I'm running 10.6.5 and do not want to upgrade. Software Update has conveniently downloaded a 1.09 GB update that I have no interest in installing - it is downloaded but is sitting dormant - but I can't find it to remove it... could someone tell me where/how to remove?


Try looking in /Library/Updates. The updates will be installer packages with extension .pkg

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    Thanks - I had to browse in Terminal, as Finder wasn't showing me the Updates folder. Everyone should check this folder out, it's unreal how many old updates are sitting in here taking up space. At least 6 GB... – 分かりません Feb 19 '13 at 5:13
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    I know it has been a while since the original question is posted. The software update files are still in /Library/Updates, but I could not delete them either using Finder or via Terminal (with sudo). It simply tells me that I do not have the permission. – jackxujh Oct 3 '18 at 18:40
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    The answer lacks instructions on deleting pkg files since they're protected by integrity protection. – Croll Nov 8 '18 at 11:48
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    I cant delete them, I get Operation not permitted – Black May 27 '19 at 14:32
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    Same here, @Black. – André Levy Jul 29 '19 at 5:06

Trashing the contents of Library/Updates is usually not possible because OS X El Capitan and later includes security technology called SIP (System Integrity Protection) that helps protect your Mac from malicious software.

While doing so you must have seen the pop ups saying "0##-##### can't be modified or deleted because it's required by macOS" or from the terminal saying "Operation not permitted"

Still if you want to delete those directories or files saved as a result of failed or incomplete updates(which takes significant unnecessary storage) you can do so by turning off Mac's SIP temporarily. This is an advanced solution and recommended for advanced users only. It may open up your system for vulnerabilities and needs to done with care.

The following are the steps:

  1. Restart your Mac in recovery mode(press and hold Command (⌘)-R at the start-up).

  2. Open the Terminal Utility.

  3. Type the command csrutil disable (This gives full unrestricted access to your Mac's entire OS and every file and folder, so, be cautious!)

  4. After restarting, open the Terminal and delete the desired folders by running the command:

    sudo rm -R /Library/Updates/0##-#####

Now the files or folders which were restricted can be removed.

Note: (0##-##### is the folder name)

To delete specific file inside the folder 0##-##### you can simply use rm provided the path of that file.

  1. When done with all the desired removing, follow steps 1 and 2 to turn SIP back on using the command:

    csrutil enable

  2. Restart your Mac and SIP should be back on track.

Note: To check the status of the SIP. Use command csrutil status

  1. Download and Install fresh updates if available.

I hope this is helpful :)

Reference: https://appletoolbox.com/seeing-error-operation-not-permitted-in-macos-mojave/

  • Is it normal that Finder only shows the files as being under a megabyte when I know I downloaded gigabytes of uninstalled updates? If not how can I check if I freed the storage? – Nick McCurdy Aug 25 '20 at 9:12
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    Ah, I forgot Big Sur beta installs a giant app to /Applications. I was able to delete it with an admin password. – Nick McCurdy Aug 25 '20 at 9:27
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    For better disk management you can download a software called 'Daisy Disk'. You can potentially see the infographics(showing storage segregation) for free and go manually to the location to delete. But to delete/clean any folders or files from the app itself, you need to buy the full version. Personally I liked the interface and the infographics and felt that it is worth purchasing. Moreover, to check the freed storage of course you can check from About This Mac > Storage. – dg_explore_solutions Aug 26 '20 at 10:11
  • @dg_explore_solutions Disk Graph is another good option with sunburst charts. (desairem.com/wordpress/diskgraph) – evn Feb 22 at 0:31

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