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KB-4042: How to toggle the Automatic Updates option in OS X via Group Policy

Mac & PC Management Service ,  

20 June,17 at 06:47 PM

Applies to: Centrify DirectControl for Mac OS X 10.7 and higher


Since there is no more group policy to configure the Apple automatic update option in the System Preferences > App Store panel of OS X. 

Is there a way to toggle this via GP?


Automatic updates in OS X can be enabled or disabled via command line; for example to disable automatic updates, the following command can be used:

sudo /usr/sbin/softwareupdate --schedule off

To enable automatic updates, use this instead:
sudo /usr/sbin/softwareupdate --schedule on

To push these commands out via group policy, use the GP at:
Computer Configuration / Centrify Settings / Common UNIX Settings / "Specify commands to run"

(The "centrify_unix_settings.xml" template needs to be imported into the GPO to be able to see this GP)

Note: To see additional update options and usage syntax, see the help file in:

/usr/sbin/softwareupdate --help

or use the below workaround:

1. Use to the Group Policy "Computer Configuration > Policies > Centrify Settings > Common UNIX Settings > Specify commands to run"
2. Add the below commands for the desired settings to enable. No need to add sudo.
Automatically check for updates
defaults write /Library/Preferences/ AutomaticCheckEnabled -bool TRUE
Download newly available updates in the background
defaults write /Library/Preferences/ AutomaticDownload -bool TRUE
Install app updates
defaults write /Library/Preferences/ AutoUpdate -bool TRUE
Install OS X updates
defaults write /Library/Preferences/ AutoUpdateRestartRequired -bool TRUE
Install system data files and security updates
defaults write /Library/Preferences/ ConfigDataInstall -bool TRUE
defaults write /Library/Preferences/ CriticalUpdateInstall -bool TRUE

See also:

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