Should you upgrade your Mac to macOS Sierra?

“Although Apple makes new software updates available to as many older devices as possible, there are always some reasons why it may not be in your best interest to install the latest and greatest, even if your Mac is compatible,” Lory Gil writes for iMore.

“Even if you’re Mac is on the compatibility list, that doesn’t mean you can take advantage of all of the new features in Sierra. There are other things to consider,” Gil writes. “You’ll need a newer model Mac and a compatible iPhone or Apple Watch to use such things as Handoff, Auto Unlock, Siri, Apple Pay on the Web, Apple’s Continuity features, and more.”

“You should also have an iPhone 6 or newer running iOS 10,” Gil writes. “If you hope to use Auto Unlock, you also need a Mac that is from 2013 or newer and an Apple Watch running watchOS 3.”

Much more, with good instructions for those upgrading to macOS Sierra, here.

MacDailyNews Take: If your Mac is on the bubble of compatibility, think about partitioning your Mac or creating a bootable drive, so you can try macOS Sierra in tandem with OS X El Capitan.


  1. Will not upgrade to lower case operating system for months.

    This time, it isn’t the usual precaution of never being an early adopter again with Apple.

    This time, it’s Apple File System. The smallest error can have devastating consequences. As great as Apple’s new file system is – a kind of Apple version of ZFS, maybe – I won’t take the chance until it’s been running for a while.

    But I’m happy they upgraded from HFS+.

    1. Apple has not really released “Apple File System.” Won’t be released as a bootable file system until sometime in 2017. Sierra is not synonymous with this new file system and it isn’t fully implemented yet.

    2. FWIW, macOS Sierra isn’t dependent on AFS. In fact, AFS isn’t going to be GM until sometime in 2017.

      Your point though is very valid.

      I will be testing the GM of AFS exhaustively before deploying across my critical systems, but I’m really looking forward to it!

    3. Public information about Apple’s new ZFS-like file system AFS, Apple File System, were desperately MANGLED in the press. It is NOT supported in Sierra. It’s not even finished! Maybe we’ll see it in the fall of 2017 with the next version of macOS.

      Where the confusion and misinformation came from was the inclusion of a CLI tool in Sierra beta that would allow developers to play with an extremely hobbled, incomplete version of AFS. It was only included for experimentation. It was NOT included as any kind of support for AFS in Sierra.

      Again: AFS is NOT supported in Sierra. AFS isn’t finished yet.

    1. That’s fascinating. In early 2008 Apple made a fundamental change in their hardware support for 64-bit code. (I can look up the details if anyone’s interested). I suspected that any machine with that hardware could run Sierra. It’s great when someone takes the time to create a patch tool.

  2. Wish I could. Have a Early 2009 Mac Pro and MacBook Pro 17″ and neither is on the compatibility list for Sierra. I did throw Sierra on an external and have my Mac Pro running it just fine, so don’t get why its not on the list as its been running fine.

    I get that its old, but still running fast enough and see no reason to replace it if its running fine. I have both running on SSDs so that may be why its running acceptable still.

    1. I think you can run Sierra on your Mac Pro (Early 2009). My old Mac Pro 2008 is great, too. Eight 2.8 GHz processor cores and 750GB SSD hooked to Apple’s 30″ display make it feel like current iMac 5K! 🙂 I didn’t want o replace it just yet, but wanted/needed try new With Colin Mistr’s macOS Sierra Patch Tool software and instructions at I can enjoy this old Mac for at least another year.

      The patch tool supports the following:

      Early 2008 iMac or later
      Late 2008 Aluminum Unibody MacBook
      Mid 2009 MacBook (white) or later
      Late 2008 MacBook Air or later
      Early 2008 MacBook Pro or later
      Late 2009 Mac mini or later
      Early 2008 Mac Pro or later
      2009 Xserve

      1. can you take advantage of apple update after installing Sierra? i want to upgrade too, but a bit concerned about updatability. also, i have a wifi&bluetooth module hooked on my early 2008 mac pro and am curious how upgrade to Sierra affect this.

  3. I have been on Sierra for about 3 weeks – on an MBAir 2013, i7 500 SSD. I like the new features; seems snappy. I haven’t become used to Siri on it but it works. I just keep forgetting its there.

    I have had 3 freezes that required a hard re-start and I haven’t had that on my Macs in a long while. It opens back up to where it was before including just typed in data.

  4. The usual advice when upgrading an OS version:

    1) REPAIR your boot partition first.
    2) BACKUP your boot partition in entirety. Note that you may be keeping this backup for some time so don’t erase it. You want to have it on hand incase you decide to move back to that previous OS version.
    3) RESEARCH what’s not compatible with the new OS version. Plan on buying new versions of a lot of the incompatible software. Check with developers to see if there will be compatible updates, free or otherwise, and when they will be released.

    Remember the Version 1.0 Effect! Expect bugs in the first version of anything. WAITING to upgrade is often an excellent idea.

      1. Exactly. I have both my MBP for all day work and my Mac Mini 2011 which acts as my server and my bashing/testing machine. I had Sierra beta on it until Apple served up a version that killed that Mini’s access to both Ethernet and Wi-Fi, preventing further updating. Very naughty of Apple. I assume that’s been fixed, but I went back to El Capitan.

  5. First time since 1988 that I will wait several months to “upgrade” Granted that the last 4 “updates” have come because I have critical software that requires one or more of them. But I also know that the developers of my 3 most critical apps (all non-Apple apps, thats what you need these days for creative content work) are going to do some watching and waiting too. They are worried about The Law Of Unintended Consequences, which seems to be operating all over the world in almost every part of life.

  6. I have installed Sierra on a 2009 Mac Pro. However, I have been unsuccessful in using the Software Update Patch Tool.
    The Tool app can not find the OS 10.12.1 update. Has anyone been able to use the Tool successfully?

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