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This repo contains the bare minimum code to have an auto-updating Electron app using electron-updater with releases stored on GitHub.

If you can't use GitHub, you can use other providers:

NOTE: If you want to run through this whole process, either fork this repo or start your own from a template. Then replace all instances of iffy with your GitHub username before doing the following steps.

  1. For macOS, you will need a code-signing certificate.

    Install Xcode (from the App Store), then follow these instructions to make sure you have a "Developer ID Application" certificate. If you'd like to export the certificate (for automated building, for instance) you can. You would then follow these instructions.

    This example application is set up to perform code-signing and notarization on Mac OS provided that a Developer ID Application certificate is installed in the default keychain. The following environment variables are important for the signing process:

    • CSC_IDENTITY_AUTO_DISCOVERY - controls whether electron-builder tries to sign the application; default is true, set to false to skip signing
    • APPLE_ID - the Apple ID to use for notarization (required for signing).
    • APPLE_ID_PASSWORD - the password to use with the specified Apple ID for notarization (required for signing). Apple recommends setting up an app-specific password to safeguard the Apple ID password (see Apple Support) for more information.

    To enable code-signing and notarization:

     export APPLE_ID="<your Apple ID>"
     export APPLE_ID_PASSWORD="<your Apple Password>"
  2. Adjust package.json if needed.

    By default, electron-updater will try to detect the GitHub settings (such as the repo name and owner) from reading the .git/config or from reading other attributes within package.json. If the auto-detected settings are not what you want, configure the publish property as follows:

         "build": {
             "publish": [{
                 "provider": "github",
                 "owner": "iffy",
                 "repo": "electron-updater-example"
  3. Install necessary dependencies with:



     npm install
  4. Generate a GitHub access token by going to The access token should have the repo scope/permission. Once you have the token, assign it to an environment variable

    On macOS/linux:

     export GH_TOKEN="<YOUR_TOKEN_HERE>"

    On Windows, run in powershell:


    Make sure to restart your IDE/Terminal to inherit latest env variable.

  5. Publish for your platform with:

     electron-builder -p always


     npm run publish

    If you want to publish for more platforms, edit the publish script in package.json. For instance, to build for Windows and macOS:

     "scripts": {
         "publish": "electron-builder --mac --win -p always"

    NOTE: The Mac OS signing/notarization process must be run on Mac OS.

  6. Release the release on GitHub by going to, editing the release and clicking "Publish release."

  7. Download and install the app from

  8. Update the version in package.json, commit and push to GitHub.

  9. Do steps 5 and 6 again.

  10. Open the installed version of the app and see that it updates itself.