How to check a Mac’s OS upgrade history in System Profiler

You can check to see which updates have correctly installed for macOS.

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While macOS upgrades should always proceed in a sequential fashion, sometimes things go awry. Typically, the Software Update preference pane shows all updates available for your current release of macOS, and when installed, they disappear from the list.

However, I recently had a crash during an update that left me confused as to whether a security fix was installed or (based on errors) the whole thing had gone pear-shaped. Software Update showed no outstanding items to install, but I wanted to be sure.

Fortunately, there’s a way to review your system upgrade history, though you may have never needed to dig it up before:

  1. Hold down Option while choosing the  menu and select System Information.

  2. Click the Installations link under Software in the left-hand list.

  3. Scroll down under Software Name to find macOS, and you can look through a list of all updates ever installed on the system.

mac911 installed software profiler IDG

System Information lets you see all upgrades installed, including for macOS.

I’ve been migrating my current Mac setup for so long that even though the computer is just four years old, the list of updates goes back to OS X 10.8.

If you want to find just the most recent updates, click the Install Date column and click it again, and it will order items from most recent to least recent. Scroll to the top and you can look through what’s been changed.

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