Older Mac woes

What are the disadvantages of just continuing to use it? I know there may be security risks, even with using Mojave now. But it works just fine except for the ’Service Battery’ notices I get (meant to replace the battery last year before the unexpected Covid resurgence emerged) and one USB port no longer working. Especially since I replaced the old hard drive with an SSD some years ago.

As you wrote, there may be security issues. The most important thing here will be to keep Internet-facing apps up to date. For me this means:

  • Web browser. If you use Safari, you may have to switch to something else, since Apple is not likely to release updates for old versions of macOS. If you use other browsers (Firefox, Chrome, Edge, others.) check with their support/release schedule.

  • Office suite. You want to use something still supported in order to get security updates. If that’s not an option, consider disabling the most common vectors for malware: Internet-enabled/cloud features and macros/scripting.

    FWIW, here’s the state of Microsoft Office:

    • Office 2016 runs on macOS 10.10 (Yosemite) and later. Version 15.25 and later is 64-bit and is therefore required to run on macOS 10.15 (Catalina) or later. Office 2016 ended support in October 2020.
    • Office 2019 runs on macOS 10.14 (Mojave) and later.
    • Office 2021 (the current non-subscription release) requires macOS 10.15 (Catalina) or later
    • Microsoft 365 subscriptions officially support the most recent three macOS releases (which currently means Catalina, Big Sur or Monterey, but will soon switch to Big Sur, Monterey or Ventura). If your system can’t install the latest version, the Microsoft App Updater won’t install newer versions. I don’t know if you can perform an initial installation on an older system in order to get the most-recent-compatible version.

You should definitely look into that. A bad battery could start bulging, causing problems and possibly even starting a fire.

I don’t know if it’s worth the money to you, but Apple charges $200 to replace a battery in a MacBook Pro.

You can do it yourself for less, but you may find it too much work.

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Another option, albeit not for everyone, was mentioned in my recent post in another Tidbits talk thread.

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Not many, if you don’t connect it to the internet. (I use old Macs for music and media servers, while maintaining an air gap between them and the internet). Keep in mind that even if you do update application software, you’re still not getting the benefit of Apple-pushed security updates for macOS protective software such as XProtect, Malware Removal Tool (MRT), Transparency Consent and Control (TCC), etc. If you decide to use it on the internet anyway, you should be aware of the risks involved and your tolerance for same–this will vary for someone who uses the computer casually as compared to someone who has vital/proprietary or otherwise classified data to protect. Certainly, I’d look into seeing if a patch for my old Mac is available per Brian S’s recommendation–I would think a machine patched into thinking it’s a model capable of running Monterey would receive Apple security updates (but I’m not certain).

Yes, they do. My 2009 Mac Pro gets all the security updates from Apple and is running Big Sur thanks to Open Core. I could have updated to Monterey, but I prefer to wait and see if Open Core will support the final version of Monterey that is replaced by Ventura. I hope that Open Core will support my 2015 Mac Book Pro, which is not on the list of computers that will get Ventura.