Upgrading your Mac

Historically, Apple only provide support for the current, and preceding two, releases of macOS. Consequently, IT Services' advice is that you should always seek to upgrade to the the most recent version of macOS that your Apple computer can support. We also recommend that, when prompted via the App Store or Managed Software Center, you install the security updates provided by Apple.

If a version of macOS is not supported by Apple, this is considered a security risk. IT Services will therefore only support the latest three versions of macOS.

You can upgrade macOS via the Mac App Store. Apple also provide advice on how to prepare for an upgrade, and how to obtain software updates.

If your hardware cannot run one of the latest three versions of macOS, you should consider replacing it. Currently all Apple models sold in the past six years will run one of the latest three versions of macOS.

Please note that upgrading your version of macOS may mean that some of your older software will no longer work. However, we cannot sanction the use of an unsupported version of macOS in order to retain the use of outdated software.

The following section details our current advice about each version of macOS:

macOS version name macOS version number Mac model compatibility Upgrade advice
High Sierra 10.13
  • iMac (Late 2009 or newer)
  • MacBook (Late 2009 or newer)
  • MacBook Pro (Mid 2010 or newer)
  • MacBook Air (Late 2010 or newer)
  • Mac mini (Mid 2010 or newer)
  • Mac Pro (Mid 2010 or newer)

At present, IT Services do not support macOS High Sierra (10.13).


Until the compatibility of High Sierra with our systems and essential applications has been tested, macOS Sierra (10.12) will remain the supported version of the operating system.


If you are considering upgrading, IT Services strongly recommend checking the system requirements of any essential applications that you rely on before doing so. You should also backup your system before carrying out an upgrade.


Please note that, until High Sierra is IT Services' supported version of macOS, the support that can be offered to you will be on a "best efforts" basis.


Sierra 10.12
  • MacBook (Late 2009 or newer)
  • MacBook Pro (Mid 2010 or newer)
  • MacBook Air (Late 2010 or newer)
  • Mac mini (Mid 2010 or newer)
  • iMac (Late 2009 or newer)
  • Mac Pro (Mid 2010 or newer)

The general requirements for upgrading to macOS Sierra are as follows:

  • macOS 10.7.5 or later
  • 2GB RAM
  • 8.8GB available storage

Upgrading from previous versions of macOS:


Upgrading from macOS Snow Leopard (10.6.8):

  • If you are running Snow Leopard (10.6.8) and your Mac supports macOS Sierra, you will need to upgrade to macOS El Capitan first. Apple provide instructions on how to do this here.

Upgrading from macOS Leopard (10.5):

  • If you are running Leopard and would like to upgrade to macOS Sierra, you will need to upgrade to macOS Snow Leopard first. You can purchase macOS Snow Leopard from the Apple Online Store.

macOS Sierra addresses a number of security vulnerabilities. If your system meets the requirements for macOS Sierra, IT Services recommend that you upgrade.


If you are considering upgrading, IT Services recommend checking the system requirements of any essential applications that you rely on before doing so.


El Capitan 10.11 As Mountain Lion

From macOS 10.6, 10.7, 10.8, 10.9, 10.10 - run all software updates and then upgrade your Mac for free from the macOS App Store.


IT Services recommend checking the system requirements of any essential applications that you rely on.


Upgrade process as per Yosemite.

Yosemite 10.10 As Mountain Lion

From macOS 10.6, 10.7, 10.8, 10.9 - run all software updates and then upgrade your Mac for free from the macOS App Store.

 

Note that the upgrade installation may appear stuck at a few minutes remaining. This is particularly common on Macs that have certain software installed, e.g. Matlab, Maple, MacTeX, which all contain many thousands of files that need to be copied. It normally isn't actually stuck, but may take several hours to complete. You can check progress by opening the log, by pressing cmd+L on the installer screen.

 

From macOS 10.4, 10.5 - you will need to obtain an install DVD for macOS Snow Leopard (10.6). IT Services can supply this for University-owned Macs. You can also purchase these from the Apple website (here). Once upgraded to Snow Leopard, run all software updates, open the App Store and install Yosemite.

Mavericks 10.9 As Mountain Lion

A serious security bug remains and will remain unpatched by Apple on macOS 10.8 and 10.9 systems.  All Macs that run Mavericks can be upgraded to Yosemite, so we recommend you do so using the instructions above.

 

 

Mountain Lion 10.8
  • iMac (Mid 2007)
  • MacBook (Late 2008 Aluminium, Early 2009)
  • MacBook Pro (Mid/Late 2007)
  • Xserve (Early 2009)
  • MacBook Air (Late 2008)
  • Mac mini (Early 2009)
  • Mac Pro (Early 2008)
A serious security bug remains and will remain unpatched by Apple on macOS 10.8 and 10.9 systems.  All Macs that run Mountain Lion can be upgraded to Yosemite so we recommend you do so using the instructions above.
Lion 10.7
  • iMac (Late 2006)
  • MacBook (Late 2006)
  • MacBook Air (Early 2008)
  • MacBook Pro (Late 2006)
  • Mac mini (Mid 2007)
  • Mac Pro (Mid 2006)
  • Xserve (Late 2006)

Lion is no longer be supported by Apple. We recommend that you upgrade to Yosemite if possible.

The University will no longer support these Macs, other than to help you upgrade them to a supported version of macOS, if that's possible. These computers should no longer be on the University network.

Snow Leopard 10.6
  • MacBook (Early 2006)
  • Mac mini (Early 2006)
Snow Leopard is no longer supported by Apple and is therefore insecure. Please consider replacing your Mac.

The University will no longer support these Macs, other than to help you upgrade them to a supported version of macOS, if that's possible. These computers should no longer be on the University network.

Older versions 10.0-10.5
  • iBook
  • PowerBook
  • PowerMac
  • iMac G3
  • G4
  • G5
  • Mac mini G4
  • Xserve G5
  • eMac
These macOS versions are no longer supported by Apple or the University. Please consider replacing your Mac.

These computers should no longer be on the University network.