The Critical Updates App

The macOS contains a feature called XProtect. Apple uses this to install security updates to newer Macs. It works in the background. When you hear of some bad malware that affects the Mac, XProtect usually installs a remedy within a day or two. With this in mind, there is a cool little app called Critical Updates from SQWARQ software that displays these updates.

Critical Updates

Critical Updates is donation ware. It does one thing, it shows you the update status of your Macs security. It is tied in with the App Store. Here is the main window:

For me, the most important pieces of information are the status of XProtect and the Malware Removal Tool. Supposedly, these security updates occur in the background in macOS. However, if you are curious if your system is up to date you can open Critical Updates and it will display the current information. If any of the displayed services are out of date they will be displayed in red. Here is a note from the SQWARQ website on how Critical Updates functions:

Critical Updates refreshes the Components table on launch, and about once every 60 minutes if left running; it polls the App Store for Security updates on launch and about once every 10 seconds while running. Critical Updates has a very low energy and resource footprint and can be left running with virtually no impact on system resources.

I don’t leave it running, but it will update the information when you boot It up.

If you click on the App Store icon in the lower right corner of the main window you are taken to the App Store Preference Pane in System Preferences:

The Critical Updates App is connected to the setting “Install system data files and security updates”. This is not to be confused with installing macOS updates. If you have the “Install system security updates” box checked, the App Store will automatically install any XProtect or Malware Removal Tool updates in the background when they become available.


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