For years I have used Software Update Aggregator websites to help keep the myriad amount of software I have on my Mac up to date. Yes, some of my software is from the App Store which does its own updating. However, if a Developer offers a standalone version of their App from their website I almost always go with that version. Why you say? I have found the website version may have more features at times. Plus, the Developer does not have to pay Apple’s hefty App Store fee. More on all this in a minute, I just want to take a look at Software Update Aggregator websites.
As I said, I have used Aggregator sites for many years. I started with VersionTracker and am now using MacUpdate. I am sure there may be others as well. VerstionTracker was obtained by CNET, here is what their website looks like:
You can search for software or just browse. When you see an App you like you can download it. Here is the MacUpdate website:
Now, since the recent problems with downloading malware from these sites I have revised how I use them. I go to the site and check for updates to my Apps. If I see that one of my Apps has been updated, I open the App on my Mac and try to update it within the App. Most Apps have this update process these days. If the App does not allow updates within the App, then I will go to the Developers website and download it manually. I use the same process for getting a brand new App as well. If I see an App I would like to try in MacUpdate, I click on the Developers website address in the App information page and download the App from their website. If I go to the website and see they only have an App Store version, then it is off to the App Store.
Speaking of the App Store, it is the easiest way to obtain Apps of course. However, like I said, sometimes the App Store version is not the most up to date version. Sometimes the App Store version will never contain the same feature set as the Developers website version because of Apple’s App Store restrictions. Yes, I suppose there is some amount of safety using the App Store, but if I can get a version from the Developers website that is the way I roll.
So, here is my overview of this process. If you are primarily using the Apple App Store, then your updates are taken care of for you. Just go there every few days and check the “Updates” Tab. If you use MacUpdate or some other Software Aggregator website, then try to install updates through the App which is already installed on your Mac or go to the Developers website to update or get the new application.
This is not quite as easy as just clicking on a link in the Software Aggregator site and downloading the update, but it will save you a bunch of grief when it comes to inadvertently installing malware on your Mac. I am thankful for the Aggregator sites, but at this present time they are to be used with caution.