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Outdated macOS and How to Upgrade

If your computer is running macOS 10.13 High Sierra or older, it will need to be updated or replaced to continue receiving security updates, as well as updates and new features for commonly used applications (such as the Microsoft Office 365 suite and Teams).

Apple only officially supports the three most recent versions of macOS (which will soon be 10.14 Mojave, 10.15 Catalina, and 11 Big Sur) – we recommend installing 10.15 Catalina until there is a known stable release of 11 Big Sur.

If you’re running an older version of macOS, it is no longer receiving security or stability updates. Running out-of-date, unpatched software, including operating systems, puts your data and the university at increased risk, and the university may restrict network access for devices running unsupported operating systems.

All UVM-owned computers running macOS 10.13 High Sierra or older must be updated or replaced as soon as possible to comply with the University Information Security Policy.

Which macOS version is installed?

  1. From the Apple menu in the top left corner of your screen, choose About This Mac.
  2. You’ll see the macOS name and version number, such as macOS Catalina 10.15.5; as well as your computer model and year.
  3. If your computer is running macOS High Sierra 10.13 or older it will need to be upgraded – make a note of your installed macOS version and your computer’s model and year as that information will be helpful when upgrading macOS.

Can my computer run a newer OS?

If you are running macOS 10.11 or newer, you should be able to upgrade to macOS 10.15 Catalina.

If you are running an older OS, you can look at the hardware requirements for the currently supported versions of macOS to see if your computer is capable of running them:

If your computer does not meet the minimum requirements for Catalina or Mojave, you will not be able to install a supported version of macOS. If this is the case, you will need to replace your current computer with a newer model.

How to upgrade macOS

The process of upgrading your computer varies depending on which version of macOS is currently installed on your computer.

Back up your data!

While data loss is relatively rare when upgrading macOS, it is best practice to backup your data via Time Machine or OneDrive before continuing.

Software Compatibility

As of 10.15 Catalina, macOS does not support 32-bit applications. If you are upgrading from an older version of macOS, you may need to also upgrade some of the applications installed on your computer.

Getting the correct installer

Apple only offers the newest version of macOS for your computer when searching in the App Store. However, we recommend installing 10.15 Catalina until there is a known stable release of 11 Big Sur. To get the installer for 10.15 Catalina or older, make sure you follow the links in this article to install the correct version.

Upgrade from macOS 10.11 or newer

If you are running macOS 10.11 or newer, you should be able to upgrade to macOS 10.15 Catalina. If your computer does not meet the minimum requirements for Catalina, please try upgrading to macOS 10.14 Mojave instead.

Upgrade from macOS 10.10 or lower

If you are running macOS 10.10 or lower, you will need to upgrade your computer to 10.11 El Capitan first. Once your computer has successfully upgraded to macOS 10.11 you can use the steps above to upgrade to a supported version of macOS.

Where can I get help with upgrading macOS?

Students can contact the Tech Team for assistance with or questions about upgrading their machine to a supported version of macOS.

Faculty, Staff, and Employees should contact their IT support unit. If you do not know who your IT Support Provider is, please use the IT Lookup Tool to locate the appropriate support resource for your department.

Known Issues with Unsupported macOS

Known issues related to running unsupported macOS versions on your computer:

Office 365 and Teams feature updates

Apple only supports the three most recent versions of its macOS operating system – this means many software developers will only release feature and security updates to devices that are running a supported version of macOS.

Running an unsupported version of macOS may limit access to features and collaboration tools in Microsoft Teams (such as breakout rooms) and Microsoft Office products.

Connection Is Not Private - uvm.edu sites

The macOS operating system has root certificates built into it that allow your browser and other applications to validate the various websites and servers your computer connects to. This establishes a chain of trust that helps to prevent malicious actors from posing as legitimate websites.

Unsupported versions of macOS receive the “Your connection is not private” error because the root certificate that was used to vouch for UVM sites expired on May 30, 2020. The new root certificate used to validate connections to most uvm.edu sites is not included in macOS versions 10.11 or lower, which is why those systems can’t establish a chain of trust.

This issue can be resolved by upgrading your macOS version to 10.14 or higher using the steps above.

Updated on November 18, 2020

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