This is the procedure for updating (patching) the FreeBSD system by downloading (fetching) and installing the binary patches from a FreeBSD mirror.

What does patching mean?

If you have subscribed to FreeBSD errata notices or FreeBSD security advisories, which both are free announcement mail lists, then you will be notified of changes, that has been made to the FreeBSD system. You will be given valuable background information, related to each problem and security issue, but also its level of impact, workaround and solution. The solutions are called patches, because they fix (patch) problems and security issues. In order to keep your own FreeBSD system stable and secure, you should install these patches on your FreeBSD systems.

Determine version and patch level of FreeBSD kernel and userland.

The built-in freebsd-version utility can determine the installed, running and userland version and patch level of FreeBSD. These should all match, but it is not uncommon, that userland is different.

# freebsd-version -k -r -u

Download (fetch) and install patches for the FreeBSD system.

Fetch binary patches from a FreeBSD mirror with the built-in FreeBSD update tool. When the tool lists, which files, that will be added and changed as part of the updating to the new patch level, you can press Space to list more files and Q to quit listing and continue the updating proces until you are back at the command prompt.

# freebsd-update fetch
src component not installed, skipped
Looking up mirrors... 2 mirrors found.
Fetching metadata signature for 13.0-RELEASE from done.
Fetching metadata index... done.
Fetching 2 metadata patches.. done.
Applying metadata patches... done.
Inspecting system... done.
Preparing to download files... done.
Fetching 49 patches.....10....20....30....40.... done.
Applying patches... done.
The following files will be added as part of updating to
The following files will be updated as part of updating to

Install the patches.

# freebsd-update install

Reboot FreeBSD.

# reboot

Determine new patch level.

Confirm, that the system was patched by determining the new installed, running and userland version and patch level of FreeBSD.

# freebsd-version -k -r -u

More about updating FreeBSD.

How to upgrade to new minor and major releases of FreeBSD.
How to upgrade and audit packages in FreeBSD.

This page was last updated 2022-03-25.