Prepare Your Mac For OS X 10.10 Yosemite Upgrade

Apple previewed OS X 10.10 Yosemite as WWDC 2014, with an updated design and a few new features. We don’t expect Yosemite to be released to the public anywhere before October, but you may be able to get a copy of the public beta by following the link at the end of this article.

Similar to Mavericks, (OS X 10.9), Mountain Lion (OS X 10.8) and Lion (OS X 10.7), Apple’s upgrade to Yosemite is a pretty major one, but will be really simple to install. But before you do that, you should perform a few tasks to ensure that you’re Mac is ready to go. So, here are a few things you really ought to do before you download and install OS X 10.10 this fall.

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Apple hasn’t yet officially released a list of system requirements for OS X 10.10, but based on the Macs that the developer preview is able to run on, we now have a list of the Macs we expect will run OS X 10.10 Yosemite. Frankly, if you’re currently running OS X 10.9 Mavericks, your Mac will run Yosemite.

Be sure to check our article on whether your Mac will run OS X 10.10 Yosemite or not for more info.

Again, Apple hasn’t yet announced how much RAM you’ll need to run OS X 10.10, but you’ll need 2GB or higher to run Yosemite, although 4GB is recommended. If your Mac’s RAM (memory) is below 4GB, this might be the time to consider upgrading to a new Mac, or install more RAM. If you decide to go down the RAM upgrade road, make sure that the RAM you choose for your system is compatible.

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Your next step is to ensure that you have enough free hard drive space for Yosemite. Apple usually suggests that you should have at least 8GB of free space before installing any major OS X update, but we recommend having 15GB to 20GB. In addition, downloading the Yosemite installer, which is 5.09 GB, will take up more space on your system, and you’ll also need to allow some room for temporary files.

So, we recommend you to have at least 20GB of free space on your hard drive before installing Yosemite. Be sure to check out tips to free up valuable hard drive space on your Mac.

As has been the custom with all recent OS X releases, Apple releases its new operating softwares through the Mac App Store. Meaning, if you want Yosemite, you will need the Mac App Store. If you’re still running OS X 10.5 Leopard and don’t have access to the Mac App Store, you really, really need to upgrade. The Mac App Store arrived in the Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard. If you want to upgrade to Snow Leopard, you can grab a copy of the software for $20.

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If you’re running anything below OS X 10.7 Lion, chances are you may still be using a few PowerPC programs – software that was never updated to run natively on Macs with Intel processors. With OS X 10.7 Lion, Apple killed support for PowerPC software permanently. Hence, you won’t be able to run any PowerPC software when you update your system to OS X 10.10 Yosemite.

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You can either delete such programs and find alternatives, or you can choose to remain in the dark age and run very, very old and outdated software. Your call.

Before you install Yosemite, you should make sure all your third-party apps are up to their latest versions. The reason is that the latest updates for many apps often have changes that are required for upgrading to the new OS, and if you don’t run the updates, your software may fail to run properly.

To check for updates in the Mac App Store, launch the App Store app, and click on the Updates button in the toolbar:

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Once you see any updates, simply click on “Update All” and provide your Apple ID and password when asked.

For third-party software, you’ll need to install the updates manually, which can mainly be done by visiting the developer’s site and downloading the latest version/update of the software. Alternatively, to check for any updates, simply open up the app in question. Click on the “Help” menu in the system toolbar, and click on “Check for Updates.” This should work for most third-party apps.

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We always recommend you have a backup of all your data, particularly when about to update to a new operating system. While the chances that anything goes wrong are slim, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. The best apps to do this include SuperDuper and Carbon Copy Cloner, or obviously Apple’s built-in Time Machine. Be sure to check our list of 5 of the best free backup apps for your Mac.

So, once you’ve followed all of the steps above, your Mac should be ready for OS X 10.10 Yosemite. Now all you need to do is get a copy of the operating software to install, and you’re good to go.