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How to upgrade your Mac to macOS Sierra

Apple's macOS Sierra is free, is out now, and here's how to upgrade your Mac to version 10.12 from El Capitan, Yosemite, Mavericks, or Lion.

Apple gives the OK and begins rolling out the macOS Sierra update to its Mac line of computers. The new update is available for free, and you can upgrade older versions of the operating system, including Lion, Maverick, Yosemite, and El Capitan.

The Sierra update releases as version 10.12, and it’s the first version carrying the macOS name. As you may recall, the company has renamed Mac OS X to macOS to align the name with the other operating systems (e.g., iOS, watchOS, tvOS)..

In this guide, you’ll learn the steps to upgrade your Mac to the macOS version 10.12 from previous version of the operating system.

What Macs are compatible with macOS Sierra

In most cases, if you have a Mac made in 2010 or later, chances are it will run just fine with macOS Sierra.

Here’s the list of compatible devices:

  • MacBook (Late 2009 or newer)
  • MacBook Pro (Mid 2010 or newer)
  • MacBook Air (Late 2010 or newer)
  • iMac (Late 2009 or newer)
  • Mac Pro (Mid 2010 or newer)
  • Mac mini (Mid 2010 or newer)

Apple’s macOS Sierra minimum requirements

Although the new version of the operating system run on most devices, Apple recommends the following minimum hardware and software requirements:

  • OS X 10.7.5 or later
  • 2GB of memory
  • 8.8GB of available storage

Keep in mind that while the new version will run on older devices, some features, such as Handsoff, Instant Hotspot, Universal Clipboard, Apple Pay on the web, and other features will require new hardware.

How to create a full backup of your Mac

As always, no matter which device or operating system you use (even to install macOS Sierra), it’s extremely important to make a full backup of your system in case something goes wrong.

To make a backup of your Mac using Time Machine, do the following:

  1. Connect an external drive with enough available space to your Mac — remember that previous content in the drive will be erased on the external hard drive.

  2. If you’re not prompted to use the connected hard drive as backup source, then open System Preferences.

  3. Click on Time Machine.

  4. Click on Select Backup Disk.

  5. Select your connected hard drive.

  6. Turn on the Time Machine switch.

  7. Wait until the backup has completed, which make take a while depending on your devices and files to backup.

How to upgrade to macOS Sierra

Once you created the full backup using Time Machine, it’s now time to install the new macOS Sierra update on your Mac.

To install the new macOS version 10.12, do the following:

  1. Open the App Store.

  2. Search for macOS Sierra.

  3. Click the Download button. You may also be prompted to enter your Apple ID information, as such have this info handy.

  4. Click Install to begin the installation process of Sierra.

Why upgrade to macOS Sierra

If you’re still thinking for a reason to upgrade, consider that macOS Sierra finally brings Apple’s digital assistant, Siri, to the desktop. You’ll get access to various features, such as universal clipboard, simplified sign-in experience using your Apple Watch, and Apple Pay on the web.

Apple is also enhancing the iCloud Drive integration with macOS. The update will automatically optimize the storage on your device, and a lot more.

Are you upgrading your Mac to macOS Sierra version 10.12? What do you think about the update? Tell us in the comments below.