Mid 2011 iMac: best OS?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Loa, Oct 26, 2017.

  1. Loa macrumors 68000


    May 5, 2003

    My friend's mid 2011 iMac (2.5 i5 with 16GB of ram) is still on 10.8. I know that I could install 10.13 on it, but is it optimal? Sometimes newer OSes are slower on older machines.

    So, what's the best OS for such an iMac? (My friend doesn't need the new bells and whistles, nor the incredible emojis of the latest OSes.)


  2. signuphere macrumors newbie

    Aug 12, 2017
    I have the same machine and can't fathom why not to install the latest and greatest OS. It's free and presumably updates security features as well. I don't use the emojis or Siri, could not care less for either, same goes for other bells and whistles, whatever they may be.
  3. rizzo41999 macrumors 6502


    May 27, 2009
    I think he should be fine with the latest OS. But if you ask me, 10.6 is still the best OS. Unfortunately, it's irrelevant these days.
  4. keysofanxiety macrumors G3


    Nov 23, 2011
    Chuck an SSD in there and I'd say throw on 10.13. Though with the standard stock drive, it'll run much slower than Mountain Lion does. Certainly still usable, but without doubt it'll be noticeably slower.

    If it was my own machine I'd upgrade it without hesitating, even without an SSD.

    However if your friend is happy with how it is at the moment, I say if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Partly because if something goes wrong, it doesn't look as they expected, or it doesn't run as well as they expected, you'll likely get the blame as the person who crippled their iMac.
  5. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    Try El Capitan (my preference), or "Low" Sierra.

    High Sierra seems problematic for many folks at the moment.
    And the APFS filing system doesn't seem worth the trouble, either.
  6. EugW macrumors 603


    Jun 18, 2017
    Huh? It is the best OS but it is irrelevant? That makes no sense.

    It was the best OS 7 years ago, but its time has long since past. In 2017, 10.6 is almost unusable in a practical sense.
  7. Loa thread starter macrumors 68000


    May 5, 2003
    Thanks for the inputs.

    He wants to upgrade it because of many compatibility issues with recent apps and with his iOS devices that are using more recent versions.

    But when we updated it from 10.7 to 10.8, there was a clear and unmistakable performance drop, and he's afraid that the same thing will happen again.

    He's not going to put a SSD in there, as he's only going to use it as a back-up machine (he's buying a macbook right now).

    I think I'm going to suggest 10.12 and see how it goes.
  8. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    Any version of the OS released -after- 10.8 Mountain Lion is going to make it slower than it is now...
  9. redheeler macrumors 604


    Oct 17, 2014
    MacOS Sierra runs great on my 2011 iMac, better than you'd expect for a 6-year-old Mac; but I have installed an SSD. On the original spinning hard drive, the latest MacOS will run but performance does suffer, and the same is true even for brand new Macs that don't have an SSD.
  10. JJSingapore, Jun 6, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2018

    JJSingapore macrumors newbie

    Jun 6, 2018
    Just to share my most recent experience.. (am user not pro..) -- I had the same work machine iMac mid 2011 and same question as you 3 wks ago. did few hrs of research and decided to upgrade from Sierra to High Sierra. sadly, I failed to realise some applications like Filemaker11 or FM 13 dont work with HS 10.13.... finally this week, decided to pull out the legendary grey disc (snowleopard) reinstall. C / option failed. Cmd-R erased APFS + reformat led me to infamous grey screen of death.... repeat, tried - grey disc, bootable usb, external cd drive, reset xxx yyy zzz.. all failed. Finally after 4-5hrs slowslowslow internet recovery (Mountain Lion) brought my iMac back to life again.....total time wastage 10-12hrs...

    So do check if your applications work w 10.13 first before upgrade

    first post here from 10.9.5 Mavericks.....

    * updated to El Capitan 10.11.6 (15G21013) after Mavericks random UI lag , Mail and iMessage trouble. Butt~ery smooth now..

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9 October 26, 2017