How to install macOS updates without an Apple ID

Glenn Fleishman
3 May, 2018
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Sometimes you wind up with a Mac that you didn’t configure and don’t have all the information about. That happened to Macworld reader Anibal, who was given a Mac work that was a few years out of date. He tried to update it, and the App Store prompted him for the Apple ID. Nobody in the office had that information from the person previously using it, or any Apple ID at all set up for the office. What to do?

Fortunately, you don’t need an Apple ID to update macOS software. Canceling the prompt still allows you to update Apple components. Anibal went back to try that and it worked as expected.

You can also create a new Apple ID, and log in using it. (I’d recommend against using your own Apple ID for anything connected with work, as you’re handing off this problem to the next person, or potentially giving your work location the ability to use your Apple ID.)

Third-party software purchased through the App Store requires the Apple ID logged in for the person who bought it in order to re-download it, but you may be able to install and launch updates without that login. For free software, including Apple’s Pages and Keynote, you may have to delete the app entirely, then re-download it using your own Apple ID or one for which you have login details.

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