Stop Apple Mac Store annoyances with these tweaks

Don't let your Apple Mac drive you nuts! Take control of the Mac App Store and configure it to work better

The Mac App Store is a handy way to find and install software on your computer and it is also a source of OS X updates. However, it has annoying features too, but you can easily solve them with these tweaks.

One way in which the Mac App Store is annoying is when you try to download free software. You are required to enter your password just to get free stuff. Why? You have already logged into your Mac with a password, so why enter another one? No money is involved anyway and you are accessing free apps anyway.

The other Mac App Store annoyance is software updates. If you only ever sit at your work desk or at home with a great wi-fi connection, then software updates probably won’t bother you so much.

If you travel with a MacBook and use wireless hotspots that may be busy serving a dozen other people with laptops, you don’t want to begin downloading a 1GB update. Yes, some of them really are that big.

A problem with automatic software updates can occur when you are in a hurry. If you need to power up your Mac first thing in a morning and get some work done fast, you might find that the system is busy scanning for and downloading updates.

Related: Automatic updates for OS X are unsafe! Disable them!

New Macs with super fast processors and solid state disk drives probably aren’t affected so much, but with an older Mac with a mechanical disk drive, it kills the performance. The Mac can be really slow for the first 5 or 10 minutes while it checks for and downloads updates.

On more than one occasions I have needed to get some work done and the Mac is scanning the system checking for updates and hogging the processor and disk drive. It’s even worse when a MacBook is running on batteries and it starts this heavy duty task.

The solution is to disable automatic updates and to check manually when it suits you and when you are not doing anything important.

Open System Preferences

Go to the Apple menu in the top left corner and click System Preferences.

System Preferences on the Mac is where all the setting for OS X are stored

 

The App Store

When System Preferences appears, click the App Store icon on the bottom row.

System Preferences on the Apple Mac is where you configure OS X settings

 

App Store preferences

These are my own preferences and they might not suit everyone. They work for me though

App Store preferences in System Preferences on the Apple Mac. Customise the settings for the App Store

1. Clear the tick next to Automatically check for updates. The check slows down the Mac and I don’t want this to occur when I am doing something important. All the options below should be cleared too because they all work together as part of software update.

2. You might have different Macs for different purposes. Such as one for work and one for home, one for video editing, one as a media server. For this reason you might want different apps on different computers. I often download software and try it out. I might keep it and use it for a week, and then erase it. I don’t want my other Macs downloading and installing apps I am only testing.

3. With all the automatic update features turned off, it is up to you to check for updates. Here you can see when this was last carried out and there is a Check Now button to check for updates. You can also check for updates from within the Mac App Store app.

4. For the sake of security it is best to set Mac App Store purchases to always require a password. There is an option not to require it for a short period, but this can go wrong if you download a game for your kids for example, and then let them loose on your Mac. They might go to the App Store and buy stuff while they have unlimited access without a password. Always require one.

5 You could save the App Store password for free apps. It is slightly risky because if you went for a coffee break or lunch and left your Mac running, someone could run the App Store app and fill the disk with free downloads. If you are the only person that is likely to have access to your Mac, set Free Downloads to Save Password.

 

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