How old is too old for a Mac?

Of course, for a system like this, that doesn’t run any Internet-facing software (only interacting with your other computers over the LAN), you could keep it as-is until the hardware fails and not concern yourself with OS upgrades.

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As Wikipedia notes in its Firefox article: “ An unofficial continuation of the Mac OS X [PowerPC] release was actively developed as TenFourFox” — this allowed me to run a MirrorDriveDoor G4 as a second machine until mid 2016!

But I’d never do such a thing again — one reason alone would be the great superiority of the M CPUs — anyone still using an Intel Mac (let alone anything earlier) is missing so much! We’ve waited 40 years for something like these — the wait was worth it, don’t hesitate now if you can manage not to… :slight_smile:

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Nice! Thank you everyone for your replies! (I’m not saying you have to stop wondering about it and related items, it just seems like a good time to reply and I was away and just got back, so that seems like a good reason to reply as well.)

I think, based on the good ideas here, that the best approach for me in my situation is to…

  1. Increase frequency of backups (as it may die soon and unexpectedly).
  2. Wait to see if and when the Studio will have an M3 version and probably get that.



Intel Mac’s are fine and adequate for many tasks. I still use my 2012 Mac Mini i7 and it works well. Using OCLP, you can even install Sonoma to be up to date. M1’s and up are great processors but for many users, they’re more power than needed for basic email, browsing, word processing etc.

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Agreed. I wouldn’t buy a new Intel Mac today, but mostly because longevity means a lot. But if you’re already using one, and its new enough to be getting system updates (like my 2018 mini), and it is responsive enough for the apps you run, there’s no reason to not keep using it.


Intel Macs being “fine & adequate” is OK — I’m keeping a 2017 MBA with Monterey 12.7.4 so that I can boot Mojave from an external and run legacy 32 bit applications. But: the M Macs, any and all of these, are just so wonderfully more usable. There’s no real comparison is the thing… :slight_smile:


Apparently I missed the threads on old Mac computers. My wife uses our 2012 13” MacBook Pro with an external monitor in the evening to access Dropbox files from work and handle email. For her, I am interested in the OCLP option. Alternatively I suppose that I could disable Safari on the computer and have her use her M2 iPad when she needs a web browser.

After the iPad Pro(s) skipped the M3 and proceeded directly to the M3 without passing Go, I’d be very surprised if the next Studio featured anything less than an M4…. if not better.

Agreed! So either I buy a Studio now or wait maybe until the fall. Maybe I will wait…

Is she running Catalina on her 2012 MBP? If so, switching from Safari to either Firefox or a Chrome-based browser might be good enough, especially if she accesses her email via a web browser. I haven’t been able to find definitive statements about when those browsers will drop Catalina, but current builds of the next Firefox Extended Support Release support Catalina, suggesting at least another year of support. Dropbox also looks like it will be supported on Catalina for a little while, too. If she uses the Apple Mail client or the Microsoft Outlook client, that would be a problem, though, since neither is getting security updates on Catalina.

OCLP can be a good option for the 2012 MBP, but I’ve had mixed success with it. I had several mostly trouble-free experiments running Monterey, Ventura, and Sonoma on 2012 MBPs after performing clean installations, but I also had a terrible experience attempting to upgrade a machine from Catalina to Sonoma+OCLP. That said, others have had success doing upgrades from older versions of macOS, so if you do want to try an in-place upgrade, make sure you have a reliable backup before proceeding.

FWIW, I have current versions of MS Office, Dropbox, and a range of current browsers running nicely on a fresh installation of Sonoma+OCLP. Assuming an SSD and adequate RAM, performance is good enough for routine daily use. If she runs virtualization software, like VMware or Parallels, there is a showstopping bug with Sonoma+OCLP, so try Ventura+OCLP instead. Other OCLP bugs impacting the 2012 MBP are documented at the developer site.

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According to the Mozilla future releases blog they will drop support for macOS 10.12, 10.13 and 10.14 after version 115 (the current ESR release). This is Sierra, High Sierra and Mojave.

Later OS revisions (including 10.15, Catalina) are all still supported. Judging from past history, you’ll get at least a year’s warning before it is dropped.

The announcement for dropping 10.12-10.14 was in July 2023. According to the release calendar, that will be in October 1, when ESR115 is dropped, in favor of ESR128. Which is about 15-16 months between announcement and end of support.

The announcement for dropping macOS 10.9-10.11 was in June 2020. ESR78 was supported until October 2021, when it was dropped in favor of ESR91. This is also 15-16 months.

So I think we can expect a similar 15-16 month interval between when they announce the end of Catalina support and when support actually ends. At the start of that interval, existing installations will be automatically switched over to the ESR release channel (you should get an in-app notification telling you this), so you’ll know when the clock starts ticking.

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