OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion is on its way, and we’re all looking forward to all the new features and tweaks that this latest version offers. Unfortunately, not every Mac user is going to be able to ugrade to Mountain Lion, though. While Macs generally have a long “active support” life, every iteration of OS X leaves a generation or two behind and Mountain Lion is no exception.
The big thing this time around is 64-bit compatibility. Your computer needs to not only have a 64-bit capable processor, but also 64-bit capable EFI boot firmware. Some Macs, like the 2006 and 2007 Mac Pros, have 64-bit processors, but their EFI firmware is only 32-bit capable, so they won’t be able to run Mountain Lion.
- iMac (Mid 2007 or newer)
ModelID: iMac7,1 or later
- MacBook (Late 2008 Aluminum, or Early 2009 or newer)
ModelID: MacBook5,1 or later
- MacBook Pro (Mid/Late 2007 or newer)
ModelID: MacBookPro3,1 or later
- MacBook Air (Late 2008 or newer)
ModelID: MacBookAir2,1 or later
- Mac mini (Early 2009 or newer)
ModelID: Macmini3,1 or later
- Mac Pro (Early 2008 or newer)
ModelID: MacPro3,1 or later
- Xserve (Early 2009)
If your machine makes the cut, you’re only part way there. There are a number of other specifications you’ll want to make sure you meet before installing:
- Apple requires at least 8GB of free space on your main drive. However, that doesn’t include space required for any applications or extra documents. If your drive is relatively full already, you may want to go ahead and either purchase a larger platter-based drive or add an OWC SSD with an OWC Data Doubler to accommodate the new files. If you go with the latter, you may wish to look into our guide for splitting the OS and User Files between the two for best compatibility; though it was originally written with Lion in mind, it should also work for Mountain Lion.
- Apple also requires at least 2GB of memory for running the OS. Once you start running multiple applications at once, you’ll notice a drop in performance. We recommend installing at least 4GB, preferably 8GB, and ideally the maximum amount your computer can handle. Don’t limit yourself to Apple’s suggested maximums, though; many Macs can handle much more memory than Apple lets on. To find out if your computer is one of these, check out our MaxRAM certification page.
- Since Mountain Lion is only downloadable from the Mac App Store, you will need to have either Snow Leopard 10.6.8 or Lion 10.7.x installed prior to upgrading, so that you can access it.
- Since it is only downloadable, you will also need a fairly quick Internet connection.
All indications are that Mountain Lion will be arriving within the next week or two, so make sure you’re ready today!