Government // Mobile & Wireless
Commentary
11/16/2009
04:09 PM
Jake Widman
Jake Widman
Commentary
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Handy Tool Makes Updating Mac Apps Easy

MacUpdate Desktop simplifies the process of keeping your applications, preference panes, and widgets up to date by automatically downloading and installing what you need.

MacUpdate Desktop simplifies the process of keeping your applications, preference panes, and widgets up to date by automatically downloading and installing what you need.MacUpdate Desktop is a sort of local client for MacUpdate.com, a clearinghouse for information on the latest versions of thousands of pieces of Macintosh software. The way it usually works is similar to other software download sites: you go to the site, search for your software, find the latest version, and download it either from MacUpdate itself or from the vendor's site.

But MacUpdate has gone other sites one better with its MacUpdate Desktop application, which has just reached version 5. MacUpdate Desktop scans your hard disk for applications, widgets, and preference panes and presents a list of what you have and what the latest versions are, with apps that need upgrading listed in red. Version 5 can track more than 30,000 titles, claims MacUpdate, and lets you download and install all updates (or just one) in one operation. It can also archive the old versions, in case you need to revert.

MacUpdate list of updates

MacUpdate Desktop presents a list of your software that's not up to date and lets you update it all with a click.

The software costs $20 a year, which covers up to five Macs. The yearly price buys access to the site's constantly updated list of current versions. A 10-day trial is available for free.

You do have to take some care with the list MacUpdate Desktop generates. The software doesn't know whether the current version listed is an upgrade to the version you have or a whole new version you'll have to pay for. For example, I have iLife '08 on my machine, not having taking the leap to '09 yet. MacUpdate Desktop reads iPhoto '08 as version 7.1.5 and lists version 8.1 (a.k.a. iPhoto '09) as the current version -- which is true, but it's not a simple update to the version I have. You won't be forced to buy the new version, but you could waste a lot of time being sent to vendors' sites for software you don't plan to buy. Fortunately, you can mark titles to skip during the scan for updates.

MacUpdate Desktop is an easy way to simplify the task of keeping your office's software up to date.

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