Preparing a Mac for Upgrade to macOS High Sierra

Apple announcedHigh Sierrathe latest version of it’s macOS operating system, numbered 10.13, was announced on 5th June 2017 at Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC).

Preparing a Mac for Upgrade to macOS High Sierra

This is the fifth in a departure from the previous naming of operating systems after big cats, and the second since the operating system was renamed from OS X to macOS. Following on fromOS X 10.9 Mavericks,10.10 Yosemite,10.11El Capitanand macOS 10.12 Sierra, it continues with the new naming convention of locations in California.

In this tutorial, I’ll show you what you will need to do to ensure that a Mac is ready for upgrade, frommacOS 10.12 Sierra, or earlier, tomacOS 10.13 High Sierrafollowing its release on 25th September 2017.

Upgrade Costs

Below is listed the comparative upgrade costs for previous versions of OS X and the recent versions of Microsoft Windows.

OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard

Way back in October 2009,OS X 10.6 Snow Leopardwas delivered via DVD and cost £25 in the UK when launched.

OS X 10.7 Lion

Apple stopped supplying DVDs with the release ofOS X 10.7 Lion(though it was available for a short time on a USB drive) and cost £20.99 in the UK, preferring a download delivery model via the new Mac App Store, instead.

OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion

OS X 10.8 Mountain Lionwas only available as an upgrade through the Mac App Store and cost £13.99 in the UK.

OS X 10.9 Mavericks

OS X 10.9 Maverickswas only available as an upgrade through the Mac App Store and was offered as a nil-cost upgrade to Apple OS X users as far back asOS X 10.6 Snow Leopard.

OS X 10.10 Yosemite

OS X 10.10 Yosemite, following on fromMavericks, is to be offered as a free upgrade for existing Mac users of any OS X version from10.6.7 Snow Leopardonwards.

OS X 10.11 El Capitan

OS X 10.11 El Capitan, following on fromMavericksandYosemite, is to be offered as a free upgrade for existing Mac users of any OS X version from10.6.7 Snow Leopardonwards.

macOS 10.12 Sierra

The first version of OS X now titled as macOS, Sierra is a free upgrade to existing Mac users of any version of the operating system since 2010’s OS X Lion 10.7.5.

macOS 10.13 High Sierra

The second version macOS, High Sierra is a free upgrade to existing Mac users of any version of the operating system since 2010’sOS X Lion 10.7.5.

Microsoft Windows 8

Compare this to £99.99 for Microsoft’sWindows 8operating system, and any upgrade to macOS is a bargain.

Microsoft Windows 10

Compare this to prices from£55.00 for Microsoft’s Windows 10 operating system, and any upgrade to OS X is a bargain.

Distribution

Similar to previous versions of the operating system, it has been confirmed thatmacOS 10.13 High Sierrawill only be available as a digital download—via theMac App Store— for Macs that require upgrading, as it has been for the last six years.

System Requirements

Preparing a Mac for Upgrade to macOS High Sierra

As of itsbeta release, macOS 10.13 High Sierrais compatible with all Macs that are capable of runningmacOS Sierra. These are essentially Macs with an i5 or i7 processor.

  • MacBook (Late 2009 or newer)
  • MacBook Pro (Mid 2010 or newer)
  • MacBook Air (Late 2010 or newer)
  • Macmini (Mid 2010 or newer)
  • iMac (Late 2009 or newer)
  • MacPro (Mid 2010 or newer)

It’s inevitable that some of the sexier features ofHigh Sierrawill not be compatible with older hardware, though.

Checking Hardware Compatibility

To check to see if a Mac is compatible, click on theAppleat the farmost left of the menu bar and selectAbout This Macthen clickMore Info.

Preparing a Mac for Upgrade to macOS High Sierra

Checking Memory

To check to see if how much memory is installed in the Mac, click on theAppleat the far most left of the menu bar and selectAbout This Macthen clickMore Infofollowed by theMemorytab.

Preparing a Mac for Upgrade to macOS High Sierra

In order to runmacOS 10.13 High Sierra, the Mac must have at least 2GB of memory. From my own experience of running OS X 10.9 Mavericks, on a Mac mini Core i5, my recommendation would be to look at 4GB being an absolute minimum for High Sierra, which will run very slowly indeed.

Ideally, you should look at 8GB RAM being the minimum to runHigh Sierraand install more if you can afford it. Probably the best place for memory upgrades for a Mac isCrucial.

Preparing a Mac for Upgrade to macOS High Sierra

Before upgrading toHigh Sierra, the Mac will need at least 14.3GB of available hard disc space and be running MacOS X 10.7.5 Lion, or later.

All versions of the operating system since OS X Lion have theMac App Store, which is a requirement for the digital download delivery mechanism to install macOS 10.13High Sierra.

In terms of third party apps, you will need to consult with the developers of each app to determine whether your software will be compatible withmacOS 10.13High Sierra.

Preparing a Mac for Upgrade to macOS High Sierra

For previous OS X updates sinceLionandMountain Lion, a hugely useful resource has been Roaring Apps. This site maintains a Wiki, to which anyone may contribute for the good of the Mac community, in sharing information about compatibility of apps between versions of OS X and, now, macOS.

Roaring Apps is being updated to include information regardingHigh Sierracompatible apps. It’s a huge timesaver.

Perform Apple Software and Firmware Updates

To check to see if there are any updates for the Mac, click on theAppleat the farmost left of the menu bar and selectSoftware Update. This launches theMac App Storeand checks for any available software updates. This works on macOS Sierra.

Alternatively, pressCommand-Spaceto openSpotlightand typeMac App Storeto launch the application then click theUpdatesicon.

Preparing a Mac for Upgrade to macOS High Sierra

Update the software, and firmware if applicable, with the software updates that are available, prior to attempting to upgrade the Mac.

Note that some upgrades may require the Mac to reboot in order to install them. This is especially true of firmware updates.

Backing Up Data

This is imperative! It is essential that you back up your data before attempting to upgrade your operating system.

There are many ways in which you can go about backing up data, on the Mac. In fact, Apple makes this quite easy, withTime Machine, and other app developers have created invaluable tools such asSuperDuper!andCarbon Copy Cloner. Furthermore, cloud-based services such asDropboxprovide even more ways to ensure that essential data is safe.

Preparing a Mac for Upgrade to macOS High Sierra

Upgrade or Clean Install

Apple makes the process, to upgrade to each new version of macOS, very simple such that you might have upgraded through a number of iterations ofmacOSalready.

The question regarding an upgrade or a clean install, the latter being the reformatting of the hard drive and the complete installation ofmacOSfrom scratch, is one of personal preference.

For me, personally, I prefer the clean install approach. A cathartic experience that allows me to ensure thatmacOSis running at optimal efficiency whereby I only install the apps that I depend upon and think carefully about installing anything else.

Conclusion

With the recent release ofHigh Sierra, a little bit of planning now will make the transition trouble-free. In this tutorial I have shown how to check your hardware and software compatibility, I’ve shown you the importance of backing up your data and I’ve looked at upgrades versus clean installs.

Before you jump intoHigh Sierra, perform an audit of the software that you use on your Mac to ensurethat it is all compatible, or can be upgraded, before you upgrade the operating system. This will avoid the risk of problems following an upgrade toHigh Sierra.