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If I have a Mac with, say, Mac OS 10.6, and 10.7 comes out, and if I want to upgrade to 10.7, do I need to buy it from Apple? Or does it just install the updates and be done with it?

Are there any restrictions? I mean do I have to pay for each subsequent version separately?

Thank you!

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

Updating from 10.6 to 10.7 will cost you (last upgrade was $50ish I believe). Updating from 10.6.6 to 10.6.7 will not cost you.

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$29 for Snow Leopard – Ken Apr 12 '11 at 18:57
and what would be the ~~"average time interval" between 10.6 and 10.7? how many months? how many months do i have to wait for a new version? – LanceBaynes Apr 12 '11 at 19:06
i googled it: ~about 1,5 years – LanceBaynes Apr 12 '11 at 19:12

Don't be confused by Apple's version numbering scheme for Mac OS X. The "ten" part was/is a big deal, so they're keeping that number around for a while. But 10.7 is a major version upgrade from 10.6, like upgrading from Windows Vista to 7.

You usually pay for these upgrades. There was an exception very early on, where 10.1 was free; but that was because 10.0 was the first buggy release. Also, the most recent upgrade was less expensive than usual, because there were fewer user-facing features, and they wanted to encourage people to upgrade to the newer internals. Apple of course can make another exception, if it aligns with their business goals. But there has been no announcement either way.

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If the update is freely available, it will show up in the list of available updates in the update program. I'm sorry, it's been a long time since I ran updates on a Mac and so do not know the name of the program. But whatever the Apple OS Update application is, that will show all free updates to your OS.

If you can only find the version on the store shelves, then you have to pay for it.

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Every new OS, you have to pay for. So yes, you have to pay to get from 10.6 (Snow Leopard) to 10.7 (Lion).

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It should also be noted that you aren't required to update your machine at all (I know several people who were convinced this was the case with Macs). If you are happy with 10.6 you can continue to run it until the computer itself is rendered inoperable.

There have been no definitive announcements yet, but there are rumors (and strong indicators, like how Apple has been distributing the 10.7 betas to developers) that the 10.7 upgrade will be deliverable through the Mac App Store (not a small feat, given the extensive nature of the update). There will still undoubtedly be hard copies sold in stores as well, but the idea of a media-less update is an interesting one.

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