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I would like to know how a particular Mac Application would check for the latest versions of software available .

"Check For Updates.." in the application menu contacts a URL. Is there a way to find out which URL its contacting . Would the URL to contact be stored in a file in my machine . Is there a way I can hide it from the user ?

I am not sure if this is a feature in the Mac OS SDK that is used by the developers.

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1 Answer 1

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Some applications use Sparkle for their automated updates. If they do, the Sparkle URL they contact is specified in the Info.plist file in the application bundle. Its key is SUFeedURL. It points to an (RSS? ATOM?) feed and looks something like this somewhere in the plist file:

<key>SUFeedURL</key>
<string>http://www.haystacksoftware.com/arq/arq.xml</string>

The URL to contact is (obviously) stored somewhere on your machine. Otherwise, how would your machine know what to contact for the update check?


Hiding makes no sense, since running a simple packet sniffer such as Cocoa Packet Analyzer will tell your users what your update status URL is. You can, of course, hard-code it in your binary so only advanced users (those capable of either using the strings command or running a packet sniffer) can find out your URL.

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