How To Automatically Update 3rd Party Apps On Your Mac

00a Fresh Strawberries

I think I don’t need to re-emphasize the importance of software updates. Bug fixes and security patches are only two of the many reasons why you have to keep your computer’s operating system(s) and all of your applications updated.

Surely updating all of your applications manually one by one is not an option. The process should be done as automatically as it can. That’s what computer and technology is all about, right?

Mac OS X comes with its own software update application, but it is limited only to its native applications. That leaves the 3rd-party applications on the stone-age manual-updating world. There are applications that has automatic update features but you still have to open the application to activate it. So much for an automation, huh?

There are several alternatives for Windows; while for Mac there’s AppFresh, the app that will help Mac users to keep all installed applications, widgets, preference panes and application plugins always up to date.

How To Automatically Update 3rd Party Apps on Your Mac 00b appfresh app icon

How to keep the rest fresh

The idea behind this app is to provide an easy to use central place – which is fully integrated with Mac OS X – to update all of the 3rd party apps. No more “always updating just before using” thing (or worst: “go online and find the updates yourself”). AppFresh will keep your apps in the latest top notch condition and have them ready to use everytime you open them.

To ensure the “freshness” of its performance, AppFresh integrates the most popular and most common update checking technologies into itself such as Apple Software Update, Sparkle, Microsoft AutoUpdate, Adobe Updater, OSX.IUseThis and more.

However, as with every other beta version application out there, please note that there might be glitches with this one also. So, it’s better to backup than be sorry.

Freshen Up the List

After downloading and unarchiving the 1.4 Mb small zip file, you can directly put AppFresh to use.

The first window that you’ll see upon using the app for the first time is the warning window telling the users that the preview 8 version of the app is still under development process and that the users should always do backup.

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There’s also an optional offer to integrate AppFresh with the IUseThis service.

Then AppFresh will scan your system for all of the installed apps,

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followed by the process of finding updates to all of those apps.

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The result will be listed and grouped into several main categories: Status (Updated, Unknown, Update Available), Type (Applications, Plugins, Widgets, PrefPanes), Vendors (Apple, Third Party), and My Categories (which you can customize to fit your needs).

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Here’s the scan result from my Mac: There are 391 applications inside my system (I know there are many, but I’ve never guessed there were that many).  117 of them are updated while the other 109 can be updated with the available newer version. The status of the remaining 165 are unknown.

Select one of the apps and you will get some information about it on the right pane. Right click on the app and you will have several choices of action from the pop-up menu. To update the app, choose “Install”.

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You can also update many apps all at once by selecting several (or all) apps on the list, right click and choose Install.

After the updating process is finished, a Growl notification will pop up.

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I also found another useful usage of AppFresh: to delete apps. From the list of installed apps populated by AppFresh, I found many apps that I’ve never used and totally forgotten about. So I just right click on them and choose “Send To Trash”. Spring cleaning comes early this year :).

Have you tried AppFresh to update your mac software? Do you know other alternatives? Share your thoughts and opinions using the comments below.

John Ross Jersey