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How to Install Software on a Mac? Here Come 5 Methods!

Updated on Thursday, May 16, 2024

iBoysoft author Vain Rowe

Written by

Vain Rowe
Professional tech editor

Approved by

Jessica Shee


5 Ways for Mac Beginners on How to Install Software on a Mac

It's quite normal that you are confused about everything on a Mac if you're a new Mac user, especially on how to install software on a Mac. Indeed, macOS is quite different from other operating systems like Windows or Linux, and so are the methods to install software on Mac computers.

Don't be worried yet. This post from iBoysoft is a perfect guide for a Mac noob who has no idea on how to install software on a Mac. Meanwhile, information about how to install a software update on a Mac is also included.

How to Install Software on a Mac

How to install software on a Mac? (5 Methods Included)

For application installation, there are loads of methods. This post walks you through 5 methods of planting software on a Mac and each one will come with detailed instructions. You can have an overview real quick in advance:

  • Mac App Store
  • Mac Application folder
  • Package Installers
  • Terminal Install
  • Virtual Machine Install

Method 1: Mac App Store

For the Mac application download work, I would like to give the native Mac helper an introduction first, that is Mac App Store. Mac App Store is the built-in toolset that comes with your Mac and it is the safest software source since all software has to pass Apple's security verification before they are added to App Store.

Software installations on your Mac via App Store greatly secure your Mac by keeping your Mac from malware and viruses, all you need to do is check if your wanted app is added to the App Store:

  1. Launch App Store on your Mac via Mac Launchpad or Spotlight Search shortcut.
  2. Type in your wanted app in the search box of the App Store left bar.
  3. Click the GET button on the right of your wanted app and it will automatically install.
    install software on App Store
  4. Head to your Launchpad or Application folder to check if the installation work goes well. 

If you encounter the App Store not working on Mac, check the internet connection by running macOS NetworkQuality first.

If you find no wanted app on App Store, it signifies that the app that you want to download is not included there. You need to download it from its official site or MacUpdate, one big website that covers kinds of applications and it is safe to use according to our MacUpdate Review.

Method 2: Mac Application folder

As I discussed before, sometimes you can't search the app via App Store but download a dmg file from the app site. Here you're recommended to install software via the Application folder on your Mac. It comes as easy as a pie.

  1. Mount the dmg file and open it in Finder on your Mac. Unzip the dmg file if it is zipped before mounting it on your device.
  2. Double-click the dmg file to open it and then you will be prompted by a new window with the application icon.
  3. Drag the app icon to the Application folder.
    install software through the Application folder
  4. Enter your administrator account password to allow the installation work to proceed.

When the installation process ends, you can find the application and launch it to begin your work.

Method 3: Package Installers

Some other apps that you want to install always come in the form of a PKG file format. In dealing with this sort of file, the only thing you need to complete is to double-click or right-click to open the file, follow the download instructions, and enter a password to confirm the changes when necessary. 

Method 4: Terminal Install

If you prefer a more advanced and professional way to install an app, here it comes -- Terminal. Mac Terminal is a local toolset on Mac that helps you complete loads of things with command lines, and you can even install software via this versatile helper.

Working by Terminal to install software, you need to install Homebrew on Mac by running certain command lines. Please be careful using these command lines because a slight error may cause unrecoverable problems on your device.

  1. Launch Terminal on your device with the Command + Space keys on your keyboard.
  2. Copy the following command lines and paste them into the Terminal window:/bin/bash -c "$(curl -fsSL https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Homebrew/install/HEAD/install.sh)"
  3. Enter your administrator account password to allow Terminal to install Homebrew and then hit the Enter/Return key.
  4. Then your device will install Homebrew and notify you to install any essential packages you need.
  5. After the installation is done, you can take advantage of Homebrew to install any software on your Mac.brew install google chrome

Method 5: Virtual Machine Install

Virtual machines are available if you want to run any other applications that do not have Mac versions. For example, if you want to run Windows programs on Mac, you are able to install Windows on Mac with the help of a slew of virtual machines.

For the special apps that are only available for Linux, knowledge of how to use Linux on Mac is indispensable.

For Android apps, you can take advantage of Android Emulator for Mac to have a try on your Mac computer.

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How to install a software update on Mac?

Provided that you have known how to install a software on Mac, you must wonder how to install a software update on Mac. Frankly speaking, for the apps that you have downloaded from App Store, the Software Update on your Mac will remind you all the time if you have enabled it to do so. 

You can also open it to check for any software updates by the following steps:

  1. Click the Apple menu on the left corner of your desktop.
  2. Select About This Mac from the dropdown menu and click Software Update.
  3. It will present you with all the updates if your app or device has anyone. If you want the Software Update to work automatically,  check the Automatically keep my Mac up to date option.
    How to install a software update on Mac

For the applications that are installed via non-App Store methods, you will see the update notification when you launch the applications. You're allowed to choose either to update now or skip this version or remind me later.

Wrap up

Certainly, you have 4 different ways to install applications on your device except for App Store. Each way is simple and easy to operate even though you're a Mac noob.

If you want to uninstall apps on MaciBoysoft DiskGeeker is highly recommended which can solve your problem with several clicks. If you're interested in this all-in-one toolset, free download it and try it now!

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