What Mac OS X should I use for an older iMac?

Hannamb101

macrumors newbie
Original poster
May 14, 2018
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I just got an older iMac desktop computer from a family member. They had completely wiped off the computer’s hard drive so I need to download a new Mac OS on it. I have been wanting to download High Sierra on it because I have heard good things from my friends about it but I am not sure if it will work great on an older computer. So would High Sierra work just fine or is there a better Mac OS to use?
 

DeltaMac

macrumors G4
Jul 30, 2003
10,461
2,785
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Can you tell us a bit more about the older iMac?
That will determine what you can do with getting that installed with as current a version of macOS as you can.
 

Darmok N Jalad

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Sep 26, 2017
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High Sierra has seemingly improved with a few update releases. I never really had any trouble with it to begin with. You will want to make sure you have a decent amount of RAM, like 8GB or better, especially if you have mechanical storage. Please share the results of “About this Mac” and that will help.
 

Hannamb101

macrumors newbie
Original poster
May 14, 2018
6
0
Can you tell us a bit more about the older iMac?
That will determine what you can do with getting that installed with as current a version of macOS as you can.
I don’t know for sure what model or version it is for sure. I know it is older because the sides are thicker and it has a CD slot on the side. They had the computer for quite a while but I don’t know how long. This is my first time having a Mac computer so I don’t know too much about them.
 

Darmok N Jalad

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Sep 26, 2017
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I don’t know for sure what model or version it is for sure. I know it is older because the sides are thicker and it has a CD slot on the side. They had the computer for quite a while but I don’t know how long. This is my first time having a Mac computer so I don’t know too much about them.
Click on the ":apple:" in the upper left corner. Select "About this Mac." It will tell you the basics of what you/we need to know.
 

Darmok N Jalad

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Sep 26, 2017
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If there's no OS installed, how do you intend to install any option? Will one of your friends create a USB installer for you?

In any case, have a look on your Mac for the model number. It may be located underneath the RAM door on the bottom, based on your description.
 

Hannamb101

macrumors newbie
Original poster
May 14, 2018
6
0
If there's no OS installed, how do you intend to install any option? Will one of your friends create a USB installer for you?

In any case, have a look on your Mac for the model number. It may be located underneath the RAM door on the bottom, based on your description.
I’m getting a USB installer. Right now we are looking at Snow Leopard but I wanted to see if another version would work.
 

Darmok N Jalad

macrumors 68030
Sep 26, 2017
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I’m getting a USB installer. Right now we are looking at Snow Leopard but I wanted to see if another version would work.
I’m sure you could go for a much newer version like Yosemite or maybe Sierra. It’s hard to know what to recommend since we don’t know anything about your Mac. The amount of RAM is important on the newest versions. For what it’s worth, i was able to run High Sierra on a 2010 Mac mini. It was fine for basic tasks, especially when equipped with an SSD.
 

Hannamb101

macrumors newbie
Original poster
May 14, 2018
6
0
When I turn it on the computer is giving me the option to reinstall OS X Mavericks. I am trying to install Snow Leopard but I am not getting anywhere with it right now. I am trying every different method I can find. When I try to install Mavericks it says "This item is temporarily unavailable."
 

DeltaMac

macrumors G4
Jul 30, 2003
10,461
2,785
Delaware
There is a label on the bottom of your iMac stand. It will have some info about the original cofiguration of the iMac, including a model number, such as A1224. But the best info would be the serial number (probably about 12 or 13 characters), which will tell us exactly which model you have.

Sounds like you still have a recovery system (which would be giving you an opportunity to reinstall OS X, in this case, Mavericks. You need to have an internet connection available to the iMac to reinstall through the recovery system. Best method would be with an ethernet connection to your router. Wifi SHOULD work, too, but can be iffy for some systems, and some locations.
 
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Hannamb101

macrumors newbie
Original poster
May 14, 2018
6
0
I found it (Thank you so much for helping) and the model number is A1312 and after looking it up it says it is a late 2009 model.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors Core
Feb 20, 2009
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OP:

Your iMac originally shipped with OS 10.6.1, I believe.
Be aware that if you get a Snow Leopard USB installer, the version of the installer MUST be "greater than" 10.6.0.

If it is 10.6.0, the installer won't run.

Actually, I would suggest that you buy a USB flashdrive installer with OS 10.11 "El Capitan" on it. El Cap is smooth and refined and should run fine on an older iMac.

You probably don't want High Sierra -- too many problems for too many people.
 
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