With every new update of OS X, questions and doubts pop up about whether or not your Mac can run the new version, how you can install it, and whether or not your current applications are compatible.
OS X 10.9 Mavericks has some interesting new features, like Maps for accessing Apple Maps, iBooks for buying and reading ebooks from the Apple Store, tabs and labels in Finder, and, probably most importantly, improvements to performance and stability.
As usual (at least since OS X 10.7 Lion), Mavericks is installed from the Mac App Store, Apple’s App Store for OS X. You’ll already have your own Apple account, which you can use in this store and in the App Store to buy apps for iOS (iPhone, iPad and iPod touch).
Not all Macs can install OS X Mavericks. In terms of software, installing Mavericks requires your Mac to be running OS X 10.6.8 Snow Leopard at the very least. At a hardware level, the following devices are compatible:
- iMac (mid-2007 model or later)
- MacBook (late 2008 aluminum model, or early 2009 or later)
- MacBook Air (late 2008 model or later)
- MacBook Pro (mid/late 2007 model or later)
- Mac mini (early 2009 model or later)
- Mac Pro (early 2008 model or later)
- Xserve (early 2009 model)
Additionally, there are other requirements to fulfill. Obviously, you’ll need an internet connection to access the app store and download the installer. The last version of OS X also called for 2 GB of RAM and 8 GB of available space, so keep these requirements in mind as they’re probably relevant this time around too.
Tips before upgrading
Once you’ve made sure your Mac meets the requirements to run OS X Mavericks, there are some things to think about before deciding if upgrading is the best option for you.
Are the apps you use daily compatible? Check out the author’s website, or RoaringApps, a page updated daily by users. If you downloaded the application from the Mac App Store, it’s pretty likely to be supported. But check first! On the other hand, if you need an application that isn’t compatible but you really want to upgrade to Mavericks, you can find alternatives while you wait for an update that brings your app up to scratch.
Are the peripherals you use compatible? Although Macs come very well equipped, you may use additional hardware, like external hard drives, scanners, printers, graphics tablets, etc. Make sure your model is compatible with Mavericks by checking the manufacturer’s website.
Backup. Backup. Shall we say it again? Backup! First of all, make sure that you’ve properly configured iCloud, the data synchronization service from Apple. Secondly, do another backup with Time Machine just in case: if the installation doesn’t end well, you can always go back without losing important data. If all goes well, Mavericks will update your version of OS X while keeping the setup and files that you have at the time of updating.
Is your hard drive in good condition? You’d have to be really unlucky to have a problem with your disk while updating, but just to be sure, it wouldn’t hurt to go to Disk Utility and analyze the disk and permissions.
Try to make sure the version of OS X you’re using at the time of the upgrade is updated.
Take all of these factors into account before upgrading to OS X Mavericks. Normally, the process goes smoothly, but you can definitely take a few steps to safeguard the operation. You might find that if you want to update as soon as the launch is released, you’ll have trouble downloading the installer due to server overload, but the problem will be resolved within a few hours.