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Apple has stopped providing standalone updaters in macOS Big Sur

Jamesbond007

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In the past Apple has always provided standalone updaters for MacOS system updates and security updates, but for Big Sur this has apparently changed. It seems that Apple has stopped providing standalone updaters in macOS Big Sur :

I don't know if this is official policy in Big Sur. If it is, I really don't like it. I always prefer using standalone updaters (Combo Updates and Security Updates) to update my Mac mini and hacks. I don't like using Software Update as I don't want to download them on different machines over and over again.
 

Jamesbond007

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You can always download the full macOS installers and use those to update.
But a whole MacOS Big Sur installer is what, 12GB? MacOS system updaters are more like 2-3GB?

So if I want to manually update Big Sur (and perhaps later versions in the future), Apple's decision means that from now on I have to download 12GB every time? How long will that take to download if you don't have a fast broadband internet connection? And how long will that "full MacOS installer" take to install versus a MacOS system updater that updates, say, 11.0.1 to 11.1?

If you have to update multiple machines how much time will that take? I shudder to think of all this.

Well, maybe it does not matter to you and lots of others, but it does matter to me, and I believe, enterprise administrators who have to manage lots of Macs.

I will just have to see if Apple reverses this decision (if it is true).
 
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pastrychef

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But a whole MacOS Big Sur installer is what, 12GB? MacOS system updaters are more like 2-3GB?

So if I want to manually update Big Sur (and perhaps later versions in the future), Apple's decision means that from now on I have to download 12GB every time? How long will that take to download if you don't have a fast broadband internet connection? And how long will that "full MacOS installer" take to install versus a MacOS system updater that updates, say, 11.0.1 to 11.1?

If you have to update multiple machines how much time will that take? I shudder to think of all this.

Well, maybe it does not matter to you and lots of others, but it does matter to me, and I believe, enterprise administrators who have to manage lots of Macs.

I will just have to see if Apple reverses this decision (if it is true).

Ah... I thought you just didn't want to download it over and over...

The full Catalina installer is ~8GB.
The full Big Sur installer is ~12GB. (approx 50% larger than Catalina installer)

The Catalina 10.15.7 Combo Update is ~5GB.

I don't know how large a Big Sur 11.1 Combo Update would be if it existed but assuming it's ~50% larger than the Catalina update, it would be ~7.5GB. So you're just saving about 4.5GB. If you have more than two systems to update, it would still be faster to just use the full installer because downloading 12GB once is < 7.5GB twice.

Screen Shot 2020-12-18 at 12.35.06 AM.png
 
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Jamesbond007

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Ah... I thought you just didn't want to download it over and over...

The full Catalina installer is ~8GB.
The full Big Sur installer is ~12GB. (approx 50% larger than Catalina installer)

The Catalina 10.15.7 Combo Update is ~5GB.

I don't know how large a Big Sur 11.1 Combo Update would be if it existed but assuming it's ~50% larger than the Catalina update, it would be ~7.5GB. So you're just saving about 4.5GB. If you have more than two systems to update, it would still be faster to just use the full installer because downloading 12GB once is < 7.5GB twice.

View attachment 501486
If Apple were to made such an update available for Big Sur (and it hasn't so far) I would have chosen to use that. Then assuming I have multiple Big Sur systems to update I would still just download ONCE and then use that file to update other systems.

Yes, I admit, it seems to be possible to use the full OS installer as a method to manually update, FOR NOW. But right now I am skeptical and I would have to see whether it can really be done in this way. How long will such a "full install" take compared to using the Combo Update (or the smaller Delta update if applicable)? And anyway, after Big Sur enters "Security Support", which originally is the time I plan to install Big Sur, this method will no longer be viable, as I don't think Apple will continue to update the full Big Sur OS installer then.

If Apple really does stop providing these standalone updaters starting from Big Sur, I will have to consider whether to stop upgrading and stay with Sierra / High Sierra / Mojave / Catalina. My Mac mini 2018 will stay on Mojave in such a case, and I will probably shelve my plan to get an Apple Silicon Mac sometime in the future.

Worst case I might just go back to full Windows in the future. Microsoft, even though I don't like them, still provides manual updates for Windows. Does Apple no longer care for users who prefer manual updates?

I will watch this situation closely with great interest.
 

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If Apple were to made such an update available for Big Sur (and it hasn't so far) I would have chosen to use that. Then assuming I have multiple Big Sur systems to update I would still just download ONCE and then use that file to update other systems.

Yes, I admit, it seems to be possible to use the full OS installer as a method to manually update, FOR NOW. But right now I am skeptical and I would have to see whether it can really be done in this way. How long will such a "full install" take compared to using the Combo Update (or the smaller Delta update if applicable)? And anyway, after Big Sur enters "Security Support", which originally is the time I plan to install Big Sur, this method will no longer be viable, as I don't think Apple will continue to update the full Big Sur OS installer then.

If Apple really does stop providing these standalone updaters starting from Big Sur, I will have to consider whether to stop upgrading and stay with Sierra / High Sierra / Mojave / Catalina. My Mac mini 2018 will stay on Mojave in such a case, and I will probably shelve my plan to get an Apple Silicon Mac sometime in the future.

Worst case I might just go back to full Windows in the future. Microsoft, even though I don't like them, still provides manual updates for Windows. Does Apple no longer care for users who prefer manual updates?

I will watch this situation closely with great interest.

Using the full installer to update is pretty much the same as booting in to Recovery partition and re-installing on top of an existing installation. I've done it and have not experienced any problems. No data was lost, no settings were changed. As far as I can tell, it takes about the same amount of time as it does doing a typical update via App Store or System Preferences.

I don't know if security updates are rolled in to full installers after a particular version of macOS stops getting point updates or not...

I don't know how "manual" using a Combo Update is... It's not like we were given choice of what to update and what not to update. We just launched the Combo Update and it proceeded to updated everything. In fact, I think the old Combo Updates was closer to a full install than just updating through App Store or System Preferences.

I don't understand why changing the method used to update an operating system would be a deterrent to use said operating system. I think that when Apple dropped support for Netboot, it was a much bigger deal and I didn't see anyone claiming they would stop using macOS because of that. If Apple renamed the Big Sur installer to Combo Update, most people probably wouldn't know the difference anyway.
 

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There's a little more to this scenario than is immediately obvious.

I think it's because Apple are now testing your hardware and delivering appropriate updates. They are delivering separate Intel/M1 versions, not just dumping a Universal Combo.

My M1 Mini got a 3.8GB 11.01 to 11.1 BS upgrade for example. What's more, it no longer appears in the Library/Updates folder.

The other updates to iWork apps are the same - a lot smaller than they used to be, and via patching rather than replacing. I think I read somewhere official this was their intention.

I agree it's a pain for us Hackintoshers. My own update library has all the OS X / macOS installers and point upgrades since I was able to download them. Internet speeds here are paltry, I don't want to re-download.

Not sure what I can do in future running both Hack and Mini. I doubt gibmacOS will work much longer as a tool ...
 

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There's a little more to this scenario than is immediately obvious.

I think it's because Apple are now testing your hardware and delivering appropriate updates. They are delivering separate Intel/M1 versions, not just dumping a Universal Combo.

My M1 Mini got a 3.8GB 11.01 to 11.1 BS upgrade for example. What's more, it no longer appears in the Library/Updates folder.

The other updates to iWork apps are the same - a lot smaller than they used to be, and via patching rather than replacing. I think I read somewhere official this was their intention.

I agree it's a pain for us Hackintoshers. My own update library has all the OS X / macOS installers and point upgrades since I was able to download them. Internet speeds here are paltry, I don't want to re-download.

Not sure what I can do in future running both Hack and Mini. I doubt gibmacOS will work much longer as a tool ...

It's not surprising that Apple Silicon Macs will have different versions of everything. But as Intel Macs fade further in to obsolescence, we will eventually be back to a single update for everything.

I always keep a USB flash drive around with a single Clover EFI for all my hacks (even some that I no longer own). I always update the version of macOS installer that's on that flash drive so I download the full macOS installers anyway. I can just download once, put it on the flash drive and bring it to all my hacks.
 
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Mac Os BIG SUR, mean 11, is a step to the integration with iOS. That is a fact. So the logic is that the updates work more like on iOs. Mean you go to preferences, general, and just update without download any additional file trough folders. So for us hackintoshers, many changes will come till the day our system stop being supported. But I think this will be a 5 year process. So don't get panicked. And in the way trough there many brains will fight the system.
 

pastrychef

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Mac Os BIG SUR, mean 11, is a step to the integration with iOS. That is a fact.

I'm not convinced it's fact.

If they wanted macOS to be iOS:
  • The Apple Silicon MacBook Air and MacBook would both have touchscreens.
  • There would be no option to disable SIP.
  • Finder would not exist.
  • Users would not have access to System files.
  • There would be no Terminal.
 
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