With the announcement of a new macOS version, you might be wondering whether a Mac you might own will support it. Is your Mac friendly to Big Sur?
Just like there is pretty much every year, there’s a change on the way for people who own a Mac.
Operating system updates and changes are mostly a yearly thing these days, and while Windows 10 has largely been “Windows 10” for a number of years now, Apple’s macOS goes through large updates in a typically annual fashion.
In 2016 it was renamed from OS X to macOS with version 10.12 becoming “Sierra”, with 2017 being macOS 10.13 “High Sierra”, 2018 revealing macOS 10.14 Mojave, 2019 seeing macOS 10.15 “Catalina”, and this year Apple is making the jump to 10.16 “Big Sur”.
New features for the Big Sur-named operating system update will include a tighter design that more closely resembles what you might expect on the iPhone and iPad, not to mention improvements to Safari, Maps, Messages, and support for more of those iOS-connected Catalyst apps, given there are so few at present.
But before you get excited about what Big Sur will bring when it launches later in the year, you might want to first work out whether your Mac will get it at all.
So which Macs will support it?
Will my Mac run macOS 10.16 Big Sur?
Depending on how old your Mac is, you might find it’s not capable of running the new version of macOS, with Apple more or less setting the cut-off date for Macs from before 2013.
That means computers over seven years old probably will stop at their current release, beyond the occasional patch and security update that Apple may still release it for.
It does mean that if you have the super-slim MacBook from 2015 onwards, a MacBook Pro from 2013 onwards, or a MacBook Air from 2013 onwards, you should be fine on the laptop side of things. Over in the world of desktops, the iMac from 2014 onwards is safe, as is the iMac Pro (because it was first released in 2017). Apple’s other desktops include the Mac Mini from 2014 onwards and the MacPro from 2013 onwards, and both of these are supported.
But if you have computers from before these times, don’t expect macOS Big Sur to play nicely. It won’t install or download to your Mac if your machine is too old.
What if my Mac is too old for Big Sur?
If your Mac is just a little too old for Big Sur, you’ll likely be stuck at 10.15 Catalina, or whatever the latest version of your Mac operating system was.
That’s not a major issue, at least not now, though it does mean if you want the updates Apple is preparing for its new operating system, you’ll need to upgrade your Mac to a newer model later on.
Older Macs with older operating systems can still be totally fine, mind you, so an upgrade may not be a totally necessary or required thing right now, and you shouldn’t need to rush out and buy simply because Big Sur isn’t coming to your Mac.