Apple no longer offers delta and combo macOS updates as standalone downloads

While Apple offers macOS updates through the Software Update menu in the System Preferences app, users can also download the same updates as a standalone installation package from Apple’s website. However, the company seems to have discontinued the standalone delta and combo updates with macOS Big Sur.

As first noticed by Mr. Macintosh and then shared by The Eclectic Light Company, Apple didn’t provide downloadable update packages for macOS Big Sur 11.0.1 and macOS Big Sur 11.1.

No delta or combo updates have been released on the Apple Support website for the latest versions of macOS Big Sur so far, which suggests that users will now be forced to use the Software Update menu in order to update macOS.

Unless a strong case is made for the reinstatement of standalone installer versions of Big Sur updates, it’s most likely that none will be provided for download – as has already happened with the 11.0.1 and 11.1 updates.

Standalone update packages are useful for users who have multiple Macs since you can use the same update file for all machines without having to download the full 12GB macOS installer. Both delta and combo packages are offered in smaller files since they contain only the files needed for that update.

As an example, you can still find standalone updates for macOS Catalina on Apple’s website, but there’s nothing there for macOS Big Sur. The company hasn’t confirmed that the update packages are gone for good, so there’s still some hope for those who rely on delta and combo updates.

If you feel that you “have a need for individual downloads for Big Sur delta/combo updaters”, please let Apple know. In the strongest possible terms, via Feedback, Apple Support and any other means available.

Did you often download standalone macOS updates from the Apple Support website? Let us know in the comments below.

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