Note: The headings on this list indicate the Macintosh System bundle names; the bullet points indicate the version of the System File included in that bundle. This is to make it clearer for people searching for specific bundle versions as opposed to System File versions. Finder File versions are not indicated. System 0.85 (128k) (1983) System 1.0 (128k / 512k) (1984) (also numbered System 0.97. The new MacBook Air is the best MacBook for most people. This latest model demonstrates the capabilities of Apple's M1 chip, which transforms the Air from an underpowered entry-level option to one. Apple previewed macOS Catalina on June 03 2019, The latest version of the world’s most advanced desktop operating system, packed with cool new features, fresh new apps and powerful new technology for developers. With macOS Catalina, Apple is replacing iTunes with its popular entertainment apps — Apple Music, Apple Podcasts and the Apple TV app.
Update Now installs the latest updates for the currently installed version. Learn about macOS Big Sur updates, for example. Upgrade Now installs a major new version with a new name, such as macOS Big Sur. Learn about the latest macOS upgrade, or about old versions of macOS that are still available.
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.
The following models are supported:
To see which model you have, click the Apple icon in your menu bar and choose About This Mac.
Before you upgrade, we recommend that you back up your Mac. If your Mac is running OS X Mavericks 10.9 or later, you can upgrade directly to macOS Big Sur. You’ll need the following:
Go to Software Update in System Preferences to find macOS Big Sur. Click Upgrade Now and follow the onscreen instructions.
If you’re running any release from macOS 10.13 to 10.9, you can upgrade to macOS Big Sur from the App Store. If you’re running Mountain Lion 10.8, you will need to upgrade to El Capitan 10.11 first.
If you don’t have broadband access, you can upgrade your Mac at any Apple Store.
For details about your Mac model, click the Apple icon at the top left of your screen and choose About This Mac. These Mac models are compatible with macOS Big Sur:
Requires a broadband internet connection and microphone (built-in or external).
Supported by the following Mac models:
Requires a microphone (built-in or external).
Requires a broadband internet connection.
Requires a Multi-Touch trackpad, Force Touch trackpad, Magic Trackpad, or Magic Mouse.
Force Touch gestures require a Force Touch trackpad.
VoiceOver gestures require a Multi-Touch trackpad, Force Touch trackpad, or Magic Trackpad.
Requires a FaceTime or iSight camera (built-in or external) or USB video class (UVC) camera.
Audio calls require a microphone (built-in or external) and broadband internet connection.
Video calls require a built-in FaceTime camera, an iSight camera (built-in or external), or a USB video class (UVC) camera; and broadband internet connection.
High dynamic range (HDR) video playback is supported by the following Mac models:
Dolby Atmos soundtrack playback is supported by the following Mac models:
Supported by the following Mac models:
Supported by all iPad models with Apple Pencil support:
Requires an iPhone or iPad that supports iOS 12 or later.
Requires an iPhone with iOS 13 or later or an iPad with iPadOS 13 or later.
Requires an iPhone or iPad with a Lightning connector or with USB-C and iOS 8 or later.
Requires an iPhone or iPad with cellular connectivity, a Lightning connector or USB-C, and iOS 8.1 or later. Requires Personal Hotspot service through your carrier.
Requires an iPhone or iPad with a Lightning connector or with USB-C and iOS 10 or later.
Requires an Apple Watch with watchOS 3 or later or an iPhone 5 or later.
Requires an Apple Watch with watchOS 6 or later or an iPhone 6s or later with iOS 13 or later.
Requires a MacBook Pro or MacBook Air with Touch ID, an iPhone 6 or later with iOS 10 or later, or an Apple Watch with watchOS 3 or later.
Requires an iPhone with iOS 8 or later and an activated carrier plan.
Requires an iPhone with iOS 8.1 or later and an activated carrier plan.
Requires an iPhone with iOS 12 or later and a configured Home app.
AirDrop to iOS and iPadOS devices requires an iPhone or iPad with a Lightning connector or with USB-C and iOS 7 or later.
AirPlay Mirroring requires an Apple TV (2nd generation or later).
AirPlay for web video requires an Apple TV (2nd generation or later).
Peer-to-peer AirPlay requires a Mac (2012 or later) and an Apple TV (3rd generation rev A, model A1469 or later) with Apple TV software 7.0 or later.
Requires an external storage device (sold separately).
Requires an iPhone with iOS 14 and a compatible electric vehicle.
Requires an iPhone running iOS 14 or an iPad running iPadOS 14.
Allows Boot Camp installations of Windows 10 on supported Mac models.
Requires Microsoft Office 365, Exchange 2016, Exchange 2013, or Exchange Server 2010. Installing the latest Service Packs is recommended.
Supports OS X 10.7 or later and Windows 7 or later.
Available only to persons age 13 or older in the U.S. and many other countries and regions.
The improved Retouch tool is supported on the following Mac models:
People accuse electronics manufacturers of built-in obsolescence: that hardware is designed to stop working or not be useful after a relatively short period of time. Apple has generally avoided that with Macs, letting many of its models receive OS X and macOS updates for five to seven years after the computer version’s initial release. And some people keep older systems running indefinitely, as I noted in a recent column that started with people’s love of 10.6.8 Snow Leopard, now over a decade old.
But Apple doesn’t provide a guide as such as to the “terminal” version of its operating system you can install on any given computer. That is, how do you find the last version your computer is compatible with?
You can track it down, but you have to work in reverse. Apple has a page for each release that in older versions of the OS describes the features required in Macs to handle it, and in newer versions lists the oldest models supported or spell out every model. There may be additional requirements, such as minimum RAM installed, and one always needs a certain amount of free disk space, often specified..
For example, for Mac OS X 10.7 Lion, released in mid-2011, Apple notes that an “Intel Core 2 Duo, Core i3, Core i5, Core i7, or Xeon processor” is required, but not which models; 2GB of RAM is also needed. Fortunately, third-party sites can provide the reverse lookup that helps narrow this down. EveryMac.com, which dates back nearly 25 years, has pages that list every Mac model by processor. Click on Core 2 Duo, and you can find that the late 2006 17-inch iMac is among the earliest that can be upgraded to Lion.
Finding some of these Mac updates is tricky, but our colleagues at Macworld UK have a rundown of how to find downloads for OS X and macOS releases over the last decade. If you can only find an installer that upgrades from an existing OS X or macOS release, you may have to install a later version, often 10.6.8, before using the upgrader.
Here are the links to find system requirements for Lion and later:
This Mac 911 article is in response to a question submitted by Macworld reader Amma.
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