Updating iMac OS - risky for "amateurs"?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Muizen, Sep 22, 2014.

  1. Muizen macrumors newbie

    Mar 25, 2013
    Mechelen, Belgium
    The reason that I am still on the old iMac OS 10.6 is that I am concerned about updating it.
    I am a enthusiastic user of iMac but have learned to stay away from any experimenting with software and certainly with an OS!

    When I absolutely follow instructions with all care, I still run in "steps-to-follow" that are just not to be found on the screen or totally different and then the problems start!

    My question is:
    is it possible to successfully update to a new OS like Yosemite 10.10, that is going to be available soon, without ending up with a iMac that doesn't function anymore?
    I have practically almost no experience in software operations.

    When e.g. I am required to first make a back up of the OS, I would not know how to do that.
    When things go wrong I would not know how to use this back up to correct the OS back to the old situation.
    I am capable of following to the point "step-by-step" instructions as long as these do tie-in with what I see on the screen, which often is not the case!
    (My iMac: Intel Core i7, memory 4GB)
    What is your experience with updating OS? How risky is this?
  2. ryansimmons323, Sep 23, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2014

    ryansimmons323 macrumors regular

    Oct 5, 2011
    United Kingdom
    These days updating an operating system, especially OS X (iMac is just the name of a computer model that Apple produces) is a very simple and straight forward process.

    I bought my first Mac, a MacBook Air in 2010. Since then I updated from OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard to Lion and then on to Mountain Lion.

    I bought another MacBook Air in 2012 and have since updated that one from Mountain Lion to Mavericks. I'm currently on 10.10 Yosemite, as part of the public beta program.

    I must say, with exception to Yosemite (because it's a buggy beta) I have never backed-up before installing a new OS. Most importantly, I've never lost anything. OS X is extremely reliable.

    If you do want to back-up (which is always recommended of course) you can use Time Machine, which is really straight forward and easy to use. You'll need an external hard drive, but I recommend following this guide instead of me telling you step-by-step - http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1427
  3. scaredpoet macrumors 604


    Apr 6, 2007
    Updating OS X is probably the easiest update I've ever done. I've been doing it since 10.5 all the way up tot eh beta version of Yosemite, and the procedure has evolved to being as simple as it can possibly get: click "update" and let the Mac do its thing.

    If your iMac is a mid-2007 or later model, with at least 4GB of RAM, then you should be fine with updating. In fact, I'd recommend it. There doesn't seem to be any new security updates happening for 10.6, and if you're on the internet regularly with it, you should probably get up to date.

    Backing up and restoring is very easy. You'll need an external hard drive with at least enough disk space as your iMac's internal hard drive (something larger of course would be better for running backups). Plug it in, and turn on Time Machine, and let the Mac do its thing.

    A complete guide on Time machine can be found here:


    This includes instructions on how to set it up, and how to do a restore if something goes wrong.

    Again, on a Mac, upgrading the OS is about as least-risky as it gets. I won't say it's perfect: some people have had issues with some OS versions. Though it appears that Mavericks (the current OS version) generally gets high marks. I've been using Yosemite on a test system and while it was buggy early on (it's still a beta, after all), it's been working quite well for me lately, save a few remaining cosmetic bugs that will most likely be fixed for the final version.
  4. old-wiz macrumors G3

    Mar 26, 2008
    West Suburban Boston Ma
  5. Hugh macrumors 6502a


    Feb 9, 2003
    Erie, PA
    A few things you need to do before you upgrade. It mentioned, for your iMac to run 10.10, 10.9, 10.18. The the iMac needs to be a Mid 2007 and up.

    Another thing to thing to you have to put in some thought, Do you run any PowerPC. They will not run on anything 10.7 and up. So think hard thing about the fact that you will not be able to run PowerPC apps. There might be upgraded apps, but they might cost.

  6. iHateMacs macrumors 6502a


    Aug 13, 2008
    Coventry, UK
    What a strange question. Is learning anything against your religion?

    Use google and search for updating Mac OS and watch Youtube videos. Then when you have done that, do it again and watch other videos.

    You will then know how it's done and if the install doesn't go exactly as the steps you are reading from, it won't matter because you will have seen others doing it before.

    I can't believe you have had your mac since 10.6 but know little about how it works. What do you use it for?

    Maybe it just shows how good OSX is that you have never had problems with it.

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