How to Upgrade Your Computer: MacOS Edition

When was the last time you updated your Mac?

as new versions of Mac OS are released, you may want to take advantage of bug fixes, enhanced security, or new features that Apple introduces. Before rushing to upgrade your computer however, here are some things to consider and steps to take to ensure that your upgrade goes smoothly.

Computer Compatibility

Generally, Macs are known for their long life span. That said, older Macs may not be compatible with the latest version of the Mac operating system.

Is your machine compatible with the current version of Mac Os? Use this compatibility chart to find out about the latest OS version supported by your computer.

Even if your computer is technically compatible with a version of Mac, this doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a wise choice to upgrade. Consider the amount of ram in your machine. While 4 gigs of ram may suffice for an older version of Mac OS, a newer version will generally work better with a minimum of 8gb of ram.

Back Up Your Machine

While upgrading Mac OS is usually a straight forward and safe experience, you should always back your machine up first. Use an external hard drive to make a mirror image of your computer.

If the install fails, you can load your backup onto your machine and recover your data. Also, if the new update is incompatible with your favorite software, you can easily restore your old version from your backup.

On your Mac, you’ll find an app called Time Machine in your utilities folder. Use this to back up your data to an external drive. Choose either a manual or automatic backup from within this utility.

It’s also a good idea to create a bootable backup of your Mac to an external drive. Having two different backups of your Mac ensures that whatever happens, you can easily restore your previous version of Mac OS without losing functionality or data.

Use a free app like SuperDuper to create your bootable backup. This ap features a simple interface, so you don’t have to be tech savvy to perform the task.

Installing Mac OS

Before starting the update, shut down all utilities and apps. Then, go to the Mac App store from your applications folder or via the Apple menu. You’ll see the latest version of Mac OS available to download.

If you want an older version, you can search for it in the popup toolbar. Just click “get/install” and wait for the download to finish.

Alternately, you can download macos 11 from here when it becomes available.


In place install


Once the installer is downloaded, you’ll see a dialogue box which prompts you to begin the installation. In this instance, it will be a non-invasive, non-destructive, “in place” installation.

,This means that the installer will upgrade to the new version of Mac OS without destroying your files, folders, and apps. If you want this option, then click install to start the process.

Once you provide your password, your machine will restart in order for the OS to update. Once the installation is complete, you will end up at your log-in screen. Log into your computer as usual, and enjoy your update

Clean Install

If you want to wipe your machine and start from scratch with a fresh install of Mac OS, opt for a clean install. Before you start this installation, double-check that your computer’s backup was successful. This installation will erase everything onboard.

To begin a clean install, go back to your download of Mac OS. Instead of clicking install, simply close the dialogue box.

Open your applications folder and find an app labeled “install Mac OS” followed by the name of your preferred OS version.

Prior to your clean install, you’ll want to create a bootable installer drive. You can use a free utility like Install Disk Creator to automatically create and format this drive.

After you’ve created your bootable Mac OS install drive, you’re finally ready to do your clean install. Keep the drive connected to your Mac, and choose restart from the Apple menu.

As soon as your Mac restarts, navigate to the startup manager. Select your bootable Mac OS installer from this menu. Once the Mac OS installer loads, select your country and language.

You should see four options in the next window. First, select the option called “disk utility.” Once in disk utility, select your Mac’s main volume, which is normally “Macintosh hd”, and click erase. This action cannot be undone, so be sure that everything you need is thoroughly backed up.

Once you select erase, a window will pop up where you can rename your new volume. This window also prompts you to choose a format for the volume. Make sure the format is set to OS X

Extended (Journaled).

Finally, select erase and follow the progress as this task is completed.

Once the process finishes, select done. Then, quit the disk utility application.

Now choose install Mac OS. After accepting the software license agreement, choose the new volume you just created from the drop-down list of available volumes, and click install.

Your Mac will restart once everything has been transferred over to the volume you selected. Soon after, you’ll be brought to the Mac OS setup assistant.

Importing Data From Your Old OS

While you can choose to import data from a Time Machine backup during the setup process of this brand new instance of Mac OS, it’s recommended that you not transfer any data at this time. Once you have explored the new version of Mac OS, you can always use the Migration Assistant in utilities to transfer data from your Time machine backup.

After completing the steps in the setup assistant, you’ll be logged into your Mac.

Ready to Upgrade Your Computer?

Now that you know how to upgrade your computer, your Mac can run more smoothly and efficiently.

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