Monday, December 5, 2016

Can I upgrade my Mac's operating system to macOS Sierra?

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ITS has been testing macOS Sierra since its release in September 2017. Apple has released several maintenance updates since the initial 10.12.0 release. We recommend that you only upgrade if your computer has at least 35GB of storage space available and 8GB of RAM or more. Before upgrading, make sure you have a backup plan and set aside plenty of time. ITS does not recommend this upgrade for Mac models older than 4 years.

Even if your Mac meets all of the minimum requirements, you’ll need a newer model Mac and a compatible iPhone or Apple Watch to use features like Handoff, Auto Unlock, Siri, Apple Pay on the Web, Apple's Continuity tools, and more. Does your Mac meet the requirements to use all of macOS Sierra's new features? If not, you may want to think about whether it is worth the effort to install it.

macSierra Upgrade Checklist

✓ Back up my data to H or Google Drive.

Backing up your data is strongly recommended. Once the update is complete, there's no going back.

✓ Check software compatibility.

What are the most important software programs you use every day? Many programs such as Microsoft Office and Google Drive are known to work great with macOS Sierra, but some specialized software may need patches or paid upgrades before they work. If you aren’t sure, contact the ITS Help Desk at helpdesk@macalester.edu. Faculty members may contact their Academic Information Associate.

✓ Make sure I have enough storage space.

You need 35GB of available storage capacity. To find the available storage go to the Apple menu and choose About This Mac then Storage.

✓ Make sure I have enough memory (RAM).

ITS recommends at least 8GB of RAM, otherwise your computer will run very slowly. To find the memory (RAM) go to the Apple menu and choose About This Mac then Overview, look for Memory.

✓ Make sure my hardware is compatible if I want to use Sierra’s new features.

Macs older than 4 years can run some, but not all, of Sierra's new features, including Universal Clipboard. Apple Watch Unlock will only work on Macs with Bluetooth 4.0. So if you want to make the most out of the new software, make sure you have one of the Mac models listed below.
  • Mac Pro (late 2012 or newer)
  • iMac (late 2012 or newer)
  • Mac mini (late 2012 or newer)
  • MacBook Pro (mid-2012 or newer)
  • MacBook (Early 2015 or newer)
  • MacBook Air (mid 2012 or newer)

✓ Make sure my operating system (OS) is compatible.

Your Mac must be running OS X 10.7.5 or later. To find the version of OS X, go to the Apple menu and choose About This Mac.
  • OS X El Capitan v10.11
  • OS X Yosemite v10.10
  • OS X Mavericks v10.9
  • OS X Mountain Lion v10.8
  • OS X Lion v10.7

✓ Clear my schedule.

Upgrading your device to macOS Sierra may take hours.

More information and resources



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