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I currently use OS X 10.9.1. The size of the OS X 10.9.2 update from App Store is ~460MB, while it is ~869MB (delta or combo) from the site. It matters to me because I have to install it on various machines and I am on a limited bandwidth, limited speed internet connection.

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The so-called combo update combines (hence the name) the updates for all possible models of Mac's and all possible combinations of partial updates that may have been released between 10.9.1 and 10.9.2.
As such it can be (and should be) used to update any arbitrary Mac.

The AppStore download is customized specific to your Mac and it's current update status.
It is not suited for any other machine as those machines are most likely not 100% identical to your Mac.
Because it is tailor-made for your Mac it doesn't contain any extra's. That makes it smaller, but you will need those extra's for the other machines.

So you will have to download the combo-update.
This you only need to download once and you can then run it on each machine.

  • I don't think this is the case. Take a look at this: link . This is the file App Store downloads (my guess) to check for updates. There are no different-packages-for-different-macs. Anyway, I was curious. As I said, I don't have much bandwidth. If I had, I'd download both the files and check it out myself. And, I have never come across Apple releasing hardware-specific stuff (maybe until now). I'd appreciate it if you've got a source that confirms your (theory?). – dhruvit-r Mar 2 '14 at 21:08
  • I don't have a reference handy, but that is the official Apple reason for Combo-updates versus AppStore updates. Some stuff is most certainly model specific. E.g. Bios updates, which can also be part of the update. In fact: The new MacPro's had a slightly different update from 10.9 to 10.9.1 then other Mac's, because they got an EFI Bios update. – Tonny Mar 2 '14 at 23:05
  • I certainly agree with the BIOS thing. But, I think that the only model-specific things an update can have are the kexts(drivers, found in /System/Library/Extensions). Anyway, I'm downloading the stuff now, and will tell you the result. – dhruvit-r Mar 3 '14 at 9:00

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