Developer Howard Oakley noted in his blog that the latest macOS Sonoma updates are surprisingly lightweight. Version 14.1.2, released last week, weighed around 400 MB on Intel Macs and around 820 MB on models with an Apple Silicon chip. According to his observations, this is significantly less than macOS Ventura and it is even a record for a long time: we have to go back to macOS Mojave, released in 2018, to find such compact updates for the system.
True to form, Apple doesn’t provide any information about how its updates work, so we’ll have to try and figure out what’s going on. External observation based solely on the size of the updates provides several lessons, starting with the fact that the versions intended for Apple Silicon Macs are systematically heavier than those intended for Intel Macs. Without being able to explain it, it is a lesson that is invariably repeated with every update of macOS, including Sonoma.
macOS updates are more extensive on Apple Silicon Macs
The other lesson is that Apple has clearly changed something in recent versions of macOS that has helped significantly reduce the update burden. The peak was reached with Big Sur, where every version, even the smaller ones, systematically and sometimes fortunately exceeded 1.5 GB when downloaded. Since Monterey and especially Ventura made an effort, macOS 13 also benefits from urgent security updates for the first time, is significantly lighter and can be installed without an update.
macOS Ventura: How Apple delivers quick security updates without rebooting
With macOS Sonoma, Apple seems to have taken another step, even if we don’t know exactly how. We just have to observe and imagine what’s happening under the hood. Howard Oakley also notes that updates now appear to be significantly faster, at least on Apple Silicon Macs. A speed that is undoubtedly linked to the more compact updates, although again it is very difficult to find answers since the manufacturer does not reveal anything.