For the first time since Apple released OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion in July 2012, Apple has dropped support for a number of older Macs that had supported OS X 10.8 through 10.11 El Capitan. No MacBook and iMac models prior to Late 2009 and no MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, Mac mini, and Mac Pro models prior to 2010 are officially supported by macOS Sierra, although workarounds have been developed for most unsupported 2008 and 2009 Macs.
Mac OS X is no longer being called OS X, and Apple is not promoting Sierra with a version number either (however, it is internally identified as OS X 10.12). Now it’s simply macOS Sierra – in keeping with iOS, tvOS, and watchOS.
macOS Sierra was released on Sept. 20, 2016 and officially requires a supported Mac with at least 2 GB of system memory and 8.8 GB of available storage space. (We recommend at least 4 GB of RAM.)
Officially Supported Macs
All Late 2009 and later MacBook and iMac models are supported in macOS Sierra, as are all 2010 and newer MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, Mac mini, and Mac Pro computers.
Hacking macOS Sierra for Unsupported Macs
Hardware requirements for macOS Sierre include a CPU with SSE4.1, so it cannot be run on any Mac with a CPU prior to the Penryn Core 2 Duo. In theory, it should be possible to get Sierra running on any Penryn or later Mac. It may be possible to swap out the Merom CPU in some Macs for a Penryn, which would then allow Sierra to run.
Sierra can run with 4 GB of system memory, but as with all recent versions of OS X, more memory will allow it to run even better.
Colin Mistr has published a macOS Sierra Patch Tool, which currently allows you to install and run macOS Sierra on the following officially unsupported hardware:
- Early 2008 iMac or later
- Late 2008 Aluminum Unibody MacBook
- Mid 2009 MacBook (white) or later
- Late 2008 MacBook Air or later
- Early 2008 MacBook Pro or later
- Late 2009 Mac mini or later
- Early 2008 Mac Pro or later
- 2009 Xserve
Note: If you have the Early 2009 Mac Pro and have installed the firmware update patch so it identifies itself as MacPro5,1, you can run the standard installer. You do not need the patch tool.
You will need a USB drive 8 GB or larger and Mistr’s patch tool, which is linked on his page. WiFi does not function on these unsupported systems if they have the Broadcom BCM4321 WiFi module:
- Late 2008 and Mid 2009 MacBook Air
- Early 2008 and Mid 2008 MacBook Pro
- Early 2008 iMac
- Early 2008 Mac Pro
Siri comes to the Mac with macOS Sierra.
macOS Sierra can automatically sync all files on your Desktop and in your Documents folder with other Macs running Sierra. You can also access these files in your iPhone or iPad using iCloud Drive.
The new Universal Clipboard lets you copy on one device and paste on another – whether it’s a Mac with Sierra or an iPhone or iPad with iOS 10.
Tabs are almost everywhere in Sierra, and they work much as they do in your browser. Third party apps will also be able to use tabs.
Apple Pay is now part of macOS, not just iOS.
If you have an Apple Watch, Auto Unlock will authenticate you and log you in automatically when you approach your Mac.
Optimized Storage can store infrequently used files in iCloud while keeping them immediately available any time you are online.
Apple developers can download an early pre-release version of macOS Sierra today, and a beta version will be available to users in July. The full release is scheduled for Fall 2016.
Short link: http://goo.gl/MkIekT