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How do I update my old Mac to the newest OS

Desktop operating systems have a long life. Unlike phones that seem to reach the end of their life fairly quickly when new software updates for them stop, desktop operating systems will continue to run for a much longer time on whichever system they’re installed on. This hold true for Windows and for macOS.


Update old Mac to newest OS

Apple is great when it comes to supporting older hardware for both its computers and phones. The iPhone 6S, which is a 6 year old model, can run the current version of iOS (iOS 15). In stark contrast,  many Android phones that are barely two years old have not received a single OS update since their release. The extended OS support holds true for Macs; iMacs, MacBooks, and Mac Minis. You will find that plenty of old models can run the latest version of macOS.

Find compatibility 

The current version of macOS is macOS 12.1. It’s called Monterey and it is compatible with a large number of Mac models. You can find the complete compatible Macs list here.

To find which model you have, follow these steps.

  1. Click the Apple icon on the menu bar (it is omnipresent regardless which app is selected).
  2. Select About this Mac from the menu.
  3. The first line of specs will tell you the model your Mac is.

How to update old Mac to newest OS

When you update an old Mac, you normally update it to the newest/latest version. You do not have to install all the version in between that you’ve skipped.

  1. Open System Preferences.
  2. Select Software Update.
  3. Allow the app to check if an update is available.
  4. Once the newest update is detected, click Update Now.
  5. The update will be downloaded and you will be prompted to install it.

Mac updates do not start autonomously. You will need to allow the update to install or it will remain downloaded on your system. 


If your Mac is no longer supported, you may be able to upgrade to a slightly older version of macOS. The older version will show up when you check for updates. As for forcing the system to update to a version that it is not compatible with, it may be possible however you’ll need to use some sort of hack to do so. Hacks are not Apple approved. They may work but they may interfere with how macOS works. Certain apps or features may not work. It can also cause the system be unstable. It’s best to get a new Mac. They last quite a few years and Apple doesn’t slow them down.

1 Comment

  1. Or you just use the OpenCore Legacy Patcher. I am running Monterey on my MacBook Pro Late 2012, and it runs smoother than Mohave.

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