How to prepare your Mac for macOS Sierra

By , Sep 19, 2016

wwdc 2016 macos sierra

Apple officially launches macOS Sierra to the public on September 20th, and that means you should probably start preparing your Mac for the upgrade so everything goes as smoothly as possible on launch day.

In this piece, we’ll talk about why and how you can prepare your Mac for installing macOS Sierra so you can avoid hiccups and the frustration of error messages.

If you’re upgrading to macOS Sierra, follow the list of steps below to make sure your Mac is ready for the upgrade:

1. Make sure you have a compatible Mac

Apple has done a wonderful job keeping support for a lot of older Macs with the macOS Sierra release, but before you get all excited about the new features (like Siri) coming to your desktop, you should first make sure your Mac is compatible.

According to Apple’s website, the list of Macs that will run macOS Sierra include:

  • Late 2009 and newer MacBook
  • Late 2009 and newer iMac
  • 2010 and newer MacBook Air
  • 2010 and newer MacBook Pro
  • 2010 and newer Mac Mini
  • 2010 and newer Mac Pro

Unfortunately, if you’re running any older kind of Mac, you will be unable to install macOS Sierra.

2. Back up your system

Although Apple’s software updates for the Mac typically go very smoothly for consumers, you should never discount the risk of a hiccup; things just tend to happen.

It’s a good idea to back up your Mac through Time Machine to make sure you have all of your files and settings ready in the unlikely scenario that you end up having to restore your Mac to its factory settings because of a software glitch.

Seriously, don’t think these things can’t happen just because it’s never happened to you before. iOS 10 was supposed to be a smooth upgrade, but Apple managed to goof up a few people’s devices, forcing those users to restore them (hopefully they followed our advice and backed up their data first).

3. Know your Apple ID credentials

Your Mac will probably ask you for your Apple ID after it’s finished being updated so your iCloud settings can be updated for the macOS Sierra installation. As a result, it’s a good idea to know your Apple ID login credentials. If you don’t, you’ll be delaying the installation completion process.

If you forgot your login details, you should follow the iForgot form instructions to re-claim your Apple ID so you’re ready when the time comes.

4. Connect to a reliable network

Almost all Macs have Wi-Fi capabilities built into them, but Apple stopped building Ethernet ports into the side of their notebook computers ages ago.

If you will be using a hardware connection to download macOS Sierra, then kudos to you. That’s going to provide you a nice and reliable server-to-host download experience.

On the other hand, if you’re using a Wi-Fi network to download macOS Sierra, make sure it’s a reliable one. If it’s your home network, then you’re probably in good shape, but if you’re downloading from public Wi-Fi, be wary of download speeds, data caps, and your personal security.

Public Wi-Fi networks tend to limit bandwidth so the network can remain zippy for everyone. Moreover, insecure Wi-Fi networks open you up to potential security vulnerabilities, so I wouldn’t recommend going to your local donut shop and downloading macOS Sierra there. You’d be better off using your home Wi-Fi network or visiting a trustworthy friend’s house for the download.

5. Get ready for delays

Every year Apple’s servers get ready to take on a heaping load of demand from all of their computer users who are eager to have the latest and greatest software update on their Mac.

With this in mind, you can expect that download speeds could be a little slow because there’s only so much bandwidth and everyone’s trying to download it at the same time.

Depending on how bad the download speeds are, prepare to re-schedule your download and install for a later time in the day, especially if you’re busy at work and don’t have the means to constantly restart the download from the Mac App Store when it times out.

Related: How to prepare for your iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus

Are you excited to get macOS Sierra on your Mac on launch day? Share in the comments below.

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  • NanamiAsuri

    I have a 2010 MacBook Pro

    • Agneev Mukherjee

      7 years of support?!… Not good for a computer that’s worth 7 years of savings…

      • pg_72

        I’ve never had a PC laptop last for 7 years…if a MacBook lasts and is still relevant for 7 years after purchase, I think that’s damn good.

      • Agneev Mukherjee

        Dude, not to brag… but I’ve been using these since I had baby tooth though they’re pretty solid now. I honestly think that  should provide at least a decade of support…

      • Singhal

        Support will remain for a long time.
        Its not necessary that the latest OS needs to be updated on the older macs. Current OS is very powerful. Unlike windows- where old specs computer have been miserable in WINDOWS10 update.

      • Jose Rivera

        I feel the same about their computers. At least now that they have decent specs for home computers, they should support the aluminum models for at least 10 years from its introduction. Then again I can see why they’d do this because some processors are just too slow to be used on such a demanding OS.

    • Ezekie1

      yeah me too. , it’ll be time to upgrade soon.

  • diggitydang

    I always wonder about how updates on one system affects others, especially now that Apple OS’s start to blend and work together. So, if I update to Sierra, which will update my iTunes, how does that affect my JB iPhone? I have heard about some sync issues with the newest Apple Music (given the big overhaul) which I use throughout the Apple Ecosystem. But I want to keep my jailbreak.

    • e brake

      Hardware components is a key to limit OS compatibility

  • Agneev Mukherjee

    Can I download it from elsewhere other than the Mac App Store? My download speed is <200kbps, so it'll keep stopping…

    • Joaquim N.

      Just use a download manager or get it on through torrent.

  • Ahmed Faiz

    Do people on GM Version public beta also get a official update as there is already a new GM build for Devs !

  • Sailor_V90

    Well, I don’t expect the server to be slammed like it was for iOS 10 (here’s to hoping anyway). However, will you guys do an article about doing a fresh install?

    • Al Fresco

      Yeah I hope they do an article about creating a bootable USB Install-Disk. I’ve had my rMBP since 2012 and have only upgraded since then (Mavericks maybe?). I’d like to do a fresh install now and then bring in only the apps and files that I want, while keeping the rest on an external HD.

      • Sailor_V90

        Absolutely, I’m the same way. Doing a fresh install makes your computer feel new almost. Yeah I can’t remember how to make a bootable drive either lol

  • e brake

    Nice. Can’t wait !!

  • Barry Marshall

    I usually wait to update. Seems there is always something that they forgot or missed in the beta testing.

  • mindskap

    Oh yeah!!! 😀

  • Adrian

    RIP to my early 09′ MacMini! Looks like I’ll be running El Capitan for the rest of its life.

  • Juan Paolo

    Should i update my macbook pro early 2015 osx yosemite to sierra? btw i have some pirated apps

  • Jack Bruienne

    Sierra came out an hour ago, are you preparing an article on it?