How To: Connect Clients To Lion Servers Apple Software Update Service


In 10.6 Apple release unified the ASUS url into http://myserver.fqdn:8088/index.sucatalog as per the this page. This same URL will work for 10.7 clients too.

UPDATE: Apple have now posted a support document verifying the above, it’s available here.

30 thoughts on “How To: Connect Clients To Lion Servers Apple Software Update Service

  1. Michael K

    Almost works. My index-lion-snowleopard-leopard.merged-1.sucatalog has nothing in it, while index-leopard.merged-1.sucatalog is having at least most of the updates I have managed to download (strange problem with iWeb tho)

      • Michael K

        Yes, this is 10.7 server. I can verify that situation persists. SnowLep+Lep works and Leopard only works too. I think this is a buggie they hopefully fix, I just linked the snowlep/lep index to index.sucatalog and I’m updating already snow leopards & lions over the network.

    • Michael K

      I think catalogs.sucatalog is just list of catalogs, I’m afraid that the updates will not work… or they might… Windowspooky!

      • Jon

        I second KT, I had to change it to catalogs.sucatalogs to get it to EVEN WORK. Prior it would just fail connecting. I assume this is for machines with a clean install of 10.7 -> Upgrade 10.7 server.

        Can anyone confirm?

        • Ben Toms

          I think I need to re-word my post quite a bit!!

          Are you using catalogs.sucatalog with lion clients?

          What I posted was for pre 10.7 clients.

  2. Jon

    Can you update your post and be more clear? Which string is for Lion clients connecting to lion server and what is needed for PRE Lion clients to connect to lion server.

  3. Ben Toms

    Ok.. well my testing has so far backed what i posted.

    /catalogs.sucatalog just gives the catalogs:

    [?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?]
    [!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC "-//Apple//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN" ""]
    [plist version="1.0"]

    When using this on 10.6 & 10.7 clients & performing a software update check, the mac doesn’t error. But it doesn’t find any updates:

    Last login: Mon Aug 1 10:48:22 on ttys001
    ls-mac-99:~ mis$ sudo -s
    bash-3.2# defaults read /Library/Preferences/ CatalogURL
    bash-3.2# softwareupdate -l
    Software Update Tool
    Copyright 2002-2010 Apple

    No new software available.

    If i change the URL to what i posted both 10.6 & 10.7 clients can see updates:

    bash-3.2# sudo defaults write /Library/Preferences/ CatalogURL
    bash-3.2# defaults read /Library/Preferences/ CatalogURL
    bash-3.2# softwareupdate -lSoftware Update ToolCopyright 2002-2010 Apple

    Software Update found the following new or updated software:
    * RemoteDesktopClient-3.5.1
    Remote Desktop Client Update (3.5.1), 3564K [recommended]

    However, as my server has now finished it’s SWUPD sync, index.sucatalog now works:

    bash-3.2# sudo defaults write /Library/Preferences/ CatalogURL defaults read /Library/Preferences/ CatalogURL
    bash-3.2# softwareupdate -lSoftware Update Tool
    Copyright 2002-2010 Apple

    Software Update found the following new or updated software:
    * RemoteDesktopClient-3.5.1
    Remote Desktop Client Update (3.5.1), 3564K [recommended]

    I’ll amend the post accordingly.

  4. larry

    Actually if you have a 10.7 Server running and you want to serve updates to your 10.7 clients, it is currently broken, It will not download 10.7.1 update to your SUS

      • Ben Toms

        Just to advise i was having the same issue as yourself. But i ran the following on my master ASUS. ( is what resolves to for me when using Googles DNS):

        sudo cp /etc/swupd/swupd.plist /etc/swupd/swupd.plist.bak
        sudo /usr/libexec/PlistBuddy -c 'set metaIndexURL' /etc/swupd/swupd.plist

      • larry

        No I don’t have an internal dns entry for,com.
        It’s not the SUS, it’s specific to 10.7 as my 10.6x clients are pulling updates without issue from the same 10.7 Server SUS. This morning 3 new updates appeared (now the updates list as 352)
        My Lion Client hits my 10.7 SUS with: /index-leopard-snowleopard.merged-1.sucatalog
        This morning iTunes 10.4.1 is showing so Lion Client is seeing the latest updates, however 10.7 SUS is not pulling down 10.7.1

    • larry

      I have a case open with Apple and they are able to replicate the issue on their end. They advised NOT TO do this on a lion server, as this was designed for 10.6x server to serve updates to 10.7 clients.
      I also have a 10.6x Server running SUS that I will do this on and see if 10.7.1 updates appear.

      • Ben Toms


        I did not make any changes as per the kb article. The catalogs are there as part of each default install i’ve done.

      • larry

        Finally heard back from Apple regarding my 10.7 Server SUS not downloading all the updates, specifically 10.7.1
        They told me to do the following, which I did, and it did not resolve the issue.
        1. Stop the Software Update Service
        2. Run the following 3 commands in Terminal:
        sudo -s
        cd /etc/swupd
        mv swupd.conf swupd.conf.old
        3. Start the Software Update Service

        On a positive not regarding my SL Server SUS Apple’s kb does allow my 10.7 clients to pull updates from my 10.6x Server.

        Now I’m waiting on apple to tell me how to get my 10.7 Server SUS working properly.

    • Ben Toms

      Sorry to hear Chris.

      Tbh, as a rule I never upgrade Macs. Always erase & install. So I’d not see this issue myself.

      But if you find a resolution, please post.

  5. Steve T

    I have multiple clients with multiple os versions… do you have a script i can use to change it to my server and another script that will change it back to defaults?

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