I’m guilty. I love bargains, deals, specials, freebies, and Fridays. Not necessarily in that order, but close.
I also like to keep my Mac running with up-to-date software that has that minty spring freshness. Enter AppFresh and fresh Mac software updates.
Here’s the problem. My Mac is loaded with software. I have everything from Apple, everything from Microsoft, everything (mostly) from Adobe, and everything else.
Beyond Apple, Microsoft, and Adobe, I have well over 100 Mac software titles—commercial, shareware, freebies—running on my Mac. That’s not counting Dashboard Widgets. There’s almost 100 of those, though only a couple dozen are active.
How do I make sure that all those Mac applications are the latest versions? It’s easy and it’s a pain.
Apple, Microsoft, and Adobe make keeping software up to date a bit easier because of their Software Update utilities. Every so often I’ll get a pop up that says “Software is ready for download.” Something like that.
Not so with the other 100 or so software titles on my Mac. For them, I’ve used utilities from MacUpdate and VerstionTracker, both of which do a decent job, through a rather highly complex interface, of letting me know what needs to be updated.
I’m disappointed that Apple hasn’t opened up Software Update to all Mac developers, though I suspect that phrases such as “Pandora’s Box” and “It’ll be a cold day in Hell” come up in such meetings.
Enter (again) AppFresh, a nifty Mac utility that scans your Mac’s applications, lists them and their versions, then tells you whether they’re up to date or not, and will download updates for you to install.
AppFresh is free. For now. Hey, Mac360’s Queen of Cheap, the Mac Value Vixen knows a good deal like this won’t be free for long, sooooo….
Normally, I shy away from beta software, even version 1.0 of something new is little more than a preview release. AppFresh is a beta. So far, it works well. And it’s still free.
Unlike the update software from MacUpdate and VersionTracker, AppFresh is Mac simple and elegant. Toolbar on top. Groups in the left column. Mac software listed in the right column. Right click each icon for detailed information.
Once AppFresh scans your Mac’s software, it compares version numbers. Compares them with what and how, I don’t know.
For example, it told me that there’s a new version of BackityMac available. Ditto for Journler, Cyberduck, and Toast Titanium. And many others that I haven’t updated recently.
Right clicking the Mac software’s icon gets you a context menu so you can download the latest version. That didn’t work all the time, as some software needed an extra click, or hand to be manually downloaded.
Interestingly, AppFresh worked on most, but not all, Dashboard Widgets. I tend to forget to check for the latest updates. I also like the context menu which can be used to exclude certain applications or utilities, and even rollback to a previous version.
Applications are segregated in the left column list, too. Apple’s are on top, naturally. There’s also a category for Preference Panes, the one for Widgets, and for various plugins.
Even unknown Mac software, those which don’t carry an easily identified version number, or for which updates are not easily found, are segregated to a special category.
All in all, AppFresh is very nifty, works as advertised, and should get better by the time version 1.0 is released. It’s also welcome competition for the more complex and costly offerings from MacUpdate and VersionTracker.
Did I mention that AppFresh is free? For now.
How do you keep your Mac’s software up to date? How often do you check online for updates? Do you let Mac software “phone home” to check on updates? Share your experience in the Comments section below.