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benji888

macrumors 68000
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Sep 27, 2006
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I just ordered a refurb late 2013 21.5” iMac 2.9Ghz 8GB RAM from woot...I am coming from a 2010 MBP 13” where I’ve not updated past macOS Sierra. I mostly want to be able to use handoff and continuity with my iOS devices (Latest iOS). I will be using an SSD.

so who has a late 2013 iMac and what macOS is running smoothly for you?
 

velocityg4

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Dec 19, 2004
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I'd use Catalina then upgrade to Big Sur. When it is released.

I use Catalina on a 2009 iMac and 2010 MBP. Upgraded from Mojave and High Sierra respectively. I didn't notice performance degradation on either.

As this is a used computer. I'd perform a clean install. If the iMac does not have an SSD. It is a worthwhile investment. Even if it is via USB 3.0.
 
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benji888

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Sep 27, 2006
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I was checking the list for Big Sur compatibility, looks like iMacs have to be 2014 or newer, but, nice to know the latest macOS doesn’t lag...at least with SSD or fusion, which I will be setting it up with.
 
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velocityg4

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Dec 19, 2004
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I was checking the list for Big Sur compatibility, looks like iMacs have to be 2014 or newer, but, nice to know the latest macOS doesn’t lag...at least with SSD or fusion, which I will be setting it up with.

That's right. I forgot that it's only some 2013 Mac models can use Big Sur. There's always the possibility of a patch allowing older models to work. As has been the case with prior macOS versions.
 
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macrumor2018

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Dec 19, 2018
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I just ordered a refurb late 2013 21.5” iMac 2.9Ghz 8GB RAM from woot...I am coming from a 2010 MBP 13” where I’ve not updated past macOS Sierra. I mostly want to be able to use handoff and continuity with my iOS devices (Latest iOS). I will be using an SSD.

so who has a late 2013 iMac and what macOS is running smoothly for you?

I've got a late 2013 iMac (iMac 14,1 2.7GHz) and it's running Catalina. Mojave ran smoother IMO, so I'm disappointed that it won't be updated with Big Sur.

Actually, looking further into it, as far as 2013 iMacs being incompatible with Big Sur goes, I think it comes down to the minimum requirement of 1.5 GB of Graphics Memory (which the MacBook Airs and MacBook Pros from mid/late 2013 adhere to). Although my own entry level 21.5" late 2013 iMac physically meets this requirement (due to Integrated Graphics w/1.5 GB from shared memory) the higher end 21.5" and lower end 27" models with dedicated GPUs only have 1 GB of Graphics memory.

This might explain why the DVD player app appears to have problems loading on the 2013 iMac with the dedicated GT 750M chip when running this particular macOS Big Sur patch.

Perhaps as a result of not wanting customers who purchased the 2013 iMacs with 1 GB graphics memory to feel ripped off, Apple went out of its way to ensure that the other 2013 iMacs would also not be supported to alleviate customer confusion or frustration but kept the basic mid 2014 21.5" model supported.

These days, Apple has become less transparent as to why older Macs are dropped from macOS updates than in the past.
 
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r6mile

macrumors 65816
Feb 3, 2010
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I've got a late 2013 iMac (iMac 14,1 2.7GHz) and it's running Catalina. Mojave ran smoother IMO, so I'm disappointed that it won't be updated with Big Sur.

Actually, looking further into it, as far as 2013 iMacs being incompatible with Big Sur goes, I think it comes down to the minimum requirement of 1.5 GB of Graphics Memory (which the MacBook Airs and MacBook Pros from mid/late 2013 adhere to). Although my own entry level 21.5" late 2013 iMac physically meets this requirement (due to Integrated Graphics w/1.5 GB from shared memory) the higher end 21.5" and lower end 27" models with dedicated GPUs only have 1 GB of Graphics memory.

This might explain why the DVD player app appears to have problems loading on the 2013 iMac with the dedicated GT 750M chip when running this particular macOS Big Sur patch.

Perhaps as a result of not wanting customers who purchased the 2013 iMacs with 1 GB graphics memory to feel ripped off, Apple went out of its way to ensure that the other 2013 iMacs would also not be supported to alleviate customer confusion or frustration but kept the basic mid 2014 21.5" model supported.

These days, Apple has become less transparent as to why older Macs are dropped from macOS updates than in the past.

What's crazy is that my 2013 Macbook Air will support Big Sur, and I'm sure its graphics performance is lower than the iMacs from the same year...
 
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benji888

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Sep 27, 2006
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Who knows the reason for not supporting Big Sur 🤷‍♂️

Back with the Apple TV 3rd gen., Rev A (2013) they changed some of the components, but appeared to have the same specs as the 2012 version, however, the Rev A version supports peer to peer WiFi, so it will do things like automatic setup by putting iPhone near it, or AirPlay without being on same WiFi network, while the 2012 version can’t.

What I’m saying is maybe there is some hardware function that requires writing the OS differently to support certain feature(s). Or maybe only some models will work without rewriting but they don’t want confused users.
 
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benji888

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Sep 27, 2006
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United States
So the iMac arrived last night and it came with Catalina pre-installed on the HDD. I want to run Mojave, as I have some things that might not run in Catalina. I’ve got an SSD hooked up with USB 3, I’ve managed to download Mojave, but, I can’t install from Catalina, and recovery mode uses Catalina so that doesn’t work either. I guess I need to make the SSD bootable or transfer it to a flash drive? In the past I’ve used diskmaker, not sure this would work for what I’m trying to do.
 
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