Software Updates via terminal

If you want to do an automatic install of all the updates for a particular Mac, you can do it easily in the background using ARD.  Gather up the system you want to update then execute a unix command: softwareupdate -i -a and specify to run it as the root user even if you have not enabled the root user account on the workstation.  It takes a while but the results window pretty much updates after each title install — it’ll even tell you if the remote system needs restarting.

If you want to do it manaully (perhaps via a remote ssh login), log in as an administrative user, and type: sudo softwareupdate -i -a. You’ll be prompted to enter your admin level password.  If you wish, this can also be done locally via a terminal window.

To see all the command options, type man softwareupdate in a Terminal window.
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