Jan 13, 2020 Hello, I just want to ask, how can I upgrade my Mid 2011 iMac to latest supported OSX. I'm currently on 10.7.5 and whenever I try to update everything is not supported High Sierra/Catalina (requirements is 10.8 and above). Is there a way to update without official channels? MacOS Catalina was the newest operating system by Apple until macOS Big Sur succeeded it in 2020. If your Mac still runs Mojave or an even older macOS version, you'll be amazed by all the new features and improvements in Catalina. So here’s how to upgrade to macOS Catalina. First, clear out the junk. If you need to reset the SMC on your iMac, Mac Pro, Xserve or Mac Mini: 1. First, you’re going to want to, in the same way as the previous, switch your Mac off and then unplug the power cable. Leave the power cable out for 15 seconds before plugging it back in. Wait a further 5 seconds and switch the Mac back on. Can I upgrade my 2011 iMac to Catalina? Even with upgraded hardware Apple does not support Catalina on a 2011 iMac anymore than they do a 2012 Mac Pro (and unlike the Mac Pro there are no officially supported GPU upgrade options). Apple could always release a future update to macOS 10.15 that prevents the unofficial Catalina Patcher from working, so bear in mind that this could turn out to be a time-limited hack.
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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.