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How to install Mac OS X Yosemite

Christopher Breen | Oct. 17, 2014
Yosemite changes the look and feel of your Mac, from ever-so-transparent windows to a completely new Spotlight interface. But what hasn't changed is how you get it--following in the footsteps of Mavericks, OS X 10.10 Yosemite is offered as a free upgrade, newly available to download from the Mac App Store.

Yosemite changes the look and feel of your Mac, from ever-so-transparent windows to a completely new Spotlight interface. But what hasn't changed is how you get it — following in the footsteps of Mavericks, OS X 10.10 Yosemite is offered as a free upgrade, newly available to download from the Mac App Store.

While installing Yosemite is not very different than installing Mavericks, you may have forgotten some steps from the last time. Let's run through them now.

Before you begin

Excited though you are to install the latest version of Mac OS, there are things you should do before embarking on that installation. They include:

Be sure your Mac can run Yosemite: The good news is that if you're currently using Mavericks, your Mac can also accommodate Yosemite — system requirements are the same for each. If you haven't upgraded to Mavericks and aren't sure whether it can run Yosemite, be sure that your Mac can be found within this list:

  • iMac (Mid-2007 or later)
  • MacBook (13-inch Aluminum, Late 2008), (13-inch, Early 2009 or later)
  • MacBook Pro (13-inch, Mid-2009 or later), (15-inch, Mid/Late 2007 or later), (17-inch, Late 2007 or later)
  • MacBook Air (Late 2008 or later)
  • Mac Mini (Early 2009 or later)
  • Mac Pro (Early 2008 or later)
  • Xserve (Early 2009)

Apple tells us that, like Mavericks, Yosemite will need 2GB of RAM and 8GB of free storage space for the installation. Your Mac will run better with more RAM, so if you've been nursing yours along with just 2GB, it might be time to consider adding more.

Get an Apple ID: If you own any hunk of Apple hardware made in the last decade it's hard to imagine that you don't also have an Apple ID. But if you're That Person, it's time to get one. And it is because you can't download Yosemite from the Mac App Store without such an ID. Again, Yosemite is free so you won't see a mysterious charge appear on your credit card after the download, but you still need the ID to get a copy.

Update your apps: From the Apple menu choose App Store and in the resulting window click on the Updates tab and install all appropriate updates for your existing apps. Developers have been busy making their apps compatible with Yosemite and updating them before you proceed will make for a happier experience when you finally jump to OS X 10.10.

Back up your Mac: Mac OS upgrades generally go very smoothly these days, but if you were born under a bad sign, you could be one of the unfortunate few whose installation goes awry. Use Time Machine or another backup method to back up all your data.

 

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