My company requires me to have the Microsoft Office suite installed on my iMac computer. Okay, fine with me, but how do I know if there are updates available? Mostly we just use Teams for meetings…
Microsoft has put a lot of effort into reinventing the entire Office suite as web-based apps. That’s what Office365 is, and you can check it all out at Office365.com if you want. They’ve done a great job and the apps really are functionally just about identical to the downloadable apps. Even Microsoft Teams, since modern Web browsers like Microsoft Edge and Safari have lots of audio and video features built in. In fact, the last few times I’ve been involved in a Microsoft Teams meeting myself, I’ve opted to participate from within my browser rather than worry about the app being updated.
Back in the day, Microsoft Office used to have a separate standalone program called Microsoft Updater, which made it really easy to ensure that all of your Microsoft apps were up-to-date, but that appears to have vanished, with the functionality now dropped into each of the Microsoft applications instead. Well, that’s not entirely true, because while in Microsoft Teams if you check for updates it’ll just check for itself, if you go to Word and “Check for Updates” from the Help menu, it actually opens Microsoft AutoUpdater that checks for updates for everything including Microsoft Teams.
With that in mind, probably the best way to update Microsoft Teams is to open one of the other Microsoft programs and check for updates. Wierd. Instead, let’s see how to do it within Microsoft Teams for Mac!
CHECK FOR UPDATES: MICROSOFT TEAMS
Launch Microsoft Teams and you’ll have to log in to one of your Microsoft accounts. Once you’ve done that, it goes straight into that account and is ready to use in just a few seconds. Once the program’s running, I’ve clicked on the “•••” link on the top right:
Notice that one of the options on the menu is “Check for updates”. This doesn’t, however, launch Microsoft AutoUpdater, it just displays a tiny status notice along the top of the window:
Very low key, for sure. You can also check your current version number by choosing About > Version from the same “•••” menu. Again, it’s very subtle:
Meanwhile, ostensibly, it’s checking for updates in the background. What’s not clear is whether quitting the program will prevent it from downloading and installing the update.
Instead of quitting, though, go to Settings from that very same menu…
BASIC MICROSOFT TEAMS SETTINGS
Surprisingly, there aren’t a lot of settings in Microsoft Teams, and when compared to the enormous number of Zoom settings and preferences, it’s startlingly austere:
There are a few themes, as you can see, along with the ability to change the density of chats (both of which are very helpful), but on the left side the options just don’t offer much in the way of customization. You can scroll down a bit in the General settings for a few more options worth checking out, however:
The one that might surprise you is that by default when you close the app, it keeps running, rather than actually quitting. This is actually common with communications programs (Skype and Zoom both have this same behavior). That could be something to disable if you very rarely use Teams and would prefer not to have it possibly running in the background.
MICROSOFT TEAMS IN THE BACKGROUND
I was curious about it, though, so I checked with the Apple Activity Monitor program (found in Applications > Utilities), just to find one tiny, low impact “Teams” app running :
Even with the program quit, the Core Audio Driver apparently keeps running, and it does accumulate CPU time, but it’s still pretty low impact. Worth killing if you’re not using Teams? Possibly. The best strategy is to disable “On close, keep the application running” in Teams itself, however, then know that as of the next restart, you’ll be good.
Meanwhile, I did eventually see this show up in Microsoft Teams:
I did restart and, confusingly, the version number didn’t change. Ah well, the program reports that it’s running the very latest version, so I’m going to consider this a successful task. Good luck to you and let me know how the update works out for you!
Pro Tip: I’ve been using and writing about Microsoft’s Office Suite for many years. Please check out my Outlook help library for plenty of useful tutorials, as well as my additional Microsoft Office 365 help pages! Thanks.