Advice Please: What To Do With Mac Mini mid2011???

BeautifulWoman_1984

macrumors member
Original poster
Sep 5, 2016
90
5
Hey guys,

Sorry to be making a new thread, but I know MacRumors is the community which has the most experts on Macs on the internet. I searched the forums and I couldn't find a previous thread related to my severe problem.

My biggest fear has come true: Apple will stop giving security updates to my Mac Mini mid2011 in September 2020... 😓

The internal HDD that came with the Mac Mini mid2011 no longer works. I want to replace this broken internal HDD very soon most likely using a 2.5" HDD. However, I don't want to keep using the Mac Mini mid2011 running High Sierra past September 2020 because it won't receive any more security updates and security is my number one concern... :(

I just want to hear the advice of this community as I'm sure there are things I can do that I'm not even aware of...

Any ideas or a possible options would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you so much!
 

shalliday

macrumors member
Dec 27, 2011
43
0
I am in the same boat. I am running a Mac Mini mid2011 and am unsure what I should do. Looking forward to hearing ideas and possible options too.
 

motm95

macrumors regular
Aug 19, 2010
200
758
Are you asking how to upgrade your mac so it can run later versions of Mac OS that get security updates? Or are you asking what uses there might be for an older Mac that can't be upgraded? It's not entirely clear what your question is.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors P6
Feb 20, 2009
18,552
6,281
OP wrote:
" I don't want to keep using the Mac Mini mid2011 running High Sierra past September 2020 because it won't receive any more security updates and security is my number one concern..."

You have two choices:
1. Replace it with something newer that runs newer versions of the OS,
or
2. Keep using it "as it is".

I sense that you can choose EITHER of the above, and still do fine.
 
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WP31

macrumors newbie
Feb 11, 2020
10
2
Sitting here w/a 2010 MacMini server on High Sierra...not much you can do once they cut you off. I still putz around with it as a network server and dedicated on-network scanner computer but basically, yeah, it's time to buy a new machine.
 

CUDA_Switch

macrumors newbie
Jul 23, 2015
23
17
You're right to be concerned about security updates. I have a 2011 too. Here are some options. For all of these, I would install an SSD since the hard drive is broken anyway and you might need to upgrade memory as well:

  • Run Windows 10. I'm not a fan of Windows, and you'd need a license which is not free. But this would be a relatively easy option. I've heard that Windows 10 runs surprisingly well on the 2011 Mac Mini, possibly better than the macOS you're running now. I'd say 8 GB memory minimum to decently run Windows 10.
  • Run Linux, which is free. This is what I do, but there's a bit of a learning curve if you're not used to it. Ubuntu is a decent choice for the beginner. You could get by on 4 GB memory, but more is better.
  • Run an unsupported macOS that gets security updates. YMMV with this option. It's free and you still get to use the macOS, but it might not work very well. More memory would be better than less. I don't have any experience with this, but perhaps others could chime in.

    Obviously a new Mac Mini would be the easiest thing to do, especially if you need to keep using macOS. If budget is tight, see if you can still find a cheaper 2018 Mini or go refurbished. Hope this helps....
 

dukebound85

macrumors P6
Jul 17, 2005
18,138
1,450
5045 feet above sea level
OP wrote:
" I don't want to keep using the Mac Mini mid2011 running High Sierra past September 2020 because it won't receive any more security updates and security is my number one concern..."

You have two choices:
1. Replace it with something newer that runs newer versions of the OS,
or
2. Keep using it "as it is".

I sense that you can choose EITHER of the above, and still do fine.
or linux
 

CooperBox

macrumors 65816
Nov 28, 2010
1,161
1,135
France - between Ricard & Absinthe
You can do one of three things:
  1. Use dosdude's patcher ( http://dosdude1.com/software.html ) and install a more current version of macOS.
  2. Install a different OS, like linux. Which is what I did with my 2011 Mac mini.
  3. Recycle the machine and get a new one.
I reckon options 1 and 2 are the way to go. Why recycle this Mac Mini when with a bit of tender loving care, spare time, and very modest expense it can be upgraded to an excellent performer. I recently did this with a 2012 model installing a Crucial 500GHz SSD and upgraded RAM to 8Gb (if ever required can easily be maxed out to 16GB).
Now running OS Mojave, the 2012 is a really great performer. It can also run Catalina, which I didn't want as I'd loose the use of my current Word and Excel and some other 32bit apps (at least without implementing a workaround).
Bare in mind your mid 2011 Mac Mini is one of the easiest Macs to work on, with iFixit giving it one of their highest notes ever of 8/10 for upgradability, better than the 2014-2018 models. HERE's how to change the HD, and HERE the full iFixit repair guide.
So if it were me I'd definitely go for option 1. Install an SSD, format as APFS and using the dosdude's patcher, upgrade to Mojave (I have my personal reservations about not installing Catalina).
 
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iluvmacs99

macrumors 6502
Apr 9, 2019
438
254
Hey guys,

Sorry to be making a new thread, but I know MacRumors is the community which has the most experts on Macs on the internet. I searched the forums and I couldn't find a previous thread related to my severe problem.

My biggest fear has come true: Apple will stop giving security updates to my Mac Mini mid2011 in September 2020... 😓

The internal HDD that came with the Mac Mini mid2011 no longer works. I want to replace this broken internal HDD very soon most likely using a 2.5" HDD. However, I don't want to keep using the Mac Mini mid2011 running High Sierra past September 2020 because it won't receive any more security updates and security is my number one concern... :(

I just want to hear the advice of this community as I'm sure there are things I can do that I'm not even aware of...

Any ideas or a possible options would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you so much!
Security is a vast subject, because security can mean many things to many people. If you are thinking about internet security, then perhaps you should be worried if you are one of those advocacy/fighting for transparency group people who work covert and expose government or corporate dirt, then maximum security is a must. You must upgrade to the latest Mini with the T2 chip and lockdown your machine. I had worked with some individuals who are part of these movements and their older MAC machines as well as their phones were hacked, tracked and compromised due to them using older operating systems. Even the best security firms they hired couldn't prevent their machines being hacked. Even their ProtonMail accounts were somehow hacked despite ProtonMail claiming it couldn't be. They are journalists and governments do hunt them down when they are exposing their dirt. So it is prudent, if you are working and or engaging in this field, to have the latest devices to at least keep up with the latest security implementations. This is one extreme and perhaps and I hope you don't fit in this extreme category, but it seemed from the sound of your tone that security is your #1 concern and so I thought I laid this out?

If you don't fit this category and you still want some modern security updates while keeping your Mac OS running because you have applications you can't afford to loose. And since you are getting a new HD for the Mini is to install a dual boot system. Meaning that you use 2 different OS. I use Linux Mint 19.3 based on the Ubuntu Bionic Beaver kernel to browse the net, watch movies and go to sites that may not be safe for older operating systems. And then when I want to go back to El-Capitan (that's what I have on my Mid 2011) to serve all my other Macs and Windows machine, I just reboot and voila, I am in Mac OS. I use a program called REfind, which is a boot manager that allows choosing between different OS installations. With this method, you get the best of both worlds. Linux for modern security and the least hacked and you do not have to worry about viruses because you won't get one, plus you can use all your Mac OS apps.

Now, if all you are after is some browsing security, then you need to stop using Safari and switch to Firefox or Brave browser. Install Ublock origin to block ads, Privacy Badger to stop site tracking, and HTTPS Everywhere to ensure your connection to https secured. This will help you extend your browsing experience past High Sierra. This implementation is not perfect because you don't have your last line of defense due to your dated OS. Unlike running a modern Linux which is your last line of defense when the browser couldn't catch all of these devious malicious sites from infecting your machines. But this is for people who simply want some security, but not a major overhaul.

I hope this helps you.
 
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C64

macrumors 65816
Sep 3, 2008
1,235
222
Has anyone tried later versions of MacOS on the 2011? How does it run?
I'm in the same boat, and while I haven't tested it, I think the chances of it working well aren't great.

Here's what http://dosdude1.com/mojave/ says about it:

Known issues:

• AMD Radeon HD 5xxx/6xxx series GPU acceleration: Currently, it is not possible to get full graphics acceleration when running Mojave on a system with a Radeon HD 5xxx or 6xxx series GPU. Mojave will be almost UNUSABLE without graphics acceleration.
According to the System Report my Mac mini has a AMD Radeon HD 6630M 256 MB...

I was planning to upgrade to whatever the new Mac mini would be, but with this latest non-refresh pretty much nothing has changed. It's of course way faster than the 2011 mini, but paying this amount of money for (by today's standards) pretty old hardware just doesn't feel great.
 
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tpivette89

macrumors 6502
Jan 1, 2018
478
245
Middletown, DE
I can see a few options moving forward:

1) Keep using it as is. Yes, you will no longer get security updates, but the machine will still do everything you need it to do. High Sierra is still supported by nearly everything online, and you won't have a crippled internet experience. I would take this opportunity to upgrade to a SSD, and put at least 8GB of RAM into the machine.

If you absolutely must have current and future updates:

2) Install Windows. This will also require you to upgrade the hard drive since yours is dead. Again, I would install an SSD. As with the above option, 8GB of RAM will be the minimum here.

3) If current security updates AND MacOS are a must, then you will have to purchase a new (to you) machine. Anything 2012 and up will work, however, I believe the 2012 machines will be dropped after Catalina. There are patches to make older hardware work with unsupported OS updates (like mentioned above)... but as mentioned, due to the older graphics on these devices, the experience may not be a pleasant one.

Good luck and let us know what you have decided.
 

now i see it

macrumors 601
Jan 2, 2002
4,677
9,241
The way I see it nowadays- the Internet is too hazardous to go poking around willy nilly on any computer- regardless of its age. It's like a swamp that has known monsters lurking somewhere in it - especially in the deep parts.
As far as I'm concerned, most of the Internet is off limits to browsing except for a few known safe havens (the beach line of the swamp). There comes a point (like now) when the swamp is too dangerous to swim in or cross -no matter how you attempt it
 
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avz

macrumors 6502a
Oct 7, 2018
885
1,074
The way I see it nowadays- the Internet is too hazardous to go poking around willy nilly on any computer- regardless of its age. It's like a swamp that has known monsters lurking somewhere in it - especially in the deep parts.
As far as I'm concerned, most of the Internet is off limits to browsing except for a few known safe havens (the beach line of the swamp). There comes a point (like now) when the swamp is too dangerous to swim in or cross -no matter how you attempt it
"No Hope=No Fear"
 

richmond62

macrumors newbie
Mar 12, 2020
18
3
My late 2005 Mac Mini is chuntering away just fine, and I use it for all sorts of things as don't have the money to buy updated versions of all the software I have on there.

And that's "the rub": unless you really need the latest and greatest version of your productivity software there is probably no reason to upgrade.
 

richmond62

macrumors newbie
Mar 12, 2020
18
3
"i am using my 2009 with windows 10 now and it works great."

OK: I'm using horse-manure in my Toyota Auris . . .
 

BeautifulWoman_1984

macrumors member
Original poster
Sep 5, 2016
90
5
Are you asking how to upgrade your mac so it can run later versions of Mac OS that get security updates? Or are you asking what uses there might be for an older Mac that can't be upgraded? It's not entirely clear what your question is.
Sorry, I wish I was clearer in asking my question!

I don't want to run "unofficial/fan made" versions of Mac OS beyond High Sierra (even if they're from a legitimate source) as I'm worried these may cause problems for my Mac Mini mid2011 in the future. If I keep running Mac OS I want to make sure I'm only running the official version from Apple.

I forgot to mention:
My Mac Mini mid2011 has 8GB of RAM and for my uses, the performance is much more than enough from the CPU/graphics as well.
 

EmlynDewar

macrumors regular
Aug 17, 2011
122
62
Chengdu, China
In the situation you describe, I'd look at replacing the system.
I'd still be comfortable using the system without further OS updates. As long as my web browser was still receiving regular updates.
Get the current base model, as that will ensure you're receiving OS/security updates for a good few years longer. Buying a used model, could just be shifting the problem on to next year.
 

avz

macrumors 6502a
Oct 7, 2018
885
1,074
Sorry, I wish I was clearer in asking my question!

I don't want to run "unofficial/fan made" versions of Mac OS beyond High Sierra (even if they're from a legitimate source) as I'm worried these may cause problems for my Mac Mini mid2011 in the future. If I keep running Mac OS I want to make sure I'm only running the official version from Apple.

I forgot to mention:
My Mac Mini mid2011 has 8GB of RAM and for my uses, the performance is much more than enough from the CPU/graphics as well.
You still did not make it clear what you want. So you are just complaining that Apple left your machine behind, right? What's the point of keep repeating that your machine is "still enough" if without security updates YOU ARE writing it off?
 

BeautifulWoman_1984

macrumors member
Original poster
Sep 5, 2016
90
5
You still did not make it clear what you want. So you are just complaining that Apple left your machine behind, right? What's the point of keep repeating that your machine is "still enough" if without security updates YOU ARE writing it off?
I apologise for coming across as complaining.

When I said the performance of this Mac Mini mid2011 with 8GB of RAM is more than enough for my uses I just meant that it'd be a bit of a waste for me to buy a current Mac Mini 2020, but I'm in a hard spot because this Mac Mini mid2011 won't receive security updates past September 2020 and I don't want to use a machine that's not getting security updates... 😢
- - Post merged: - -

  • Run Windows 10. I'm not a fan of Windows, and you'd need a license which is not free. But this would be a relatively easy option. I've heard that Windows 10 runs surprisingly well on the 2011 Mac Mini, possibly better than the macOS you're running now. I'd say 8 GB memory minimum to decently run Windows 10.
  • Run Linux, which is free. This is what I do, but there's a bit of a learning curve if you're not used to it. Ubuntu is a decent choice for the beginner. You could get by on 4 GB memory, but more is better.

  • Obviously a new Mac Mini would be the easiest thing to do, especially if you need to keep using macOS. If budget is tight, see if you can still find a cheaper 2018 Mini or go refurbished. Hope this helps....
Running Windows 10 or Linux might be my best two options. :(

Run an unsupported macOS that gets security updates. YMMV with this option. It's free and you still get to use the macOS, but it might not work very well. More memory would be better than less. I don't have any experience with this, but perhaps others could chime in.
I'm not sure what you mean by "unsupported MacOS that gets security updates"? I've checked and High Sierra will only receive security updates until September 2020. 😥

Do you mean I can keep running High Sierra after September 2020? If so, I don't want to do this because I'm VERY worried about using a machine that isn't receiving security updates...
 
Last edited:

avz

macrumors 6502a
Oct 7, 2018
885
1,074
I apologise for coming across as complaining.

When I said the performance of this Mac Mini mid2011 with 8GB of RAM is more than enough for my uses I just meant that it'd be a bit of a waste for me to buy a current Mac Mini 2020, but I'm in a hard spot because this Mac Mini mid2011 won't receive security updates past September 2020 and I don't want to use a machine that's not getting security updates... 😢
There is nothing wrong in complaining(stress management) but you come across very dismissive of knowledge and good advice that other users are giving you. Knowledge(applied) is power and no virus can take that power away from you. Sure, if someone will target you, no security updates will save you.
 

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