With the recent concerns over popular Mac app Bartender surprising users with a mysterious new owner, it’s became clear that automatically updating apps is not always good for security. Instead, I suggest using MacUpdater, which makes it easy to check which apps need updating, verify that they’re safe to update, and get everything up-to-date all at once.

Why MacUpdater is a great tool for app updates

Bartender’s new ownership was actually reported because MacUpdater warned its users about the change. Bartender’s ownership change wasn’t announced to the public, and MacUpdater had posted a warning in the app about its certificate change and the lack of information about the new owners. That is one of MacUpdater’s best features. 

If you install apps from outside the Mac App Store, then MacUpdater is a useful tool for checking if an app’s updates are secure. There’s a tiny i button to the right of every app listed in MacUpdater. If the button is red, then the app has identified a concern with its updates. Review it before installing.

If the button is blue, you can still review the update’s release notes before you install it. For added convenience, you can also move MacUpdater to the menu bar and update your apps from there.

How to use MacUpdater

Once you download and install MacUpdater, it’ll scan your Mac to check which apps are installed on your computer. The program will then quickly show you which apps are up-to-date and which are not. From here, the free license will only let you update 10 apps, but for $9.37, you’ll unlock unlimited updating.

When you’re ready to update, hit the Update App or Upgrade App button to update each app in the list individually, or the Select QuickUpdate Apps button to select and update multiple apps at once. Most apps won’t have an issue, but some might require you to key in an admin password. Otherwise, the entire process is seamless.

As for why some apps say Upgrade instead of Update, Upgrades are for major version upgrades that may require you to buy a fresh license.

MacUpdater’s Pro edition, which costs $21.87, also allows you to schedule apps to update automatically, although I still recommend checking in on apps before updating them.

Some of my favorite apps, such as Calibre, normally require you to download and install each new version manually. Thanks to MacUpdater, that process takes place with one-click. This has saved me a lot of time.

Some areas for improvement

My biggest complaint with MacUpdater is its UI. The app looks a bit dated and could use a few design tweaks to make things easier to use. For example, the aforementioned i button is way too small and it’s hard to see its color correctly. I’m sure there’s a better way to highlight apps that you shouldn’t update.

I’ve also run into a bug that freezes the app entirely. When I tried to move MacUpdater to the menu bar, one of the options in the list is “Nowhere,” which hides the app from the dock and the menu bar. I accidentally selected this, which made the app disappear. I could only access it from the Settings menu, and even force quitting wouldn’t bring it back. Thankfully, a restart fixed the problem.

Don’t forget the student discount

$9.37 is a pretty good deal to begin with, but If you’re a student or if you live outside the top 40 richest countries of the world, you can email the developers for a 40% discount. That’s a really good deal for a useful app, but remember that MacUpdater relies heavily on server side maintenance, which means that the app won’t continue to work permanently.

The developers have set a January 2026 deadline for MacUpdater 3. When that expires, you’ll have to pay again for the next version. I still think it’s good value, but you should be aware of the business model before making a purchase.