what is the latest os for macbook pro late 2011


Which Mac operating system is the best is a topic of numerous debates among Apple fans.

Since the mission of this blog is to refute myths and legends around Macs, it’s time for me to provide my 2 cents about the issue on hand. While everything below is just my opinion, as a long-time Mac user and veteran software engineer, I hope my opinion worth something.

The best Mac OS version is the one that your Mac is eligible to upgrade to. In 2021 it is macOS Big Sur. However, for users that need to run 32-bit apps on Mac, the best macOS is Mojave. Also, older Macs would benefit if upgraded at least to macOS Sierra for which Apple still releases security patches.

How to Tell Which macOS You Are Running

To find out which macOS is currently running on your Mac, follow these steps:

What Version of OS Can My Mac Run?

Not all Macs can be upgraded to the latest OS version. For instance, old Macs powered by PowerPC CPUs cannot run OS intended for Intel-based computers. Also, some versions have hardware limitations.

For instance, Mojave cannot be installed on MacBook Pro earlier than Mid 2012 model.

Check below to know exactly what version of OS your Mac can run.

Which OS is Best for my Mac

best macOS version

Anytime someone asks me which OS is best for them I always suggested going with the latest. Things have changed recently, however.

Should I Upgrade to macOS Catalina or Big Sur?

While personally I like macOS Big Sur and have it installed on my MacBook Pro, it comes with serious breaking changes.

Big Sur is a transition OS which is designed to help Apple to move from Intel processors to their own chips on ARM.

After I installed Big Sur on my MacBook Pro mid 2020 (pre-Silicon), most of my apps, including Microsoft Office, were working as expected.

However, my VMWare Fusion 11 does not start anymore, so I have to purchase a new license if I want to keep using it (or roll back to Catalina). Luckily, I took a full backup before the upgrade.

The second breaking issue is the lack of 32-bit app support.

macOS Catalina and Big Sur can only run 64-bit apps.

If you wondering whether you should upgrade to macOS Catalina or Big Sur, first verify that you don’t have any 32-bit apps. But first, take a back up, so you can go back in case something breaks after the upgrade.

For instance, I had to remove uTorrent after upgrade. And I didn’t know that uTorrent is 32-bit!

How to Know If App is 32-bit or 64-bit

To find out whether the app on your Mac is 32-bit or 64-bit follow these steps:

Check app kind before upgrade to macOS Catalina

Which macOS Should I Use

If you have an older Mac which is not eligible to upgrade with some latest software or hardware, I’d suggest upgrading at least to Sierra (or better High Sierra) for the following reasons:

The most important point when choosing the best OS is the ability to get security updates. While Apple generally does not announce the OS end of life dates, it is possible to know when they stop releasing security updates from this page.

For instance, according to the page, the last security update for OS X Yosemite was released on September 12, 2017. The last update for OS X El Capitan was in July 2018, and Carnegie Mellon University confirmed that El Capitan’s end of life date was August 2018.

Snow Leopard Myth

I know that some users on forums believe that the best OS version for Macs was Snow Leopard. But that is a myth. And I know how such myths get created.

Once I worked in the company, which was selling a 20-year old product. And customers were still using and didn’t want to switch to new versions, because the old one was rock solid.

I then talked to the engineer who worked on the project, and he revealed that the product was a total disaster when it was first deployed. Engineers had to work on-site for almost a year in order to fix all bugs.

After five or so years of polishing the product, it becomes virtually bug-free, and nobody now remembers how bad it was when it was first rolled out. A similar thing happened Snow Leopard, and it was recognized as best mac os version after some time.

How to Update to the Latest Version

There are two ways to update to the latest OS version on Mac:

Using Software Update

This is by far the best option, but it only available if you have Yosemite, or later OS installed already. If you enabled automatic updates, then Mac will inform you that the next macOS is available.

Just open System Preferences, go to Software Update and click on the Upgrade Now button.

What Version of OS Can My Mac Run

This method is also best if wondering how to check if you have the latest version of OS installed on your Mac. Only the version compatible with your hardware will appear here.

For instance, my the latest version for Mac Mini 2012 is Mojave, I can’t install anything newer than that.

If you are having problems with updates or having issues post-upgrade check my post about troubleshooting macOS.

Using download links

For older systems or in case you need to downgrade, you have to download a standalone installer in DMG format. DMG stands for disk image, similar to ISO, just different formats.

After downloading the installer, just double click on it and follow instructions. Again, do not forget to take a backup before the upgrade.

Mac OS Comparisons: Requirements, Features, Compatibility, Download Links

Following is a high-level description of all Mac operating systems as early as Mountain Lion.

You can refer to those descriptions when deciding which operating system is best for your iMac, Mac Pro, Mac mini, or MacBook.

With each OS description, I included a list of Macs supported. However, you can use Mac OS compatibility checker for more detailed information.

macOS 11 Big Sur

macOS v11 (codename Big Sur) is the latest version of the operating system for Apple computers.

Hardware Requirements: RAM requirement 4GB. Big Sur is the first OS to support new Macs using ARM technology (in the future).

Features

Only 64-bit apps are allowed to run on Big Sur.

How to install

There are two ways to install Big Sur: enable automatic updates in System Preferences or download by using the following link.

Or check my post with tips on installing macOS on unsupported devices.

List of Apple computers compatible with macOS Big Sur

macOS 10.15 Catalina

Features

macOS Catalina is the first Mac operating system that does not support 32-bit applications. Only 64-bit apps are allowed to run on Catalina.

How to install

There are two ways to install Catalina: enable automatic updates in System Preferences or download by using the following link.

List of Apple computers compatible with macOS Catalina

macOS 10.14 Mojave

Hardware Requirements: 2GB RAM and 18.5GB free space on disk

Features

How to install

If your Mac is eligible to update to Mojave, then the easiest way to install it is by enabling automatic updates. Downloading a standalone Mojave installer could be a little tricky.

List of Apple computers compatible with macOS Mojave

macOS 10.13 High Sierra

Hardware Requirements: 2GB RAM and 14.3GB free space on disk

Features

List of Apple computers compatible with macOS High Sierra

How to install

macOS 10.12 Sierra

This is the first macOS version. Previous OS versions for Macs were called OS X (X stands for 10).

Features

How to install

List of Apple computers compatible with macOS Sierra

OS X 10.11 El Capitan

Features

Macs compatible with OS X El Capitan

How to install

OS X 10.10 Yosemite

Macs compatible with OS X Yosemite

Features

How to install

OS X 10.9 Mavericks

First free Mac OS. Previous OS versions vary from $19.99 to $129.

Features

Macs compatible with OS X Mavericks

How to install

OS X Mavericks installer is not available on Apple Site. Follow instructions here to install Mavericks.

OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion

Must be purchased. Fixed many bugs introduced in OS X Lion.

Features

List of Apple computers compatible with OS X Mountain Lion

How to install

Mountain Lion installer is not available on Apple Site. Follow instructions here to install OS X Mountain Lion.

List of older Mac OS Versions

Following Mac OS versions are still running on older Macs, but Apple does not support them anymore, and there is no point to upgrade (or downgrade) to them:

Hi, I am Al. I’ve been working with computers for more than 20 years and I am passionate about Apple products. You can reach me at [email protected]

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