| Is it time for a new Mac?
I'm a firm believer in keeping hardware for as long as possible, rather than filling landfills with discarded computers. However, Mac hardware is quite expensive, rarely breaks (although it often needs software support), and still looks like new years after its original purchase. So, how do you know when it's time to replace your Mac?
The answer depends on whether your Mac can run
the most current version of the Mac Operating System (MacOS).
Basically, a Mac is safe to use on the internet as long as Apple issues security updates for it.
Once Apple is no longer issuing security updates for your OS, all bets are off
- if a hacker uncovers a security vulnerability that allows access to your Mac, Apple doesn't provide a solution.
Apple releases security updates for 2-3 years after introduction for each version of MacOS, so even if your Mac can no longer be updated to the latest version, you are OK for a few more years - then it's time to get a new machine.
To find out what version of MacOS you are currently running, and whether or not you can run the latest version,
click on the Apple menu at the upper left
, and chose "About This Mac". The window that pops up will tell you the year and model of your Mac and what version of MacOS you are on. With a few exceptions, you should always install the latest version of MacOS that will run on your system.
The following table shows Mac models by year and their corresponding maximum OS. My recommendation? If your Mac cannot be upgraded past El Capitan, it's time to replace it. If it cannot be upgraded past High Sierra, you should plan to replace it within 2-3 years. If it can be upgraded to Mojave, you are fine for a while!
|El Capitan (2015)
||High Sierra (2017)
- 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)
- iMac (Mid 2007 or newer)
- Mac Pro (Early 2008 or newer)
- Xserve (Early 2009)
- 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)
- MacBook (Early 2015 or newer)
- MacBook Air (Mid 2012 or newer)
- MacBook Pro (Mid 2012 or newer)
- Mac mini (Late 2012 or newer)
- iMac (Late 2012 or newer)
- iMac Pro (2017)
- Mac Pro (Late 2013, plus some mid 2010 and mid 2012 with Metal-capable GPU)