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827538

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Jul 3, 2013
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So I need to help a friend upgrade their MacBook Air to Catalina, it's currently running 10.12 Sierra. What would be the best way to get them on to Catalina while retaining all their data?
Tried to research but it's not very clear and not something I've ever had to do before. Usually I just grab the latest update whenever it is available.

Thanks!
 

chrfr

macrumors G5
Jul 11, 2009
13,553
7,079
So I need to help a friend upgrade their MacBook Air to Catalina, it's currently running 10.12 Sierra. What would be the best way to get them on to Catalina while retaining all their data?
Tried to research but it's not very clear and not something I've ever had to do before. Usually I just grab the latest update whenever it is available.

Thanks!
Just be sure that a good backup exists, and download the Catalina installer from the App Store, and run it.
 
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827538

Cancelled
Original poster
Jul 3, 2013
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Just be sure that a good backup exists, and download the Catalina installer from the App Store, and run it.
Perfect, thank you.
So no need to go High Sierra > Mojave > Catalina?
 

mikzn

macrumors 68040
Sep 2, 2013
3,005
2,291
North Vancouver
What MBA is it ? Year / Model - make sure it can run Catalina - ?

Make a bootable back up first on an exterior drive (so you can restore Sierra later if need be) - with some thing like CCC - Carbon Copy Cloner

then Like chrfr says - check the app store or the "Software Update" for the catalina installer - run it and let it do it's thing
 

827538

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Original poster
Jul 3, 2013
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I'm having a problem trying to install Catalina. The MacBook Air is definitely supported and has hundreds of GB's of free space. I've made sure all the programs (that aren't Apple's) are 64bit so there should be no issues.

Yet every time I download Catalina on the App Store it just disappears. I go to Applications list and see 'macOS Catalina' but it's only 357kB and does nothing when I click on it. Tried restarting the system etc, done this multiple times now with the same result, I'm really needing to get this update done ASAP.

Any ideas? (other than wipe the whole system and start again)
 

Camarillo Brillo

macrumors 6502a
Dec 6, 2019
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525
I've not had any problems with Catalina, nor has my wife.
Good for you both, but if you look around the majority of the threads in the Catalina subform here are about problems people are having, and it's generally recognized as one of the most unstable OS X releases ever.

Mojave on the other hand is generally considered one of the most stable

I don't see any reason to run Catalina if your computer can run Mojave at this point
 

Taz Mangus

macrumors 604
Mar 10, 2011
7,815
3,504
I've not had any problems with Catalina, nor has my wife.

Good for you both, but if you look around the majority of the threads in the Catalina subform here are about problems people are having, and it's generally recognized as one of the most unstable OS X releases ever.

I think it is funny that you arguing with someone about how you think they should not be using Catalina because it is "so unstable" when in fact the poster is telling you they have had no issues using Catalina on more than one computer.

I don't see any reason to run Catalina if your computer can run Mojave at this point

Good for you, that is your choice. I have been using the latest release of Catalina 10.15.4, on 2 MacBook Pro computers, and it has been very stable. I was using Mojave before Catalina, which also was very stable. I see no reason, so far, to even think about going back to Mojave. I have not encountered a single issue which requires me to go back to Mojave. In fact, I have not had much issues at all using Catalina. I am very aware of the reported issues others have had, none of those problems have occurred for me. Not everyones use case is the same.

So far, not a single crash using Catalina.
 
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Taz Mangus

macrumors 604
Mar 10, 2011
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I'm really not arguing - just stating that most people consider Catalina to be one of the least stable Mac OS releases ever.

I think the people who posted in Is Anyone NOT Having Problems With macOS Catalina 10.15.4? would very much disagree with you. I would like to really know who these "most" people are.

And if you look more closely in that thread there is even a person who uses a Mac Mini with a eGPU. I assume they are using an external monitor as well because of the eGPU.

I have been using Mac OS since 10.2 Tiger. Catalina is not the most unstable Mac OS ever.
 
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Camarillo Brillo

macrumors 6502a
Dec 6, 2019
531
525
A separate thread had to be created for people who are NOT having problems with Catalina, because practically every other thread in the Catalina subforum is about problems with Catalina, lol.
 

Taz Mangus

macrumors 604
Mar 10, 2011
7,815
3,504
A separate thread had to be created for people who are NOT having problems with Catalina, because practically every other thread in the Catalina subforum is about problems with Catalina, lol.

Most people won’t post if they are not having issues.
 
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hanser

macrumors 6502
Aug 29, 2013
359
304
And if you look more closely in that thread there is even a person who uses a Mac Mini with a eGPU. I assume they are using an external monitor as well because of the eGPU.

I would guess that they are using an external monitor because of Mac mini...
 

Taz Mangus

macrumors 604
Mar 10, 2011
7,815
3,504
I would guess that they are using an external monitor because of Mac mini...

Some use the MacMini headless for maybe a server. I have a MacMini I was using as a media server previously. I would access it using screen sharing.
 
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827538

Cancelled
Original poster
Jul 3, 2013
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I was given a link to this support page:


Says I can launch the Mac in recovery mode and install Catalina that way.
I'm concerned that this would wipe all data of the Mac which would be bad, I have backed up most stuff but it would be a severe pain to try and get it back the way it was before.

Can someone advised if this is a legitimately safe method to install a new macOS without nuking everything?
 

chrfr

macrumors G5
Jul 11, 2009
13,553
7,079
I was given a link to this support page:


Says I can launch the Mac in recovery mode and install Catalina that way.
I'm concerned that this would wipe all data of the Mac which would be bad, I have backed up most stuff but it would be a severe pain to try and get it back the way it was before.

Can someone advised if this is a legitimately safe method to install a new macOS without nuking everything?
Unless you manually go into Disk Utility and consciously erase the disk, then installing via recovery mode will not erase your data. As always, however, be sure you have a backup just in case something goes wrong.
 
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Taz Mangus

macrumors 604
Mar 10, 2011
7,815
3,504
I was given a link to this support page:


Says I can launch the Mac in recovery mode and install Catalina that way.
I'm concerned that this would wipe all data of the Mac which would be bad, I have backed up most stuff but it would be a severe pain to try and get it back the way it was before.

Can someone advised if this is a legitimately safe method to install a new macOS without nuking everything?

It will do a upgrade install not a clean install. You would need to manually erase your HD to do a clean install.
 
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827538

Cancelled
Original poster
Jul 3, 2013
2,322
2,833
Unless you manually go into Disk Utility and consciously erase the disk, then installing via recovery mode will not erase your data. As always, however, be sure you have a backup just in case something goes wrong.
It will do a upgrade install not a clean install. You would need to manually erase your HD to do a clean install.

Thank you, I wanted to double check.
I understand there's an obvious risk when doing major upgrades like this but I've backed up the important info and take the small risk of a problem arising.
 

LineNoise

macrumors newbie
Jul 14, 2020
7
1
Thank you, I wanted to double check.
I understand there's an obvious risk when doing major upgrades like this but I've backed up the important info and take the small risk of a problem arising.

I highly recommend using CCC (Carbon Copy Clone) or the latest version of SuperDuper to clone a bootable backup of your system drive before doing an upgrade. That way you can always clone back to what you had before if things get weird. That's one of the luxuries I love about Mac platform. It's easy to clone. No need to risk anything with regard to your existing environment because you can easily and quickly snapshot it and put it back if you don't like the new OS.

I know that last post is from may, but I thought it was worth noting.
 
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