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A software update, which is sometimes called a software patch, is a free download for an application, operating system, or software suite that provides fixes for features that aren't working as intended or adds minor software enhancements and compatibility.
Software updates are released to address security issues when they occur, to address minor bugs discovered in the software, to improve the operation of hardware or peripherals, and to add support for new models of equipment.
For example, going from version 1.0 to 2.0 in software is a major upgrade.
These upgrades may also have version names associated with them such as Windows 10 or OS X Mavericks.
When an updated version of an app is available, you are notified either by message or by a visual indicator on the app icon.
App updates are almost always no-cost and occur wirelessly over a Wi-Fi connection after you give your permission.
If you bought your software recently and an upgrade is released soon after that, some software companies offer the upgrade to the latest version for free.
In some cases, the mobile device must be connected to a power outlet during the installation of an operating system update, because the process takes much longer than an app download.
If you subscribe to an internet application or a suite of apps, such as Office 365, software updates—and upgrades—may take place under the hood.
You may not even realize the software has been updated.
A software upgrade is a new version of the software that offers a significant change or major improvement over your current version.
In many cases, a software upgrade requires the purchase of the new version of the software, sometimes at a discounted price if you own an older version of the software.