How often do you update/upgrade your iMac?

AGamble

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Original poster
Jun 21, 2013
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I own a late 2013 27” iMac and although its running without issue it’s getting on a bit now so I’m thinking of refreshing it off the back of a new release later this year (I’m hoping for a redesign but will take a minor refresh).

My thoughts are to sell it before it starts becoming problematic and while it still has a little worth.

My question to you guys is do you think I’m being a little premature? How often do you upgrade your iMac? What’s the general life expectancy for an iMac used daily (basic usage)?
 

MisterSavage

macrumors 68020
Nov 10, 2018
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I kept my last one for 7 1/2 years! I could have kept going with simple tasks like web surfing but it was practically unusable with Xcode.
 
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niji

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Feb 9, 2003
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i have no need for a desktop.
only computing devices that give mobility.
but the issue is about what do in the case of an older mac.

i update my MacBook Air every 3.5 to 4 years.
i also would never allow my machine to be one of the last supported by whatever new OS is coming up during the next OS release cycle.

i need reliability. total reliability 24/7/365. and ability to always use the latest OS. and all Security Updates.
i always max out on RAM - as that helps to be able to handle whatever later OS throw at it.

unlike others, i don't have as hobby tinkering with older macs that have some sort of problem, either hardware or software.
i need a system that runs the latest software with always the latest updates, as this results in better integration between mac and iPhone. apple has really helped productivity with Continuity features and with recent software macOS/iOS dual releases.

if i were in yr case, i definitely would sell your iMac. now. quickly.
 
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chrisdazzo

macrumors 6502a
Apr 11, 2006
616
386
Colorado
I've had my late 2015 model for almost 5 years now, and I rarely turn it off or reboot (except for updates). Been pretty solid for me overall. Planning on upgrading this year to whatever 27" is available prior to WWDC.
 

vertical smile

macrumors 601
Sep 23, 2014
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(I’m hoping for a redesign but will take a minor refresh).
Be careful what you wish for.

The iMac is long overdue for a redesign, but I worry what might come with the redesign. Soldered RAM and storage some to mind, but other worries too.


My question to you guys is do you think I’m being a little premature? How often do you upgrade your iMac?
This is so subjective and highly dependent on what you do with your Mac.

What do you do with yours?


What’s the general life expectancy for an iMac used daily (basic usage)?
Well, basic usage? An iMac can last a long time.

I guess it depends on how you define "basic usage".

My baby boomer parents are currently using a Mid-2007 iMac that I upgraded to a SSD and max RAM. They are pretty happy with it. Firefox is still gets updated on El Capitan, and that is the primary app they use.

I do not use it as my primary Mac, but my 2006 Mac Pro 1,1 could be used as my primary Mac if I just did basic stuff. I upgraded this many times over the years, and it is now primarily used as my Plex and iTunes Music server. But, I could definitely use it for basic things, it is still pretty fast.
- - Post merged: - -

Oh yeah, my main used Mac is a Late 2012 iMac, it was a maxed out BTO with the exception of the Fusion Drive.

It is good for now, I was actually planning on replacing it years ago, but it is still really powerful for what I do with it.

I may get a 2019 iMac sometimes soon. I am a little worried what a iMac redesign might bring, so I am considering getting a 2019 before that happens.
 

mj_

macrumors 6502a
May 18, 2017
801
468
Austin, TX
Does your livelihood depend on it? Does your income depend on it? Would you start losing money if it died tomorrow? Then get rid of it now, get a new one with AppleCare+, and enjoy peace of mind for three years until the cycle repeats. Statistically speaking computers become unreliable after three to five years, which is why the industry standard for replacing computers is three to five years on average.

Does your livelihood not depend on it? Could you do without it for a few days if need be? Is it just a personal computer that has no impact on your income, your business, or your professional life? Then there's really no reason to upgrade just yet. That is of course if you're still satisfied with it.
 
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cdcastillo

macrumors 65816
Dec 22, 2007
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435
The cesspit of civilization
I own a late 2013 27” iMac and although its running without issue it’s getting on a bit now so I’m thinking of refreshing it off the back of a new release later this year (I’m hoping for a redesign but will take a minor refresh).

My thoughts are to sell it before it starts becoming problematic and while it still has a little worth.

My question to you guys is do you think I’m being a little premature? How often do you upgrade your iMac? What’s the general life expectancy for an iMac used daily (basic usage)?
I don't use desktop Macs, I work from different places (I don't have just one office) so I've always got laptops. I get a new one about every 3 years. This one I've had for 5 years now because the 2015 MBP has the last reliable macbook keyboard ever produced, I depend on having my computer always working and I don't intend to have to send it back for keyboard replacement 3-6 times per year.
 

uller6

macrumors 6502
May 14, 2010
304
200
I upgrade my main work desktop (I alternate between iMac and Mac Pro) every 2-3 years. I need ultimate power in my desktop, and also need ultimate reliability. Older iMacs tend to develop issues at the ~5 year mark, so I usually upgrade when the warranty runs out. Old iMacs get sold on craigslist. Mac pros last a lot longer (10+ years), but are eclipsed in speed by newer machines at the 3-4 year mark. I move the older Mac Pros to the basement where they serve a double life recording music. While they might not be fast enough for simulations, older Mac pros still do a great job running Logic Pro. So, each machine will get ~3 years of service as my main work machine, then if that machine is a Mac Pro it will get another ~6 years of service as a dedicated recording machine until the next Mac Pro is ready to replace it.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors Core
Feb 20, 2009
19,390
6,701
OP:

I'd keep the 2013 iMac until Apple releases their 2020 iMacs (probably later in the year, and ALL upcoming "releases" are probably going to be delayed by the coronavirus).

Then, when the 2020's come out, sit back and "make an assessment":
- Do you like what the new ones offer? (be aware that they will probably come with the t2 chip inside)
- Or... would you actually prefer the 2019 version...? (NO t2 chip)

If you'd rather have "the old one", then look for a "closeout", or perhaps consider Apple-refurbished.

That's what I did when the 2016 MacBook Pro's were released. I evaluated the 2015 and 2016 13" models side-by-side... and found that I like the 2015 BETTER. In hindsight, it was "the best computer buying decision" I've ever made...
 

nihil0

macrumors 6502
May 19, 2016
338
231
My first iMac I bought in Oct 2015 - it was low tier 2013 27-inch model. In July 2017 I sold it and bought new 2017 27-inch top tier model (not CTO). In Feb 2020 I sold it and bought CTO you can see in my signature.

My reasons for upgrade:
1. 2013 > 2017 - 5K screen, desktop class GPU vs mobile class GPU and VRAM size

2. 2017 > 2019 - found out I need raw power to speed up my worfkflow, so main reason was i9 and second reason was move from fusion drive to flash

Now I would like this model to last me at least 5 years.
 

mj_

macrumors 6502a
May 18, 2017
801
468
Austin, TX
I'd keep the 2013 iMac until Apple releases their 2020 iMacs (probably later in the year, and ALL upcoming "releases" are probably going to be delayed by the coronavirus).
How do you know that there is even going to BE a 2020 iMac? Apple has not yet announced anything so all and any statement regarding an alleged 2020 iMac is highly speculative and nothing but a rumor. Or did I actually miss the official announcement?
 
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vertical smile

macrumors 601
Sep 23, 2014
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That's what I did when the 2016 MacBook Pro's were released. I evaluated the 2015 and 2016 13" models side-by-side... and found that I like the 2015 BETTER. In hindsight, it was "the best computer buying decision" I've ever made...
I don't think you were the only one, it seemed like the 2015 MBP resale value went up after the launch of the 2016 MBP. All the 2015 MBPs disappeared from Apple's Refurbished store right after the "hello again" event which introduced the 2016 MBP.

Then the keyboard issues with the newer MBPs probably kept the resale value up on the 2015 longer than normal.

How do you know that there is even going to BE a 2020 iMac? Apple has not yet announced anything so all and any statement regarding an alleged 2020 iMac is highly speculative and nothing but a rumor. Or did I actually miss the official announcement?
I think he is just speculating, pretty much what everyone does on the MR forums when in comes to future Mac releases.

No one knows for sure.

I personally wouldn't be surprised if a new iMac redesign doesn't happen until 2021, but again, it is just me speculating.
 

Glockworkorange

Suspended
Feb 10, 2015
2,511
4,176
Chicago, Illinois
i have no need for a desktop.
only computing devices that give mobility.

i update my MacBook Air every 3.5 to 4 years.
i also would never allow my machine to be one of the last supported by whatever new OS is coming up during the next OS release cycle.

i need reliability. total reliability 24/7. and ability to always use the latest OS. and all Security Updates.
always max out on RAM.
unlike others, i don't have as hobby tinkering with old macs that have some sort of problem either hardware or software.
i need a system that runs the latest software always the latest updates and that better integrates computer and mobile, as apple has been great in doing with its yearly software macOS/iOS releases.

if i were in yr case, i definitely would sell it. now. quickly.
I agree. It’s about 7 years old now. I’d move along with the next machine if feasible, although I’d probably wait for refurbs.
 

Moonjumper

macrumors 68020
Jun 20, 2009
2,265
1,951
Lincoln, UK
Does your livelihood depend on it? Does your income depend on it? Would you start losing money if it died tomorrow? Then get rid of it now, get a new one with AppleCare+, and enjoy peace of mind for three years until the cycle repeats. Statistically speaking computers become unreliable after three to five years, which is why the industry standard for replacing computers is three to five years on average.

Does your livelihood not depend on it? Could you do without it for a few days if need be? Is it just a personal computer that has no impact on your income, your business, or your professional life? Then there's really no reason to upgrade just yet. That is of course if you're still satisfied with it.
I use my 2015 iMac daily for my mobile game development business. It works fine with rare slow downs. A previous iMac I sold after 8 years because it was getting too slow for the latest software, but it had several weeks downtime being repaired while still in Applecare. Applecare will not help if you absolutely need to use your computer every day.

My thought is if my computer breaks down, I'll need to buy another to keep going while the other is repaired. I might as well keep using a computer as long as it is fully productive, unless a new model comes out that gives me something new. It works out much cheaper for little loss, and don't have downtime setting up the new machine. The one issue with this is iMacs kept in stock do not usually come equipped with an SSD (although I'm not too worried about Fusion as long as the SSD portion is big enough, it is what I have now).

A redesign might get me to buy a new model. The other thing is if Apple adds Target Display Mode for retina iMacs, or they expand Sidecar to do the same for Macs. That way my current iMac can become a second screen alongside a new iMac.
 

SKYNET-1

macrumors member
Feb 7, 2020
59
7
let me think about... 2011... just put SSDs in, new CPU n a GTX 880M is on da way too... so, no need for a new one for the next 3-4 years :D
 

DennisdeWit

macrumors 6502
Nov 16, 2016
318
150
The Netherlands
I upgrade every three years, because of Apple Care+. I use this iMac as my work computer and my job depends on it. Would it suddenly die, then I can’t do my job and have losses. Yes, I have a MacBook, but it is not nice to write a lot of articles with it. I prefer the bigger screen.

I have replaced my 2017 model with the 2019 model and didn’t wait for the 2020 model. Why? Because I think coronavirus delays will push the prices, the whole new release will mean higher prices AND because I just ran upon an iMac for 300 euro’s off. It was a one day promotion, so I bought one, added 64GB of RAM myself and installed it on a 2TB Samsung X5. Now my 2019 model flies. :D
 

SKYNET-1

macrumors member
Feb 7, 2020
59
7
I upgrade every three years, because of Apple Care+. I use this iMac as my work computer and my job depends on it. Would it suddenly die, then I can’t do my job and have losses. Yes, I have a MacBook, but it is not nice to write a lot of articles with it. I prefer the bigger screen.

I have replaced my 2017 model with the 2019 model and didn’t wait for the 2020 model. Why? Because I think coronavirus delays will push the prices, the whole new release will mean higher prices AND because I just ran upon an iMac for 300 euro’s off. It was a one day promotion, so I bought one, added 64GB of RAM myself and installed it on a 2TB Samsung X5. Now my 2019 model flies. :D
the magic word: external screen(for the MB) ;)
 
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bobsamm

Suspended
Oct 6, 2019
1,017
631
My late 2015 2TB fusion just had screen replaced by Apple for the 2nd time for pink edge, was told that would be it, seems to be still going good but i wont be replacing it, will probably go MacBook or iPad 12.9" only.
Have thought about doing it now but cant imagine it's worth much 4 1/4 years old, may as well run it into the ground lol.
 

Abazigal

macrumors G5
Jul 18, 2011
12,798
10,832
Singapore
I replaced my 2011 27" iMac with the 2017 5k iMac. The old iMac was still going fine, but I felt like it was time for a change, between the better display, improved specs, and other little niceties like support for the newer features such as airdrop and USB-C. I also suspected that it would soon stop getting software support.

So about every 6-7 years. I don't really use it for anything heavy, so I don't need to replace it as often.
 

Gregg2

macrumors 603
May 22, 2008
6,045
492
Milwaukee, WI
It's just a personal choice about when to upgrade. There's no right or wrong general answer. If you notice minor problems, it's not too soon to buy a new Mac. I'm thinking about replacing my late 2014 Mini because of persistent negative reports from diagnostics. Performance, for now, is unchanged. But, some people just like new things. I keep my cars as long as they are not giving me problems (and then pay cash when I "upgrade"). Others trade theirs in when they get them paid off, so the interval depends on the term of the loan. Whatever floats your boat...
 

stillcrazyman

macrumors 68030
Oct 10, 2014
2,879
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In Exile
I had a Late 2012 27" iMac for just over 6 years. Sold it for a decent amount and bought a 2018 Mini and a 32" display. I'd have liked a redesigned iMac, but the delays (waiting) wasn't worth it to me.

Time will tell how long I keep this mini setup.....
 

dumastudetto

macrumors 68040
Aug 28, 2013
3,324
3,973
You should aim to upgrade every 18 months to take advantage of the latest technologies, assuming Apple has done a refresh within that timeframe.
 

petsk

macrumors 6502
Oct 13, 2009
362
235
If you don't need it, sell it. If not, keep it at least until a refresh. We don't even know if there will be a refresh this year.

My refresh cycles:
27" late 2009 high end i7
27" late 2012 high end i7
27" late 2015 high end i5

My current iMac from 2015 runs fine and I have a 16" MBP which may push a new iMac purchase further down the road.

And AppleCare+ is not worth it in my eyes, never had it on any Apple product I've owned and that has literally saved me a pile of money at this point.
 
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