Upgrade to macOS Big Sur. MacOS Big Sur elevates the most advanced desktop operating system in the world to a new level of power and beauty. Experience Mac to the fullest with a refined new design. Enjoy the biggest Safari update ever. Discover new features for Maps and Messages. Get even more transparency around your privacy. Answer (1 of 2): Catalina is free so you might as well try it. My Mac predated Yosemite by a couple of years, and updated to Catalina without a problem. My computer did not have a fingerprint sensor or the latest version of Bluetooth, so I could only log in with a password.
The classic OS X 10.12, or rather macOS upgrade, introduced tons of features anyone would still want on their Mac. Why? Because, it's well-tested and secure. Now we'll take a quick look at the legendary macOS Sierra upgrade. (In case you want to upgrade your Mac to macOS 10.13 High Sierra, check out this guide.)
Interestingly, it first brought Siri to your Mac. This is great news for everyone who’s already used to her help on iOS. Then, there’s Watch unlocking for Mac, there’s one-click Apple Pay, tabs in apps, and cross-device copypasting. Just to name a few.
So, if you were on the fence about upgrading to Sierra, and in fact, any newer OS, go right ahead. Your Mac deserves a refreshment.
How to upgrade macOS: Sierra 10.12 compatibility list
As with the previous versions, macOS Sierra is available for a limited list of Mac models.
Here are the models of Macs that are compatible with macOS 10.12 and can upgrade to Sierra:
|MacBook Pro||MacBook Air||Mac mini|
|Mid 2010 or newer||Late 2010 or newer||Mid 2010 or newer|
|Mid 2010 or newer||Late 2009 or newer||Late 2009 or newer|
Does order matter when you upgrade macOS?
If your current operating system is OS X Lion (10.7), you can skip a few versions, and upgrade directly to macOS High Sierra. To upgrade to Sierra from, say, Mavericks, you’ll have to consequently upgrade to Yosemite and then to El Capitan first.
Check Your macOS for Sierra Compatibility
These OS versions can upgrade to Sierra:
- OS X Mountain Lion v10.8 or Lion
- OS X Mavericks v10.9
- OS X Yosemite v10.10
- OS X El Capitan v10.11
Can I Upgrade From Yosemite To Mojave
Here’s how to find out which OS version you’re running now:
- Click Apple icon in the top left corner.
- Choose About this Mac.
- There you have it, in capital letters.
Memory (RAM): 2 GB (preferably 4 GB)
Sierra is pretty lightweight, so you only need 2 GB of RAM to upgrade. Cool, eh?
Disk space: 8 GB of free space on drive.
In the same About this Mac menu select 'Storage' tab. In front of the multi-colored bar, you will see the phrase, 'X.XX GB free out of XX.XX GB.' If you don't have at least 8 GB of free space, you should delete some old files.
Before you update macOS, don’t forget to:
Clean up your Mac
This is essential if you want a fast and effortless update, and glitchless work of your new macOS. And it’s also pretty easy. To give your Mac a cleanup, you need to get rid of system junk, uninstall extra apps, and clean some old caches. If that sounds like a lot of work, you can get a Mac cleaner like CleanMyMac for the job.
How to update your Mac: Clean it up first
- Launch it.
- Hit Scan to find all the extra files you can delete.
- Press Run.
As you can see, I have 8.56 GB worth of caches, obsolete language files, broken downloads. You'll feel great getting rid of them.
That will give your Mac a basic system cleanup, but CleanMyMac is going to come in handy after the update as well. It monitors your Mac’s health, helps you speed up the system and remove unnecessary apps (Trashing doesn’t fully uninstall apps, by the way).
Back up your Mac
This is basic common sense before any Mac software update you’d like to undertake. Why? Well, because sometimes updates happen less smoothly than you’d like them to. To make sure you have all your information and files saved up neatly, you need a backup. To back up your Mac, you need to activate Time Machine.
- Open your Applications folder.
- Choose Time Machine.
- 'Select Backup Disk…'
Note: You may need to first choose to 'Set Up Time Machine.'
- Choose where you'd like to store your backup.
- Both an external drive or an Airport Time Capsule fit.
- Switch the toggle on the left, from 'OFF' to 'ON.' Right beneath the name of your storage device, you'll see 'Oldest backup,' 'Latest backup,' and 'Next backup' — Your backup will begin within 5 minutes. To speed it up, click the arrow clock icon next to the Date & Time at the top-right of the menu bar and select 'Back Up Now.'
How to download macOS Sierra (or newer macOS) and install it
macOS Sierra is increasingly becoming a relic. Since 2020, the newest available macOS version is Big Sur. But it all comes down to hardware. Your Mac can only upgrade to the latest version its hardware can support. If your Mac is from around 2012 it can update as high up as to macOS Catalina. If your Mac is from 2010 or older, its limit is macOS High Sierra.
To download any new macOS and install it you’ll need to do the next:
1. Open System Preferences... in the Apple menu.
2. Click on Software Updates.
On top of the list you'll see the latest macOS version your Mac can download. In our case, it's macOS Big Sur.
Another way to do it is via the Mac App Store.
- Open App Store.
- Click the Updates tab.
- You’ll see macOS updates available for your Mac.
- Click Update.
Wait for macOS download and installation. Your Mac will restart when it’s done.
Now you have a new OS.
For historic interest, this is how macOS Sierra looked back then when it was still available in the Mac App Store. Now, it can't be found there anymore.
Download macOS installers directly from Apple
For users of past operating systems Apple created a handy a list of macOS installers. They go as far back as to macOS Yosemite. The first 3 of them will open and start the update process automatically.
- macOS High Sierra 10.13
The 3 following installers will download macOS as a disk image (.dmg) After you unpack it, the macOS updater app will appear in your Applications.
We hope this guide has been of use, and don’t forget to clean up your Mac and back it up before you get the classic macOS! Cheers.
Lesson 3: Upgrading to OS X Yosemite
Upgrading to OS X Yosemite
If you're thinking about upgrading to Yosemite, you'll need to make sure your computer meets all of the software and hardware requirements. Here are the things you'll need to have:
- Apple Macintosh computer (Mac): Generally, you'll need to have a Mac in order to install OS X Yosemite. Installing Yosemite on a PC is possible, but it requires more advanced techniques.
- OS X Snow Leopard, Lion, Mountain Lion, or Mavericks: If you are using an older version of OS X such as Leopard, you will need to upgrade to Snow Leopard (version 10.6.8) before upgrading to Yosemite.
- Internet access: To install Yosemite, you will need to download it from the Mac App Store, which requires a working Internet connection. Yosemite is not available on CD or DVD.
- Hardware requirements: Your Mac will need to meet certain processor, memory, and hard drive requirements to install Yosemite. Below are the models that can be upgraded:
- iMac (mid-2007 or newer)
- MacBook (late 2008 Aluminum or early 2009 or newer)
- MacBook Pro (mid/late 2007 or newer)
- MacBook Air (late 2008 or newer)
- Mac mini (early 2009 or newer)
- Mac Pro (early 2008 or newer)
- Xserve (early 2009)
For a full list of hardware requirements, view the OS X Yosemite How to Upgrade page.
Viewing information about your Mac
To upgrade to Yosemite, you'll need to know what type of hardware your Mac has, as well as which version of OS X you are using. Then you can compare it with the requirements above to decide whether you'll be able to upgrade. On a Mac, all of your system information is visible from the About This Mac window.
- Click the Apple icon in the top-left corner of the screen, then select About This Mac.Selecting About This Mac
- A window will appear that shows information about your hardware and software.
In order for software to work, it must be compatible with the operating system; therefore, you may not be able to use all of your existing software if you switch to a different operating system. Before you switch, ask yourself if there's any software that you can't do without. Then conduct some research to find out if it is compatible with Yosemite.
Upgrading from earlier versions of OS X
If you are upgrading from an earlier version of OS X, most of your apps should still work. However, it's possible that some might not. A simple Google search will often be enough to tell if an app will be compatible in Yosemite.
Switching from Windows to OS X
Some PC software will not work in OS X, but there may be a Mac version you can buy or download. For example, Microsoft Office 2013 does not run in OS X, but you can buy Microsoft Office for Mac to view and edit your documents. However, not all software has a Mac version, and you may need to do some research to find out if there are Mac versions for your most important programs.
Installing Windows on a Mac
If you absolutely need to use PC software and there isn't a Mac version, you can use a feature called Boot Camp. Boot Camp comes pre-installed in OS X, and it allows you to install Windows on your Mac (if you have the Windows installation discs). You can then install any PC software you need.
The main disadvantage of Boot Camp is that you have to restart your computer whenever you want to switch between OS X and Windows. If you need to run PC and Mac software at the same time, you will need to buy additional software such as Parallels or VMware.
Installing OS X Yosemite
OS X Yosemite is free to download and install if you have already have Snow Leopard, Lion, Mountain Lion, or Mavericks. If you have an earlier version, you may be able to buy and install Snow Leopard, which will then allow you to download Yosemite; you'll first need to make sure your hardware will support Yosemite. For more information, contact an Apple retailer or call (800) MY-APPLE (in the United States).
About the Apple ID
Upgrade From Yosemite To Sierra
In order to download Yosemite, you'll need an Apple ID. The Apple ID is used to sign on for many different Apple services, including the Mac App Store, iTunes Store, and the Apple Online Store.
You may already have an Apple ID, especially if you've purchased music from the iTunes Store or owned a Mac before. If you don't have an Apple ID, you can create one when you download Yosemite. You will need to provide some personal information, such as your mailing address and credit card number.
If you don't have an Apple ID, you can read our guide to Creating an Apple ID for more information.
To download and install OS X Yosemite:
- Click the App Store icon on the Dock. The App Store will open.
- Locate and select OS X Yosemite, then click Free Upgrade.
- Type your Apple ID and Password to sign in. If you don't have an Apple ID, click Create Apple ID and follow the steps on the screen to create one.Creating a new Apple ID
- Once you've entered your Apple ID, your computer will begin downloading Yosemite. This may take several minutes or longer, depending on the speed of your Internet connection.
- After Yosemite has finished downloading, follow the instructions on the screen to install it.
Moving your files from another computer
Yosemite makes it easy to transfer all of your files to your new Mac using the built-in Migration Assistant. It lets you choose which folders and accounts you want to copy, and it can then transfer the files using an external hard drive, an existing home network, a FireWire cable, or an Ethernet cable. Migration Assistant can also transfer files from a PC to your new Mac.
If you are using a brand new Mac, the Migration Assistant will appear when you first turn on the computer. If you would prefer to run it later, you can get to it by opening Launchpad and clicking the Utilities folder. Alternatively, you can search for it with Spotlight by clicking the magnifying glass icon in the top-right corner of the screen.
For full instructions on migrating your files, view the Migration Assistant page on the Apple website.