Upgrade from El Capitan to Sierra? Should I expect any problems?

Discussion in 'macOS Sierra (10.12)' started by Brandon123, Jan 15, 2017.

  1. Brandon123 macrumors member

    Nov 4, 2016
    Hi all,

    I have a relativley new Macbook Air (basic model) that came with El Capitan, and I now wonder if I can expect to upgrade to Sierra without any hassle? I don't really need Sierra, but thinking it might be nice with Siri and some of the other new features. This is my first Mac, and coming from many many years of Windows, I am slightly scared of installing any kind of updates or anything that could cause trouble. And this is a full OS upgrade...

  2. KALLT macrumors 601

    Sep 23, 2008
    Always have a backup in place. You can use Time Machine for this. I have never had any problems in 8 years, system upgrades are usually reliable.

    Some applications may no longer work, so it depends on what you have installed. After upgrading, you may want to check /Library/SystemMigration for any removed components that you want to keep.
  3. Apple 26.2 macrumors 6502a

    Apple 26.2

    Jan 1, 2011
    What up, 212?!
    I've performed a few Mac OS X upgrades and never really experienced any issues. As been mentioned, have a back up just in case, but nothing you really should be scared about.
  4. Brandon123 thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 4, 2016
  5. brewmonkey macrumors regular

    Feb 17, 2016
    It's more work, especially if you don't use Time Machine to backup and restore programs/files/settings, but I always feel a clean install also poses less opportunity for something to go wrong (vs. an in-place upgrade). A clean install of Sierra 10.12.2 on my 2015 rMBP 15 has gone fine and all my programs (including numerous 3rd-party and self-compiled ones) have worked fine after installing the new OS.
  6. dianeoforegon macrumors 6502a


    Apr 26, 2011
    Just like a seat belt and an air bag protect you in different ways when driving, you need both Time Machine and a clone for full protection.

    The biggest difference is you can boot from the clone where you can only restore from Time Machine. If your upgrade fails for some reason, you can boot from your clone and be back in El Capitan in a few minutes.

    Create a Clone backup:

    A clone is an exact bootable copy of your internal drive. Unlike standard copying of all files to another drive, the clone software copies hidden files along with other in-use files that are not available when you copy over files to another drive.

    Software used to Clone:

    SuperDuper! http://www.shirt-pocket.com/
    CCC http://www.bombich.com/download.html
  7. Brandon123 thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 4, 2016
    Thanks guys for all the info on backup! I guess I would prefer a clean install as I am not 100% comfortable with upgrading to a new OS right over another, but at the same time, a clean install is to advanced for me I think. How difficult is it? I always did it on my old Windows XP machines back in the days, but that's another thing:) Is this a reliable guide: http://osxdaily.com/2016/09/26/clean-install-macos-sierra/ ?

    Otherwise, I think I will just do double backup (time machine and clone) and normal upgrade to Sierra. I realize problems are very uncommon, but horror stories are regularly shared here and on other forums, hence my hesitation.
  8. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    OP wrote:
    "I think I will just do double backup (time machine and clone)"

    The "cloned backup" will be much more valuable to you, if you encounter problems with Sierra or just don't care for it.
    Having a cloned backup makes it far FAR easier to "get back, get back, get back to where you once belonged..."

    All you'll need to do is:
    1. boot from cloned backup
    2. re-initialize the internal drive
    3. RE-clone the cloned backup BACK TO the Mac.

    Takes a little time, but easy as pie, and you'll be EXACTLY where you were...
  9. Brandon123 thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 4, 2016
    Ok, really good to know! I wasn't even aware of the possibility to create a clone backup, learning something new everday:)
  10. KALLT macrumors 601

    Sep 23, 2008
    Just upgrade. Your system is not even that old, it will hardly be worth it. There is no technical reason for it other than neurotic cleanliness. Whatever you experienced on Windows, it is often irrelevant to macOS. It does not need cleaners, it does not need tune-up utilities or registry repairers. Apple has been doing seamless upgrades for many years now and they are far from the problems that Windows still has in this area. I would never recommend this to any Windows user, having experienced numerous upgrade issues with every recent Windows version.

    You don’t strictly need a clone either. Newer Macs have a built-in recovery system from which you can restore the original version of macOS or a complete Time Machine image. Additionally, you can create a bootable flash drive from the Sierra installer.
  11. Brandon123 thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 4, 2016
    Yeah, I guess it is time to forget about all the trauma related to updates/upgrades I have experienced in my Windows life :)
  12. Ebenezum macrumors 6502a

    Mar 31, 2015
    OP: If you use third party PDF software or Preview to edit PDF files I wouldn't recommend Sierra at the moment since it has PDF problems: macOS 10.12.2 Users Urged to Avoid Using 'Work-in-Progress' Preview App to Edit PDFs

    As for is Sierra forth the upgrade is up to you. Personally I was really disappointed with Siri, it is way too limited at the moment in my opinion and the other features didn't interest me at all.

    If you decide to upgrade and if your Mac contains important information I recommend cloning the Mac to external drive in addition to Time Machine backup to another drive. This is because Time Machine has had its share of bugs in the past and while Sierra related bugs are probably fixed by now I wouldn't rely it for important information.
  13. Taz Mangus macrumors 68040

    Taz Mangus

    Mar 10, 2011
    If you want to try out Sierra, create a new partition on your hard drive and install Sierra to the new partition. Reboot to the new partition and play with Sierra. When you are done reboot back to your other partition and delete the partition with Sierra.
  14. Brandon123 thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 4, 2016
    Thank you for that information, I happen to work a lot with PDF files! Taken together, I actually do not see any main benefits for me in upgrading to Sierra (except for the fun of playing around with a new OS version). So maybe it is simply not worth it, at least not right now :)
    --- Post Merged, Jan 18, 2017 ---
    Good idea if I decide after all to try it out!
  15. Gregg2 macrumors 603

    May 22, 2008
    Milwaukee, WI
    The upgrade is free, and unless you're very inexperienced with Macs, it should be painless. The point where the pain comes in is when you pass on so many upgrades that your hardware won't accept the newest OS. With Apple's recent policy of removing the previous version from the App Store when a new version is released, you'd be out of luck, stuck at wherever you parked yourself.
  16. Brandon123 thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 4, 2016
    I understand, and don't want to end up there of course! But I must say that surprisingly old Macs should (according to Apple) support Sierra. However, I am somewhat sceptic about these claims based on two incidents: 1) we updated the OS on my wife´s old Macbook 2-3 years ago, and the update went fine, but the computer became much slower, and 2) I updated my Ipad to a new IOS after 1 or 2 years, and it worked but became so slow it is now practically useless. It is one thing if the OS/IOS works on a machine, another thing how well it works...and here I think Apple could maybe give some recommendations or something:)

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