Mac mini 2012 on Sierra?

Chupa Chupa

macrumors G5
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Jul 16, 2002
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I have a Mac mini 2012 (2.5Ghz i5, 4GB RAM) which I use exclusively as a music server (iTunes w/ iOS Remote app). I have 10.10.5 Yosemite on it now. Updating has not been a priority and just assumed it wold run better on the older OS anyway.

Now with 10.12 High Sierra on the horizon it's now or never to update to Sierra. I'm just concerned about losing compatibility the way Apple dumps support for features even for still supported devices. Since I only have 4GB RAM I'm not sure I want to jump all the way to 10.13.

Opinions?
 

Boyd01

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Feb 21, 2012
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I had the same machine and used it for the same thing for two years, was still running Mavericks at that point and worked great. Last winter I updated it to Sierra, 16gb RAM, a fast external SSD and gave it to my daughter's family. They really like it although they have had a couple serious crashes. First time that happened I had to talk my son in law through restoring from time machine. He said he had to do the same thing again later, but since I didn't see it in person I'm not sure if that was really needed.

I now have a 2014 base Mini as an iTunes server and it had El Capitan pre-installed. It has been rock solid so I haven't bothered to update it.

I also have a 2012 2.6ghz quad 16gb mini that I use exclusively for for audio/video editing. Kept it on Mountain Lion for compatability with some very expensive legacy software, but just last week I set it up to dual boot with Sierra on a fast external 1TB Samsung T3 while keeping Mountain Lion on the original Apple internal 256gb SSD.

Have to say, I'm really happy with this machine on Sierra. It runs the new versions of Final Cut Pro X, Logic Pro X and Compressor very smoothly. And the "dark mode" further compliments their user interfaces. I also just upgraded my 2013 i7/8gb/512gb MacBook Air to Sierra and very happy there as well. I didn't find anything compelling in Mavericks, Yosemite or El Capitan so I skipped them all. But Sierra is working out really well for me.

Was surprised that almost all of my legacy software (10 years old typically) still runs on Sierra. Only problem was VectorWorks 2008 and it just crashes. Googling around, it appears to have broken under Mavericks or Yosemite though. Unfortunately it is about a $2500 CAD package, so that's one reason I'm keeping the quad Mini as a dual boot machine. However, I am going to move to AutoCAD LT on Sierra which is considerably less expensive.

The problems with my daughter's 2012 Mini on Sierra are odd. They are not very technical and live over a hundred miles away so I can't really troubleshoot in person. Their first crash was well documented as a bug that affected many people, but I think it was fixed in a later release. They were gun shy afterwards though and I think they still have updates turned off, so that might explain their problem.
 
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Chooch4448

macrumors newbie
Jul 28, 2017
2
3
Connecticut
I had the same machine and used it for the same thing for two years, was still running Mavericks at that point and worked great. Last winter I updated it to Sierra, 16gb RAM, a fast external SSD and gave it to my daughter's family. They really like it although they have had a couple serious crashes. First time that happened I had to talk my son in law through restoring from time machine. He said he had to do the same thing again later, but since I didn't see it in person I'm not sure if that was really needed.

I now have a 2014 base Mini as an iTunes server and it had El Capitan pre-installed. It has been rock solid so I haven't bothered to update it.

I also have a 2012 2.6ghz quad 16gb mini that I use exclusively for for audio/video editing. Kept it on Mountain Lion for compatability with some very expensive legacy software, but just last week I set it up to dual boot with Sierra on a fast external 1TB Samsung T3 while keeping Mountain Lion on the original Apple internal 256gb SSD.

Have to say, I'm really happy with this machine on Sierra. It runs the new versions of Final Cut Pro X, Logic Pro X and Compressor very smoothly. And the "dark mode" further compliments their user interfaces. I also just upgraded my 2013 i7/8gb/512gb MacBook Air to Sierra and very happy there as well. I didn't find anything compelling in Mavericks, Yosemite or El Capitan so I skipped them all. But Sierra is working out really well for me.

Was surprised that almost all of my legacy software (10 years old typically) still runs on Sierra. Only problem was VectorWorks 2008 and it just crashes. Googling around, it appears to have broken under Mavericks or Yosemite though. Unfortunately it is about a $2500 CAD package, so that's one reason I'm keeping the quad Mini as a dual boot machine. However, I am going to move to AutoCAD LT on Sierra which is considerably less expensive.

The problems with my daughter's 2012 Mini on Sierra are odd. They are not very technical and live over a hundred miles away so I can't really troubleshoot in person. Their first crash was well documented as a bug that affected many people, but I think it was fixed in a later release. They were gun shy afterwards though and I think they still have updates turned off, so that might explain their problem.
 

Gjwilly

macrumors 68030
May 1, 2011
2,882
526
SF Bay Area
I’ve got the 2012 and I finally installed Sierra 2-3 months ago and I’d say the performance increased.
I also only use it as a headless media server but when I remote in from my MacBook there’s less latency than there used to be.
 

Ace2617

macrumors regular
Mar 16, 2016
161
42
My 2012 Mac Mini is running Sierra. 2.5/8 GB RAM with an internal Samsung SSD. I use it as my main desktop and for my uses it runs great. It's plenty fast on Sierra, I haven't had any crashes, slow downs or spinning wheels. Since it's a 2012, you can upgrade the RAM to add more if you'd like.
 

Boyd01

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Feb 21, 2012
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With pretty heavy use over the past week, I've only had one crash in Final Cut Pro X. And it was just FCP, the system was fine and no harm was done to my project. That's more robust than my legacy Final Cut Pro was on 10.8.5. :)

Have also used my MacBook Air heavily during the past week with Sierra and no crashes at all.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors Core
Feb 20, 2009
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If it runs ok for you on Yosemite, it should run about the same on Sierra.

Do you have an SSD installed (in the case, or running externally)?

That makes a BIG difference in performance.
 
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Boyd01

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The thing is, if you really just use it as a iTunes server (like I do), then none of this matters very much. That kind of use places very little demand on the Mini - it would work just as well with a much older machine. Since I don't use mine for e-mail, web browsing or other apps, I'm not too worried about software compatibility or security holes in older versions of MacOS. I suppose my Apple ID might be at risk, or maybe someone could get into another machine on my network through the iTunes server, but these seem like pretty low risks. So my iTunes server is still running El Capitan, which is what was installed when I purchased it.

Anyway, if it works fine on Yosemite there isn't much incentive to change... unless you just want to do it for some reason. And if you do change, I seriously doubt there will be any issues since the only software you're running is iTunes. Even if it runs a little slower, it should still be plenty fast to saturate gigabit ethernet and most likely the devices using the server can't even handle that much bandwidth.
 

SoCalReviews

macrumors 6502a
Dec 31, 2012
582
202
I have a Mac mini 2012 (2.5Ghz i5, 4GB RAM) which I use exclusively as a music server (iTunes w/ iOS Remote app). I have 10.10.5 Yosemite on it now. Updating has not been a priority and just assumed it wold run better on the older OS anyway.

Now with 10.12 High Sierra on the horizon it's now or never to update to Sierra. I'm just concerned about losing compatibility the way Apple dumps support for features even for still supported devices. Since I only have 4GB RAM I'm not sure I want to jump all the way to 10.13.

Opinions?
4GB is not really enough RAM for the modern MacOS's (with 8GB becoming the new minimum). That is your main bottleneck... not so much the processor. The Intel processors haven't changed much since the 2012 Mini. The on board graphics have improved in the newer systems but that's more important if you are using larger monitors supporting 4K.

I'd recommend 16GB from Crucial memory. Go to the Crucial.com web site and check the latest prices for RAM for your Mini. You might also be able to find the same 2 x 8GB (16GB) matched pair of Crucial memory for 2012 Mac Mini and Macbook Pros on Amazon.

I'm running Sierra on my 2012 Mac Mini with 16GB RAM and it still runs great. It takes about five minutes to upgrade RAM on the Mini. There are Youtube videos if you need help. Your graphics memory will also automatically increase when you upgrade with more RAM. The next thing after the RAM that you could upgrade would be to an SSD but that is more of a project.
 
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Boyd01

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I agree that 16gb is a nice upgrade, so is a SSD. But you are just wasting your money if this machine is only an iTunes server. The base 4gb 2012 Mini is already over-kill for that.

I have a Mac mini 2012 (2.5Ghz i5, 4GB RAM) which I use exclusively as a music server (iTunes w/ iOS Remote app).
 

Chupa Chupa

macrumors G5
Original poster
Jul 16, 2002
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Thanks for the responses.

To be more specific about my iMac, it is stock but when I bought it I did swap out the HDD for a small SSD to run the OS only. My music is stored on an external SSD. I also have TM on a separate SSD.

The mini is connected to my AirPlay compatible A/V receiver via optical audio. I mostly use the iOS Remote app to select music. Sometimes I will log into the mini via my MBP to play Spotify but not too often.

That is the sum total of what I do with the mini. My only concern is that Apple will one day make Sierra the minimum OS to support iOS Remote or Remote Desktop on the Mac or performance with those functions will lag with Yosemite on mini while High Sierra is on my Mac. That would be my only motivation for upgrading because otherwise if it ain't broke don't fix it, right.

From the posts here I'm reading that High Sierra works well on the 2012 mini so I should have no worries. Worst case scenario is I have to add some more RAM. Is that about the sum of it?
 

Boyd01

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Is that about the sum of it?
Probably, although I haven't seen any posts about High Sierra on the 2012 Mini myself. But I don't see any reason not to upgrade to Sierra either. Then it should be good for a few more years in terms of software compatibility, and at that point don't you think you will have gotten your money's worth from a $500 computer anyway? :D
 

Chupa Chupa

macrumors G5
Original poster
Jul 16, 2002
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Probably, although I haven't seen any posts about High Sierra on the 2012 Mini myself. But I don't see any reason not to upgrade to Sierra either. Then it should be good for a few more years in terms of software compatibility, and at that point don't you think you will have gotten your money's worth from a $500 computer anyway? :D
Honestly, it's not just about getting my $ worth. It's also about component compatibility too. For example, we saw Apple strip out the optical out from Apple TV. The current mini still has it but would the next? Will there even be a next? Then there is the current mini which is less user upgradable than the 2012. So the 2012 to me is the best of all worlds as a music server so I need to keep it functional as long as possible and hope Apple does too. I don't even want to think about the day Apple K.O's the mini or iOS Remote app.
 

bopajuice

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Mar 22, 2016
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My advice would be to leave it as it is until compatibility actually BECOMES an issue!

Right now sounds like it is working fine. Why mess with a good thing? If sometime down the road you find compatibility is an issue, then make a decision. High Sierra has not even been released, and nothing has been taken of the support list yet let alone found to be incompatible.

Kind of like carrying an umbrella with you all summer in case it rains.
 
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MRrainer

macrumors 65816
Aug 8, 2008
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Zurich, Switzerland
Mom has the 2012-i5.
16GB of RAM and the original 500GB hard disk, running Sierra.
That's enough. I use this machine for internet-browsing and a bit of Pages/Photos when I'm there.
I don't really see any issues, other than the macOS guest-account having a really restrictive internet-filter. I can't even see a lot of new-articles if they're slightly NSFW.
Just go and update to 16GB of RAM and your good until 2019 or so.
High Sierra should receive updates until 2020 or 2021, if it works like today.
I still get updates for El Capitan.
 

Bart Kela

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I'm running an even older model -- the Mac mini 2010 -- on macOS Sierra nicely and I expect it will run High Sierra fine (I wouldn't touch a public beta OS with a ten-foot pole).

I have 8GB of RAM and replaced the spinning boot drive with an SSD. This has been my primary (home) computer for 7+ years and handles a lot more functions than yours.

Since you are simply using your more recent model as an iTunes server, it will be fine.
 
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tibas92013

macrumors 6502
Jun 2, 2013
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Costa Rica
Just upgraded from OS EL Capitan to OS Sierra on my MM(Late 2012) 2.5GHz, 16GB Ram,500GB HD and everything appears A-OK for the moment.
 

frank4

macrumors regular
Oct 17, 2011
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I'm about to update my base 2011 Mini from El Capitan (which runs great) to Sierra. Will report results.
 

Anonymous Freak

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Dec 12, 2002
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"Purchase" Sierra in the App Store, and also go in to "Purchased" and re-download the El Capitan installer - then use DiskMakerX to make installer USB flash drives of each. You can install/upgrade/downgrade however you please.

Also note that you can always internet-recovery-boot to the "last installed" OS, "latest supported" OS, and "original OS" on any 2011 or newer (plus some 2010) Mac: How to reinstall macOS.

Although, ironically, to use the "Reinstall the macOS that came with your Mac, or the version closest to it that is still available." option, you have to have Sierra installed first.
 

MRrainer

macrumors 65816
Aug 8, 2008
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I think I'll skip Sierra on my 2012 and go for High Sierra once it hits the point-one release.

Sierra doesn't really have anything compelling for me, except maybe the updated versions of Pages etc thats simply don't run on El Capitan.
 

Boyd01

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Feb 21, 2012
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Not sure who you are quoting there. But to me, a clean install involves erasing the disk and installing the standard version of the operating system, making your computer behave like a new one the next time you start it up.

I assume that regular install means that you will leave all your existing files in place and let the software installer just replace the necessary files to upgrade. In years past, people suggested the clean install to minimize problems with leftovers from old software. In my experience, that is no longer necessary (unless you're trying to address some specific issue).

I did the regular install of Sierra on my MacBook Air because to continue using some expensive legacy software.

On my Mac Mini I did a clean Sierra install to an external SSD because I am migrating to new software and want to keep it "lean and mean". However, I left Mountain Lion on the internal SSD to I can boot into it when needed.

If you want to continue using old software, the regular install makes it much easier, however I've also had pretty good luck using Migration Assistant in the past. If you try start from scratch and run the original installers from old software however, then you may have some problems.
 
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