Fix Macs Use OS X Combo Updates to Correct Installation Problems Share Pin Email Print Macs Basics Symptoms by Tom Nelson Tom Nelson has written hundreds of articles, tutorials, and reviews for Other World Computing and About.com. He is the president of Coyote Moon, Inc. Updated September 20, 2019 19 19 people found this article helpful PRODUCT DISCLOSURE $ Apple routinely releases updates to OS X that are available through the Software Update process or the Mac App Store, depending on the version of OS X you are using. These software updates, available from the Apple menu, usually provide the simplest method for ensuring your Mac's operating system is kept up to date. They can also cause problems, particularly if your Mac should freeze, lose power, or otherwise prevent the update from completing. When this occurs, you end up with a corrupt system update, which may manifest itself as simple instability: occasional freezes or the system or applications locking up. In the worst-case scenario, you may have problems booting, forcing you to consider reinstalling the OS. Another problem is related to OS X's incremental approach to updates. Since Software Update only downloads and installs system files that need to be updated, you can end up with some files being out of date with respect to other system files. This can result in infrequent system or application freezes, or the inability of an application to launch. Although the Software Update problem is infrequent, and most Mac users will never see it, if you're having some unexplained issues with your Mac, the Software Update problem could be the culprit. Eliminating it as a possibility is very easy to do. Using the OS X Combo Update You can use the OS X combo update to bring your system up to date, and in the process, replace most of the key system software files with the most current versions included in the updater. Unlike the incremental approach used in the Software Update system, the combo update does a wholesale update of all affected system files. The combo updates only update OS X system files; they don't overwrite any user data. That being said, it's still a good idea to perform a backup before applying any system update. The downside to the combo updates is that they're huge. The current (as of this writing) Mac OS X 10.11.3 Combo Update is just shy of 1.5 GB in size. Future OS X combo updates are destined to be even larger. To apply a Mac OS X combo update, locate the file on Apple's website, download it to your Mac, and then run the update, which will install the newest system on your Mac. You can't use a combo update unless the baseline of that version of OS X is already installed. For example, the Mac OS X v10.10.2 Update (Combo) requires that OS X 10.10.0 or later already be installed. Likewise, the Mac OS X v10.5.8 Update (Combo) requires that OS X 10.5.0 or later be installed. Locate the OS X Combo Update You Need Apple keeps all of the OS X combo updates available on the Apple support site. A quick way to locate the right combo update is to stop by the OS X Support Download site. There you will see the three most recent versions of OS X, along with a link to older versions. Click the link for the version you're interested in, then set the view option to Alphabetical, and scan the listing for the combo update you need. All of the combo updates will have the word "combo" in their names. If you don't see the word combo, it's not the full installer. Here are quick links to the newest (as of this writing) combo updates for the last five versions of OS X: OS X Version Download page macOS High Sierra 10.13.4 Combo Update macOS High Sierra 10.13.3 Combo Update macOS High Sierra 10.13.2 Combo Update macOS Sierra 10.12.2 Combo Update macOS Sierra 10.12.1 Combo Update OS X El Capitan 10.11.5 Combo Update OS X El Capitan 10.11.4 Combo Update OS X El Capitan 10.11.3 Combo Update OS X El Capitan 10.11.2 Combo Update OS X El Capitan 10.11.1 Update OS X Yosemite 10.10.2 Combo Update OS X Yosemite 10.10.1 Update OS X Mavericks 10.9.3 Combo Update OS X Mavericks 10.9.2 Combo Update OS X Mountain Lion 10.8.5 Combo Update OS X Mountain Lion 10.8.4 Combo Update OS X Mountain Lion 10.8.3 Combo Update OS X Mountain Lion 10.8.2 Combo Update OS X Lion 10.7.5 Combo Update OS X Snow Leopard 10.6.4 Combo Update OS X Leopard 10.5.8 Combo Update OS X Tiger 10.4.11 (Intel) Combo Update OS X Tiger 10.4.11 (PPC) Combo Update OS X Combo Updater Downloads The combo updates are stored as .dmg (disk image) files that will mount on your Mac as if they were removable media, such as a CD or DVD. If the .dmg file doesn't mount automatically, double-click the downloaded file you saved to your Mac. Once the .dmg file is mounted; you will see a single installation package. Double-click the installation package to start the install process, and follow the on-screen prompts. Continue Reading Learn How to Install Mac OS Updates From Apple’s Mac App Store Use a USB Flash Drive to Create a Bootable Installer of OS X or macOS Starting Up in Safe Mode Can Fix Things that Ail Your Mac How to Perform an Upgrade Install of Lion on Your Mac The Easy Guide to Auto-Installing Printers on Mac OS X How to Easily and Quickly Update Your Apple Watch OS Install and Update Adobe Flash Player on Your Mac Upgrade Install Of OS X El Capitan Is Easy, With A Few Precautions An Easy Way to Perform an Upgrade Install of OS X Mavericks Make the Move to Mountain Lion With This Step-by-Step Upgrade Guide What Do You Need to Run OS X Mountain Lion on a Mac? 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