Are MacOS Support Periods Reasonable?

Discussion in 'Apple, Inc and Tech Industry' started by redheeler, Jun 9, 2019.


Are MacOS support periods reasonable?

  1. Yes, 7 years (from time of release) is long enough.

  2. No, Macs should be able to run a current, supported MacOS for longer.

  1. redheeler, Jun 9, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2019

    redheeler macrumors 604


    Oct 17, 2014
    Because of the amount of people I've seen on this forum trying to run a newer version of MacOS on unsupported Macs, I decided to do a quick analysis of whether or not Apple dropping support for a certain Mac model was justified, going back to 64-bit Mac models introduced in 2006.

    I decided to set the threshold at which dropping support due to age would be acceptable at 9 years. Hardware of this age is becoming increasingly usable for basic tasks, and the interval at which many users upgrade their computer has become longer than it used to be. On top of that, the environmental benefit of being able to use older hardware for longer should be a source of pride for a company which claims to be environmentally-conscious. However, the burden of maintaining kexts and optimizing new versions of MacOS for the older hardware eventually exceeds the benefit it brings to the consumer, so it would be unreasonable to expect support to continue for a decade or more.

    After the initial support period is up, security updates continue for another two years, though Apple tends to drop support with important apps like Xcode shortly after a new major version of MacOS is introduced. 11 years may seem like a long time to receive security updates, but it's not dissimilar from the two major competing platforms, Windows and Linux. Windows 7 will see almost 11 years of security updates, and that's assuming someone with 2009 hardware hasn't already updated to Windows 8 or 10. Current versions of Linux can likewise be run on almost any x86 PC or Mac from the past 13 years.

    Below are the results of my analysis. TL;DR: MacOS support is usually dropped 1-2 years before it should be.


    Mac mini (Mid 2007)
    MacBook (Mid 2007), MacBook (Late 2008), MacBook Air (Early 2008)

    Logical Support Stoppage: OS X 10.9.5 (Mavericks)

    Actual Support Stoppage: Mac OS X 10.7.5 (Lion) - 2 years short

    Logical Reasons: Intel GMA graphics would likely result in subpar performance on Yosemite and later.

    Actual Reasons: Apple chose to deprecate 32-bit kexts in OS X Mountain Lion and never released 64-bit versions for the GPUs in these Macs.

    iMac (Late 2006), Mac Pro (Mid 2006), Mac Pro (Early 2007)
    MacBook Pro (Late 2006)

    Logical Support Stoppage: OS X 10.11.6 (El Capitan)

    Actual Support Stoppage: Mac OS X 10.7.5 (Lion) - 4 years short

    Logical Reasons: 32-bit EFI, old instruction set

    Actual Reasons: Apple chose to deprecate 32-bit kexts in OS X Mountain Lion and never released 64-bit versions for the GPUs in these Macs.

    iMac (Mid 2007)
    MacBook Pro (Mid / Late 2007)

    Logical Support Stoppage: OS X 10.11.6 (El Capitan)

    Actual Support Stoppage: OS X 10.11.6 (El Capitan)

    Logical Reasons: old instruction set, age (9 years)

    Actual Reasons: old instruction set, age (9 years)

    Mac mini (Early 2009), Mac mini (Late 2009), iMac (Mid 2008), iMac (Early 2009), iMac (Mid 2009), Mac Pro (Early 2008), Mac Pro (Early 2009)
    MacBook (Aluminum Late 2008), MacBook (Early 2009), MacBook (Mid 2009), MacBook Air (Late 2008), MacBook Air (Mid 2009), MacBook Pro (Early 2008), MacBook Pro (Late 2008), MacBook Pro (Early 2009), MacBook Pro (Mid 2009)

    Logical Support Stoppage: macOS 10.13.6 (High Sierra)

    Actual Support Stoppage: OS X 10.11.6 (El Capitan) - 2 years short

    Logical Reasons: age (9+ years)

    Actual Reasons: age (7+ years)

    Mac mini (Mid 2010), Mac mini (Mid 2011), iMac (Late 2009), iMac (Mid 2010), iMac (Mid 2011)
    MacBook (Late 2009), MacBook (Mid 2010), MacBook Air (Late 2010), MacBook Air (Mid 2011), MacBook Pro (Mid 2010), MacBook Pro (Early 2011), MacBook Pro (Late 2011)

    Logical Support Stoppage: macOS 10.14.6 (Mojave)

    Actual Support Stoppage: macOS 10.13.6 (High Sierra) - 1 year short

    Logical Reasons: outdated graphics (third-party Marzipan apps will expect Metal support)

    Actual Reasons: Apple chose to deprecate OpenGL in MacOS Mojave, despite the fact there is nothing stopping the built-in Marzipan apps from working on OpenGL.

    Mac Pro (Mid 2010), Mac Pro (Mid 2012)

    Logical Support Stoppage: macOS 10.16.? (?)

    Actual Support Stoppage: macOS 10.14.6 (Mojave) - 2 years short

    Logical Reasons: old instruction set, age (9 years)

    Actual Reasons: age (7 years)
  2. Longkeg macrumors 6502

    Jul 18, 2014
    S. Florida
    Gee. I feel bad. All that exhaustive research and analysis. That long, well written post. And now, more than 24 hours later only 2 votes have been cast. And I don’t think those were the votes you were looking for. For what it’s worth Apple is going to do what Apple is going to do. Any “analysis” that doesn’t originate at 1 Infinite Loop is just so much noise as far as Cupertino is concerned.
  3. AidenShaw macrumors P6


    Feb 8, 2003
    The Peninsula
    Wrong address.

  4. cyberdocwi macrumors newbie

    Jan 2, 2018

    Thank you for taking a stab at this. I would like Apple to slow down these new releases of OS, or better yet, apply security patches to older OS, perhaps down to El Cap or even Mountain Lion. Yes, I know there is expense in keeping old software active, but there are people out there who enjoy operational computers, and don't wish to update them to a new OS, even if it is free. Send the security patch along, and let me get back to work.

    I won't be moving my fleet beyond Sierra for a time to come. Sierra works. I don't have infinite RAM, and don't want to risk AFS yet, when HPFS has functioned well for me for years and years. I still use Microsoft Office 2011 Mac, as it works, is fast and reasonable, and does what I want it to do. I don't upgrade for the sake of upgrading. Yes I want to keep my systems patched, but I do have 32 bit code around, and not ready to purge it because someone in AppleLand wants me to.

    Apple used to make awesome hardware. I don't like the new Macbook Pro's beyond 2015 -- the disruption of the keyboard, removal of even more ports, and the glued hard drive frankly pissed me off. I used to get excited about releases, and wanting even more performance, but Apple continues to arrogantly fail to consider the professional who doesn't want an army of dongles to loose, or who needs a function key instead of the CandyLand touchbar.

    I use HDMI. I have several MagSafe power supplies hanging around. I need ports. I am a network administrator who uses ethernet, and cannot rely on WiFi.

  5. AustinIllini macrumors demi-goddess


    Oct 20, 2011
    Austin, TX
    This type of attitude is the tech equivalent of anti-vaxxing. No one "upgrades for the sake of upgrading". You upgrade because the latest OS has improvements at the very least in security.

    You upgrade because it's the responsible thing to do. Keep your tech and through it your data safe.

    And you shouldn't notice the difference between HFS+ and APFS.
  6. jaw04005 macrumors 601


    Aug 19, 2003
    Reasonable? Maybe. But I don't think they should artificially stop supporting a machine in the new OS just because it's more than seven years old or whatever. Apple knows how many of each machine are still in use. They have App Store metrics that give them that information.

    In a lot ways, Apple's push to treat Mac OS X like iOS has been positive. For example, unified code and features for end-users and developers. However, there's been side effects.

    I work in the education field. There are many older modern iMacs (2010's) still in use in labs across our campus that can't be upgraded beyond El Capitan. There's some discussion this is due to a Wi-fi driver that's not 64-bit and the fact that this particular model doesn't have a Metal-capable GPU. These machines are very much capable devices. You're talking i5 and i7 machines with plenty of memory and SSDs. Honestly, they're still pretty darn fast machines.

    This has caused major problems. Many of our teachers use iCloud and the iWork apps. If you open a document with the latest version of Pages on your iPad, you can no longer open it on your Mac because it's been "upgraded", etc. You end up having to go to and re-downloading a compatible copy to open on your Mac.

    Unnecessary and annoying. And it's just another reason to use Google's web products for our classrooms even though Pages is a superior desktop publishing app.

    I'd like to see Apple go back and do what they did with El Capitan. For the first time in a long time, they went back and updated older iMacs. They need to also fix iCloud to be more backward compatible and adjust for platform issues.
  7. velocityg4 macrumors 601


    Dec 19, 2004
    While I don't think they should keep having to release new versions of OS X for old models. As they would have to build and validate many of the drivers themselves. They shouldn't block old drivers or worse yet not allow third parties to release updated drivers (nVidia). If people want to risk a poor experience let them decide. Perhaps this hearkens back to G3 owners suing Apple because not all advertised OS X features were supported.

    However, I do think they should provide security patches for deprecated versions of OS X as MS does with Windows for several years after updates are finished. It would make IT departments more accepting of Macs. Alternatively, they could only drop models every other version of OS X. Making those extended support versions.
  8. Tech198, Jun 14, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2019

    Tech198 macrumors G5

    Mar 21, 2011
    Australia, Perth
    Everything must die eventually (... even humans do eventually)

    The fact software can be "tuned' to run doesn't mean it should be supported.. As Apple doesn't cater for what the individual can do only... It's more about whats right for everyone without too much "bypassing"

    By proving longer time for updates after an OS is no longer available may be shorter with Apple, but they could be doing that to force more people to upgrade as well.

    After all, if you no longer have security updates, your more likely to look for updates apps, and get a newer version of the OS when you get a new mac, rather than the % of users who will find ways to keep it "as is"

    This way, it gives Apple more credit when they boast in the media "how many users have using x version of our OS"

    The other approach, wold be to just run virtual machines... (unless you have a really old Ma doesn't support Hyper-V)

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7 June 9, 2019