Apple has released OS X 10.9 Mavericks, and somewhat surprisingly it is a free upgrade for all existing OS X users. If you’re using a Mac laptop or desktop from the last five years or so, you should be able to download OS X Mavericks for free just by visiting the Mac App Store. Some exclusions and caveats do apply, though, so read on for more information.
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For earlier versions of Mac OS X, including Mac OS X Mavericks 10.9, Mac OS X Mountain Lion 10.8, Mac OS X Lion 10.7, Mac OS X Snow Leopard 10.6, Mac OS X Leopard 10.5, Mac OS X Tiger 10.4, and before, the process to obtain those installers differs a bit. Downloading MacOS Installers via Terminal. Install older OS X onto an external drive. The following method allows you to download Mac OS X Lion, Mountain Lion, and Mavericks. Start your Mac holding down Command + R. Prepare a clean external drive (at least 10 GB of storage). Within OS X Utilities, choose Reinstall OS X. Select external drive as a source. Enter your Apple ID.
Apple has announced the release date and price for the new version of its desktop OS, OS X Mavericks.And the big surprise is it’ll be free. The software is available to download from the Mac App.
Downloading and installing OS X 10.9 Mavericks for free
Before you upgrade to OS X 10.9 for free, the most important question is whether your Mac hardware is compatible. In general, if you’re already running OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard, you should be able to install Mavericks. Here’s a complete list of Mac laptops and desktops compatible with OS X 10.9 Mavericks:
- MacBook Pro (mid/late 2007 and newer)
- MacBook Air (late 2008 and newer)
- iMac (mid 2007 and newer)
- MacBook (late 2008 aluminium, or early 2009 and newer)
- Mac Mini (early 2009 and newer)
- Mac Pro (early 2008 and newer)
- Xserve (early 2009)
Before you begin the upgrade process, you should save and close any open programs. If you’re upgrading some older Mac hardware, you might also find it useful to clear up your hard drive first, by uninstalling unused apps, transferring large files to external storage, and using a clean-up tool such as CCleaner.
If you have Snow Leopard, Lion, or Mountain Lion installed (10.6, 10.7, 10.8), upgrading to 10.9 Mavericks is as simple as heading to the Mac App Store, clicking the huge OS X Mavericks banner, and clicking “Install.” It will download the update (which is around 5GB), and then ask whether you want to begin the installation process. Once you begin the installation, that’s it: It’s a one-step installer without any “next” buttons.
For me, on a fairly bogged-down 2011 MacBook Pro, the free upgrade to OS X Mavericks took around 90 minutes. On a newer and fresher systems, it should be a lot faster.
After installing OS X Mavericks…
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Once the installation process is complete, a notification will pop up offering to teach you about Mavericks’ new features. You should probably click it, especially if you’re coming from Snow Leopard or Lion as quite a lot has changed. The most exciting new features in Mavericks are probably the iCloud Keychain, Notifications tweaks, and some cool low-level tech that should improve battery life and performance (Timer Coalescing, App Nap, and Memory Compression). If you’ve always wished for iBooks, Maps, and Calendar to make the leap from iOS to your Mac, you’re in luck, too.
If you have any problems upgrading, or you want to draw our attention to an interesting new feature (or bug), leave a comment.
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