8 Things to Do Before Installing OS X El Capitan

OS X El Capitan will release next week on September 30. Here are eight things to do before installing OS X El Capitan.

Apple first announced and unveiled the new version of OS X back in early June during the company’s Worldwide Developers Conference, showing off some new features that users would be able to enjoy later that year.

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This year is a bit different for OS X El Capitan, though. The new version will release a lot earlier than usual, as the past couple of updates have been releasing in October. However, OS X El Capitan will release next week, which is perhaps the earliest that OS X has released in the last few years.

This is certainly good news, though, as users will now be able to use the latest OS X version earlier than normal, especially with iOS 9 releasing earlier this month. OS X and iOS started to play well together last year with the release of iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite, and that will continue on with iOS 9 and OS X El Capitan.

However, before you install OS X El Capitan on your Mac, here are eight things that you’ll want to do before you dive deep.

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Learn About the New Features

Before you update to OS X El Capitan, it’s a good time to learn about all of the new features of the new version.

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El Capitan keeps the same overall look and feel as OS X Yosemite, but comes with a handful of new features.

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There’s a new Split View mode similar to iOS 9 that allows you to use two apps at once by snapping the app windows to the side of the screen. It works a lot like Windows’ Aero Snap feature.

There are also some improvements to Spotlight Search, like more accurate results, as well as better and more helpful results when searching for something specific. You can search for something like, “emails that I’ve ignored from Chris.” You can be pretty specific with it.

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There are also new swipe gestures that you can use in some of the default apps like Mail and Safari, where you can swipe to delete emails and swipe to pin tabs on Safari to save them for later.

Check for Any Problems

Unless you’re an early adopter and install OS X El Capitan the second it releases, you’ll have plenty of time to see what other users think about the new version and whether or not there are any big problems that you should know about.

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While Apple does its best to get rid of all the bugs and issues from the beta versions, a mass rollout of any piece of software is bound to still have some bugs included, which is why it’s a good idea to check out what problems users are coming across, that way you can be prepared.

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If you do find that a lot of users are coming across some hiccups, that can be a sign that you should wait a little longer before installing OS X El Capitan.

Make Sure Your Mac Is Compatible

Perhaps the most important piece of information that you should know about OS X El Capitan is if it’s even compatible for your specific Mac model.

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The short answer is any Mac that’s able to run OS X Yosemite is able to run OS X El Capitan, which didn’t used to be the case for OS X, as Apple would drop off a handful of older models with each new OS X version, but not this time around.

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More specifically, below is a list of Mac models that will support OS X El Capitan when it releases in the fall.

  • iMac (Mid-2007 or newer)
  • MacBook (13-inch Aluminum, Late 2008), (13-inch, Early 2009 or newer)
  • MacBook Pro (13-inch, Mid-2009 or newer), (15-inch, Mid / Late 2007 or newer), (17-inch, Late 2007 or newer)
  • MacBook Air (Late 2008 or newer)
  • Mac Mini (Early 2009 or newer)
  • Mac Pro (Early 2008 or newer)
  • Xserve (Early 2009)

Make Sure Important Apps Are Compatible

Not only do you need to make sure that your Mac is compatible with OS X El Capitan, but you also want to make sure that any important Mac apps that you use are compatible with the new version.

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Usually it takes some time for app developers to update their apps to support the newest version of OS X, and it take up to a few months for most apps to become compatible.

Usually, some apps will work right out of the box without needing an update, which is always good, but there’s usually a couple of apps that don’t support the latest version until it gets updated, so it’s always a good idea to check the website of the app in question to see if it will run on OS X El Capitan.

Back Up Your Mac

Perhaps the most important thing that you should do is back up your Mac before you install OS X El Capitan. You don’t want to lose your important data if something should go wrong during the installation process.

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The best option for backing up your Mac is by using Time Machine, which is a built-in utility on your Mac that backs up all of your files.

Hopefully you won’t need to access the backup, but if something should go wrong during the upgrade to OS X El Capitan, you’ll at least have the security knowing that your files are safe.

Charge Your MacBook

If you have a MacBook, you’ll want to make sure to charge it up completely before installing OS X El Capitan, unless you know you’ll have it plugged in during the installation process anyway.

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If your battery level is low and you don’t have it plugged in during the updating process to OS X El Capitan, it’s possible that your MacBook could shut down in the middle of the installation, which could be trouble and you might have to start all over.

Set Aside Plenty of Time

It isn’t ideal to begin updating to OS X El Capitan ten minutes before you have to leave for work.

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Instead, schedule some free time in the evening where you can have plenty of time to install OS X El Capitan, as well as some time after the process is complete to play around with the new operating system and become familiar with it.

Know How to Troubleshoot Any Problems

After you install OS X El Capitan, you’ll want to know how to troubleshoot any problems that you come across.

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Perhaps the best sources for finding solutions to problems is Apple’s own Support Communities, and you can also try the Mac and OS X subreddits on Reddit, which have a decent user base with plenty of users who will help with any issues you’re having.

Other than that, there are the basics for troubleshooting many problems, like rebooting your Mac, resetting certain settings, and restarting your router if you’re having WiFi problems.

What’s New in OS X El Capitan: 12 Exciting Features

Split View

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Split View

The most exciting OS X El Capitan feature to arrive for multitasking users is the new Split View mode. OS X Yosemite allowed users to place two windows side by side, but now it is easier to snap the windows to the left or right without the need to manually size them.

On OS X Yosemite the Gotta Be Mobile team used HyperDock and BetterSnapTool to get a similar snap feature that let us move a window to the side, but now OS X 10.11 builds this support right in.

With the new OS X El Capitan Split View feature users can put two apps up side by side with a split view of the things they need most, swipe back to a desktop easily and create new spaces that remember your app split.

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