Update late 2010 MBA to macOS Sierra?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by infantrytrophy, Aug 5, 2017.

  1. infantrytrophy macrumors regular

    Oct 27, 2013
    My old trusty13" MBA is late 2010, 1.86 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 4GB memory, 256 GB SSD, currently running nicely under OS X El Capitan 10.11.6.

    Should I update to mac OS Sierra? Will this machine run well under Sierra? And under the upcoming macOS High Sierra?

    My main computer is a late 2014 retina iMac, so the MBA is now used only for occasional trips and for part-time use in the house when I am not in my office. In the near future, this MBA will become my wife's main computer, replacing an old mid-2009 24" iMac.
  2. iKS macrumors newbie

    Aug 5, 2017
    Hi there infantrytrophy,

    A couple weeks ago I upgraded my similarly equipped Macbook Pro (Late 2011, major differences between our laptops being my Macbook Pro's 2.4Ghz i5, and a 5400 rpm hard drive) from Yosemite to Sierra without seeing any real performance drop. Everything performed up to speed, and never really felt sluggish, apart from Siri, whose animations tended to be choppy and slow.

    However, I installed the High Sierra Public Beta last week, and found it to be a completely different experience. Everything felt incredibly slow, applications took a long time to open, and load times for things as basic as the launchpad and finder were awful. I did a full wipe of the hard drive and did a reinstall, but it didn't help. After poking around for a bit, I found that High Sierra was using more RAM then Sierra was, and the "Memory Pressure" section in activity monitor constantly staying in the yellow, dipping into the red a lot of the time. I upgraded the RAM of the laptop to 8GB, and the results were outstanding, everything performed just as well as it did before the upgrade, if not better, and High Sierra became quite the enjoyable experience.

    To conclude, Sierra should run fine on your Macbook Air if you're just doing light/medium tasks, as I highly doubt the Core 2 Duo will limit performance too drastically, and the SSD should keep things running nice and fast. I've heard reports from other users of C2D macs that Sierra is easily usable on their machines. However, unless Apple fixes the way High Sierra uses RAM by the final release of the OS, High Sierra might not be the best option. I do encourage you to give them both a go though, as your experience could be completely different than mine. Just remember to make a recovery USB for El Capitan/Sierra or a time machine backup if something goes south.
  3. dogslobber, Aug 5, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2017

    dogslobber macrumors 68040


    Oct 19, 2014
    Apple Campus, Cupertino CA
    I started using 10.12.3 on a 2010 MBA with the same specs as your machine. It’s just as stable as El Cap is so no reason now to not upgrade to 10,12.6 IMO.
    --- Post Merged, Aug 5, 2017 ---
    I run High Sierra betas periodically on the 2010 MBA but I’ll wait until 10.13.3 before proper switch over to allow the bugs to be shaken out. HS is simply going through the same stages that Sierra did. The MBA doesn’t have enough headroom to run debug, unoptimized builds like more recent hardware.
  4. infantrytrophy, Aug 6, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2017

    infantrytrophy thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 27, 2013
    Thanks for the replies. I updated to Sierra 10.12.6 last night, all good so far. The old MBA runs well.

    Now if I can figure out how to set this MBA correctly with two users so that my wife and I can log into our individual iCloud accounts. No problem with keeping Mail email accounts separate and documents separate, but for some reason my wife cannot log into her iCloud account. No problem with my login in to my iCloud account. (This is not a new problem; the same issue existed under El Capitan).
  5. JonLa macrumors 6502

    Dec 22, 2009
    Sorry I'm late! yes i have that exact model and Sierra is great. No real issues.
  6. interessiert macrumors regular

    Nov 11, 2012
    The late 2010 and early 2011 generation of MBA should even profit from new APFS in High Sierra - so it remains our travel working device :)

    Some beta testers could give us advise?!

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