Mac OS compatibility: what to choose for your device

Updated: April 07, 2023
6 min read
Mac OS compatibility: what to choose for your device
by Yelyzaveta Tsyplenko
Tech Expert & Writer
Checked by
Quality Control team

Apple technology is one of the most reliable and, therefore, so popular. Those who have used a Mac at least once appreciate its performance and functionality. While on the market, Apple has released dozens of different Mac models with other operating systems. And it's no secret that each next device is supported for about seven years, after which experts recommend changing the computer to a new one.

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In addition to new devices, the company often releases new operating systems. Each next one has some new features and an enhanced security system. Therefore, updating the operating system to the latest regularly is recommended. Suppose you don't know how Howly experts are always ready to help you with this task.

And despite this, some users like using previous operating system versions. If you are such a person, you can use the Mac OS compatibility checker for your device. In this article, you will learn which devices support different operating systems from Apple.

Why is the old operating system not suitable for new models of Apple devices?

The first and foremost reason is safety. Then older the operating system, the more likely hackers will crack it. Because with each iteration, changes are made. And you can find information about it on the Internet. And somebody can use their knowledge of weaknesses to hack a computer.

Apple has recently launched the Macbook M2 Pro with macOS Ventura. And it is the most up-to-date operating system. It has added many exciting features. Let's briefly analyze what it offers:

  1. Stage manager. It makes it easier to work with different applications and open desktops. It is convenient if you need to work in several programs at once.
  2. Using the camera for iPhone. An exciting feature that allows you to improve picture quality during video calls. You can connect your iPhone to your MacBook and use its camera.
  3. Special features for sending emails and using iCloud. For example, you can delete sent messages, create a mailing schedule, or share photos in the vault with only selected family members.
  4. The improved Spotlight search engine recognizes text in pictures, files, and videos, expanding your options.
  5. An enhanced security system allows you to use Face ID and Touch ID to protect information.

These are just some new features, but they are already impressive.

MacOS Ventura can be installed on Macbook Pro 2017 or later, Macbook Air 2018 or later, and iMac 2014 or earlier. If you have a new Macbook Pro, check Mac PRO OS compatibility before installing it.

If you have difficulties or questions when installing a new operating system, contact Howly support and get qualified help.

Comparison of characteristics and features of different operating systems

If you are looking for the answer: “What version of macOS can I upgrade to?” or “What macOS can I run?”, here you will find some tips. So keep reading.

Features of the Monterey operating system

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The older Monterey system still continues to work on different devices today, so we will briefly analyze its capabilities.

The developers paid particular attention to FaceTime, namely the ability to share a screen and transmit video and voice. These features are genuinely appreciated by those who work remotely and need a constant high-quality communication channel: Quick Mac commands and the ability to focus added convenience to work with the device.

The Monterey operating system is supported on the 2015 and newer iMac, 2015 MacBook Air, and 2013 MacBook PRO. So it is the new Mac operating system for 2015 devices.

Features of Big Sur

The Big Sur operating system appeared in 2020, and some Mac lovers prefer it. At the time of the release of this system, the main focus was on security and a new interface. Also in this operating system version, support for iOS and iPad OS appeared.

If you prefer Big Sur, devices released after 2013 support it.

Characteristics of Catalina

Catalina is one of the most popular Mac operating systems. When it was released, the company paid particular attention to the security system and the operation of various applications. As a result, for example, the work of Siri, FaceTime, and AppleTV has improved. MacOS Catalina has wide compatibility.

Catalina allowed different iPad models to use the second screen.

MacOS Catalina is compatible with MacBooks from 2012 and later, iMacs from 2017 and Macs from 2012. So if you looking, which is the latest OS for MacBook PRO mid 2012, it is Catalina.

Features of Mojave

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This operating system, named after the Californian desert, made a difference: the ability to create a user interface. In addition, the developers paid a lot of attention to ease of use. For example, it became possible to collect files in piles, and tools for working with screenshots and multimedia were added. OS has been supported on Apple devices since 2012 and later. It is MacBook PRO 2009 latest OS.

Features of High Sierra

The High Sierra operating system did not feature any major changes. When it was first presented to users, they noted that the interface remained the same. The main difference from the previous operating system Yosemite was the interface of minor applications such as photos, notes, Safari, and mail.

During the development of this system, primary attention was paid to the "insides." For example, transferring information to a new file system. It affected the speed of information processing.

High Sierra is Mac OS for devices produced in 2010 and newer. Also, it is iMac 2011 latest OS and MacBook PRO 2011 latest OS.

Features of Yosemite

The main improvements of this operating system have touched on interface design and usability. The appearance of icons, windows, and applications has changed. They became flat and not as detailed.

Also, the iTunes player has been updated in Yosemite, which users especially liked. Yosemite is the iMac 2008 latest OS.

Characteristics of El Capitan

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12 Apple's operating system is called El Capitan. It gave its users new features and ease of use. Some changes have been compared to the previous version, especially concerning the interface. It remained simple and elegant. This time the theme uses the new San Francisco font, which has not been used before.

Also, in the Safari browser, there are more flexible settings. And the developers were incredibly attentive to performance. Compared to previous versions, work speed has increased by almost two times. El Capitan has been supported on devices since 2012.

Features of Mavericks

The Mavericks operating system was the last, which was sold in the Apple Store and cost $19. It is compatible with all devices released after 2007. If you are a connoisseur of this version, you will need 8GB of free space for installation. It is the first 2013 Mac OS.

This system has an old OS X interface and may seem inconvenient to a modern user. However, since its release, there have been a lot of functional changes, as well as interface design changes.

If you are determined to install it anyway, Mavericks is not supported on all devices. Namely: Mac from 2008, iMac from 2007, and MacBook from 2008.

Characteristics of Mountain Lion

The Mountain Lion system came out in 2012. It was also paid and cost $15.99. And for installation, you need 8 GB of free memory. Mac OS compatibility with iOS was released for the first time. Compatible with devices from 2007.

If you love classic Apple and want to install any of the operating systems described, the Howly team can help you anytime.

How to understand which operating systems your device is compatible with?

To determine compatibility with a specific operating system, you must visit the official Apple website and select the operating system. There you will see on which devices this software is being installed. To find what system is installed on your computer, you can click on the Apple logo on your screen, see the About This Mac menu and find out the details.

Be careful because older versions of operating systems may not have the drivers for different applications to work correctly on the new device. Also, new operating systems are not always supported by older devices, and if your computer stops working, you will either have to buy a new one or find the problem.

If you encounter any problems, Howly experts are ready to help you.

Also, if you have the latest devices based on M1 and M2 chips, they will not support older operating systems, and you could notice problems with the keyboard, ports, or processor.


How do I downgrade my iMac to a previous operating system?

You need to make sure that Mac OS supports your device. To do this:

  1. Go to the official Apple website and check. Or use MacOS compatibility checker.
  2. Make sure you have enough memory.
  3. Download and install the operating system of your choice. If you encounter a problem, Howly specialists will remotely help you solve it.

What is the best mac OS version?

If you Google: “what mac OS should I be running”, here is the answer. The newer the operating system, the better it is. Because in recent versions, developers consider and do not allow errors in previous versions. Improve the interface and user experience, and also improve security. Sometimes bug reports can be found in the Internet, so older versions of operating systems may not be safe.

What OS can my Mac run?

If you do not want to install the latest version available for some reason, then look at your preferences and decide what precisely does not suit you in the new version of the OS. Remember about safety because the older the operating system version, the higher the chances your computer can be hacked or infected by a virus. Also, check your device's Mac OS supported versions.

Bottom line

So, in this material, we have analyzed many operating systems, their key features, and their compatibility with different devices. Now you can imagine what opportunities they give and what devices support them. Please note that older operating systems may not have drivers and hardware for newer devices, so the number of supported features may be limited.

Therefore, choose the operating system that suits your needs, download it, and install it on your device. And if you need help or are afraid of doing something wrong, ask Howly specialists for assistance. They are in touch 24/7 and ready to help remotely.

Howly expert is ready to help you with your Mac OS problem


May 25, 2023
This article is a lifesaver! 🎉💯
May 20, 2023
So helpful! Mac compatibility solved! 🌟👍
May 17, 2023
The information is useful but not groundbreaking.
May 13, 2023
Thank you for clarifying Mac OS compatibility! 🤗👏
May 09, 2023
I'm so grateful for this guide! 🥳🎉
May 05, 2023
The article is informative, but a bit basic.
May 01, 2023
Too simplistic, expected more details 😕
Bradley Simmons
April 27, 2023
Invaluable info for Mac users! 🍏💻
Lillian Jenkins
April 23, 2023
I appreciate the effort put into this article to clearly explain Mac OS compatibility. The well-structured information allows for a better understanding of the available options and helps users make the right choice.
April 19, 2023
Great guide for choosing the right OS! 😃🙌
April 15, 2023
This article provides a comprehensive breakdown of Mac OS compatibility, which is perfect for users who want to make an informed decision. The easy-to-understand comparisons make choosing the right OS for your device a breeze.
April 11, 2023
It's an okay guide, not the best I've seen.
April 07, 2023
Decent article, but could use more details.

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