Office 365 Version Compatibility with macOS High Sierra (when Big Sur comes out)

Yebubbleman

macrumors 68040
Original poster
May 20, 2010
3,038
365
Los Angeles, CA
My mother and stepfather both have Mid 2011 Mac minis. They were going to wait until the fall to finally replace them, but then Apple finally announced the switch to ARM. Since they clearly don't refresh their Macs all that often, don't care about Virtualization or dual-booting Windows, and in the interest of having them get something that they can have a similarly long time with, I'm going to see what they can do to wait until either an ARM Mac mini or an ARM iMac is released.

The main issue that they (and I, by extension) have is that macOS High Sierra, the macOS version those Mac minis are capped at, will likely get one last security patch when macOS Catalina 10.15.6 is released later this summer. Then they're effectively unsupported, from a security standpoint, by Apple. There's not a whole lot that I can or will do about that, and seeing as they likely don't have that long to wait before an ARM Mac mini and/or iMac released, whatever.

The only other thing that I worry about is that they're both still running Office for Mac 2011, which lost security update support years ago. This brings me to my actual question: Getting them on Office 2016 for Mac, with only four more months of security update support seems stupid. Microsoft's support states that Office 2019 and Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365) require a Mac that is running a currently supported version of macOS (so, the current release and the two most immediately behind it). If I get them on a Microsoft 365 plan, how long will the version that they're left on (once High Sierra is no longer two versions behind the then-current release) be protected against security vulnerabilities?

I get that them being on High Sierra is far from ideal, but I figured I can at least improve the Microsoft Office situation until they properly upgrade their Macs to one of the forthcoming ARM Mac desktops.
 

WilliamDu

macrumors regular
May 22, 2012
218
89
My mother and stepfather both have Mid 2011 Mac minis. They were going to wait until the fall to finally replace them, but then Apple finally announced the switch to ARM. Since they clearly don't refresh their Macs all that often, don't care about Virtualization or dual-booting Windows, and in the interest of having them get something that they can have a similarly long time with, I'm going to see what they can do to wait until either an ARM Mac mini or an ARM iMac is released.

The main issue that they (and I, by extension) have is that macOS High Sierra, the macOS version those Mac minis are capped at, will likely get one last security patch when macOS Catalina 10.15.6 is released later this summer. Then they're effectively unsupported, from a security standpoint, by Apple. There's not a whole lot that I can or will do about that, and seeing as they likely don't have that long to wait before an ARM Mac mini and/or iMac released, whatever.

The only other thing that I worry about is that they're both still running Office for Mac 2011, which lost security update support years ago. This brings me to my actual question: Getting them on Office 2016 for Mac, with only four more months of security update support seems stupid. Microsoft's support states that Office 2019 and Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365) require a Mac that is running a currently supported version of macOS (so, the current release and the two most immediately behind it). If I get them on a Microsoft 365 plan, how long will the version that they're left on (once High Sierra is no longer two versions behind the then-current release) be protected against security vulnerabilities?

I get that them being on High Sierra is far from ideal, but I figured I can at least improve the Microsoft Office situation until they properly upgrade their Macs to one of the forthcoming ARM Mac desktops.
I bitterly regret upgrading to Office 365/2016 on my 2012 iMac using Mojave. Excel is very squirrely and Chart has issues. I was on Office 2014 which was stable and should have stayed there. Recommend you be very sure that their current Office version won't do before considering upgrading to 365 which will cost another $99 every year. I've contacted Microsoft about the bugs in Excel with no result thus far. I won't touch Catalina because of its issues with iTunes and Photos.
 

filmak

macrumors 65816
Jun 21, 2012
1,271
701
between earth and heaven
I think that if you buy a 365 subscription you can use the appropriate version in a little bit older Mac OS. We have an old MBP 17" 2008 with 10.11.6 and some months ago installed the latest supported 365 version for it, I think that it was the 2016 one, and activated normally, the newer Macs have the current version installed, all with the same subscription. You may just need to download an older version of it for now.

Till now we get office updates for the old mbp.
 

posguy99

macrumors 65816
Nov 3, 2004
1,164
672
I bitterly regret upgrading to Office 365/2016 on my 2012 iMac using Mojave. Excel is very squirrely and Chart has issues. I was on Office 2014 which was stable and should have stayed there.
Wondering where this copy of Office 2014 came from, myself.
 

kohlson

macrumors 68020
Apr 23, 2010
2,322
687
Are alternate office app environments a possibility. Now that I have left the corporate world (for the most part) I am ramping up on Apple's suite. I consider myself a power user in MS Office (30+ years; executive keynote presos; 4-500 page Word docs, etc). Apple's suite has only two things working against it - poor interoperability with Office, and a different way of doing things. You could consider taking the time between now and ARM-ageddon to bring them up to speed.
But, if you/they want to stay on Office, I think you can buy a license now (if perpetual is still available) and download it at any time. Maybe a student edition?
 

posguy99

macrumors 65816
Nov 3, 2004
1,164
672
There's always LibreOffice. Depends on whether you're sharing files, our output, if that's where you'd consider going.
 
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.