Difference between Upgrade and Update

Key Difference: Upgrade can mean two different things, it can refer to a newer version of the product or it can refer to a completely new product that is newer than the older product. The term update is different; it refers to making changes to the same program. It means to bring an older software up to date.

Computing terms are often hard to decipher. Two such words are Upgrade and Update. Many people think that the two terms are exactly the same and that they can be used interchangeably. However, that assumption is incorrect. The two terms are quite different and that are used to denote two completely different things.

The terms are often used in the context of technology and software. Upgrade can mean two different things, it can refer to a newer version of the product or it can refer to a completely new product that is newer than the older product. In terms of the former one, it makes any and all changes it need to the software and is released as a newer version of the software. For example: v1.0 and the update to v2.0. In the latter definition, the term can refer to upgrading to a newer product completely, i.e. changing the software from an outdated one to a newer software from another company. For example: I am upgrading from Internet Explorer to Google Chrome.

The term update is different; it refers to making changes to the same program. It means to bring an older software up to date. An update usually fixes any bugs in the software or improves its functionality. These bugs are usually found and reported by users after the software has already been released to the public.

Another difference between the two is the frequency with which they occur. An update is available much more frequently than an upgrade. In fact, an update to the software will be available a few times even before an upgrade is out, or is even in the works. Also, an update is always free as it is addressing a problem with the original software, whereas an upgrade may be free or may cost money depending on the software or the upgrade. If the upgrade is minor, it may be free, however, most upgrades include major changes to the software, so much so, that the new upgrade usually does not require the older version to perform. Consider Microsoft Office 2007 and Microsoft Office 2013.

Comparison between Upgrade and Update:

 

Upgrade

Update

Definition (Oxford Dictionaries)

An improved or more modern version of something, especially a piece of computing equipment

Make (something) more modern or up to date

Function

Newer version of the product

Repairs the old product

Refers to

Software, Hardware

Usually Software

Frequency

Less frequent

More frequent

Price

Maybe cost money

Free

Changes

Major changes

Minor changes

Older software

Does not require the older software to run.

Requires the software to run.

Replace/repair

Newer software replaces the older software.

Repairs the software.

Image Courtesy: insightsoftware.com, free-movies-box.com

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