When a software update is not an update

I spend a lot of time with noobies helping them tell the difference between a legitimate software update notification and a fake or unnecessary one. Just when I think I’m finally making some headway with my customers Apple goes ahead and releases its new version of its Safari browser as a software update, even if you have never had Safari installed on your computer to begin with.

Apple Software Update - Safari

I envision the conversations with my customers over the next few days going something like this:

Customer: Something called “Apple Software Update” just popped up on my screen. Should I click the Install button?

Me: What does the Apple Software Update window show it is going to install?

Customer: I just see the word “Safari”. What is Safari?

Me: It’s Apple’s new version of its browser.

Customer: What is a browser?

Me: It’s the program you use when you are viewing web pages on the Internet. You probably click a blue “e” icon to launch your browser.

Customer: Oh, ok. So do I need to switch to Safari now?

Me: No.

Customer: So why is Apple telling me I need to update Safari?

Me: It’s not an update at all. You probably don’t even have Safari on your computer.

Customer: So what should I do?

Me: You should just ignore the update by clicking Quit or unchecking the box next to Safari.

Customer: Does that mean I should just ignore all Apple software updates?

Me: No, the iTunes and QuickTime updates are probably ok to install.

Customer: So how am I supposed to know which ones to install and which ones to ignore?

Me: Good question. You should probably call Noobie again when the next software update appears.

It’s no wonder noobies think the technology world is out to get them.