Here’s a familiar scenario: you’ve finally gotten into a groove working on your computer or mobile device, and surprise! A window appears in the middle of your screen, alerting you that you need to restart to install the latest round of system updates.
Sure, this notification seems annoying, but many of us accept these updates without a second thought. After all, our productivity depends on a fully functioning—and secure—device. Some of us, though, opt to delay the update, or skip it altogether.
If you’re part of this latter group, you could be forgoing your device’s long-term functionality for short-term convenience.
Reason #1: Security
Did you ring in 2018 in the Spectre of a Meltdown? These two bugs are just the latest malware and ransomware attacks to cause headaches and make headlines. Of course, with each new attack, new operating system updates inevitably deploy.
Likewise, as operating systems become more streamlined, malware similarly has become similarly nimble. In 2007, roughly 130,000 pieces of malware were released. By 2017, this figure had grown to more than seven million—or approximately 850 per hour.
Reason #2: New Features
System updates aren’t solely about security. Foregoing an update could mean missing out on brand-new features and upgrades to mainstay applications.
For instance, take a look at recent update releases for Windows and Mac. While both systems included routine bug fixes and security patches, the spotlight was on enhancements such as 3D animation in PowerPoint and sophisticated editing capabilities for iCloud photos.
Reason #3: Improved Stability
A frequent reason why some users delay an update is concern that their devices might experience some subsequent growing pains. But if you’re concerned that a system update will break your stride, things may be looking up.
In September 2017, Ars Technica reported that Microsoft had revised its approach to Windows 10 updates. Instead of rushing out an update to a wide pool of users, the company opted for more conservative deployments. “This less-aggressive rollout seems to have done a good job,” noted the site. “[T]here have been far fewer complaints… and in general it has worked as it should.”
Reason #4: A Better User Experience
Many of us are creatures of habit: once we find something comfortable or convenient, we tend not to budge. This includes the technology we use.
Security and stability may be the most important reasons for not procrastinating on system updates, but they’re not always the impetus for a new update release. Sometimes a system update simply has to do with improving the user interface or other design element.
Ultimately, “[a]ll of these updates are aimed at making the user experience better,” notes the security software company McAfee. “And while repeated update reminders can be annoying, especially if you have a lot of different applications, they can improve your experience in the long run and ensure that you get the most from your technology.”