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How to Prepare Your Mac for OS X Mavericks

Posted in How To, Mac on 12/08/2013 by J. Glenn Künzler

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OS X Mavericks is finally here – but are you really ready? We’ve got a few tips for you on how to prepare your Mac for Mavericks, and how to make sure your transition goes as smoothly as possible!

OS X Mavericks

Is Your Mac Compatible?

Before you get too excited, you might want to make sure that your Mac can actually run Mavericks. Fortunately, we’ve got a complete list of which Macs will  likely be able to upgrade (and in turn, which Macs aren’t compatible). In essence, it’s the same set of Macs that currently support Mountain Lion, as listed on Apple’s support site (the Golden Master of OS X Mavericks currently lists the same set of compatible Macs).

  • iMac (Mid 2007 or newer)
  • MacBook (Late 2008 Aluminum, or Early 2009 or newer)
  • MacBook Pro (Mid/Late 2007 or newer)
  • MacBook Air (Late 2008 or newer)
  • Mac mini (Early 2009 or newer)
  • Mac Pro (Early 2008 or newer)
  • Xserve (Early 2009)

Check for App Compatibility

Most Mountain Lion-compatible apps should be compatible with Mavericks right off the bat, but as with all major upgrades, a few apps are likely to get broken in the process. While there’s currently somewhat of a lack of info on which apps will and won’t work with Mavericks from day one, taking note of all of your installed apps, and their version numbers, is a good start. To do this, open up the System Information app (Apple menu > About This Mac > More Info > System Report).

We’ll keep this post updated with additional information on app compatibility as it becomes available. In the meantime, checking with the developers of apps you rely on is a good place to start.

Read Up on New Features

Mavericks will contain a lot of new features, some of which will make Apps you’re currently using less relevant. Other features will be worthwhile to read up on as well, so you know how to take full advantage when Mavericks is released. Apple’s got a great list of many of the major new features on their OS X website.

Update Your Apps

Making sure your apps are all updated to the latest version before moving to Mavericks is important. Not only will it save you time after you’ve got Mountain Lion installed – it will also make sure that you’ll have new Mavericks features in your apps if the developers have already added them!

Clean Up Your Mac

Removing programs and preference panes that you don’t use and removing files that you no longer need is a great way to make sure that your Mac will run as smoothly as possible after you update to Mavericks. You’ll also free up a bunch of storage space to use for other things! Cleaning up your Mac is particularly useful if you plan to upgrade from your current installation of Lion or Mountain Lion directly to Mavericks.

Repair Permissions and Check Your Install Disk

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Making sure there are no lingering issues on your Mac is of high importance as well. Disk Utility, built right into OS X (located in the Utilities folder in your Applications folder), is your friend. Just fire up Disk Utility, click your main install volume, and click the “Repair Permissions” button. Once that is finished, you may want to click the Verify Disk button as well to make sure everything is as it should be.

Back Up!

It’s important to make sure all of your important files are backed up before performing any major upgrade on your Mac. Using Time Machine in OS X is the simplest way to make sure everything is backed up – although some users will opt to keep a full-on bootable backup of their old Mac using SuperDuper or a similar utility.

These tips should help your transition go as smoothly as possible.

(Updated October 22 2013 for the OS X Mavericks release)



  • MRonin ⚜

    Good tips for any OS update. Though I think the “fall” generalization for Mavericks release might have been a bit of wishful thinking. But I admit I’m well and truly done with the cloak and dagger routine by Apple.

  • Victor Augustus Franceschi

    Great article Glenn!
    I have a question for you. I’ve had my Macs for some time now, they are both from late 2011 early 2012. I’ve gone from Snow Leopard to Mavericks GM this week. My doubt is, as I’ve never format any of them to make a clean install, I wanna know if making a clean install on Macs Speed them up significantly or it’s just barely noticeable.

    They both run just fine, boot time is all right and they are not by a tiny bit slow, it’s just that as I’ve been upgrading OSs I’ve begun to wonder if it’s worthy or not.

    Thanks in advance!

    • http://MacTrast.com J. Glenn Kunzler

      I always, always, always recommend a clean install. Definitely provides a better experience, IMO. I re-install from scratch for every major release on my personal Macs.

  • JimmyN

    Any issues with bootcamp I need to be aware of?

    • http://MacTrast.com J. Glenn Kunzler

      Not that I’ve heard about.

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J. Glenn Künzler

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J. Glenn Künzler

Glenn is Managing Editor at MacTrast, and has been using a Mac since he bought his first MacBook Pro in 2006. Now he's up to his neck in Apple, and owns an old iBook, a 2012 iMac with an extra Thunderbolt display for good measure, a 4th-generation iPad, an iPad mini, 2 iPhones, and a Mac Mini that lives at the neighbor's house. He lives in a small town in Utah, enjoys bacon more than you can possibly imagine, and is severely addicted to pie.