How to fix "Unable to check for updates. Can't connect to the Software Update server" on Mac?

Question

Issue: How to fix "Unable to check for updates. Can't connect to the Software Update server" on Mac?

Hello. I tried to update macOS but I received a message “Unable to check for updates. Can't connect to the Software Update server.” What should I do?

Solved Answer

MacOS is a Unix[1] operating system developed by Apple Inc. in 2001. It is the primary operating system for Apple's Mac computers. It is the second most widely used desktop OS, after Microsoft Windows. Just like any other operating system, macOS should be regularly updated to keep it stable, and secure.[2]

People can use Software Update to install updates and upgrades for macOS and its built-in apps, including Safari. However, sometimes people run into issues when trying to do so. People report trying to update their macOS but failing to connect to the update server. Additionally, they see “Unable to check for updates. Can't connect to the Software Update server” error message.

It is unknown what exactly could cause this. There is a possibility that some users modified an OS file to disable OS update notifications. However, such a modification also disables users' abilities to manually update the operating system. Such a problem could also arise because of corrupted system files.[3]

In this guide, you will find 3 steps that should help you fix “Unable to check for updates. Can't connect to the Software Update server” on Mac. Proceed with the step-by-step instructions below carefully.

How to fix Unable to check for updates Cant connect to the Software Update server on Mac

Method 1. Install Updates through the Terminal

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  • Click the Launchpad icon in the Dock, type Terminal in the search field, then click Terminal

Install Updates through the Terminal

  • Enter the following command:

softwareupdate –fetch-full-installer –full-installer-version 11.7

  • Instead of full-installer-version 11.7 enter the version you want to update

Method 2. Run Terminal Commands

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  • Click the Launchpad icon in the Dock, type Terminal in the search field, then click Terminal
  • Enter the command below:

softwareupdate –list-full-installers

Run Terminal Commands

  • Choose the version you want to install from the list and run the following command:

softwareupdate –fetch-full-installer –full-installer-version 11.6.2

  • Instead of full-installer-version 11.6.2 enter the version you want to install
  • Launch the new application in the Applications folder
  • Run the following command:

Title: macOS Big Sur, Version: 11.7, Size: 12118755KiB, Build: 20G817

Method 3. Reinstall macOS

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If the previous steps did not help you fix the issue, try to reinstall macOS. The following steps will help you do that through Recovery which should keep your files and apps. However, we always recommend backing up your data before proceeding with the reinstallation.

  • Boot your Mac into macOS Recovery. On Intel-based Macs, that means holding down the Cmd + R keys during startup until you see the Apple logo. If you use an Apple silicon Mac, hold down the Power button while turning it on and select Options, then Continue on the Startup Options screen

Reinstall macOS

  • Select an administrator account (if your Mac prompts you to) and enter its password to load the macOS Recovery menu
  • Select Reinstall macOS [Version Name] and Continue
  • Agree to Apple’s software license terms
  • Select your Mac’s startup drive, for example, Macintosh HD, and select Continue
  • Wait for your Mac to finish reinstalling macOS
  • The process could take an hour or more. Your Mac will reboot multiple times in the meantime.

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About the author
Ugnius Kiguolis
Ugnius Kiguolis - The problem solver

Ugnius Kiguolis is the founder and editor-in-chief of UGetFix. He is a professional security specialist and malware analyst who has been working in IT industry for over 20 years.

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