I have heard rumblings that Apple was considering making a bigger push for macOS users to upgrade to High Sierra. At the time, I was very unsure what that meant.
Forcing updates for patch releases, such as 10.13.0 to 10.13.1 is one thing; moving users from Sierra to High Sierra with little input is another thing altogether.
I’ve had this rattling around in the back of my mind, then I spotted this TidBITS article by Adam Engst:
If you’re running macOS 10.12 Sierra or earlier, and do not want to upgrade to 10.13 High Sierra right now, be careful because Apple has started pushing High Sierra to older Macs and making it all too easy to upgrade inadvertently.
Here’s the deal: Sierra users are seeing a macOS push notification banner titled “Upgrade to macOS High Sierra. Enjoy the latest technologies and refinements to your favorite apps.”
This banner has two buttons: Install and Details.
Hitting Install will prompt the user for their administrative password and the installer will begin. It happens instantly because macOS has already downloaded High Sierra in the background. Once the Installer is on the disk, the notification is triggered.
The Details button launches the App Store page for High Sierra.
As Engst points out, Apple has confirmed this behavior in support article #HT201475:
If you’re using OS X El Capitan v10.11.5 or later, High Sierra conveniently downloads in the background, making it even easier to upgrade your Mac. When the download has completed, you receive a notification indicating that High Sierra is ready to be installed. Click Install in the notification to get started.
If you want to install High Sierra later, just dismiss the notification. Install it at any time by opening the file named Install macOS High Sierra from your Applications folder, Launchpad, or Spotlight. Or delete the installer by dragging it to the Trash. You can always get it again from the App Store.
I understand Apple’s desire to move its user base to High Sierra. Having as many Macs in the world as possible on the most recent version of macOS is good for the company, third-party developers and ultimately users.
That said, this approach feels too heavy-handed to me. I don’t have a problem with the notification itself. It feels like nagging, but it may be the only way some users may hear that a new version of macOS is available.
However, having the OS download the 5.21 GB Installer in the background is some serious bullshit. Many users have limited disk space, bandwidth, or both.
Clicking Install on the notification should trigger the download, not the other way around.
If this sounds familiar, it should, as Apple did this with Sierra. I wrote this same blog post last year, so let me quote myself:
More importantly, this move may lessen the perceived significance of installing a major update to macOS. While Sierra doesn’t bring sweeping changes, putting it on the same level of updating Tweetbot feels a little problematic.
Time is a flat circle of macOS installers, as it turns out.
I don’t know if this is what the whispers about forced upgrades was about or not. I really don’t want Apple to get even more aggressive about this.