Mac Hardware Requirements / Compatibility

Check your Mac's compatibility to see which version of OS X your Mac can run.
Go to about this Mac to determine what model you currently have.

Depending on the model, you may only be able to run certain versions of OS X.

You cannot downgrade to an older version of OS X than the version that your mac came with from Apple. 

Recommendations

Get the maximum amount of RAM memory for your computer

Upgrading memory is by far the best pathway to a total system performance boost for your Mac.

With limited memory, your Mac relies heavily on the internal drive as a cache to make up for the lack of resources. Even with a fast SSD, the internal drive is much slower than memory, and you'll see the dreaded spinning beach ball while your under-resourced system struggles to catch up.

Upgrade to a SSD Solid State Drive

With a SSD hard drive, everything on your Mac happens at lightning speed. Your Mac boots in seconds, not minutes. Apps launch in an instant, and data operations like loading and saving happen much faster. The performance difference is simply astounding, making your computer faster than it ever was and deliver real-world performance up to 100x faster than spinning hard drives.

Even though today's hard drives are fast, a SSD is even faster. And with no moving parts, SSDs are more rugged, run cooler and quieter, and consume far less power than hard drives.

Internal Drive Capacity

No matter how much memory you have, or how fast your drive, without enough free space, your Mac won't run at its full speed potential. Modern operating systems like OS X use this free space for caching to maximize efficiency and performance. And once free space drops below 50% total capacity, the system begins to show the painful signs of slowing down.

You shouldn't have to suffer a slow Mac with a full internal drive. If your internal drive is close to full, it's time to upgrade to a higher capacity, higher performance drive.

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macOS Sierra

OS X 10.12

    iMac (Late 2009 or later)
    MacBook (Late 2009 or later)
    MacBook Air (Late 2010 or later)
    MacBook Pro (Mid-2010 or later)
    Mac mini (Mid-2010 or later)
    Mac Pro (Mid-2010 or later)

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El Capitan

OS X 10.11

    iMac (Mid-2007 or newer)
    MacBook (Late 2008 Aluminum, Early 2009 or newer)
    MacBook Air (Late 2008 or newer)
    MacBook Pro (Mid/Late 2007 or newer)
    Mac mini (Early 2009 or newer)
    Mac Pro (Early 2008 or newer)
    Xserve (Early 2009)

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Yosemite

OS X 10.10

    iMac (Mid-2007 or later)
    MacBook (13" Late 2008 Aluminum, Early 2009 or later)
    MacBook Pro (13" Mid-2009 or later)
    MacBook Pro (15" Mid/Late 2007 or later)
    MacBook Pro (17" 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)

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Mavericks

OS X 10.9

    iMac (Mid-2007 to Mid-2014)
    MacBook (13" Late 2008 Aluminum, Early 2009 to Mid-2010)
    MacBook Pro (13" Mid-2009 to Mid-2014)
    MacBook Pro (15" Mid/Late 2007 to Mid-2014)
    MacBook Pro (17" Late 2007 to Late 2011)
    MacBook Air (Late 2008 to Early 2014)
    Mac mini (Early 2009 to Late 2012)
    Mac Pro (Early 2008 to Late 2013)
    Xserve (Early 2009)