How to Fix Mac Checking for Updates Stuck Issue

macOS updates are a very important part of keeping your Mac running smoothly and securely. Many times your Mac may check for updates and you don’t even realize it or pay attention because it happens quickly in the background, but this isn’t always the case.

If your Mac seems to be stuck while checking for updates, it’s not only frustrating but it can be very worrisome and you may not know what to do. That’s perfectly understandable as you don’t want to cause any further issues or damage your system, but there are some things you can do to get your system out of this state.

My name is Eric. As a software engineer and longtime computer enthusiast, I know the importance of operating system updates. I also know that when your system seems to be stuck while checking for updates it can be difficult to know what to do, but I can help you.

Keep reading below if you would like to see some possible causes of your system being stuck while checking for updates and what you can do about the issue.

Common Issues and How to Fix Them

Many different issues could cause your system to get stuck or freeze while checking for updates. It can be hard to tell what the cause is, but below are some of the most common ones. I’ll also show you how to possibly fix them.

1. Slow System

This is probably the most common issue and it’s not necessarily a problem with your macOS but just with having some patience. It happens to all of us. We want to get the update completed as quickly as possible, but it’s taking a long time and we assume that it is stuck or frozen.

Your system may appear to be stuck, but it’s really not. Just because you don’t see anything happening on the screen or a status bar does not mean that it’s frozen. Most likely there is still something going on in the background that you are unaware of.

Before trying any of the other methods below, you’ll first want to use some patience and see if the update completes on its own. It’s not a good idea to shut your system down or end the process in the middle of an update taking place so waiting is the first thing you should try so that you don’t interrupt the update process if it is still checking your system.

If you can’t stand sitting and staring at the screen, do something else for 20 or 30 minutes and come back to your computer then and see if it is still checking for updates. If it is, then you may have a different situation and need to take some other actions as described below.

2. Internet or Network Connection

Ensure your system is still connected to your network and the internet. If your Mac can’t talk to Apple’s servers over the internet it won’t be able to find out if your system needs an update and it may be sitting there waiting for a response that it is never going to get.

First, take a look at your network connection on your Mac and ensure that you are still connected to your network and the internet. Click on your network settings and check to see if you are connected.

If it’s showing that you are connected, open up a browser such as Safari or Chrome and see if you can get to any public internet sites. Just type them in the URL field or use one of your bookmarks to go there. If you can connect you will know that your internet connection is good.

If you were unable to connect to the internet, check to see if any of your other devices are connecting to the internet. You can use your phone, another computer, or tablet and try to go to a public website to see if they connect ok.

If none of the other devices are connecting, try restarting your router to see if that fixes the problem. If it does not, you may need to check with your ISP to see if there is a service outage.

If the other devices are connecting but your Mac is not, you may have an issue with your Mac’s network connection and you may need to try resetting it to resolve the issue.

3. Too Many Processes

This could be causing the slowness issue mentioned above but it could also cause the check to get stuck or freeze. If you have lots of processes running, your system may be low on free memory and processing time which might be affecting the system while checking for updates.

If you have multiple applications running, try closing as many as you can. If needed, you can force quit applications to ensure they are closed and not left running in memory. Use the following steps to force quit applications.

Step 1: Select Force Quit From the Apple Menu

Force applications to quit by clicking on the Apple menu in the upper left corner of your desktop and selecting Force Quit.

Step 2: Select the Application and then Click on Force Quit

In the Force Quit Applications popup window, find the application you wish to end. Click on the Force Quit button.

Step 3: Confirm the Action

After clicking the button you will be asked to confirm that you want to force the application to quit. Click on the Force Quit button again and the application will close.

You can take the above steps with any applications that you are not able to close by normal means. Close as many applications as you can and wait to see if that frees up enough memory for the Check for Updates process to finish.

4. Disk Space

It’s possible that your system could be low on disk space and this can affect many processes on your system. Although the system is only checking for updates and not yet downloading them, it could still cause a problem. Check your drive to see if you are low on space.

Low disk space can prevent many system processes from running properly and this could be one of them. Try cleaning up your hard drive by removing unneeded files such as old installation files from applications, applications you no longer use, or any other data you don’t need. You can use CleanMyMac X to do this for efficiency.

Once you have a decent amount of free space, see if that helps the update to move along.

5. System Needs a Reboot

Many problems that Mac users face can often be cleared by a simple reboot of your system. This problem is no different. If your system has been running for a long period of time, it can become cluttered with processes and garbage in your memory.

In fact, after trying most of the solutions above, I would recommend rebooting your system afterward. A quick reboot can often clear up unused processes and glitches that may be left from a system running for a long time.

You can restart your system by simply clicking on the Apple symbol in the upper left corner of the screen and clicking on Restart.

Once your computer restarts go ahead and check for updates again and see if it works without getting stuck this time.

6. Apple’s Servers

If you discovered that your internet connection was working ok, you might want to check to see if Apple’s servers are up and running. If the server used to do macOS updates happens to be down, it could be causing the update check process to get stuck waiting for the server to respond.

You can check to see the status of Apple’s servers by clicking here. When you get to the page you will see something similar to the following.

Click on the plus symbol as shown above to expand the list and show all of the Apple servers. Once the list is expanded, look for macOS Software Update. If it says Available as shown below, then the server is up and running and you will know that this is not the problem.

7. macOS Corrupted

If you have tried all of the above and the update check is still getting stuck, it’s possible that your macOS has been corrupted and it is not able to check for updates. If this happens you will need to think about reinstalling your macOS. 

If you decide to do this, you should make sure that you backup your system first. You can reinstall your macOS by following the instructions provided by Apple support


It’s not uncommon for your Mac to get stuck checking for updates. In most cases it is not stuck, it is just your system running slow and if you are patient the process will complete on its own. 

In other cases, you may need to check your internet connection, disk space, and other parts of your system. Restarting your system can often fix the problem, but in the worst case, you may need to reinstall your macOS. Hopefully, that is not the situation.

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