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CLOD-HOPPER

macrumors member
Original poster
Oct 10, 2015
74
1
Hi, recently, I have been trying to see what the chances may be, with regard to being able to continue using my iMac for a lot longer, which is fairly old already.

My question is: is it reasonable to expect to be able to get ten more years out of my present machine? (It’s been in service, since being bought new, for eight years.) I realise that eventually, it may be necessary to have a new hard drive fitted, but, when the time came, I should be willing to do that. I just want to keep using this machine, because for me to change to Catalina, on a brand-new machine, would prevent me from using valued apps that are used on my present machine and its operating system.

Can anyone comment on this — whether it is a feasible plan?

With thanks in advance for any helpful responses,

Clod-Hopper,
running High Sierra 10.13.6, on Mid 2010 iMac (3.2 GHz, Intel Core i3) with 12GB RAM
 

nihil0

macrumors 6502
May 19, 2016
394
268
I don't think it will last another 10 years. It is electronics, it will fail one day.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors Core
Feb 20, 2009
22,640
8,518
It's 9 years old.
You've gotten a "longer than usual" life out of it.
With luck, you may get 3-4 more years, perhaps even longer.
But consider that it could "go at any time" now, and make your plans accordingly.

Do you keep the internal drive backed up properly?
If not, you'd better START, because the drive is the component that most often fails.
I suggest CarbonCopyCloner or SuperDuper.

High Sierra is fine. Use it as long as it runs. But...
Be aware that even if the iMac keeps plugging along, eventually the software may grow so old that it won't interact properly with "the net" any more. (probably not for 5-6 years with High Sierra)

You DON'T want Catalina.
At least, not yet.
Too many problems with it.

Personal experience:
I got 12 years out of my 2006 white iMac, and it was still running when I put it up in the attic.
But it was never "my main Mac", and was always "used lightly".
 

Samuelsan2001

macrumors 604
Oct 24, 2013
7,694
2,124
Hi, recently, I have been trying to see what the chances may be, with regard to being able to continue using my iMac for a lot longer, which is fairly old already.

My question is: is it reasonable to expect to be able to get ten more years out of my present machine? (It’s been in service, since being bought new, for eight years.) I realise that eventually, it may be necessary to have a new hard drive fitted, but, when the time came, I should be willing to do that. I just want to keep using this machine, because for me to change to Catalina, on a brand-new machine, would prevent me from using valued apps that are used on my present machine and its operating system.

Can anyone comment on this — whether it is a feasible plan?

With thanks in advance for any helpful responses,

Clod-Hopper,
running High Sierra 10.13.6, on Mid 2010 iMac (3.2 GHz, Intel Core i3) with 12GB RAM
Hi, recently, I have been trying to see what the chances may be, with regard to being able to continue using my iMac for a lot longer, which is fairly old already.

My question is: is it reasonable to expect to be able to get ten more years out of my present machine? (It’s been in service, since being bought new, for eight years.) I realise that eventually, it may be necessary to have a new hard drive fitted, but, when the time came, I should be willing to do that. I just want to keep using this machine, because for me to change to Catalina, on a brand-new machine, would prevent me from using valued apps that are used on my present machine and its operating system.

Can anyone comment on this — whether it is a feasible plan?

With thanks in advance for any helpful responses,

Clod-Hopper,
running High Sierra 10.13.6, on Mid 2010 iMac (3.2 GHz, Intel Core i3) with 12GB RAM

10 years is not feasible, continuing to run 32 bit apps for more than a year or two more is not feasible , they are being phased out wholesale by everyone.
If you are still using the original hard drive or even a replacement HDD then swap it out for an ssd for under a 100 bucks you will get an instant speed boost to all your processes and a lot more reliability.
As to old software you are going to have to start looking at replacing it with newer software over the next few years and you probably want to do this before your iMac dies.

As I see it you have a few of choices, 1. Carry on as you are until your computer dies then have to buy a new computer and probably software all in one go, it may be tomorrow it may be in 3 years time. 2. Upgrade your software slowly over a few years then buy a new computer when you want or need to (I would recommend an ssd upgrade for this it will make your life a lot easier and nicer 3. Bite the bullet and just upgrade your 9 year old computer with new hardware and software now and enjoy the modern computing experience.

Would probably get a new computer at 9 years old but I would have been saving for one for a while now and would have begun updating to newer software a while ago. In a no savings and no new software scenario. I would go with option 2.
 

HDFan

Contributor
Jun 30, 2007
3,241
1,102
I would not expect it to be wise to use current system in 10 years even if you replace failing hardware components and make no software changes.

1. You won't have the current OS version, which means the system would be susceptible to malware.
2. You likely won't be able to update your system to the latest version of any software (with bug fixes) you use.

3. You won't be able to add new software

a. because it uses OS features which aren't there, like the 32 bit/64 bit change
b. an 18 year old system won't have the horsepower to support new features in the OS and in your software
c. MS-DOS came out in 1981, Windows NT in 2001, 20 years later. Would you still want to be running MS-DOS? Unequal comparison with MacOS, but gives you sense of how far behind you would be.

If you make no changes to the system and are not connected to the internet then it might be ok.
 

nathan_reilly

macrumors regular
Apr 2, 2016
146
491
I love my 2011 iMac...I make use of the magnetically connected glass panel to dust it out. If components do fail on your mac, it's very easy to replace them vs. newer "adhesive" iMacs. Best of luck to you!
 

Matz

Contributor
Apr 25, 2015
981
1,365
Rural Southern Virginia
My mid-2010 27” iMac is still plugging along. As others have pointed out, an internal SSD will make all the difference. I had one installed a few years ago gave the iMac a new lease on life.

Being topped out with High Sierra has not been a problem for me, yet. And for the most part, the software I use runs just fine.

But I sometimes crave a much better screen. And being able to unlock it with proximity to my Apple Watch. And the ability to run Mojave, or Catalina when it gets straightened out. And so forth.

All nice to have, but not nice enough for me to put a serious dent in $3,000 to get a new SSD-equipped 27” iMac.

But another ten years on this one? I seriously doubt it. As mentioned, parts do wear out. They seem to take longer in a Mac, but they eventually do. And at some point I’ll get tired of it and trade it in on a new one, probably in the next few years; I have gotten my money’s worth out of it.

Best of luck with yours.
 

mmomega

macrumors demi-god
Dec 30, 2009
3,842
2,020
DFW, TX
Hi, recently, I have been trying to see what the chances may be, with regard to being able to continue using my iMac for a lot longer, which is fairly old already.

My question is: is it reasonable to expect to be able to get ten more years out of my present machine? (It’s been in service, since being bought new, for eight years.) I realise that eventually, it may be necessary to have a new hard drive fitted, but, when the time came, I should be willing to do that. I just want to keep using this machine, because for me to change to Catalina, on a brand-new machine, would prevent me from using valued apps that are used on my present machine and its operating system.

Can anyone comment on this — whether it is a feasible plan?

With thanks in advance for any helpful responses,

Clod-Hopper,
running High Sierra 10.13.6, on Mid 2010 iMac (3.2 GHz, Intel Core i3) with 12GB RAM
At the moment I have 4 iMacs from 2010 or older that still function just fine.
I do have SSD's installed in all of them and upgraded RAM. Also in the last year I upgraded the CPU of the 2009 and 2010 models from i5 and i3 CPU's to i7's in both to give them a little more life.
 

redheeler

macrumors 604
Oct 17, 2014
7,774
7,676
I don't think it will last another 10 years. It is electronics, it will fail one day.
It's good to wonder "what if?" something fails and have a plan B, whether it's brand new or three decades old. However, I have a Macintosh SE from the late 80s that still boots and runs fine, a '98 Bondi Blue iMac that also still works, and a Late '06 that I use on a daily basis as a secondary Mac, while plenty of people are experiencing problems with Macs (eg. Butterfly keyboards on 2016/2017 MacBook Pros) that are only a few years old. Age isn't always an accurate indicator of failure rate for computers, and @CLOD-HOPPER shouldn't be concerned about imminent failure of the 2010 iMac, aside from having a plan if it does - and the plan should exist even if the iMac came out of the factory yesterday.

Now, let's talk about software planned obsolescence. Apple kept the 2010 iMac on High Sierra, when in my opinion it really should've been given Mojave. That missing year of support will limit the 2010 iMac's usable life, even while the hardware continues to work fine. Security updates for High Sierra will stop in a year, so you'd be taking a slight risk by continuing to run it. Some newer apps already require Mojave or newer, and won't run on High Sierra or easier, with that number gradually increasing. Apple is encouraging developers to use new technologies like Metal and Catalyst, which will leave older Macs behind. Eventually it'll get to the point my Late 2006 iMac on Mountain Lion is at, when almost no apps still support that version of MacOS, and even a current web browser will be difficult to find; that's still some years off but is likely to happen within the next decade. At that point, you may have to install an alternate OS like Windows or Linux to continue making the most of the hardware.
Edit: For simplicity I left out any references to a GPU upgrade to run Mojave with Metal support, because it isn't an easy procedure to attempt. However, it is technically possible on that model AFAIK.
 
Last edited:

kschendel

macrumors 65816
Dec 9, 2014
1,072
342
When you get past 10 years or so, computers will remain useful only if:

a) you're willing to put an increasing amount of time and money into the software and hardware;
b) you're lucky and nothing major breaks like the display or logic board;
c) the computer is used for some number of specific tasks, none of which involve internet access, and you don't need to upgrade applications since what you have already works.

You can relax any one of these a bit - for instance, a 2000's era email client can still likely receive email, as long as there are no modern format attachments. If (c) holds strongly, and no hardware breaks, spending money as in (a) may not be necessary. But you get the idea - environments and network protocols move on, and eventually machines that don't keep up get left behind.

If you have apps that won't run on current OS versions, and you aren't able or willing to change, one option might be to see if you can install High Sierra in a virtual machine environment, load your apps and data there, and continue. The VM hosting software, whether VirtualBox, Parallels, VMware, or something else, will run on new hardware and new OS revisions.
 
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