Tomorrow is the day Apple will release the final version of macOS Sierra. Version 10.12 will finally be ready for anyone with a compatible Mac to download for free. So if you want to make sure you’re ready for Apple’s latest desktop OS update, follow our easy guide below.

macOS Sierra
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Is your Mac compatible with macOS Sierra?

Just as it does with iOS, Apple is always trying to improve its software with regular updates. It tries to make them compatible with as many devices as possible; however, not all devices are created equal. Some may not have the hardware capabilities for an upgrade, and it’s possible that some Macs running on OS X El Capitan are not compatible with macOS Sierra.

According to Redmond Pie, Mac’s operating El Capitan models from 2007 to the middle of 2009 will not be compatible. However, if your device is a later model, you should be fine to upgrade.

Here’s a full list of Mac compatibility:

  • MacBook from mid 2009 or later.
  • MacBookPro from mid 2010 or later.
  • MacBook Air from late 2010 or later.
  • Mac mini from mid 2010 or later.
  • iMac from late 2009 or later.
  • Mac Pro from mid 2010 or later.

If your device is listed, continue to follow this guide, but if it isn’t and you must have the very latest and can afford to, upgrade to one of the latest Mac models.

Update all applications

As a rule of thumb, the best thing to do with apps is to make sure they’re all updated. If you can do this, it will cut down on the number of compatibility issues that you run into.

Updating your apps is easy. On your computer, launch the Mac App Store and choose the Updates tab. You will find it in the very top of the navigation bar. Additionally, if you have a lot of applications installed from outside of the App Store, you should update them too or use the built-in update feature to see if there are any updates available.

Free up storage space

You may feel that you have a very organized method for dealing with junk on your Mac. However, all computers have files that are no longer needed taking up valuable real estate.

Upgrading from El Capitan to macOS Sierra will require you to have at least 20GB of free storage space. So this is the perfect time for you to do some spring cleaning, delete old files, uninstall old programs, etc. You will be amazed at just how much space you can recover just by uninstalling a couple of unused programs.

Back up your data

Now upgrading to macOS Sierra should be easy; there should be no problems along the way. However, as with all software upgrades, it does not come without risk. So the best thing to do is back up what you can’t afford/wouldn’t like to lose.

Here’s how to back up via an external hard drive using Apple’s Time Machine.

Step 1: Connect your external hard drive to your Mac via USB, Thunderbold port or even Firewire.

Step 2: Next, launch Time Machine. If this is the first time you’re running the program, you will be asked to select a location to place backups. If that’s you, select the Time Machine option.

Step 3: On the left side of the Time Machine screen, look for a switch and turn it from Off to On. Now a different menu will appear; it will ask you to select a location for backups. Select the location Use Disk.

Step 4: Now the Time Machine setting will show you some information about the location you chose and a countdown to when the initial backup will start. If you prefer to have quick access to your backups, you have the choice to select Show Time Machine in Menu bar.

This first backup will likely take a long time, so be patient. However, they will become quicker after this.

Installing from scratch

If you want to install macOS Sierra from a clean slate, you will have to create a bootable USB drive. For this, you need to have a USB flash drive with a capacity of 8GB or more. Please make sure any data on the drive is backed up; it will be formatted as part of the process.

You’re ready for macOS Sierra

And that’s it; you are now ready for the update/upgrade. All you have to do now is sit back and wait for Apple to make it available to the general public.