Wondering how you can install updates to existing macOS installations, like macOS Big Sur and macOS Catalina, without jumping ahead and installing MacOS Monterey?
While MacOS Monterey is available to download now for anyone who wants to install it, not everyone may be ready for the update. Fortunately, Apple offers system software updates and security updates to the most recent two prior generation system software versions, in this case macOS Big Sur and macOS Catalina, so if you’d like to you can install updates for those versions of system software and avoid Monterey.
This is pretty simple, but you’d be forgiven for not seeing how it works because the buttons look like text and are very small.
Getting Current macOS Updates Without Upgrading to MacOS Monterey
This works for both MacOS Big Sur and macOS Catalina:
- From the Apple menu, go to “System Preferences”
- Choose “Software Update”
- Look for the tiny blue text “More Info…” button under the text saying ‘Other updates are available’ and click on that
- Select the updates you wish to install, and choose “Install Now”
- Separately, make sure that “Automatically keep my Mac up to date” is unchecked (or adjusted via Advanced so that ‘Install macOS updates’ is not enabled)
In the screenshot examples here, macOS Big Sur 11.6.1 was installed while avoiding installing the full MacOS Monterey 12.0.1 update.
For macOS Big Sur, you’ll be able to find system updates like macOS Big Sur 11.6.1, Safari updates, Security Updates, and others.
For macOS Catalina users, you’ll be able to find available Safari updates, and Security Updates.
Going forward, the updates to both macOS Big Sur and Catalina are likely to be limited to simply Safari updates and Security Updates, as Apple usually puts development effort into refining the latest generation of operating system, in this case being MacOS Monterey.
Disabling ‘Install macOS Updates’ Automatically to Avoid MacOS Monterey
If you use the automatic software update feature in MacOS, and you want to avoid MacOS Monterey for the time being, do the following: From the Apple menu, choose “System Preferences” and go to “Software Update”, then click on ‘Advanced’, and toggle off the ‘Install macOS Updates’ option to avoid waking up to MacOS Monterey installed one morning.
If you have it configured like in the screenshot above, macOS will check for available system software updates, and install important system data files, but will not automatically install macOS updates like Monterey.
If you’re not quite ready for MacOS Monterey, or you’re waiting for a later release, no worries, but don’t ignore the available security updates and other software updates for your current macOS version.
Are you staying on your current version of macOS? Any particular reason? Share your experiences and thoughts in the comments.