As you likely already know, Apple will release macOS Sierra today, around 1:00PM Eastern time. The update is free to Mac owners, and includes a number of great new features, including Siri, new Continuity features, and Apple Pay on the Web. The guide below will share a few tips on how to prepare for the big upgrade.
Make Sure Your Mac is Compatible With Sierra
Most Macs made in 2009 or after will be compatible with mcOS Sierra, however, not all of those compatible Macs will be able to handle all of the new features.
If you have any of the following Macs, you can install macOS Sierra:
- MacBook (Late 2009 or newer)
- MacBook Pro (Mid 2010 or newer)
- MacBook Air (Late 2010 or newer)
- Mac mini (Mid 2010 or newer)
- iMac (Late 2009 or newer)
- Mac Pro (Mid 2010 or newer)
In order to support ALL of the new features in macOS Sierra, such as: Handoff, Auto Unlock, Siri, Apple Pay on the Web, Continuity features, and more, your Mac will have to be a 2012 or newer model. (And you’ll also need an Apple Watch running watchOS 3, if you want to make use of Apple Pay on the web, or Auto Unlock.)
The following model Macs will support all of the above features:
- MacBook (Early 2015 or newer)
- MacBook Pro (2012 or newer)
- MacBook Air (2012 or newer)
- Mac mini (2012 or newer)
- iMac (2012 or newer)
- Mac Pro (Late 2013)
Note: For some of the Continuity features, and Apple Pay; you’ll also need an iPhone 6 or newer, running iOS 10.
System Requirements for macOS Sierra:
- A Mac running OS X 10.7.5 or later
- At least 2GB of RAM. (The more the merrier!)
- At least 20GB of available hard drive space. (More, if possible.)
- An Apple ID to use iTunes, iCloud, and the Mac App Store
Update All of Your Apps
Make sure you are running the latest version of your apps. Especially your important apps. In the case of mission critical apps you use every day, be sure to check with the developers of the apps to make sure they are compatible with Sierra. You don’t want to update to the new OS, and then find out an app you use every day for your job won’t work any more. (We have only run into one app that doesn’t work with Sierra, and that app hasn’t been updated since 2012. But, we did use it every day. Luckily, we found a substitute app that works just as well.)
For apps you downloaded from the Mac App Store, simply launch the Mac App Store app, and click the “Updates” tab. Any apps with available updates will show up here. Just click the “Update All” button to update them en masse.
Third-party apps downloaded and installed from somewhere other than the Mac App Store will require a visit to the app developer’s website, or many apps have a built-in “Check for Updates” option built-in to their menus somewhere.
Check Your Hard Drive Storage Space
Make sure to have at least 20GB of available hard drive space before attempting to install macOS Sierra. While it won’t take up that much more room following the upgrade, it will need the extra disk space for elbow room during the installation. The more hard drive space you have available, the better. So clear out files you don’t need. Preferably by moving them to an external hard drive or a flash drive. That way if you need the files later, you’ll have them at the ready.
This is a perfect time to do some hard drive housekeeping. Get rid of those old apps you haven’t used in forever, or offload your downloads folder. Empty your Trash too. The Mac’s trash, not the can under your desk. Although you really should do something about that too. There isn’t any room under there for your feet!
Backup! Backup! Backup!
Make sure to have a recent backup of your Mac’s hard drive. Of course, you’re already doing this, right? Right?
While the update of macOS Sierra should be a trouble-free affair, stuff happens. So, make sure to have a recent backup of your Mac on an external hard drive. Mac OS X’s built-in Time Machine app is perfect for this.
macOS Sierra should be available at 1:00PM Eastern time, today, Tuesday, September 20. There might be a slight delay, so check back later if it isn’t showing up. Also, you might consider holding off a few days before updating, just to allow all the early adopters to install the upgrade and find any critical issues that Apple might have missed during the beta testing period. Plus, if you try to update at the stroke of 1PM, you’ll find that everyone else is updating too, and things are going to be s-l-o-o-o-o-o-o-w! This upgrade is NOT something you want to try to squeeze in during your lunch hour.
macOS Sierra includes a number of new features that are going to make life easier for Mac users. Especially those users who own a later-model Mac. Have fun with the new operating system, and let us know what you think of it. We love it so far, especially the Auto Unlock, and copy-and-paste between devices features.