Apple Stops Offering Standalone Update Packages in macOS Big Sur

Apple appears to have ended its tradition of making standalone updater versions of macOS available to all users, beginning with macOS Big Sur.

macoos combo updates
Apple offers its macOS updates through the Software Update pane in System Preferences, but it usually also lets users download the same updates as standalone installation packages, made available on Apple's downloads website.

However, as noted by Mr. Macintosh and shared by The Eclectic Light Company, Apple hasn't released a standalone updater for macOS 11.1 or 11.0.1, despite providing standalone packages for macOS Catalina and Mojave security updates on December 16.

Standalone packages are useful for administrators who want to update multiple Macs with the same 12GB download, especially given that delta and combo packages come in smaller sizes since they include only the files needed for that particular update.

According to Mr. Macintosh, however, Apple is advising users who need standalone updaters to contact them in an "official capacity," although it's not exactly clear what that means.


Apple hasn't confirmed that it has ended update packages for macOS, but the current lack of standalone installers for Big Sur doesn't look particularly good for users who rely on them.

That said, there is an alternative solution in the Sharing pane in System Preferences in the form of a Content Caching option, which enables one Mac to download updates and other Macs on the same network to download them directly from the local Mac.

Related Roundup: macOS Big Sur

Top Rated Comments

mungo2k Avatar
4 weeks ago
This article is getting a bit confused between full and delta installers. Standalone installers are still available via the Mac App Store or via the "softwareupdate --fetch-full-installer" command (new: "softwareupdate --list-full-installers" shows you what you can download with "softwareupdate --fetch-full-installer --full-installer-version X.Y").

It's the standalone delta updaters that are no longer being made available by Apple, so you have to download the full 12-13GB each time.
Score: 41 Votes (Like | Disagree)
FreakinEurekan Avatar
4 weeks ago


Do this mean we will no longer be able to make a single USB installer, in case we would like to do a clean install of Big Sur? That appears to be the case, unless I misunderstood the article.

You misunderstood the article. USB installer is still supported.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
bassanoclapper Avatar
4 weeks ago


...

What A joke. Apple heading in the wrong direction.

ARM Macs are no longer for PRO use. Their are multiple articles on this.

No dedicated GPU. All crappy system on a chip. That blows

We’re just over 1 month into a 2 year transition, so it’s just possible that there are bigger and better things to come
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
GreenPixel Avatar
4 weeks ago


WOW this sucks. I can tell this will be the last Intel OS I will be interested in and will probably stay on.

The arm Macs will all be setup like the Microsoft surfaces which sucks.

How do they expect or call ARM Macs PRO MACHINES?

Mission critical HEAVY digital creators are not going to use ARM Macs if you can't even keep a copy of the OS around.

What A joke. Apple heading in the wrong direction.

ARM Macs are no longer for PRO use. Their are multiple articles on this.

No dedicated GPU. All crappy system on a chip. That blows

You really don't seem to know what you're talking ranting about. We can still keep full installs of an OS. Nothing is stopping that. Additionally, Since my M1 MBA is outperforming all the existing MacBook Pro's, I think Pro users will be just fine.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
IG88 Avatar
4 weeks ago
This is one of those "we're gonna stop doing it and see if there's enough outrage to make us reverse course."
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Lounge vibes 05 Avatar
4 weeks ago


WOW this sucks. I can tell this will be the last Intel OS I will be interested in and will probably stay on.

The arm Macs will all be setup like the Microsoft surfaces which sucks.
“Have you used an ARM Mac? I very much assure you, it’s nothing like a surface device. In fact, you can barely tell them apart from Intel, other than that they are way, way faster and quieter.”
How do they expect or call ARM Macs PRO MACHINES?

Mission critical HEAVY digital creators are not going to use ARM Macs if you can't even keep a copy of the OS around.
“you can still download Big Sur, and make a physical copy of it. All that’s changing is the Delta updates, not the actual installer.”
What A joke. Apple heading in the wrong direction.

“if I had a nickel for how many times someone has said that about Apple, I would be richer than the company itself.”


ARM Macs are no longer for PRO use. Their are multiple articles on this.


“ there are also articles showing that ARM Macs are the future of pro customers.”
No dedicated GPU. All crappy system on a chip.

“Apple is literally rumored to introduce a dedicated GPU for their processors next year, and I highly doubt they’ll be using System on packages for things like the iMac and the Mac Pro. But you cannot bass all of your assumptions of future apple silicon powered macs on just the three that we have now.”


That blows

do you know what else blows? Someone who doesn’t do their research.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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