Home Apple OS X El Capitan on an Older Mac: What You Should Know

OS X El Capitan on an Older Mac: What You Should Know

OS X El Capitan is the latest version of OS X for Mac machines, but how does it perform on an older Mac?

While El Capitan comes with mostly the same look and feel as OS X Yosemite, the new version includes a lot of new features, both big and small, that prove that it’s a nice upgrade over the previous version. Plus, Apple claims users will get up to 2x faster speeds when switching between apps, so performance is a bit better this time around as well.

In the past, I was running OS X Yosemite on my 2008 iMac for a few months, and performance was about what I expected with an older iMac like this. It’s pretty slow as far as opening apps is concerned, and even accessing the System Preferences can be a bit sluggish at the start.

I added 4GB of memory to replace the 2GB that it came with, and performance increased a bit, although not by much. I reckon that once I replace the hard drive with a good solid-state drive, performance will see a big boost.

However, until then, I need to get the best performance I can out of what I have, and with the promise of better performance in OS X El Capitan, I decided to update my iMac immediately to the new version. Here’s what you should know about OS X El Capitain on an older Mac.

imac

First of all, the cut-off point from which OS X El Capitan supports the iMac is mid-2007, and I’m just one or two refreshes from that point, so it’s a close one, but nonetheless, OS X El Capitan runs on my aging iMac.

The good news is that OS X El Capitan installed perfectly on my iMac, although it did take way longer than it did on my 2013 MacBook Pro. That’s something to expect with an older Mac, so be sure to set aside plenty of time for your older machine to update to the latest version.

Once it installed, I didn’t experience any major problems and the iMac handled the new version like a champ for the most part. The smooth installation alone was cause for celebration, as I was expecting at least a few hiccups during the process. Thankfully, it went the other way.

OS X El Capitan Reasons Not to Install

As for performance over OS X Yosemite, I haven’t noticed a huge difference over the last few months that I’ve been running El Capitan, but I can certainly say that it’s not any slower.

However, System Preferences does load a lot quicker than it did previously, and most apps open within a few seconds, so it’s definitely not a huge improvement over what it was, but it’s about the same, if not maybe a bit faster this time around.

However, Spotlight Search is still pretty slow even though Apple put a lot of focus into making it faster and better. The features are pretty great, though, like being able to quickly pull up weather and sports scores, as well as use natural language to search for various things.

os-x-el-capitan-2-720x4491-720x449

Luckily, I haven’t come across any problems except for some issues I had with my Logitech mouse, although that’s not really an OS X problem, but rather an issue with Logitech’s software and its support for OS X El Capitan. I thought I fixed it with a re-installation of the software, but I’m still having some issues with it.

Overall, I feel like OS X El Capitan is a great update for those running older Macs. If you have OS X Yosemite installed on an older machine, updating to El Capitan won’t hurt it at all, and it even might even increase performance a bit. However, you can always downgrade to OS X Yosemite if need be.

However, I’d recommend upgrading your Mac if you can. Simply replacing the hard drive with a solid-state drive and adding more memory can do wonders for speeding up your older Mac, especially if you use it as a daily computer. You’ll notice the performance boost right away.

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86 Comments

  1. Juan Diego Molineaux

    10/05/2015 at 6:48 am

    Macbook Pro Mid 2012, 8GB RAM, 250GB SSD. Works flawless.

    Reply

  2. Sabine

    10/05/2015 at 10:02 am

    Macbook Pro 15″ Early 2011, 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD. Works flawless so far. It also seems to run a bit cooler.

    Reply

    • cferthorney

      10/20/2015 at 8:36 am

      Thanks Sabine, I’m similar hardware (512SSD instead of 1TB). Feel more confident on upgrading now I’ve heard it hasn’t slowed down my hardware too much. Office 2016 aside, I can live without anything else that’s broken, and the 2016 issues seem to be more hit and miss now.

      Reply

  3. Victor Rasquin

    10/06/2015 at 10:25 am

    iMac 2007 – Flawless installation (more than 1 hr!) – OSX.11 gave my Mac a second youth. Everything is a lot snappier; apps are loading much quickier. I certainly recommend this upgrade!

    Reply

    • Marcel

      10/14/2015 at 11:11 am

      Same here : iMac 2007 4 GB RAM. 1TB WD Black @7200
      Works great, everythinh loading faster ( Yosemity before ); D3 and SC2 (c) wiht good perfomance, EyeTV (c) running smooth wo dropping pictures

      Reply

  4. Junian

    10/06/2015 at 4:16 pm

    MacBook Pro 13″ Late 2013 , 8 GB RAM, 256 SSD. I recommend you to upgrade El Capitan ASAP. It’s more responsive than Yosemite.

    Reply

  5. Brett Schulte

    10/07/2015 at 9:50 am

    Having installed Yosemite on a dozen or so Macs since the public beta begam I don’t notice any difference in El Capitan vs. Yosemite in terms of performance. With that said, there are a lot of other improvements. My favorite is being able to hide bar at the top of the screen to really use all the screen real estate available.

    Reply

  6. Ted

    10/08/2015 at 7:07 pm

    Tried installing el capitan on an early 2008 imac but it could not get past the login screen without crashing and auto restarting.

    Reply

    • Jay

      10/19/2015 at 11:43 am

      My mid-2009 macbook pro keeps restarting and then going blank when I close it to put it on sleep mode. I have to force restart it every time I open it back up. I’m switching back to Yosemite…

      Reply

    • Yves Velazco

      12/10/2015 at 12:53 pm

      Did you ever resolve this issue? I have a 2009 iMac that recently run into the same problem.

      Reply

  7. Floyd

    10/19/2015 at 4:47 pm

    Outlook crashing frequently.

    Reply

  8. Jay

    11/01/2015 at 12:41 pm

    Anyone tried installing this on a mid-2008 imac? I’m still running 10.9.5 – never upgraded to Yosemite.

    Reply

  9. keith

    11/08/2015 at 6:43 pm

    Early 2008 iMac that only had 1GB RAM until 11/2015 when I put in a new 2GB RAM card and upgraded to the minimum needed to get El Capitan. Download was extremely slow. Installation slow. Result: this is a totally new and wonderful iMac! Another 2GB RAM coming but it’s a beautiful thing!

    Reply

    • Dawn Ewald

      07/04/2016 at 12:25 pm

      so it works on an early 2008 iMac with only 2gb okay? Not extremely slow?

      Reply

    • Neil

      07/30/2016 at 10:43 am

      I’m going to install on my IMAC early 2008 4GB ram and hopefully El Capitan will be ok and even better with 6GB ram upgrade

      Reply

  10. banjoboy77

    11/14/2015 at 9:06 pm

    I downloaded El Capitan on my 2008 imac a few weeks ago. I just got rid of it because my programs were all freezing and the machine was running slowly. Anyone else experience this? I just switched back to the previous operating system.

    Reply

    • Johannes

      11/19/2015 at 7:21 am

      How did you switch back? Using the time machine or is it more complicated than that?
      As Jay says below ,one in favour , one against ,I want to be sure to be able to switch back!I never upgraded to Yosemite!

      Reply

  11. Jay

    11/16/2015 at 7:41 am

    So far, one ‘yes’ vote and one ‘no’ vote for upgrading to El Capitan on my 2008 iMac. I think I’ll keep my current OSx for now.

    Reply

  12. jess84

    11/28/2015 at 1:53 pm

    Has anyone downloaded El Capitan on iMac 2013 ? Thinking about downloading it but so far other than this site, I haven’t seen many positive reviews…. Figured I would give it a couple more weeks or atleast a month for Apple to iron out kinks… Right now i’m on Yosemite and it works pretty well….

    Reply

  13. lamthuyen

    11/28/2015 at 7:35 pm

    macbook pro 17 early 2008 8GB 500GB Drive, updated today, works great.

    Reply

    • Peter

      12/17/2015 at 8:38 am

      Hi,
      I have a macbook pro 17″ as well with 8GB and 500GB storage. 2.53 GHz Intel Core i5 and running OS X 10.9.5

      It’s probably similar to what you have. Do you recommend me upgrading to OS X El Capitan?
      Does it effect adobe CS6 or SuiteCase Fusion 4?

      Thanx

      Reply

  14. Dustball

    11/29/2015 at 7:54 am

    I have a older 2008 iMac 2.4 GHz intel core 2 duo, 4 GB 800 MHz DDR2 SDRAM with ATI Radeon HD 2400 XT 128 MB graphics.
    Since updating to OS X El Capitan, my iMac has regularly locked up on me, internet sites slower to upload, screens lock and have to close out safari and start over, once in a while, nothing works and have to hard reboot computer, sucks, wished I never updated to El Capitan. is my machine too old to run these new IOS platforms? what to do?

    Reply

  15. dustball

    11/29/2015 at 7:57 am

    how do you go back to Yosemite? not a computer geek here

    Reply

  16. Cheon-Fong Liew (@liewcf)

    12/15/2015 at 9:11 pm

    Thanks for the article. Now I am confidence to update my iMac 2008 to the OS X El Capitan

    Reply

  17. Sarah

    02/01/2016 at 6:25 pm

    I have just experienced my late 2008 macbook crashing after the el captain installation. i fear i have lost everything as i cannot start the laptop without it crashing on the start up. my macbook has been very reliable since 2009 which is when i bought it and never had a single issue. yosemite was installed prior to this. I’ve never had to keep a back up till now.. but too late. i think they should perhaps make it clear that el captain is a risk to older MacBooks. obv some of yours works and some doesn’t. its a 50/50. shame for those who risk losing their data. apple chat senior advisors were unable to help. they suggested recovery mode start ups etc. but nothing they could do or even explain why this happened.

    Reply

  18. Hilli

    02/19/2016 at 4:18 am

    Question: My iMac is a early 2008 model. Will El Capitan work on this?

    Reply

  19. Izzy

    02/21/2016 at 9:36 am

    iMac 2008 with El Capitan. Works like charm!

    Reply

    • Neil

      07/30/2016 at 10:26 am

      Hi
      I have IMAB early 2008 with SSD upgrade and 4GB ram will El Capitan work on my machine without slowing down. Or would it be best to do 6GB ram upgrade ?

      Reply

  20. Hilli

    02/21/2016 at 11:21 am

    Thanks Izzy! Another silly question: How much ram would I need to have for the upgrade?

    Reply

  21. Jenny

    03/01/2016 at 12:40 am

    I also have an old macbookpro, 2008. I have had the memory increased and I am working on Lion, haven’t upgraded yet, but am concerned that if I do I could have problems. What do you recommend?

    Reply

    • Hilli

      03/01/2016 at 4:03 am

      DO NOT upgrade Jenny. It screwed my iMac. Need to take it away to a iStore.

      Reply

    • Edwin Anthony

      03/30/2016 at 4:15 am

      I think when apple set the minimum requirements, they purposely didn’t take into consideration the other software on the system. The obvious reason is to force customers to upgrade the hardware on their machines or buy a new Mac.

      They basically set the requirements way too low. In a sense, it is a play on words – that you need x amount of y in order to run it. Doesn’t mean that it will run as well as before, or that their own heavy-duty software might not crash or give problems. I personally have quite a lot of problems with my Logic Pro 9 even after upgrading to just Mavericks. I even heard that Logic 9 will not work well on their latest machines as Apple wants people to upgrade to 10 and pocket the money.

      I view these upgrades by Apple as no different from a virus. A virus borne of greed. It may work for some, but it is purposefully DESIGNED to not work for many.

      Reply

    • Kevin

      03/05/2017 at 12:03 am

      I realize this is an older thread.

      Also have a 2008 mbpro, core2duo, etc. Thankfully I bought Carbon Copy Cloner and cloned the whole thing on an OWC external drive just before downloading Lion. For $30 it is genius and easy to do.

      Lion destroyed the functioning of macbook pro 4,1. It’s a really creepy thing for Apple to promote that for a core2duo machine. It’s like a trojan horse…or something. It was as if my mac got an advanced case of Lou Gehrig’s disease inside of 20min.

      Twenty minutes later I just wiped the whole machine and re-installed my 10.6 with Carbon Copy Cloner. Easy easy easy. Like I said, it’s genius software. It makes Time Machine look like torture. I had my mac back up and running in under 30 minutes.

      Now, two years later I still run Snow Leopard on that “old” mac. Musicians love Snow Leopard.

      It’s a shame how lowdown Apple has become with their update mania and just kicking their customers to the curb.

      That being said there is great talent at Apple. You have to stay aware. Never ever update without a plan if you are using pro-level software for production. Clone your system and pay very close attention before letting a case of update mania take your system down.

      Reply

  22. Ken

    03/03/2016 at 8:05 pm

    Also, can I put SSD in my wife’s mid 2009 13″ Macbook Pro?

    Reply

    • Jonas

      03/08/2016 at 1:36 pm

      Yes it will work great.

      Reply

  23. Ken

    03/03/2016 at 8:41 pm

    My first question seems to have disappeared. I want to know if I can put 16Gb RAM into a mid 2010 15″ Macbook Pro. Sabine mentioned above that she has 16Gb in an early 2011 Pro, but the Apple support site says 8Gb max in all listed Macbooks.

    Reply

    • Kari

      03/23/2016 at 1:26 pm

      I read the same info. as you on apple support, however, based on a little internet research, I opted to exceed the 8 Gb max for my early 2011 macbook pro. I too, installed 16 Gb (a few months ago) and it works like a charm – performance is dramatically better. I feel like I have a brand new computer for only $60.

      Reply

  24. Jonas

    03/08/2016 at 1:32 pm

    MacBook Pro 2,4 core 2 duo 17” 114gb ssd 2gb of ram. It works great. Really fast. Amazing for a 9 years old mac. For office, net and e-mail a Very good machine.

    Reply

    • William

      03/21/2016 at 12:12 pm

      I think I have the same machine. Identified as mid/late 2007 model. So long ago, I can’ remember exacty when I purchased it.

      When you say “works great”, you do mean works great on El Capitan?? I’m trying to decide whether to update. I have 4gb RAM.

      Reply

  25. Russell Armani

    03/10/2016 at 3:25 pm

    I have got late 2008 macbook pro and the install went great, most of the apps run very well. But the major problem is Apple Mail app. It is so laggy. That was the reason I wen back to Mountain Lion after installing Yosemite, which had the same problem. When El Capitan came out I hoped this problem was solved. It is better, but still not as snappy enough as mail in mountain lion, which is what I am on right now again – went back to ML, could not cope with slow mail app which I used all the time. Missing great Logic and Final Cut Pro on El Capitan, but mail drove me crazy, had no choice. I hope this is going to be fixed in next update.

    Reply

  26. Easgs

    03/17/2016 at 3:51 pm

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    Reply

  28. Hue Man

    03/22/2016 at 5:45 pm

    I have a 2012 imac, currently running on Mountain Lion. Would it be wise to upgrade to El Capitan? Will it affect my Adobe Flash and Photoshop (both) CS6 programs at all? I have made a Time Machine backup, but will it be able to restore things if the upgrade goes awry?
    Needless to say I’m not a computer expert by any means.

    Reply

  29. Bob

    03/26/2016 at 8:09 am

    OS X El Capitan is working just fine on MacBook Pro (13-inch, Mid 2010), Processor: 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, Memory: 8 GB 1067 DDR3, Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce 320M 256 MB, Storage: 250 GB.

    Started download before going to bed. Installation the next morning. Yeah, I was a little nervous, but everything seems to be running smoothly.

    Reply

    • Ryan

      08/27/2016 at 12:40 pm

      Hi Bob, I have a late-2011 model, 2.2 Ghz Intel i7, 4 GB 1333 MHz DDR3 with the AMD Radeon HD 6750M 512 MB graphics card. My machine was part of Apple’s repair program to replace the graphic card in 2015. It was crazy and got Apple to fix my MBP, all costs on them. With what happened, do you think it’s wise for me to upgrade to El Capitan? Heard of any stories similar to mine?

      Reply

  30. Andrea

    03/26/2016 at 11:03 pm

    Super happy I installed El Capitan on my early 2011 MacBook Pro. Yosemite was making me want to throw my laptop off the balcony. So far, so good! I was so tired of how my MacBook was responding to Yosemite that I restored it to snow leopard to save myself some stress. Decided to try El Capitan and happy I upgraded. The install took a little bit longer than I thought, but my MacBook is working way better. Won’t be throwing it off the balcony anytime soon!

    Reply

  31. Fin

    03/28/2016 at 5:26 am

    Hello, I have a 15′ 2012 Macbook Pro. It still has 4gb or ram and the original slower 500gb HDD. Although I will be upgrading both the memory and ram in the next couple of months is it a good idea to upgrade to El Capitan now or should I wait as this will make my system sluggish with this configuration?

    Thanks in advance for any opinions you can offer!

    Reply

  32. Ken

    04/03/2016 at 3:57 am

    Early 2009 20″ iMac. Upgraded the RAM to 8GB and installed El Capitan. So far it runs great. Internet is really fast. Ram install was very easy. I was cautioned that it could be a disaster but so far it’s the opposite. I’m loving this iMac.

    Was running like crap on Mavericks with 2GB of RAM. Greatly improved.

    Reply

  33. May

    04/07/2016 at 5:20 pm

    Since upgrading to El Capitan my iMac does not recognize my network
    2008 iMac

    Reply

  34. Rene B

    04/15/2016 at 7:29 am

    Don’t do it! I have a 2007, upgraded the RAM to install El Capitan from Snow Leopard. Spinning wheel constantly, freezes up regularly during internet searches and have to power it off to get it working again. NEVER had to do that before. Very disappointed.

    Reply

  35. Mathias

    04/16/2016 at 1:39 am

    I have a mac mini and a macbook both mid 2001, upgraded on the mini to 12GB ram and macbook to 8GB ram (8GB is enough for my use) also upgraded in both to SSD. Upgrading a mac mini is a pita, was happy that it was booting after upgrade :))) Both are running smoothly with el Captain clean install. But still wonder if running mountain lion on my macbook would not speed up a bit and I do like the retro style :)

    Reply

  36. Mathias

    04/16/2016 at 12:58 pm

    Sorry was both mid 2010, had a snow leopard cd/dvd and no performance gain at all with older os x versions. With an SSD, 6 or 8GB ram and an Intel Core 2 Duo or greater El Captain is actually faster. (so no retro,lol) It’s being a while using mac os x, mostly to slow compared to linux. (even windows) Had some fun time with my macbook and mini (didn’t use them for more than a year), upgraded them with way above amount ram specified by apple. Crucial SO-DIMM 1600/1333mhz works perfectly (adaptive) no need to buy expensive ram, they just work on mac like other laptop’s. That 5400rpm drive is very slow (probably cheaper for apple) change it with an SSD if you have a SATA interface. (128GB is cheap, use an external for more space) Just buy a good screwdriver set and you will get a new mac, just don’t fall into the marketing strategy of apple. (Steve Jobs is gone) Believe me, I spent on both devices around 200 euro and the mac mini on sale right now cost 550 euro with a slower cpu, 5400rpm drive and only 4GB. Upgrade is the solution, cheaper and better specifications/performance.

    Reply

  37. Wei

    05/01/2016 at 7:00 pm

    I installed el cap on my 2007 macbook pro, and regretted it a few weeks later. Made the computer pretty glitchy, especially with going to sleep. Also tended to crash periodically. Restored to 10.6.8.

    Reply

    • Eugene Brown

      05/20/2016 at 11:52 pm

      I currently have a late 2007 imac (7,1) runs a 2.4GHZ core 2 duo proc, 4GB 667MHZ DDR2 ram, 800MHZ BUS, 320GB HD. I am currently running Snow Leopard 10.6.8. How high can I upgrade the OS version on this machine ? Will I be able to at least do Mountain Lion, or can I go all the way up to El Capitan ?

      Gene B.

      Reply

      • Futurist01

        08/05/2016 at 6:31 am

        I’m running a 2007 Macbook pro and was able to run mountain lion and currently Mavericks, just make sure you have enough internal storage available for system functions and it’s fine. I’m not sure though about El Capitan though. I’m worried it may slow it down.

        Reply

      • Eric

        08/30/2016 at 12:51 pm

        I have a mid 2007 iMac that I upgraded to 4GB Ram. I installed El Capitan today, and it is running SO MUCH faster than Snow Leopard was (10.6.8). This thing is like a brand new computer.

        Reply

        • Marco

          09/08/2016 at 1:55 pm

          Hi Eric
          I was just wondering wether El Capitan still works well one month later. Or if it stucks as with others that regret having installed it after this period of time.
          I am very unsure about doing this update on myMacBook Pro (Mid 2007).
          Many thanks for your reply.

          Reply

        • David Moore

          04/04/2017 at 1:16 pm

          Hi Eric

          I have an Imac7.1 and was pleased to read your findings . I have been quoted nearly £380 to upgrade it to run El capitan – £60 – 4GB RAM (Memory Fitted)
          £55 – OS X 10.7. 10.8, 10.9, 10.10, 10.11 Upgrade
          £145 – 275GB Pure SSD fitted inc Data Migration.
          Some of the comments on here have put me off , but your comment , was helpful , can you let me know if you have run into any problems?
          I have been told my machine will run really well, but just want to make sure .
          Thanks in advance for any help you can offer.

          David

          Reply

  38. Mathias

    05/01/2016 at 11:24 pm

    Nice macbook :) As I posted above, just upgrade the memory to 6GB or more and an SSD drive. el cap will run way faster then snow leo.

    Reply

  39. John LeMay

    05/06/2016 at 1:44 pm

    Nice write up. I just upgraded my 2011 MBPs (2 of them) with SSDs. I did Time Machine restores which I was a bit concerned with since I feared brining back the problems that caused me to not use these for much for a couple of years. However it’s a huge improvement. These machines are like new now and I love them again. Kudos to OWC for a great install kit and video that made it simple. Now that I see El Capitan shouldn’t slow me down I am considering upgrading from Mavericks myself.

    Reply

  40. Mathias

    05/07/2016 at 4:46 am

    Thx, nice to hear that you MPS are performing well. Did you upgrade the memory in both also ? For 100 euro you can have two 8gb DDR3 modules (Kingston DDR3 1600Mhz) Most mac’s are clocked at lower Mhz, and they have a memory limit, that is not very technically accurate :) Neither the memory clock or maximum limit are correct, just put the existing ram in de first slot and the new one in the above slot. That would make 10GB of both of your MPS, it will prevent falling on swap and be even more snappy. Of course with an SSD swapping would also be way faster than the original 5400rpm drive.

    Reply

  41. Eugene Brown

    05/20/2016 at 11:45 pm

    I currently have a late 2007 imac (7,1) runs a 2.4GHZ core 2 duo proc, 4GB 667MHZ DDR2 ram, 800MHZ BUS. I am currently running Snow Leopard 10.6.8. How high can I upgrade the OS version on this machine ? Will I be able to at least do Mountain Lion, or can I go all the way up to El Capitan ?

    Gene B.

    Reply

    • Eugene Brown

      05/20/2016 at 11:48 pm

      … I forgot to mention that I have a 320GB HD.

      Reply

  42. too slow on older imac major finder delay issues.

    05/21/2016 at 4:23 am

    Yosemite, mavericks, and El capitan ran on my mid 2007 imac. (2 Ghz, 4GB RAM) but it was quite slow. creating new folders, moving files and folders to the trash, duplicating files and folders has a noticeable delay (sometimes up to 4 seconds or so). basic finder operations are annoyingly slow. I went back to snow leopard to get my “speed” back.

    Reply

  43. Mathias

    05/21/2016 at 7:24 am

    Hi both iMacs can be upgraded to be able to run el Captain smoothly (even better than snow leo) Core 2 Duo is fast enough for el, 4GB ram is short but enough for multitasking and if you combine it with an ssd some swapping won’t slow down your mac compared with the 5400rpm drive. The only downside is the memory DDR2 clocked at 667Mhz, I would stick to those specifications. You can buy one 4GB RAM module and replace a 2GB biuld-in module and get a total of 6GB which will make el a bit smoother and avoid the use of the swap space. The downside is that the 1x4gb memory module cost around 90€, it’s DDR2 so less common. Get an ssd drive (choose the size you wan’t) and your iMac will be running el like a charm. Btw, if you youtube on memory and ssd installation on your iMac it seems quite nice to upgrade with a good screwdriver set. Good luck and have fun :)

    Reply

  44. Satish S

    05/30/2016 at 4:03 am

    Recently I upgraded my 2010 MacBook 10.6.8 to EI Capitan. The upgrade itself went well, although it took quite long.
    Certainly performance has gone down.
    Now my Macbook doesn’t boot instantly.
    Desktop doesn’t get restored immediately after logging in.
    Software updates are only possible via Appstore whose UI is not responsive…infact very slow, and somehow updates fail to resume from pause.

    Reply

  45. Mathias

    05/30/2016 at 4:35 am

    The same as mine :) Already posted above, get more ram and an ssd. Just open de back cover and you have directly access to the memory slot and hd placement. A five minute job on a macbook mid 2010.

    Reply

  46. Claudia Putnam

    05/31/2016 at 12:45 pm

    Hesitant. My mid-2011 11″ Macbook Air is on the list of supported machines but it had a hard time with Yosemite and I had to roll back to Mavericks. Which it is suddenly struggling with now. I’d like to go up to El Cap because I want the new trackpad, but I’m thinking it’s probably not the best idea. I have 4 RAM and 120 GB on an SSD. I don’t think any of these are changeable in the Air.

    Reply

  47. Nikki & iMac

    05/31/2016 at 5:42 pm

    Craig, we match! I also upgraded my iMac hard disk drive to a shiny new SSD and the performance boost really blows my mind. Now my Mac takes only 10 seconds to fully start up, compared to about 30 secs in the old days. When OS X El Capitan was firstly introduced in September last year, I was a bit hesitated to conduct the update mainly because many fellow users reported speed issues and it seems taking forever to complete the entire installation process. Fortunately that didn’t happen to me, it only took about 2 hours. Though I had to wait Spotlight to finish indexing for the next day, overall I am quite happy that I chose to upgrade. Thanks for all the hints. I’ll obviously look out for your insights for the next Mac guides.

    Reply

  48. Maxine

    06/06/2016 at 1:07 pm

    Upgraded my late 2010 iMac and TOTAL DISASTER! Non stop application crashes, panic attacks, etc Replaced a perfectly good hard drive with an SSD, spent hundreds of dollars having someone test the HW and finally found out through a friend of my repair guy that El Capitan breaks old iMacs. Now i have a system with a 2010 OS that I have to upgrade to Mavericks or Yosemite so my daughter can use it. C’mon Apple, just be straight with us!

    Reply

    • Brom198

      08/12/2016 at 11:27 am

      Why would El capitan break old Macs? Never heard of such nonsense

      Reply

  49. Mathias

    06/06/2016 at 1:41 pm

    Your iMac has an i3 cpu and 4GB ram if I am not wrong, you changed the hd by an ssd and have already a nice cpu and enough ram. (you could add more) I think that the ssd is broken, if still under warranty should be no problem to get another one. On youtube upgrading your iMac and running el cap seems to be no problem a all. It’s not iMac that matters but the hardware that’s in it. El Cap is faster, apple worked well on performance instead of features, marvericks and yosemite are slower and certainly on older mac’s.

    Reply

  50. Dianne Gerrity

    07/05/2016 at 7:05 pm

    Upgraded to El Capitan from OS X 10.8.5. The procedure went smoothly on this late 2008 iMac with 2TB HD (1.7 TB free so lots of room) and 4GB 800mHz memory. It took about 1 hour or a bit more. The problem came in that from any application on El Capitan that required iCloud login (such as mail, messages, photos, app store, itunes), constant Verification Error. Spent all day trying different solutions mentioned online. None worked. Which meant I could not sync my iPhone or even update my apps since I could not connect to the app store with ANY iCloud login.

    However, using chrome or safari–>easy login to iCloud. Just can’t using the apps from El Capitan.

    Restored to 10.8.5 from Time machine. At least it works. I have a newer iMac running Yosemite. Not sure if I will give that one a try with El Capitan. It is my main iMac and I don’t want to lose that one.

    Reply

  51. Neil Bhogal

    07/30/2016 at 10:36 am

    I have IMAC early 2008 with SSD and 4gb ram currently running Yosemite ok.
    I’m gonna upgrade the ram to 6GB so hopefully El Capitan will be ok on my old machine

    Reply

  52. Mathias

    08/07/2016 at 6:23 am

    I don’t use iCloud, only on my iPhone and iPad. On my Mini-mac and iBook I don’t use iCloud (skip option at install), no reason I use my provider for mail and all other stuff is on my file server. Third party applications works just fine (VLC and other). Can imagine that when you upgrade with iCloud stuff on things get tricky. Clean install is a must for stability and good performance.

    Reply

  53. Brom198

    08/12/2016 at 11:23 am

    I installed El Capitan on my mac mini early 2009. It ran fine but a bit slow at times with the old 5400 rpm hard drive and only 4 gb of ram. So i upgraded it to 8 gb of ram and swapped the hd for a ssd from crucial. Now it’s faster than ever before! Mostly thanks to the ssd. Make sure to do a clean install when you upgrade to ssd!

    Reply

  54. Aivaras

    08/23/2016 at 3:03 pm

    Mid 2009 MacbookPro was really slow on Mountain Lion due to too many software running. Decided I need a fresh install of El capitan and no upgrade which would still carry all the old software from the old version.

    Installed El Capitan on bootable USB. Now it’s perfectly usable and visually very pretty and pleasing. With Itunes, Mail, Safari, Terminal running I’m at 3.3GB used ram out of 4GB. So definitely will be upgrading ram since I’ll be out of ram if I decide to run Photoshop or iMovie.. Runs pretty fine without ssd, but considering the prices now for 128gb ssd it’s definitely worth to upgrade too!

    Reply

  55. Ryan

    08/27/2016 at 12:36 pm

    I have a late-2011 MBP, the last of the anit-glare screens. In late 2014 to early 2015, after the debacle Apple had with the graphics card failings that brought about their repair program, my MBP had a graphics card replacement. My SPECS:

    Processor: 2.2 Ghz Intel i7
    Memory: 4 GB 1333 MHz DDR3
    The GRAPHICS CARD: AMD Radeon HD 6750M 512 MB

    I’m currently on 10.7.5 and concerned about doing ANY upgrades, especially to El Capitan. Has anybody had the graphics card issues and upgraded successfully?

    Any thoughts on what I should do? Thank you all for your advice in advance, much appreciated!

    Reply

  56. Jef

    09/10/2016 at 5:54 pm

    I installed Maverick on my MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2.53GHz Mid 2009, 4mb ram) & had serious speed issues, so much that I installed Lion. Now I’m realizing need to upgrade ran to 8gb, then attempt to upgrade my OS

    Reply

  57. Stanley swiniarski

    10/02/2016 at 7:29 am

    Installed El Capitan on my 2009 Mac Pro (4,1). First thing I got upon reboot with the new OS was a kernel panic that looked like it was USB-related. I still get those intermittently. Once I got past that, performance is sluggish, and graphics are now choppy. I installed all the stuff people have suggested – turn off transparency, left it on for a weekend to let Spotlight re-index everything, ran the hardware test and no errors. I work with Logic Pro X and it is unusable now because the scrolling and meters do not display in real time. If I type into anything, there’s a delay before I see the characters. I Hate to spend the money on a new graphics card to find out that doesn’t fix it. It’s a dual quad with 29Gb of RAM and 300GB of free SSD hard drive space and an Nvidia Geforce GT 120 with 512k cache , so no excuses why El Capitan working so terribly on this system.

    Reply

  58. DDS

    10/08/2016 at 11:41 am

    Early 2008 Imac, cannot install

    Reply

  59. Sheep

    10/22/2016 at 10:27 am

    El Cap is rubbish on my early 2011 MBP with 512gb Samsung 840 pro SSD and 16gb of ram. Eat’s my battery life like its never fed before! Downgraded back to Maverics and yes I’m flying again with twice as much battery life.
    I think it is Apples way of making you upgrade your hardware.MORE £$£$£$£$.

    Reply

  60. Mathias

    11/05/2016 at 1:21 pm

    El Captain is running fine on mac-mini (mid 2011) with of course ssd and 12gb ram. The same for my Macbook (mid 2010). Tried Sierra today on my mac-mini and it performs as well as El Captain, aside the extra new features I don’t see any major differences. Reverted again to El Captain with my Time Machine external drive, don’t need the Sierra extra features and Siri won’t listen so well, lol.

    Reply

  61. Test

    01/11/2017 at 12:26 pm

    wtf is the purpose of this article

    Reply

  62. Mark

    02/09/2017 at 7:33 pm

    I tried to read most of the comments then just jumped to the end. For what’s it worth I have a used 17″MacBook Pro late 2008 2.5 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo 4 GB memory 733 GB hard drive. It was running Mountain Lion and I jumped to El Captain 10.11.6 runs great no problems that I know of.

    Reply

  63. Whizzer66

    05/13/2017 at 3:09 am

    Any one tried a late 2006 A1195 iMac to see if it works on El Capitan?

    Reply

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