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Why You Should Upgrade (On Your Own Terms)

We’re heading into Apple’s annual upgrade season again, with the upcoming releases of OS X 10.11 El Capitan, iOS 9, and watchOS 2, along with innumerable associated apps. Every upgrade is touted as the next best thing, teasing us with hot new features and promising improved performance, reliability, and security.

Unfortunately, these constant upgrades fill many people with dread, or if that’s overstating the case, with weary resignation. As the saying goes, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, but most changes foisted on us by technology companies are no longer aimed at fixing bugs or making everyday usage easier. Bugs are fixed, certainly, and security vulnerabilities blocked, but those under-the-hood improvements are part and parcel with checklist features from the perky twenty-somethings in Marketing and whatever visual tweaks were deemed trendy by the hipsters in Design.

I know many of you are tempted to scream, “Stop this bus! I want to get off!” And many people did just that some years back when the misbegotten OS X 10.7 Lion was on offer — there’s a vocal group still happily (or at least defensively) using 10.6 Snow Leopard. There’s probably still a set of iOS 6 users holding out against the flat look of iOS 7 and iOS 8 too. None of you are wrong. You may be merely postponing a world of upgrade hurt, but you’re not wrong.

Here’s why, and this is the great chasm that separates Silicon Valley from the real world: different is not better. For many, different is by definition worse. We are finite beings, living finite lives. We should never turn down an opportunity to learn — that’s the secret to eternal youth — but there’s a distinction between learning more about our role in the universe and figuring out where some previously obvious interface control has been hidden. iTunes updates alone over the past few years may have cost society millions of wasted hours.

Plus, we become attached to the things in our lives. We build relationships, not just with people, but with our environments. I’m no psychologist, but the emotion I most commonly see in response to changes forced on users by the tech industry is anger. How would you react if you got in your car one day and all the buttons were in a different layout, with dark grey on black labels? “That’s the new look,” you’re told, “You’ll love it. In addition, your gas mileage is now 10 percent better and hackers can no longer take control of your car remotely. Oh, and we’ve decided that the steering wheel should be polished aluminum and the brake pedal should move a few inches to the left so it lines up better visually. Really, you’ll love it.” Sure, all that might happen if you buy a new car, but that’s your decision. When you have little or no choice but to accept unwanted changes, a bout of anger is entirely understandable.

The reason all this is happening is that your opinions don’t matter once you’re a customer. The tech giants are competing purely for new customers, and doing so with features and interfaces that cause those moving from a crusty PC or a flip-phone to go “Ooo, shiny!” But the real catch is that each one is trying to lure you into a closed ecosystem, and once you buy in, whether we’re talking about Apple, Microsoft, Google, or Amazon, you’ll be captive in a walled garden. Better hope the fruit is tasty, because it’s hard to scale the wall, and all that’s on the other side is another walled garden.

So yeah, I hear your frustration and I understand your anger. You’re not wrong. But, as much as it pains me to say this, you probably can’t opt out. You have to upgrade, and you have to do so at least semi-regularly, if any of the following would affect you:

  • New hardware is inevitable. Macs and even iOS devices can run for years, but eventually you’ll want or need to buy something new. That’s not inherently a problem — it can just be new — but the greater the generational difference, the harder it will be to bring old data and apps forward. I just heard from someone who is having trouble migrating his iPhoto library to Photos on a new Mac because he hadn’t kept up with iPhoto updates; hopefully the iPhoto Library Upgrader will do the trick.

  • Community knowledge and technology tools fade away. The iPhoto-to-Photos conversion story above is a perfect example of this problem — the guy in question had gone to an Apple Store for help, but wasn’t told about that older utility, and even I didn’t think about it until I was writing this article. I’ve also seen this happen with people who postpone switching away from Eudora — the longer you wait, the harder conversion utilities are to find and the less those of us who knew a lot about Eudora remember (that’s why I wrote “Converting Email from Eudora: Why I No Longer Live at the P.O.,” 6 September 2011). The more time passes, the harder the upgrade will be, perhaps even to the point of losing data in an unsupported program.

  • No Mac is an island. Actually at this point, it’s far more likely that someone would have an iPhone but not a Mac, or any other computer at all. But if you do have multiple devices, keeping them working together fluidly often requires upgrading them all regularly. And a single decision can lead to a chain reaction of upgrades. Imagine that you have an iMac running 10.6 Snow Leopard and an iPhone 4S with iOS 6, and you receive an Apple Watch as a gift. Suddenly you need to buy a new iPhone running iOS 8, and you’ll need to upgrade at least iTunes, and likely jump from 10.6 Snow Leopard to 10.10 Yosemite to take advantage of iCloud (which requires at least 10.7.2 Lion — I wrote about this catch nearly four years ago in “Apple’s Planned Obsolescence Schedule,” 2 November 2011).

  • New and upgraded apps stop being available. This isn’t obvious to normal users, but Apple introduces new and highly attractive options for developers with every new operating system. That’s great, but puts developers in the uncomfortable position of having to maintain both old and new code to retain backward compatibility. Keeping apps compatible with older operating systems is a difficult business decision, particularly for a small developer. So getting off the upgrade bus can prevent you from taking advantage not just of new apps, but also of useful upgrades to apps you already rely on. (This is why we always list the minimum operating system requirements in TidBITS Watchlist articles about Mac app updates.)

  • Security vulnerabilities remain unpatched. Apple continues to release security updates for two operating system versions before the current one, but pushes the last one off the bus with every upgrade. So, 10.8 Mountain Lion users, prepare to tuck and roll with the release of OS X 10.11 El Capitan, since you’ll never see another security update. Personally, even though my security-conscious friends might disagree with me, I think the danger of running older versions of OS X is overrated. Yes, older, unpatched systems are vulnerable to known exploits. But at least in the Mac world, they’re also in the minority and are thus less likely to be targeted by evil software than more common operating system versions.

  • Technology makes life better. This is the kicker — alongside the nonstop releases of worthless upgrades that add pointless features or revamp an interface just to look hip, there are technological advances that truly improve our lives. We would be far poorer without today’s Macs, iPhones, and iPads. And it’s equally hard to imagine life without Google’s search engine, without Amazon’s massive online store, without Netflix’s vast library of TV and movies, without Facebook for bringing friends and families closer, without Skype video calls to far-flung relatives, without PayPal’s easy online payments, and goodness knows what else. For better or worse, constant change is implicit in the tech world, and opting out of upgrades makes it hard to benefit from the life-changing bits.

I’m not saying that you should drop everything to upgrade as soon as Software Update alerts you to the latest and greatest. In fact, apart from certain security-related updates that would be good to get sooner rather than later, I think waiting a decent amount of time before upgrading makes a ton of sense. Immediate upgrades are for those of us whose business revolves around the latest details — we’re the penguins diving off the ice floe first so the rest of you can jump in without worrying about leopard seals. Wait a bit after a major upgrade, and for a minor update or two to address bugs that became obvious only after widespread public release. We may have early-bird releases of “Take Control of Upgrading to El Capitan” and “El Capitan: A Take Control Crash Course” available now, with updates planed for El Capitan’s release day, but we also continue to refine those books after launch.

So wait if you want, but don’t wait too long. Community knowledge doesn’t go back that far any more — there’s just too much to know, and too many facts that quickly stop being relevant. Options disappear too — drag your feet on upgrading to the mature Yosemite now, and in a month or so, Apple will replace it with El Capitan, and you won’t be able to download a fresh copy of Yosemite, just as you can no longer get a new copy of Mavericks from the Mac App Store. (And yes, people are still getting “Take Control of Upgrading to Yosemite” for just this reason.)

In short, take a deep breath, relax, and go with the upgrades. But do so intentionally, and on your own terms.


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Comments about Why You Should Upgrade (On Your Own Terms)
(Comments are closed.)

Adam Bell  2015-09-04 19:59
I make four comments:

1) I was one of those who, after owning Eudora since it was shareware from Steve Dorner at the U of Illinois, and delayed switching to Mail. When I did, however, I continued to use POP3 and configured Mail and its rules (to the extent possible) to behave like Eudora.

2) I update my iPad fairly promptly, but delay updating my wife's until I'm really sure there are no glitches. She is very intolerant of glitches, I just deal with them.

3) Each new system comes with a new and "improved" version of Safari. Of late, they've been anything but improvements.

4) I'm an AppleScripter. Somehow they manage to bugger up AppleScript with each evolution.
JohnB (SciFiOne)   2015-09-04 22:29
"Technology makes life better." Only if it makes existing tasks easier. When I wrote my own apps, I made sure to not do more than I was already doing, and to do that more efficiently. Then I would add a feature if I needed it.

"New and upgraded apps stop being available." Sort of yes - when I upgraded to 10.10 the apps I needed would no longer run, new ones were not available, and I had to revert 10.9.

"New hardware is inevitable." Yup. After 50 years using computers, I try to use platform independent apps. I did finally have to give up on doing Vector Drawings though. The apps I considered good are no longer available on the Mac. I still have two old machines in case I need to export a Canvas file. But the MacDraw and ClarisDraw files are dead.
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2015-09-05 08:06
I think your comment about existing tasks is an important point. Technology very often does NOT make existing tasks better because those who have spent time thinking about their existing tasks have already done everything they can to make them as efficient and enjoyable as possible. Other people's solutions to those same tasks will seldom be as good.

That applies to features as well. Apple introduced Launchpad to the Mac to mimic iOS, and perhaps people use it, though I've never seen it used in the wild. That's likely because everyone I know has been using the Mac for ages and figured out their preferred method of launching apps long ago, so Launchpad offered nothing new. But if you just started using the Mac, perhaps it's a useful option. (Nah, not really, just use LaunchBar. :-))
Errol  An apple icon for a TidBITS Benefactor 2015-09-09 05:26
Discovered Launchpad about a year ago and now use it a lot for all those apps you can't or don't want to put in the Dock. From Launchpad just start typing and it will come up with suggestions then arrow left or right to choose - very quick.
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2015-09-09 10:09
Or just use LaunchBar (or Alfred or QuickSilver, all of which have been around for many years) for an even more efficient type-to-launch experience. :-)
Eric Welch  2015-09-09 12:12
Or even better, Alfred! :)
Michael E. Cohen  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2015-09-09 18:25
I use LaunchBar and I use Launchpad. The latter is great when I'm at someone else's machine helping them do something.
Michael Paine  2015-09-05 00:19
I upgrade osx one device at a time. I check that apps still work - in particular Mail Steward that archives emails, going back decades and Dosbox that runs ancient but brilliant DOS apps (before they were called apps) Not sure what i will do if they don't run in El Capitan!
JohnB (SciFiOne)   2015-09-06 12:50
I don't have the same apps on all the devices, otherwise YES!
David Blangstrup  2015-09-05 02:13
You are just oldfashioned.
Don MUNRO  2015-09-07 21:28
I think 'old-fashioned' is actually a compliment (='wise')
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2015-09-08 11:41
Hey, I still remember having disks from Elephant Memory Systems!
Sherman Wilcox  2015-09-08 23:44
My first computer was an Osborne. What were they, 90k floppies?
David Blangstrup  2015-09-09 03:15
This page is still html 4.01 transitional and I bet will continue to be so after all the internet has moved to html5 because 'don't fix what is not broken'. ;)
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2015-09-09 10:07
Our current Web design is slated for replacement. :-)
Michel Hedley  2015-09-05 03:22
Great analysis of the state of consumer computing today. I am very happy to upgrade but so often now the interface as an example is worse than what it is replacing. I wonder if these designers actually use their designs. Now that I hear generation I complaining about usability of apps I know there is something going wrong.
Dave Price  2015-09-05 10:04
Yes, the annual upgrade cycle can be tiresome. I liked the days when upgrades were released when the new stuff was ready to be released, not because there was an arbitrary release schedule that had to be adhered to. 'It's ready when it's ready.' should be the mantra.

And Adam -- you were right on about the design of the interface for design's sake. Jonny Ive has a lot of good ideas but some things are over the top. What happened to focus group testing?
David  An apple icon for a TidBITS Contributor 2015-09-07 14:26
I liked the days when upgrades were released when the new stuff was ready to be released

Uh, when were those days?
Josh Centers  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2015-09-07 14:34
I think he means before major OS X updates rolled out every fall. Now it can feel like Apple is updating OS X, whether it's time for an update or not.
Dennis B. Swaney  2015-09-08 10:36
Jony Ive is a good HARDWARE designer but he sucks as a software designer.
Alan Ralph  2015-09-05 10:21
I currently have a 2011 iMac running OS X 10.10, and a 3rd-generation iPad and iPhone 4S, both running iOS 8.4.1. I was actually surprised to hear that iOS 9 will support both of my iDevices - but I'll wait a while to see feedback on how well it *actually* works before I take the plunge. Likewise, I can probably wait on El Capitan, as I don't currently have any tasks or projects that require it. Most of the apps I regularly use are already updated, or will be updated in due course, to be compatible. I'm also mindful of the fact that upgrading to Yosemite last year took a *long* time.

The one instance where I did jump the gun on upgrading was back when I was still running XP on a PC, and got the chance to try out the preview version of Windows 7. I can honestly say that that was the best upgrade decision I ever made. Still have a Win 7 VM on my Mac today (thanks to Parallels 11), which I cloned so I can tire-kick Windows 10 - but that's another story...
I treat OSX as a device like the iPhone - you get what you get. And you should never get it till there's at least one bug fix release. I hate to invoke the beast, but this is a bit better on the Windows side. It's so moddable that you can easily bring Windows 10, 8.1, or 8.0 back to being Windows 7+ (and even have less spying) using programs like Start8. But wait for bug fixes definitely applies there too. 10 isn't fully baked.
Openreels  An apple icon for a TidBITS Contributor 2015-09-07 21:55
Hell, I still have an XP virtual machine running on Parallels. It does what I need it to do!
JohnB (SciFiOne)   2015-09-06 12:55
Overall, it one of the best and most enjoyable TidBITs articles ever.

"In short, take a deep breath, relax, and go with the upgrades. But do so intentionally, and on your own terms. "

Is is possible to download and make an installer "disk" of the latest 10.10.x so I can just do it when I feel like it?

(I long for the days when I just could buy it and save it till I was ready.)
JohnB (SciFiOne)   2015-09-07 01:49
Thanks. I did a search earlier today and found the same article. Tomorrow's project....
Benjamin Lowengard  2015-09-07 06:45
The Telephone hardly changed at all in 70 something years...handset- receiver - dial - buttons for different lines - sue there were overly complicated phones (I recall having a dial phone in my kitchen and one my 20 year old daughters friends didn't know how to use it -15 years ago! yipes) until the "digitalpart" came online. Likewise with TV. So sad when a technology is ditched for another (better?) technology. How odd that Record Players are popular- although lots of parts (vinyl) are lying around.
Karen Kirtland  2015-09-07 18:40
Good observations all, but my primary complaint with annual upgrades is the sheer cost of all the other software I have to upgrade to keep up with the latest and greatest Apple software. The last upgrade I did to Mavericks cost me over $1,500 in new software that I have to have to run my business. I didn't even try to buy pricier items like Adobe Acrobat, and some of the programs simply weren't even available anymore. Other than safety, what could possibly be worth the upgrade and accompanying additional costs of the other software?
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2015-09-08 11:30
Upgrade costs are a very real problem, but they're an expense that will have to be born at some point, just as with physical objects that wear out and have to be replaced on a schedule. It's the cost of doing business, unfortunately.

My best recommendations here are to (a) try to budget for the need to upgrade - in other words, treat software as something that wears out over time or (b) try to make do with cheaper alternatives, such as PDFpen instead of Adobe Acrobat or iWork instead of Microsoft Office.

Obviously, yes, you can put off upgrading to save the cost of software upgrades, and that's a legitimate strategy as well, but it's important to realize that it's a delaying tactic that will save you the money for a year or two only. Eventually, you'll need new hardware or will require compatibility with something new, and that will force the upgrade. Better to have budgeted for the expense ahead of time than be surprised by it.
JohnB (SciFiOne)   2015-09-08 12:49
OpenOffice works well too if it has the file formats you want.
Bob Geary  2015-09-07 19:42
As I usually keep one upgrade behind, it is now time to move to Yosemite. I have reasons for not doing this till December, however will a free version of Yosemite be available in December?
Josh Centers  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2015-09-07 19:52
If you insist on that plan, I would download Yosemite now and make a bootable install drive of some sort. But from everything I've heard, El Capitan will work better than Yosemite.
Dennis B. Swaney  2015-09-08 10:48
I just "updated" to Mac OS 10.8! As for Security Updates, in this era of security breaches it is time for a law mandating that OS companies release Security Updates for their current major OS version and the 5 previous major OS versions. That means that Apple would cover Mac OS 10.6 through 10.11 while Microsoft would cover Windows 2000, XP, Vista, 7, 8, and 10.
Bryan Pietrzak  2015-09-08 20:47
Why 5?

Why not 6?
Why not 10?
Why not 2?

Why not a law that customers have to update to the latest OS the day it comes out?

Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2015-09-09 10:04
Interestingly, Chrome OS is updated silently (and non-optionally) every few weeks, and you don't hear many complaints about that. I presume that part of the reason is that Google isn't changing the user experience in a significant way as part of those updates.
Alec Kinnear  2015-09-07 21:06
Hi Adam,

I'm running Snow Leopard on three machines (just put Mountain Lion on one for Affinity Photo and some additional testing of our FV Player for WordPress). But for many years I've been running totally stable OS, while watching you and the TidBITS crew tearing your hair out over OS updates. Like you, I was a big Eudora user (probably the fastest mail client ever). The migration to Apple Mail was difficult but Mail on Snow Leopard is really a good, simple and resilient program. After using Keyboards Maestro to add back the key Eudora keyboard shortcuts, I'm almost as fast as with Eudora.

I've missed out on all that Apple Mail hell which Lion, Mountain Lion (early version), Mavericks and Yosemite have brought. Moreover, Mail in Snow Leopard is the last one which allows Letterbox to work with column view which is much faster for scanning. Productivity doubled by not updating.

Annual updates to break the OS are an embarrassment. Like Microsoft with Office. Worse over time.
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2015-09-08 11:37
To be clear, although we get tired of the annual updates as well, we never tear our hair out over OS updates; we're professionals and we do this stuff every day, so we're accustomed to constant change. It's extremely uncommon for one of us to lose significant work time to a problem.

Whenever we do experience one, however, we're likely to write about it to help everyone else out there whose jobs and lives don't revolve around figuring out the latest little trick or workaround.

That said, while you're obviously doing fine with your versions and that's great, I'd recommend being very aware that it can't last forever, and when the time comes to buy new hardware or you need iCloud or compatibility with the latest iOS, it will be pretty painful. And while it may not be a problem for your specific needs, apps like Keyboard Maestro now require Yosemite or later, so you won't be able to take advantage of any new capabilities there until such time as you're forced to upgrade. Though, of course, it's also free to sit and wait, as another commenter pointed out. :-)
Alec Kinnear  2015-09-08 18:50
Hi Adam,

I don't know if you've spent much time over at Lloyd Chambers Mac Performance Guide where he has examined core Apple rot very closely, from a professional perspective. As a former pro video director and editor and a keen photographer, I'm very interested in how Apple's OS and software stand up to pro use. The answer is not very well lately. Yes, one can work around issues. But why should we be working around issues when Snow Leopard is absolutely stable.

Keyboard Maestro is awesome software as is. What's great about Peter Lewis is that he codes so well that the older versions also continue to work.

Apple should take an example from developers like Peter. Compatible, stable, responsible.

iCloud is one of the worst software experiences I've read about lately. Indeed forced iOS updates are what originally put me off Apple devices (killed Netflix surround sound on an Apple TV which was then returned).
Bryan Pietrzak  2015-09-08 20:51
"is one of the worst software experiences I've read about..."

You only tend to hear from the 1% that complain on forums like this.

For the vast majority, it just works and you never hear from them. They don't even know what forums are :) I can think of at least a dozen family members that use various aspects of iCloud regularly and never complain about it. And as the extended family's IT guy, I tend to hear about things that don't work.
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2015-09-09 10:01
I know Lloyd from the DiskDoubler days, but don't follow his stuff much now, since I'm neither a pro photographer nor terribly interested in the utmost performance.

But I don't think the question is really about performance or stability for the most part - decent Macs running well-maintained systems are fast and stable with any version of the operating system. Sure, there may be specific problems, but those are usually particular to a certain person or are addressed before long.

For most people, the problem is that the upgrades don't offer sufficient under-the-hood benefits to outweigh the forced need to learn new ways of working or the seemingly random visual changes. People don't mind when software works better, but they do mind when they're told that how they work isn't correct.

As for iCloud, it isn't perfect, but for the most part it does what it claims to do. Whether that's what people want it to do is another story. :-)
Dominc Corrado  2015-09-14 23:49
Thank you for firing this shot across the bow. I've been a Mac, and by extension, an Apple fan since purchasing my Mac 128 (which still runs) just weeks after it hit the shelf. I always looked foward to upgrading my machines through the intervening years...that is until I crossed the Rubicon when I left 10.6.8 behind. Since then I rarely have an interaction with my Mac that doesn't set off a bout of Tourette's. I'm finding fewer and fewer reasons to love Apple. But are the alternatives any better? I'm certainly going to start looking laterally.
BruceJ  2015-09-08 00:52
I'm updating immediately to 10.11 for one thing: they've fixed that gawdawful bug in mail where you select a message, change the sort order, and your selected message vanishes to it's place in the list, instead of remaining centered in your window, and the rest of the mail sorted around it.
This Apple-Mail client comment is troubling, and I simply don't understand why this sort of thing is happening. That is, the Apple-Mail client has been around for how many years now? Why can't Apple software people make changes to the Apple-Mail client, which don't introduce nonsense, irritating problems like the one noted above? Do they not have a decent set of regression tests? Comments like the above make me very reluctant to make any OSX updates, although I know I will need to make an update, eventually. (I am currently running Mavericks, and want to stay with Mavericks as long as possible.)
David Krueger  2015-09-08 16:06
I am curious about what a rebuttal from one of your security-conscious friends would entail. Even though it would be less likely to be targeted, what steps would you suggest to harden 10.6.8 with its 49 known vulnerabilities?
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2015-09-08 16:12
I'll see if I can get Rich or Joe to chime in here. At a basic level, running a system that you know has exploitable vulnerabilities isn't the best of ideas, but how worried you should be about that depends greatly on your risk profile.

Regardless, if you're using such a system, you'd want to be more careful about visiting dodgy Web sites, downloading sketchy apps, opening email attachments from unknown senders, and so on.

As far as hardening goes, I imagine you could manually update some of the Unix underpinnings in OS X, but it would be difficult, and if you're not using them, there's probably little need.
Joe Kissell  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2015-09-08 16:20
Practically speaking, there's not much the average user can do to avoid security problems that require system-level patches. As Adam said, avoiding the bad neighborhoods on the web is a good idea, and of course upgrading whatever Apple or third-party software you can. My advice is always to keep your OSes up to date. It's the safest practice by far.
David Krueger  2015-09-08 16:36
Unfortunately, I have a 79 year old friend who refuses to upgrade from 10.6.8. At this point, I am not sure if he can even tell what is legit and what is dodgy. He recently took his iMac to the Apple store and they uninstalled Sophos, saying he didn’t need it. They also told him it was OK to be running 10.6.8. If Apple is doing this sort of thing, they must not be too concerned.
Rich Mogull  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2015-09-08 16:25
I always recommend running the current version of any OS. ALWAYS.

There are generally some very important features that don't get back ported, even if vulnerabilities are patched. I'm very much against telling people they can use older versions. Maybe hang on for a few weeks or months to one back rev, but never more than that if your hardware can support it. Every release of iOS and OSX and windows includes important security features, not just patches.
David Krueger  2015-09-08 16:58
Thank you all for the replies!
Jon Olson  2015-09-13 10:33
... if your hardware can support it...
How do you know if your 2009 4GB RAM Mac won't slow to a crawl because the hardware (4RAM) won't handle new OSX? Mine did that with Mavericks (I think that's why at least) and now I'm supposed to upgrade to Yosemite and later El Capitan?
Apple website says my 2009 4RAM can upgrade but my Apple Genius Bar (for a different problem) says my hardware won't handle it well especially if running many programs at once (basically what is happening in Mavericks now).
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2015-09-13 14:36
What Mac do you have? 4 GB of RAM is a bare minimum (and has been for years). Apple doesn't sell any Mac with less than 8 GB, and I would strongly recommend upgrading the RAM - it's cheap. Or put the money toward a new Mac - 6 years is a long run for any computer.

It's possible that the problem with Mavericks was RAM-related, but there are a vast number of other possibilities too.
Jon Olson  2015-09-22 01:02
iMac (desktop) 2009. Probably will keep computer for kids and get a souped up new 5K for myself after I decide if missing target display mode is something to wait for or not
JohnB (SciFiOne)   2015-09-08 18:45
That was interesting.

The Yosemite installer download was the slowest part. Copied the installer to the folder where I store other installer downloads. It gets backed up regularly. Made and installer disk on a partition and it test booted OK.

Thanks everyone.
Thanks for the prompt. I suddenly realized that the new version of iOS was probably going to go live today, and I hadn't updated to the most recent revision of iOS 8. I had been waiting, as you might guess, to see how stable that version is. I'm really looking forward to the possiblity of good quality ad blocking on iOS 9, but I'll wait for the first revision.
JohnB (SciFiOne)   2015-09-09 12:59
Well Said.

I did the same thing.
Michael Lever  2015-09-10 02:55
I am still using Snow Leopard on 3 iMacs for my business. I agree with the comment about the cost of third party software upgrades,, but I don't agree with the comment about the need to upgrade. Most software/app upgrades are overpriced and incorporate features that are not of interest to me; except to followers of fashion. As for not using Adobe Acrobat Pro that would be a backwards step for me. Another point overlooked in the OS release is the cost of upgrading peripheral hardware where the manufacturers have introduced new models and stopped providing update drivers for older models. In my caee, it has cost me approx £5000 to get a compatible machine for the latest OS but I still haven't upgrades from 10.6,8 because of the cost of the apps. For example, I use Indesign4 which is fine for my needs but I'd have to switch to Adobe's subscription which is ott for my purposes.

Regular OS updates are ok for consumers, but an expense that most businesses could do without and plenty do.
I can't begin to tell you how much I would pay for a button in the current Word to return me to Word 5.1a, all I ever needed or wanted: perfect!
Yep. I rarely upgrade on a regular basis because I read so much of how an upgrade messes things up... re: iTunes 12.x issues with playlists vs. iTunes 11.x... vs. iTunes 10.x....

My two most current Macs run either Snow Leopard or Mountain Lion and I continue to use them because I paid good money for them. Plus Snow Leopard was the last to come on DVD. I would more readily get an OSX upgrade it it were still be offered through DVD media or even on a flash drive. I hate downloading huge upgrades.

Lastly this is not only a Mac problem. I hate forced upgrades hurled upon users of websites such as Gmail, Flickr, LastFM and a host of others. As an older person using something that always work is our comfort zone and upgrading is just a pain especially if the features are not good or functionality of the old one is taken away because developers want something more flashy.

Very good article.
But When you downloaded earlier OSX from the Appstore, they will be available a long time in the Purchased tab: I am running Yosemite now, and MountainLion, and Mavericks are still available. Lion is gone now.
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2015-09-18 09:40
Yes, once you've gotten the update, the older ones generally stay available - it's another reason to at least get the update, even if you choose not to install it.

However, it's worth noting that this is not true with iOS versions. Once Apple releases a new version of iOS, they stop signing the older versions, thus preventing them from being installed, even in a restoration situation.