disable mac app store receipts to (re)enable downloaded update packages

If you’ve recently tried to apply any update packages to applications that “came with the frame,” per se (came pre-installed on Lion or Mountain Lion), you’ve probably run into a similar error message when installing these update packages: The version of iPhoto installed on this Mac must be updated through the Mac App Store. Check the Mac App Store to see if an update is available.

Ok so use the Mac App Store to update the app. No problem, right? Just enter your Apple ID and away you go! … STOP! Not for an enterprise. More often than not enterprise admins will have hundreds if not thousands of Macs to deal with. That’s a lot of Apple IDs to be typing in!

One of many methods can be used to circumvent this situation. One I’ve been using is to delete the MAS receipt that is resident in these applications to “trick” the app into thinking it was not installed by the App Store, and accepting update packages that were downloaded from Apples website. In order to do this, we simply delete the MASReceipt folder inside the .app bundle. For example:

sudo rm -r /Applications/iPhoto.app/Contents/_MASReceipt

You can now successfully apply update packages as you always did. But wait a minute, softwareupdate through the command line won’t prompt for an Apple ID, you might say. Correct, but it also won’t update any apps that require an Apple ID to receive updates as long as this MASReceipt directory is intact.

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