If you're using OS X El Capitan v10.11.5 or later and your App Store preferences or Software Update preferences are set to download new updates when available, macOS Catalina will download conveniently in the background, making it even easier to upgrade. A notification will inform you when macOS Catalina is ready to be installed. Not knowing if the newer 2015 MacBook Pro could run El Capitan. My best option seems to be the following: Using the Migration Assistant (working with OS X Snow Leopard v10.6.8 or later): make a TimeMachine backup of the mid-2009 MacBook Pro, connect the TM backup to the newer 2015 MacBook Pro, launch Migration Assistant (within the utilities. The full operating system is a free download for anyone who has purchased Mac OS X Snow Leopard, Lion, or Mountain Lion or has a Mac preloaded with OS X Mavericks, Yosemite, El Capitan, or macOS Sierra. Download the Application from the Mac App Store using your Apple ID on any Mac or functional computer running OS X 10.7.5 or later.
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:
Feb 05, 2021 If your Mac isn't compatible with the latest macOS, you might still be able to upgrade to an earlier macOS, such as macOS Catalina, Mojave, High Sierra, Sierra, or El Capitan. To get the latest features and maintain the security, stability, compatibility, and performance of your Mac, it's important to keep your software up to date.
Many people remember Mac OS X 10.6.8 fondly. Not just 10.6 Snow Leopard, but particularly its very mature 10.6.8 release, the final one in that series. It’s considered a stable and perfectly fine version. It’s not a problem—until they want to mitgrate to a newer computer with the same files, preferences, users, and other elements as their current one. That’s particularly true when they want to keep their system and essentially brain transplant it to the latest two updates, macOS Catalina and Big Sur, and find there’s no direct path.
Apple offers Migration Assistant both when setting up a Mac (whether new or erased) and as an app within macOS, particularly to migrate user accounts and applications. As a source, you can use a Time Machine backup, a disk image copy of your macOS startup volume (via a cloning app, for instance), or another Mac.
But Migration Assistant has its limits: in Catalina and Big Sur, you must migrate from a backup made from or a computer running Mac OS X 10.11 El Capitan or later. Attempts to copy from older installations lead to an error.
However, you’re not stuck. You have several alternatives you can try.
It may seem like a pain, but if you have a computer that can be upgraded to 10.11 El Capitan or later, that’s your best bet. This list of models from One World Computing will help you figure out if your Mac can be upgraded that far. It covers years of Mac releases. (No Macs that can run Snow Leopard can be upgraded to Catalina or Big Sur, which would solve the problem, too.)
Apple has instructions on installing a terminal release of Mac OS X or macOS for its old computers.
Once upgraded to El Capitan or later, you can then run Migration Assistant to transfer data to Catalina or Big Sur.
If your computer’s last OS option isn’t El Capitan, read on.
When spanning such a long gap between releases, you may not need applications or any settings files—you just want to transfer all your document, pictures, and other personal files. In that case, you can use these directions in a Mac 911 column from last year. While that article was written to help you overcome a Migration Assistant failure, it also works when Migration Assistant can’t.
Each of the techniques in that article lets you move the files you need over to a new Mac. The options vary by what your older system is capable of and the level of technical detail you want to cope with.
If the Mac you’re upgrading to (not from) is in the right range of vintages, you can do the following:
If you don’t own a Mac that can install El Capitan, you might be able to borrow such a machine from someone and use the same external drive approach that won’t affect the startup drive of their system.
This Mac 911 article is in response to a question submitted by Macworld reader Balthasar.
We’ve compiled a list of the questions we get asked most frequently along with answers and links to columns: read our super FAQ to see if your question is covered. If not, we’re always looking for new problems to solve! Email yours to [email protected] screen captures as appropriate, and whether you want your full name used. Not every question will be answered, we don’t reply to email, and we cannot provide direct troubleshooting advice.