Apple plans to treat major OS updates the same as minor OS updates

Honored Contributor

Apple plans to treat major OS updates the same as minor OS updates. And you’ll only have 90 days to defer those updates. Is that sufficient time for your org? Are you ready for potentially not receiving OS updates once a new major OS has been released similar to iOS?

Read more here:

Please file feedback with Apple:


Contributor III
Contributor III

My hope is that as applications get reworked to use system extensions rather than kernel extensions that much of the need to pin OS versions to a specific version perpetually will vanish.

Esteemed Contributor II

Not to be the bad guy here, but what better way to force third parties to update their s**t.

Those that can keep up will have a place on the macOS side...those that can't, well, bye!


Valued Contributor

Will a re-image of a Mac reset the 90 day clock? If it does, then that opens the door to holding on a version of the OS for a bit longer.
I would love to hope that the third parties will keep up, but with past experience some will but a few, really big guys, will not. We had one who took 6 months to sort out for Catalina.
Here, we tend to run OS upgrades during the summer break, and not mid term.

Honored Contributor

@donmontalvo Very often organizations have a schedule during which they cannot make major changes. Imagine working on a film or TV series and needing to ensure software stays the same until the film is wrapped up or the season for that series is done. Or maybe you work in a school and the software is locked in for the semester to ensure the classes can be taught without issue. Or maybe you work in a publishing company and you have a series of workflows where you need to ensure third party tools do not have any issues. Think of software coming from Adobe where often they do have some general support on day 1, but typically there are still some bugs that haven't been worked out. And then there's the plugins themselves where the plugin developer needs to wait for the general release of new Adobe software to ensure compatibility. Or perhaps you support researchers who are working on papers and are close to getting published and cannot afford to go through an OS upgrade until that process is complete? There are so many reasons that a company may not be able to upgrade their OS in 90 days beyond "vendor is lazy and cannot keep up."

At the end of the day, companies don't use macOS to make money. They use the third party apps that run on macOS to make money. And if there are other platforms (there are) where that software can run with better support, then it stands to reason many companies would just opt to move to those platforms. This is even more true nowadays in a world where a lot of software is web-based.

Honored Contributor

@PaulHazelden This is all based on the date that an update is released. Wiping a device will do you no good in terms of resetting the clock. Please provide that feedback to Apple on how it would impact your organization.

Release Candidate Programs Tester

I think it's important to note here that the 90 days is a deferral of the availability of the update for the end user, not the actual installation of the update forced by Apple. There is no mandate that user's install the update after 90 days, nor that admins push the update at the end of the window.

With the availability of AppleSeed for IT for all organizations, and the 90 day deferral, organizations now have the ability to test prerelease software in their environments, and the ability to defer updates (once released) in order to update systems and 3rd party software, and to educate users about potential conflicts that may arise when a software update becomes available.

Honored Contributor

@jcarr It is true that Apple is not forcing updates on any devices. However, there's no distinction at the moment between a major or minor software update. That means your end user could end up installing or getting advertised a major OS update since they are using the same key. If you defer, then you end up deferring both major and minor OS updates (as discussed in the link).

Additionally, this also means there's only one track of updates which follows the iOS model of having to be on the latest OS to get the latest security updates. In many environments, it's much easier to get a minor OS update installed versus a major OS update. Why else would Apple consider major and minor OS updates to be the same thing?

AppleSeed for IT is not available to all organizations, although it is available to a lot more than it used to be. It requires access to Apple Business Manager/School Manager which is not necessarily available in all countries. But that's besides the point since AppleSeed does not address the issue. There is no guarantee that Apple will fix any and all issues reported to them during that period in time for the general release of the update.

Esteemed Contributor II

@bpavlov yep I totally get it. I’ve managed thousands of Macs at major multimedia companies, ad/branding agencies, banks, investment firms, etc. We are connected on LinkedIN so pretty sure you know that. 🙂

Rules vary across those environments. My comment was more of an epiphany than a suggestion.

Those of us (me included!) who are bound by rigid change control processes are now in a unique position to force those who slow the process down to get on board or get out of the game.

Apple has thrown down the gauntlet. Third party companies who drag their feet, or slow walk compatibility are going to be kicked to the curb. Finally. Bye.

Companies who actively update their apps deserve a place at the table going forward. Welcome! Thanks!

Didn’t mean to dismiss existing controls...I was just giddy about Apple’s now position. This will make the platform more secure and our jobs easier.

Heck, enterprise might just get rid of all Windows computers as Macs become ever so more secure...or enterprise might give in and get rid of all Mac computers, if we don’t manage expectation.



New Contributor III

Beginning in 11.3, MDM can delay Major releases longer than Minor releases. So, there are two ‘tracks’ now.

Contributor II

10.32.0 now has these options available in the Restrictions > Functionality Configuration Profile.

Anyone have any updated information as to the difference between a minor and major software update now?

11.15.2 to 11.6 ?

11.0.1 to 11.2 ?

10.15.6 to 10.15.7 ?

11.6 to 12.0 ?


New Contributor II

Minor is 11.3 to 11.4

Major is 11.3 to 12.x


Full documentation is here:

Thanks @rjashton Exactly what I needed.  If all else fails, read the manual. 🙂