain Lion System 10.8
Mountain Lion removed the ability to set the frequency of checks for software updates. The default frequency was always a week and it remains so.

To change the frequency, open com.apple.SoftwareUpdate.plist, found in /Library/Preferences, and change the ScheduleFrequency key from 7 to the number of days you prefer.

I prefer to be notified of updates daily, if available, so I changed the frequency to 1.

[kirkmc adds: Note that you'll need admin privileges to edit this file. You can do so with a text editor, or with Xcode, which presents a graphical interface for .plist files. ]
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Set Software Update check frequency in Mountain Lion | 20 comments | Create New Account
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Set Software Update check frequency in Mountain Lion
Authored by: earthsaver on Aug 27, '12 08:28:25AM

I used the free PrefSetter, which lets me input admin credentials, to make the change.

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- Ben Rosenthal
MacBook Pro 2.8GHz - Mountain Lion
iPad 3 4G



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Set Software Update check frequency in Mountain Lion
Authored by: ChipMck on Aug 29, '12 07:37:36AM

More current is http://www.bresink.de/osx/PrefEdit.html
But is priced. Supposed to enhance the old (discontinued) PropertyListEditor of XCode



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Set Software Update check frequency in Mountain Lion
Authored by: babbage on Aug 27, '12 08:31:48AM

Of course, it's also settable from the command line without having to hand-edit the plist file:

defaults write com.apple.SoftwareUpdate ScheduleFrequency 1

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DO NOT LEAVE IT IS NOT REAL


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Set Software Update check frequency in Mountain Lion
Authored by: dilvish1984 on Aug 27, '12 09:00:47AM

Your suggestion will make this change to ~/Library/Preferences, while I think you really do have to make this change in /Library/Preferences to have the desired effect (see below for the command to do so)



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Set Software Update check frequency in Mountain Lion
Authored by: babbage on Aug 27, '12 09:07:26AM

True, but the way I understand preference domains on OSX, this shouldn't be a problem in practice. If you have a setting in your home folder, it should trump whatever setting may exist in the top-level Library folder. If that doesn't work, something else is also broken.

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DO NOT LEAVE IT IS NOT REAL


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Set Software Update check frequency in Mountain Lion
Authored by: dilvish1984 on Aug 27, '12 09:14:17AM

Yeah, but in my experience, Apple doesn't always stick to their own rules. ;)

I just tested it and, at least on my setup (I am still on Lion, which might make a difference I suppose), the key only works if it ends up in the plist file found in the /Library/Preferences folder... could somebody else test this and confirm or deny?



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Use defaults write with a filename
Authored by: lullabud on Aug 27, '12 11:47:42AM
10.8 allows you to specify a filename rather than a preference domain.

sudo defaults write /Library/Preferences/com.apple.SoftwareUpdate.plist ScheduleFrequency 1

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Use defaults write with a filename
Authored by: digital_dreamer on Aug 27, '12 12:19:36PM

The .plist extension should be left off when using the default commands.

MAJ



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Re: Use defaults write with a filename
Authored by: Uncle Asad on Aug 27, '12 02:29:58PM
See my comment below; Apple intends to break the ability of defaults to manipulate plists by path at some point.

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Set Software Update check frequency in Mountain Lion
Authored by: mbroughtn on Aug 27, '12 08:36:30AM

A clean install of Mountain Lion will not have the SceduleFrequency key in the pllist. You will have to manually create the entry.

The Key is ScheduleFrequency; the Type is Number; and the Value is the number of days between checcks you want set.



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Set Software Update check frequency in Mountain Lion
Authored by: dilvish1984 on Aug 27, '12 08:49:28AM

If you don't mind a little terminal-fu, this should also work:

sudo defaults write /Library/Preferences/com.apple.SoftwareUpdate ScheduleFrequency 1


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Set Software Update check frequency in Mountain Lion
Authored by: slb on Aug 27, '12 12:36:14PM

That's:

sudo defaults write /Library/Preferences/com.apple.SoftwareUpdate.plist ScheduleFrequency 1
Might want to also hit:
sudo defaults write ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.SoftwareUpdate.plist ScheduleFrequency 1

Not sure which takes precedent?"

sb



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Set Software Update check frequency in Mountain Lion
Authored by: dilvish1984 on Aug 27, '12 01:14:01PM

Interesting: On Lion at least, you have to leave the ".plist" off to get the command to work (although it fails silently with the extension on there...) I'm really surprised Apple would change a behavior as basic as that between Lion and Mountain Lion.

(Oh, and again on Lion at least, not only does the /Library/Preferences plist take precedence, it is the only one that affects the desired change at all...)

Edited on Aug 27, '12 01:19:05PM by dilvish1984



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Re: Set Software Update check frequency in Mountain Lion
Authored by: Uncle Asad on Aug 27, '12 02:26:27PM

Note that using defaults to write to arbitrary plist files using a path has been deprecated for some time (since at least 10.3), with a warning in the manpage, and there have been recent rumblings that Apple intends to follow through on its promise to break that feature.

PlistBuddy is a supported command-line tool for manipulating arbitrary plists (alas, with a more complex syntax, IMO).



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Set Software Update check frequency in Mountain Lion
Authored by: RussellK on Aug 28, '12 07:01:56AM

Mine was already set to -1. What does THAT mean?



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Set Software Update check frequency in Mountain Lion
Authored by: tucsonbil on Aug 28, '12 11:39:24AM

Thanks for this ... but, I seem to be a noob here. I have Admin priv's and tried to open the plist file with texteditor and it don't work. I don't have xcode installed. Any idea's?



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Set Software Update check frequency in Mountain Lion
Authored by: agordona on Aug 29, '12 03:52:07AM
OK folks, which is it for ML OSX 10.8.1: with or without ".plist" and for which Libraries ?? Thank You
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Tony
iMac 3.4 GHz Intel Core i7 - 24 GB ram
Thunderbolt Pegasus R6
MacBook Pro 17" 2.66 Intel Core i7 - 8 GB ram
Mac OS 10.8.1
Edited on Aug 29, '12 04:01:44AM by agordona


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Set Software Update check frequency in Mountain Lion
Authored by: Convert2008 on Aug 29, '12 06:43:32AM

I have tried both contexts and neither seem to work. I downloaded PrefSetter and there is no parameter for Frequency in the list, and I do not seem to be able to create one. If I double click, the line, it simply opens the App Store under Software Updates. If I open in TextEdit, I see only one line. I tried editing in Notepad, but, again, do not see a line for Frequency. What am I missing?



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Set Software Update check frequency in Mountain Lion
Authored by: prescor on Sep 07, '12 12:49:54PM

I manage labs. What keys should I create/set so that it NEVER checks and NEVER downloads?



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Set Software Update check frequency in Mountain Lion
Authored by: MacDude on Mar 04, '13 10:08:26AM
You can also set via a regular command line:
sudo softwareupdate --schedule off
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Wow, who thought this would happen?
-jjh


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