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Best OSX version for late-2012?

Wie Gehts

macrumors 6502
Mar 22, 2007
491
13
I just went to High Sierra on my late 2012 mini (god 8 years. time freakin flies. scary) because I use Logic and get its latest update. I did a test partition for a while so I committed. OTOH, I have a partition with Mavericks so I can still use Photoshop CS6 and Lightroom 5. Adobe can scratch my balls.

I'll probably start using a PS and LR substitute

One thing that has irritated the crap outta me though. Can't get a clone I put onto a usb 3 hdd to boot. The mini will only boot from a usb 2. Never need a bootable drive but I just try and have one just because. I happen to use Superduper but the other popular one whose names escapes... carbon copy I think... couldn't do it either.

I've read all kinds of arcane technical jabber that I don't understand as to why this is. But a plain english explanation was basically that Apple gives usb 3 implementation the short shrift over their own thunderbolt
 
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ianrip

macrumors 6502
I'm using latest macOS Catalina, and its fine, the only apps that run are, Plex, and Safari, so browsing, and watching media, the machine needs to retire soon, its had a great run, I hope my next purchase lasts 8 years. but my user case has changed over the years, the ipad can do so much now, thats why i haven't upgraded the Mini.
 

WilliamDu

macrumors regular
May 22, 2012
248
97
I'm running Mojave on two late 2012 iMacs with no problems anywhere.
I wouldn't touch Catalina for the foreseeable future.
It's still buggy with lots of problems reported with iTunes and Photos.
 

macstatic

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Oct 21, 2005
1,364
73
Norway
If Logic Pro is important, then I would not hesitate to upgrade to a version of MacOS that supports it - which is High Sierra at minimum, although I'd probably go with Mojave (which runs great on my 2014 Mini). https://www.apple.com/logic-pro/specs/

The reason for not upgrading to one of the most recent MacOS versions is because I need to run some legacy apps which won't run on anything beyond 10.11 or 10.12, mainly because of the lacking 32-bit support.

How about if I install High Sierra, Mojave or Catalina on a separate partition/drive on my Mac, purchase and install Logic etc. Following that, reboot into my usual OS (10.11 El Capitan), go to the App Store and choose to download uninstalled, already purchased apps. Wouldn't that tell me that the current version won't work on my machine but I can download an earlier version?
 
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Boyd01

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Feb 21, 2012
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New Jersey Pine Barrens
Well, you can certainly install a different version of MacOS on a separate drive. I have 10.8.5 installed on the original Apple internal 256gb SSD on my 2012 quad mini, so I can use the thousands of dollars of legacy 3d and CAD apps that I own. But normally I boot from an external 1tb Samsung T3 external drive with Sierra.

That's a good question about whether you can download old versions if you have purchased the newest. I just don't know, and it would be an expensive experiment to find out for youself. Why not just boot from the external drive with Mojave and use the current version?

I suppose you could see if any legacy (from before the app store) versions of Logic are still available on DVD.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors Core
Feb 20, 2009
20,521
7,287
OP wrote:
"The reason for not upgrading to one of the most recent MacOS versions is because I need to run some legacy apps which won't run on anything beyond 10.11 or 10.12, mainly because of the lacking 32-bit support."

The Mac OS has support for 32-bits right up into Mojave (10.14).

"How about if I install High Sierra, Mojave or Catalina on a separate partition/drive on my Mac, purchase and install Logic etc."

I recommend that you get a separate DRIVE -- preferably a modest-sized external USB3 SSD -- to do this. A platter-based HDD isn't going to be fast enough.

You can then install whatever "more modern" apps you need with the newer OS.

One thing to be aware of:
If you have two DIFFERENT versions of the same app -- an older one with the older OS, and a newer one with the newer OS -- they will still both run, BUT...
... you probably won't be able to open documents created by the newer app using the older one.
 
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macstatic

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Oct 21, 2005
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Norway
Yes, that's a solution which would work, although a little cumbersome.
I already have an SSD installed in my Mac Pro: for apps and OSX. The rest is on platter based HDDs.

Boyd01: I thought Apple apps had long since abandoned DVDs, and those already having purchased Logic or Final Cut on DVD have probably already upgraded to a later version and won't (legally) be able to sell the physical DVD.
 

Boyd01

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Feb 21, 2012
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I thought Apple apps had long since abandoned DVDs, and those already having purchased Logic or Final Cut on DVD have probably already upgraded to a later version and won't (legally) be able to sell the physical DVD.

Yes, that is why I said "you could see if any versions are still available". The app store version was first introduced in 2011, which is when I switched from GarageBand to Logic (on my new 2011 MacBook Air!). Around 2013 I recall looking and there were still some vendors selling shrink-wrapped DVD versions. I have no idea if any of these still exist, you're probably right and they don't.

Now, I don't know what the old software license said. It's true that you couldn't sell an old version of legacy apps if you had upgraded to a newer version. But I'm not sure about the DVD vs the App Store version. Isn't the App Store version a completely different program with a different license? You would need to research that yourself.

But honestly, this is silly. If you want Logic and FCP, just get a small USB SSD and load a compatibe version of MacOS on it. A 256 or 512gb SSD like the Samsung T5 is pretty cheap now and gives performance that is not all that different from an internal SSD on a 2012 Mini. As I have mentioned, I boot my 2012 quad from a 1TB USB SSD. Logic Pro and Final Cut Pro run just fine this way and I have used them extensively.
 

macstatic

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Oct 21, 2005
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Norway
2011/2013 is a long time ago, and I'm sure FCP and Logic have come a long way since then.

I agree with what you're saying: just make it simple and install them along with a current, compatible OSX (well MacOS, we've come full circle again which I tend to forget all the time) on an external SSD.
I would have to replace my graphic card in my Mac Pro (mid-2010) with a Metal compatible one, but as far as I know that's not a huge financial investment, neither is an external SSD as you say. Actually, I have two SSDs (Samsung 830, 128 GB each) already installed in my Mac Pro. I used one of them as a Photoshop scratch disk, but has now got MacOS 10.11 El Capitan and my apps on it (as I recently upgraded from 10.9.5 Mavericks which is on the other SSD along with the apps for it). In a few weeks I'm sure I can say the transition/test period is over and I can safely erase that Mavericks SSD and use it for whatever I like :)

The only downside to this is I won't be able to use Photoshop CS4 on the fly (I would have to reboot into the older OS first), or all my other apps on the fly (if I've booted into the more recent OS with FCP/Logic on it). I'm not sure if Lightroom (perpetual) will work with more recent 64-bit only OSes either. Those are the two apps I can't/won't upgrade (it's all monthly fees now from Adobe).
Unless.... there's a way to run Photoshop and Lightroom in a virtual environment within the newer OS. Or else I just have to plan ahead and do a FCP or Logic session and nothing else before I reboot into my usual OS for all my other apps.

I guess it's not very smart to share files between two OSes (i.e. running Mail, Safari, Firefox etc. from either OS I boot into, accessing the same email message archive, web bookmarks etc. as in the other oS as Fishrrman pointed out. That won't be an issue if I install ONLY FCP and Logic on that newer OS' SSD of course, but will it be OK to save the project files by those apps on my regular HDD? Obviously they won't be accessed by any app within the older OS, but I heard something about a new file system and wonder if that also rules out saving/accessing files stored on the "old" file system?
 
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Boyd01

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Feb 21, 2012
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I don't think there's any problem using an older HFS-formatted disk with the new versions of MacOS. The internal SSD on my Mojave 2014 Mini is fomatted as APFS and so is the 4tb external SSD with my media library. But I previously had the media on an external HFS-formatted hard disk and there were no problems. By backup disks are still HFS too.

I got a little lost in your post regarding the Mac Pro, since I thought we were primarily discussing the mini. But if you still have a working Mac Pro, maybe you could just continue using it for legacy apps?
 
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macstatic

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Oct 21, 2005
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Norway
I don't think there's any problem using an older HFS-formatted disk with the new versions of MacOS.

Good to know in case I go ahead with this.

I got a little lost in your post regarding the Mac Pro, since I thought we were primarily discussing the mini. But if you still have a working Mac Pro, maybe you could just continue using it for legacy apps?


Sorry about that -yes, I started the thread to ask about upgrading my wife's Mac Mini, but got a bit sidetracked and off-topic when you mentioned using older versions of FCP and Logic. I've been considering both apps (for my Mac Pro and/or my 2012 (non-retina) 13" Macbook Pro), but haven't had the time to get into it, thus I might have "missed the bus" for a version I can use with my current OS.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors Core
Feb 20, 2009
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Boyd wrote:
"I don't think there's any problem using an older HFS-formatted disk with the new versions of MacOS."

I agree.
In fact, I recommend that if you still use platter-based drives, they SHOULD be in HFS+ and NOT APFS (unless they're boot drives).

I've read that for some reason, using APFS with platter-based drives results in excessive file fragmentation and can actually slow a drive down.
 

edubfromktown

macrumors 6502
Sep 14, 2010
258
162
East Coast, USA
+1 for Mojave. I tricked out my 15-inch Mid 2012 MacBook Pro with 16 GB and 1 TB flash drive and it is surprisingly responsive for a machine of that vintage.
 

newellj

macrumors 604
Oct 15, 2014
7,760
2,638
East of Eden
The advice about working up progressively is probably good advice. My experience on my late 2012 Mini has been that Mojave runs beautifully, possibly better than on many later Macs because there's no T2 chip to get fouled up by the infamous 2020-002 security update. For full disclosure, that Mini has the 2.3gHz i7 quad core CPU and a 512GB Crucial SSC (user-installed). Like you, I need to run some 32-bit apps, so Mojave is the end of the line for that Mini.
 
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