Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Disable Microsoft AutoUpdate on macOS (method 2)

In October 2021 I posted a different approach to disabling Microsoft AutoUpdate, as detailed here. That method also allows you to change the autoupdate interval.

What follows is another method, in case the other one doesn’t work for you. Remember to restart your computer after applying either of these methods.

If you have installed Microsoft applications (such as Office) on your Mac computer, you’ve likely noticed Microsoft AutoUpdate (MAU) pops up every day to tell you if there are updates available. I’ve read that for some people this occurs even if there are no updates available. It’ll look something like this:

Microsoft autoupdate
Microsoft autoupdate

It runs and pops-up even if “Automatic Updates: Automatically download and install” is disabled. This seems to only prevent it automatically downloading and installing updates, but does not stop MAU from running every day.

Some users report excessive CPU usage from MAU. So aside from the potential annoyance factor from the daily pop-ups, it may slow down the computer. Microsoft provides no way to disable MAU from running every day. It can be run manually, so there’s no reason for force it upon the user to have it running automatically.

How to disable Microsoft AutoUpdate

You’ll need to use to carry out the following commands.

# Use this to check out the existing configuration
plutil -p /Library/LaunchAgents/

# Three commands to change the configuration
sudo plutil -replace Disabled -integer 1 /Library/LaunchAgents/
sudo plutil -replace RunAtLoad -integer 0 /Library/LaunchAgents/
sudo plutil -replace StartInterval -integer 10368000 /Library/LaunchAgents/
# You can check the configuration again to ensure it's changed.
plutil -p /Library/LaunchAgents/

After successfully completing the above commands, restart your computer.

To manually check for updates simply use the “Check for updates” option found in the Help menu of any of the Microsoft apps you have installed (such as Word, Excel, Outlook, etc.).

If the above doesn’t solve the issue for you, comment below to let me know.


Running the command plutil -p /Library/LaunchAgents/ (before making the changes) will give you the following output, or something close to it.

  "Disabled" => 0
  "Label" => ""
  "MachServices" => {
    "" => 1
  "ProgramArguments" => [
    0 => "/Library/Application Support/Microsoft/MAU2.0/Microsoft Update Update Assistant"
    1 => "--launchByAgent"
  "RunAtLoad" => 1
  "StartInterval" => 7200

Prevent Microsoft Update from changing the settings

I’ve noticed that each I manually run Microsoft Update it seems reset those settings back to what Microsoft wants them to be. So you may have to set them back to what you want, each time you run Microsoft Update. Alternatively, we can change the permissions on the relevant plist file to prevent Microsoft Update from modifying it. Use the following command:

sudo chmod 444 /Library/LaunchAgents/

I’m yet to determine if that prevents Microsoft Update modifying the file, but in theory it should. Please commend below to let me know how you got on with it, and whether this worked. Thanks.

Using Microsoft Office on macOS? These books may interest you …

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