Saturday, January 17, 2009

Apple Software Update

Every few weeks I have to sit patiently and watch while Apple updates my iTunes and QuickTime software.1 Since I use three different computers (home, work, laptop), this becomes quite a pain and it gives me plenty of time to think about Apple software and it's update policy. They are not happy thoughts.

Maybe someone can answer the questions? Why are the update files so big and why does it take so long to install them? It seems as though I am reinstalling the entire suite of programs each time. Why are there so many updates? Is the software so bad that it needs constant fixing?

Is there any way to turn off the notices? I don't use iTunes but I don't want to uninstall it. Can't I just update it when I want to use it? Same for QuickTime; how important. really, are the updates? Does anyone know?

1. To be honest, I can do other things as long as I don't mind a very slow internet connection. The updates are huge and the installation takes up a lot of RAM.


  1. Updates are normally quite important, as they protect you from anyone exploiting a weakness in the software (and as current software consists of millions lines of code, avoiding mistakes is next to impossible).
    Apple has indeed a bad habit of reinstalling the entire program when updating - probably only way to make it change that is a petition signed by many users :-).
    Best way would be to uninstall software that you don't use - then you can be sure no one can exploit any weaknesses in it. Although not recommended, here is the way to stop Apple Update from popping up automatically: . As it also updates quicktime, it may be dangerous to disable it, as bugs in it can often be exploited through a web browser, just by visiting a malicious page.

  2. I don't use Windows, so I can't offer any specific comments. But in general, at least on OSX, it's possible to (1) tell the software update to wait for now, (2) manually download the update (or have the updater do it) when you're not on the computer, like overnight. Then you have the updates without conflicting with your use.

  3. If you use Windows, I don't see why you even need iTunes or QuickTime.

  4. Since I use a Mac, maybe this doesn't make sense but..

    The second writer is correct. The first and third are widely incorrect, I assume you don't NEED iTunes, but you seem to want to keep it, therefore, you must have the iTunes and QuickTime both installed.

    I don't know how "flaky" you experience is, you wouldn't have a problem with a Mac (and you can use a Mac to run Windows at full speed)... But the question of spyware and adware and the Windows files don't exist on a Mac.. Not at all.

  5. The updates are big because they are the whole application being downloaded and installed, not just the bits of it that need updating. One strategy might be that when you see there is an update available do the download only option (if that is available in the Windows updater), or keep download after it to a flash drive and install the updates from there. You can also quit the updater when it says there is an iTunes update and goto and download the current version from there to a flash drive.

  6. If you go to the Windows Control Panel, you will see an icon for QuickTime. Click on it and select the "update" tab. Uncheck the "check for updates automatically".

    If you don't use itunes, IMO you should just uninstall it. If you ever decide you want it, I promise you that Apple will give you another free copy (you'll just have to install it). In any event, if you decide you want to have it, I'm sure there is an option in itunes that also specifies whether it does the updating automatically, and you should just turn it off. (or maybe, like Quicktime, there will be an icon to do this in the Control Panel).

    BTW, quicktime is an excellent program. One feature it has that many other video viewers lack is the ability to step frame by frame through a video using the left/right arrow keys.

  7. The second writer is correct. The first and third are widely incorrect, I assume you don't NEED iTunes, but you seem to want to keep it, therefore, you must have the iTunes and QuickTime both installed.

    How am I incorrect? If someone doesn't use iTunes there is no point in keeping it and QuickTime can easily be replaced with a codec that plays .mov files. You get rid of a useless program and trim down on the amount of media players you have.

  8. You can schedule the update time, or even switch off the software updates and do it manually if you want to using the 'Software Update' System Preference panel. If you switch it off entirely, the files are easy enough to get from Apple's "downloads" website: ttp:// and you can then install them when you want to. (You are probably best not to do this unless you are the sort of person who monitors the downloads page, etc: part of the point of the update program of course is it does that for you. I personally prefer this myself, but that's my call!)

    As others say, the size is apparently due to using full applications. I suspect this will ultimately be due a variation on the KISS principle. The more complex something is the more likely it'll have bugs, etc., so keep the updater simpler, etc.

    About choosing not to update some things. I would be a little cautious, in that there are some interrelationships/dependencies that may not be immediately obvious unless you know a little about the applications. That ITunes uses QuickTime is an overly simple example. You want to always apply the "system-level" updates at the very least. Following a KISS principle approach, I find it's simpler to just apply all the updates applicable my system so that there is nothing to worry about, especially as "strictly speaking" you don't know if they are also tweaking, say, some of the networking libraries while updating Safari. (Without looking inside the download package, to find out, that is.)

  9. KISS does not really apply to making a whole new reinstall.Unix diff files are simpler, smaller and easy to apply. All in all, reading these comments only reinforces my happiness in running GNU/Linux and FreeBSD...;)

  10. Have a peek into control panel, and open up add/remove programs. You will likely see in there a program titled 'apple software update' or something similar - click 'change/remove' and uninstall it. The updates are so large because Apple do not release patches, they simply recompile the entire program after a bug fix and make you download the entire thing.

    You should be able to manually update the software from within the program itself or failing that, simply re-download the program every six months; but watch out, when you do it'll probably reinstall the software updater to spread it's tentacles back into your time once again. You may wish to try out qtlite instead as it's a lot nicer than quicktime, insofar as it isn't rubbish.

  11. I am using windows 7 , whenever i start my computer there is always a new update , but i don,t see any new feature in it i am not understanding what they update daily.