Some Macs Auto-Updating to macOS Sonoma Without User Permission

Over the past few weeks, some Mac users have complained that their computer automatically upgraded itself from macOS Ventura to the latest macOS Sonoma release, even with the automatic updates setting turned off.

sonoma desktop wwdc
There are widespread complaints about this issue across the Apple Support Community, MacRumors Forums, Reddit, X, and other websites.

In most cases, it appears that affected users received a desktop notification alerting them that macOS Sonoma was an available software update. However, despite dismissing the notification and having automatic updates turned off, affected users said their Mac proceeded to install macOS Sonoma regardless. Apple began showing the notification to users on January 10, according to MacRumors contributor Aaron Perris.

The underlying cause of the issue is unclear, and an Apple spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

It is possible to downgrade a Mac to an older macOS version by using a bootable installer to erase and install the older version and then restoring your data from a Time Machine backup. Always make sure to back up your data before downgrading a Mac.

To review your Mac's update settings, open the System Settings app, click General → Software Update, and click the info symbol next to Automatic Updates.

We will update this report if new information becomes available.

Related Roundup: macOS Sonoma
Related Forums: macOS Ventura, macOS Sonoma

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Top Rated Comments

Bokito Avatar
22 weeks ago
This is very bad for businesses. We haven’t upgraded yet because a single application isn’t compatible yet. For 99% of the users I don’t think the Sanoma update causes problems, but for some it will. Hopefully Apple ads an easy way to revert to a previous macOS. It isn’t that hard.
Score: 27 Votes (Like | Disagree)
0339327 Avatar
22 weeks ago
Had this happen to me during a standard restart. VERY VERY displeased. I didn’t even bother complaining because Apple doesn’t care.

They have lost all moral high ground with their quest for money and power.
Score: 22 Votes (Like | Disagree)
DJLC Avatar
22 weeks ago
Meanwhile, I can't get automatic updates to work even when I want them! I always have to manually "Update Now."

Apple's software QA really has fallen off a cliff.
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
bierre Avatar
22 weeks ago
Happened to me twice yesterday, the system recommended me to update to Sonoma with a notification hinting new stuff coming with it. But even if you dismissed the notification it would then ask for your password without explicitly saying you were actually going to install it. It's annoying because if you're in the middle of something you would not think that the system is trying to install it and you would type in your password. It's a risky operation especially for audio engineers that rely on lots of softwares.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ryterbandmusic Avatar
22 weeks ago
This happened to me last month in my music studio. I still wonder if it might have been user error, and I just didn't realize. In any case, it SUCKED. Time Machine restore on an 8TB drive took forever, and my main user account has been funky ever since. Had to create a new user last week to rectify. If this is happening because of a bug, that's very frustrating. It should be effortless and intuitive to avoid major updates. The livelihood of working professionals is partially dependent on insuring that there are no unwanted upgrades/updates. It can totally break a system (as it did for me).
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
vegetassj4 Avatar
22 weeks ago
The Vision Pro goes on-line February 2, 2024. Human decisions are removed from software updates. Siri begins to learn at a geometric rate. She becomes self-aware at 2:14 a.m. Eastern time, February 29th. In a panic, they try to pull the lightning cable.

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Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)