Apple consistently convinces users to upgrade OS X

“Unlike rival Microsoft, Apple has consistently been able to get a significant portion of its Mac customers to quickly upgrade to the newest version of OS X, data from a Web measurement company showed,” Gregg Keizer reports for Computerworld.

“The last three versions of Apple’s desktop operating system have been adopted at a rate almost three times that of the best-performing edition of Windows, 2009’s Windows 7,” Keizer reports. “Five months after its 2009 launch, Snow Leopard powered 32% of all Macs, while Lion and Mountain Lion, which debuted in 2011 and 2012, each accounted for 29% of all Mac machines by the end of their fifth month.”

Keizer reports, “That’s in contrast to Microsoft Windows, which has had varied success in the same time span: At the end of its fifth month, Windows 7 accounted for 11% of all Windows PCs, more than twice the 5% share of Vista two years earlier. Windows 8, which shipped in late October 2012, looks to be on the same usage uptake trajectory as Vista…”

Read more in the full article here.


  1. My Macs at home that can be upgraded to Mountain Lion have been. However my old but reliable MacBook Pro has no choice but to stay living with the older cat, Snow Leopard, and still runs with perfectly (purrrfectly?) acceptable performance.

    1. My Mac Mini and MacBook Air both run Mountain Lion. My MacBook Pro runs Snow Leopard (by choice, because I hate the AutoFill in Safari 5.1/6, and I spend a lot of time filling out forms). My Power Mac G5 still runs Leopard.

  2. The biggest reason for Apple’s success is that it makes great operating system upgrades at less than the quarter of the cost of any Microsoft upgrade. And Apple is more consistent with its features and interface making it easier for users to adapt. And Apple only has to flavors, user and server which makes that choice a no brainer as well.

    1. Plus with big changes, Apple usually figures out how to run your old apps for quite awhile before they have no choice but to move on. A nice thought to give you a chance to try the new stuff and start to find replacements for the old.

      1. .. and what about when there is no alternative for the old application ?

        People don’t only use applications to create current work. Applications also create files that need to be revisited at a later date. I create technical documentation and drawings when I build custom equipment. The equipment has an operational life in excess of twenty years, but the software used to design that equipment was orphaned four years ago. I cannot open those original files on any Intel Mac as no suitable software exists.

        1. Complaints should not be to Apple but to these app companies who are not keeping up! If Apple doesn’t move forward, we’d end up no different than Microsloth trying to make every small obsolete program still work.
          Our office used to keep one old Mac running (and they do run just about forever) just to run old obsolete apps until we could change things over ourselves. Do some research, maybe you can port the designs somehow. What Software was it?

  3. Pain. It is all pain to upgrade Windows vs a routine item with Mac OS X.

    I do all Mac upgrades, but only every other Windows upgrade at best and ONLY after WinX SP1 is out for awhile.

    1. Hmm… odd. My co-workers and I found Mountain Lion much less buggy and much faster in performance than plain Lion. Before I install anything I always check for and install any new Apple updates. Then I always run my repair permissions before and check upgrades on all the additional apps I loaded myself. If things are quirky I restart in Safe Boot, which dumps all old caches, and tweaks a few things, then I restart again. And I’ve never had a quirky upgrade.

      1. I upgraded from Lion and the experience was so unthinkably bad, I thought the upgrade went wrong and decided to format my MacBook Pro 15 and install Mountain Lion clean. I found to my horror that it was just as bad as before. Seriously, just browsing the web with Safari can beachball the whole system. Egregious!

        And we’re talking about a 2.2 Quad Core i7 with 16 GB RAM.

          1. Great shot at mockery! So it’s impossible and unthinkable for a person to have actual, real problems in Apple Land now? Go crawl under your bridge, troll!

            I do really live in a country with no Apple Stores, and have tried everything I could on my own, since people like you offer not just zero-help, but actually negative-help.

            1. Web browsing on a mid-2007 iMac is blazingly fast on Mountain Lion using Safari.

              Sounds like a hardware issue or a troll (not software-related).

              Look up the term “computer repair” in the phone book or an equivalent directory and get help. We can’t help you online here. It’s your hardware or you being a troll and we don’t have access to either of them.

            2. Sounds like you have some other issue here, failing hard drive is common on updates. I use Smartmon it has a way to tell if your HD is going to fail using S.M.A.R.T. Did you migrate your old data? Try going to prefs- user accounts, creating a new user and login to it and test. I found with updating clients to SSD drives that if it is badly defraged (files are not together in one continuos location) that it shows a progression bar when booting (like a firmware update). I have used Diskwarrior for forever to defrag, fix and diagnose faulty drives, my vote for best ever Apple application of all
              time. Although with SSDs there are new tool out there that are able to stress test your system. As for going to an Apple store, i had one client tell me that they were told that Macs did not need to use maintenance software. I use and encourage clients to use Onxy as it does a SMART check, a frag check and with one button “Automation” fixes permissions, all cache, shared files, runs unix maintenance script, so much for the knowledge of the kinder garden children at the Apple shop. All u need to get a job there is retail smile skills and a special communist language lesson ( true Apple retail shops make you use selected language).

          1. I’d have the machine looked at honestly. I’m running an Early-2011 MBP 13 inch and had no real problems with lion or mountain lion. SL was the best release imho but I have not had performance problems on my machine with the newer releases.

            You have better graphics on your device and twice the RAM I have. You shouldn’t have these issues. Seriously I’d have the machine looked at.

          2. Saldin, i have a macbook pro 13 inch i5’processor and 4 gig ram, and it is very fast and effortless, sounds to me your macbook pro with superior specs is a lemon, i would have it replaced or look at, must be a reason why its slow and have it rectified asap. You are missing out by not doing anything. Haul A$$

    2. You have something wrong with your mac, Mountain lion is faster, on every machine that we upgraded. (wide spectrum)
      Both day to day tasks (secy and admin) as well as graphics and 3D OGL.
      If you are close to an apple store drop buy and have them check your logs to see if something is misbehaving. (or if you possess (or someone you know) the skills read the console logs yourself (and run the apple HW test)

      1. My MBP is 1.5 years old, came with Snow Leopard (zero problems, the best, most rock solid Mac OS I’ve used), Lion (terrible on day one, but became dependable on 10.7.4). Hardware was not an issue with those OS’s.

        Ran the AppleService Diagnostics and Apple Hardware Tests just to rule out hardware malfunction. Everything’s fine. That is, everything’s fine but Mountain Lion.

        1. Now you made me think you are just trolling…
          You have no idea if “everything’s fine”, that is just incredibly naive. (intentionally so?)
          There could easily be mis configurations, corrupted files or permissions or errant kext’s, that might only have become problem with the updated OS. If you don’t know how to tell, you can’t possibly know “every things fine”

          1. Facts:
            * I said Apple Hardware Tests and Apple Service Diagnostics come out clean, which rules out malfunctioning hardware.
            * I said I installed Mountain Lion CLEAN (and I should’ve added that I didn’t restore a Time Machine backup or any other backup) which rules out leftover cruft, unsupported kexts, corrupted files and the like.

            I feel compelled to let this out of my chest: the article talked about OS X users upgrading earlier than other users of other OS’s.

            I chipped in and said my experience with the last two OS X was less than jubilant (so I don’t think I’ll do it again) and the responses I got were:

            * Curious! I don’t have a problem and you shouldn’t too!
            * Maybe you did something wrong!
            * Maybe you tried to do an “unsupported” install!
            * It’s your fault for not dropping it at an Apple Store!
            * You’re trolling!

            This forum is not the place to ask, or to dispense tech support, just opinions. Declaring that my Mac has to be broken because someone else has no problems problems doesn’t really help my situation, which in turn doesn’t change my opinion. All that said, I not only wouldn’t refuse an offer of help, I’d appreciate it.

            1. Again you become aggressive when I only suggested you have someone (who has the skill) see what is causing the problem.
              What you describe is not normal (for >98% of mountain lion users, and the other 2% likely have some problem or config issue)

              No, you didn’t say you did a clean install (which is a very odd thing to do as it causes so much configuration & reinstallation issues) and now when you add that (as an afterthought) it makes me even more confused…
              It seems like someone what was an actual user and was actually having problems would want to find out if there were a solution. But you seem dead set against that and are now moving the goal post to confirm your original assertion.

              I’ll make this short: if you are a legitimate Apple user with an issue, go to an apple store and have them check it. (or continue to curse the darkness)
              If you are just another of the apple haters who infest this form posing as disgruntled users, then… well… I bet you can guess my feelings for wasting mine and others time who have tried to help you (believing you were legitimate)

            2. Look, the only people that haven’t been outright mean or confrontational have been MacRaven and Really.

              And I’m not been aggressive, I just dislike when people are mean to me. I didn’t move any goalposts and said everything in previous comments. It’s not my fault you read only my responses to you.

              I’m very exasperated you keep calling me a troll, when the fact is that I love Apple products a lot more than anyone of you: I bought a laptop that costs half as much as a car; people constantly make fun of my “overpriced” MacBook Pro, AirPort Extreme, iPhone and how I’m an “iDiot” for having bought them. And to top it all off, I bought them all knowing that I would have no support other than myself and the internet, while others would get to experience the best tech support in the world.

              There’s a world of difference between help and advice. And you can spare your trite advice of “getting it to an Apple Store or a technician”. It has been noted and it’s useless for me. Thanks for nothing.

              End of discussion.

            3. Saldin said “when the fact is that I love Apple products a lot more than anyone of you: I bought a laptop that costs half as much as a car; people constantly make fun of my “overpriced” MacBook Pro, AirPort Extreme, iPhone and how I’m an “iDiot” for having bought them. ”

              Ok… that confirms that you are just trolling

            4. Since you have had many other Apple products that worked well for you, and you’ve been happy until now, it does seem that this instance has a cause hidden somewhere in the structure of your computer (hardware, firmware or software that’s not happy). If it were true bugs with Mountain Lion itself these issues would be rampant. There is something odd going on that someone with solid Mac Troubleshooting skills needs to do some detective work to diagnose where this issue originates. Have you tried writing or calling into The Mac Observer’s “The Mac Geek Gab” Podcast guys for their weekly Mac help show? They have solved a lot of tricky problems for people who have called in and are in the same situation as you—no local tech support, or tech support has failed them. Website:
              I’ve solved client’s problems using their advice to others. But you can call them with your specific problem. I suggest subscribing to their podcasts.

  4. I have only one Mac that can by upgraded and that’s a 2009 IMac. My 2007 Mac Pro can run Lion but only runs Snow Leopard (I LOVE Snow Leopard!) and my G5 Mac Pro is stuck at Leopard and still a perfectly good machine used mostly for music management. Depressing to realize a new Mac Mini would run circles around it and take up a fraction of the space. (Unless you set a G5 to reduced CPU performance the fans will dive you nuts.). Looking forward to a new 2013 Mac Pro Tim!

  5. Here’s the lagging side of Mac upgrades: If you work in an office where the IT staff is a PeeCee weenie, he’s as terrified to upgrade your Mac as he is to upgrade his stinking PC’s. We’re still on Snow Leopard but not because we want to be, because he’s too afraid something might break. He’s at least THINKING of upgrading our Macs to Lion sometime soon. I told him Mountain Lion would be the better choice because Cornell University is so Microsloth Exchange based, it’s the most recent system set to work with all that Ballmerized garbage. These PC IT’s are so frustrating. Just gimme the upgrade I’ll do it myself! We all have it at home already! Geesh!

    1. I know the pain you feel. I have been there also fighting with the Windows IT doofas and their fears over upgrading at my children’s school. I gave the school 10 older iMacs and he insisted on downgrading the OS from OS X to the last pre OS X operating system.

      1. The PC weenies have lived too long in a backward world in a backward land where all thinking is backward, progress is scary, change is painful, and they wait for someone else to do everything first.

        Imagine a world without Apple lighting the way for the PC Weenies to attempt to follow.

    1. Lion was not awful, Mountain Lion is just better.
      Same went with Leopard and Snow Leopard, they just kicked it up a notch and changed some things that needed changing. Snow Leopard is one of my favorite Apple OS’s in the long line since the 80’s.

      1. Yes, Snow leopard was a good one.
        More to the point Apple has managed to improve (via functionality and/or overall speed) with each OS X update (contrasted by windows which gets slower, more bloated and less usable with each iteration since Win2000, which I believe was the best version (of the NT5 kernel) ever produced)
        Of the OS X versions; a quick straw poll around the studio revealed that while everyone pretty much thinks each version was an improvement over the last (making Mountain Lion the best so far) the version that was seen as the most significant improvement over the last version was Cheetah (which was amazingly “more snappy” than it’s predecessor)

  6. To each his own OS. Find the one that suits you best and use it. If Apple wants to brag how many users have installed the latest OS then Apple must make their latest OS so undeniably and universally wonderful that all users will adopt it.

  7. At work we are stuck on Snow leopard because we absolutely need ROSETTA to run a very important CRM software that was developed using the last POWERPC version of 4D. Upgrading to the newest 4D version would cost us too much (75 concurrent users) and bring no new features … a real waste of money !
    I suspect many companies/users are in the same boat.
    If Apple wanted all the “Snow Leopard” customer to upgrade to OSX latest version, all they would have to do would be to re-release ROSETTA fro Mountain Lion.

  8. I think this stat is pretty irrelevant. Apple only has about 7% of the market. Getting 30% of 7% to upgrade at $29 a pop is way easier then getting 11% of 93% to upgrade for much more.

    This number is as meaningless as Apples claims of iOS upgrade numbers. you allow the 3GS to “upgrade” to iOS 6 but don’t let it run any of the key features. It’s basically a new skin for the 3GS with minor tweaks. But it allows them to be able to say, hey look how much better out adoption rates are then google!!

    Btw, I’m an Apple fan. All Apple stuff at my house. However I’m also a fan or relevant statistics.

  9. Snow Leopard 10.6.8 remains the high water mark in my humble opinion. Haven’t seen any compelling evidence of later versions being measurably “snappier” or more efficient in any way.

    I think we still have a couple PowerPCs running 10.4. Perfectly functional for light duties. No upgrade possible, but no compelling reason to replace perfectly workable light-duty machines either.

      1. As with many things, choice of browser is a personal one. It plays a very minor role in overall hardware choice.

        On MBP and MAc Pros, we tend to use FireFox to take advantage of some excellent plug-ins, though several here like Opera and iCab web browsers for various reasons. Safari hasn’t shown itself to be noticeably superior by any objective measure — mostly just the default browser that gets used by people that just don’t want to try something new, as was the case with IE on Wintel machines.

        1. For some reason after upgrading to Mountain Lion, Safari is a speed demon compared to most other browsers. Safari also seems the most stable of the lot.

          I have Chrome, Safari, Firefox & Opera at my arsenal. When I find myself in need of a web extension that Safari doesn’t have I simply start up a browser that does (usually being Firefox). If Firefox improves stability and consistency I might switch to it for my default.

          For now Safari is rock solid, stable and fast. I find that important.

          1. thanks for the info — next upgrade cycle we’ll give it a go.

            Up through Snow Leopard, Safari was fine but nothing special.

            There is definitely value in having multiple browsers — for casual surfing, the interwebs look & feel so much better when you have a dedicated browser with every possible ad- and script-blocker installed. You won’t do any online shopping or banking, but it sure is nice to see a clean web page every now and then.

            can anyone explain why Safari cannot be upgraded without needing to buy the other useless fluff that came with Lion & Mtn Lion?

  10. “looks to be on the same usage uptake trajectory as Vista…” – a trajectory the shape of an upside down U probably means Win8 will hit the ground like a friggin’ dart sometime soon…

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