Taming the App Store: getting timely updates

Left to its own devices, the App Store in Big Sur, like its predecessors, is lamentably slow and unreliable at picking up available updates. Sometimes they arrive and are offered promptly, but more often than not they don’t appear for a day or even longer. This is made more apparent by the strange honesty of the app, which tells you that the update which has only just appeared was released yesterday or the day before.

After a little experimentation, I discovered that forcing the Updates view to refresh normally reveals pending updates which aren’t shown simply by opening the app. But sometimes, when I press Command-R to refresh, the App Store app just beeps at me and refuses. I have now realised that this occurs when the app hasn’t yet connected to the store, and therefore can’t check whether there are any pending updates.

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If you really want to check for updates to your App Store purchases, this is my revised sequence, which should reliably reveal all to ensure your apps are kept up to date:

  1. Open the App Store app.
  2. If the app opens to the Discover view, wait until it has loaded the store front completely.
  3. If the app opens to a different view, such as Updates, select the Discover view and allow it to load fully.
  4. Select the Updates view.
  5. Once that has loaded, even if it’s already offering updates to be downloaded and installed, press Command-R and allow it to load any additional updates.
  6. Download and install any updates as required.

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One remaining problem is getting the App Store app to allow you to ignore an offered update which you don’t want. Recently, one of my mainstay apps had an App Store update which suffered a showstopper bug. Once I had reverted to the previous version, the App Store kept offering me the update to the flawed version. This made it impossible for me to install all updates, of course, until another update to that app fixed the bug. If you know of a way to temporarily remove an offered update I’d be delighted to hear of it.

Although the App Store still has many rough edges which have lingered far too long, at least its problem with offering timely updates can now be worked around reliably.