You Can No Longer Update Your Mac Via Combo and Delta Update Packages

BY Sanuj Bhatia

Published 17 Dec 2020

macos big sur mac update

Up until now, Apple offered Mac users to update macOS via standalone update packages. Now, as per the report by Eclectic Light Company, Apple has stopped providing standalone delta and combo update packages, starting with macOS Big Sur.

While most of us update our Macs via the ‘Software Update’ option in System Preferences, Apple, along with the software updates, provided a standalone combo and delta package files (.dmg files) that could be used to install the updates manually. These packages are generally smaller in size than the full update and come in handy if the user runs into a problem while installing it from the System Preferences.

  • A Delta update package is the file that contains all changes since the last update. This type of update packages can only be installed if the user is updating from the immediately previous version. E.g., 10.15.1 -> 10.15.2
  • A Combo update package is the file that contains all the changes since the original release of that major version. This type of update can only be installed if you’re running the major release version. E.g., 10.15.0 -> 10.15.4

Starting with macOS Big Sur, Apple has stopped providing update packages macOS Big Sur 11.0.1 and macOS Big Sur 11.1. Since there are no standalone updates available, users will now be forced to use the Software Update menu in order to update macOS.

What’s Your Take?

Did you ever update your Mac via combo or delta update packages? Have you ever run into issues while using the macOS Software Update menu? Let us know in the comment section below!