MacOS Sierra - Should you upgrade?

On September 20th 2016, Apple released its latest operating system MacOS Sierra 10.12, dropping the ‘OS X’ moniker in favour of ‘MacOS’, bringing the naming scheme inline with the pre-existing tvOS and iOS. 

Apple is heavily pushing its existing userbase to download MacOS Sierra, to the point of automatically downloading the installer in the background, even if your machine cannot support it. 

From OS X 10.8.5 to 10.11.6, the hardware requirements for the OS had remained unchanged. MacOS 10.12 breaks with tradition, finally dropping support for older models. The models it does support, however, may not benefit from an upgrade.

If you have a machine from 2010 onwards that supports the new MacOS, you may only have 4GB of memory. While this is technically sufficient to run Sierra, it will do so very slowly, and may end up being slower than earlier versions of OS X due to Sierra’s increased usage of system resources.

If you have a Mac with only 4GB of memory, if you’re lucky, you can simply upgrade the memory and install MacOS Sierra without further worry. However machines like the MacBook Air cannot be upgraded as the memory is soldered to the logic board in order to keep the machine as small and light as possible. At this point, it may be worth considering the purchase of a newer machine.

If your machine cannot be upgraded, or you’re not interested and simply wish to reclaim 5GB of disk space, you can delete the OS Sierra Installer from your Applications folder without issue.

To stop the installer from being re-downloaded, open System Preferences and untick ‘Download newly available updates in the background’ and ‘Install MacOS updates’. If desired, you can untick ‘Automatically check for updates’, however, you need to be aware that if any security updates become available, these will not be downloaded or installed unless you choose to.

Currently there are no Applications that are restricted to MacOS Sierra, so you’ll be fine on OS X 10.11 if you choose not to upgrade.

If you’re unsure about any aspect of the upgrade, or want advice & assistance with memory & drive space upgrades for your machine, please don’t hesitate to call us on 01273 358 100 - our iSOS technicians would love to hear from you.