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I have no idea why, but my partner's computer has not been updated since oh... 2007.

I looked into installing El Capitan and the prerequisites say you must have OSX 10.7.

What should I do? Does the latest OSX version cost money? I want to upgrade it to a more modern version since I cannot upgrade certain browsers without a newer OS.

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  • "Does the latest OSX version cost money?" No; It does not. "I looked into installing El Capitan and the prerequisites say you must have OSX 10.7." So upgrade to 10.7 then upgrade to El Capitan. You provided no information on the computer model, so I can't research, if it's even compatible with El Capitan – Ramhound Nov 8 '16 at 23:25
  • I thought El Capitan was the most recent version, but I guess I am wrong about that. – Jess Nov 9 '16 at 13:54
  • Actually....Sierra is the current version. "I don't have the model number " - So how about telling us the what year revision it is. – Ramhound Nov 9 '16 at 14:36
  • It is from 2007 - 8Gb RAM, 500 Gb disk. – Jess Nov 9 '16 at 14:49
  • Apple release several products in a given year. How about this, have you verfiied, your Apple product is even capable of running 10.7? If it isn't, then this answer, cannot be answered as your question is currently written. – Ramhound Nov 9 '16 at 14:54
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Whether you should upgrade really gets down to the actual model of your partner's Mac and what features you may want. Unfortunately your question doesn't elaborate on this.

However, on a more general note, a Mac running Snow Leopard 10.6.8 will have the Mac App Store app. This provides access to Apple and third party software. It's also how you would normally upgrade macOS.

Without knowing the specifics of your situation, you can run the App Store app to see whether you get the option to upgrade to Lion (i.e. OS X 10.7). Once you have upgraded to this, you can then upgrade to El Capitan.

However, what options you get will depend on the Apple ID being used and the actual model. You can sign into the Mac App Store by:

  • Launch the App Store app on your Mac (it's inside the Applications folder).
  • Go to the Store menu
  • Select Sign In
  • Enter the Apple ID and Password

Once you're logged in you can access any downloads made with that Apple ID. For example, if that Apple ID had been used to download El Capitan in the past (regardless of the computer), then you will see it listed in the Purchases tab and can download it again.

If it hasn't been used to download El Capitan, then you won't get the option to download it as it's not the current version of macOS. However, the App Store app will allow you to download the most recent version of macOS that will run on your Mac, so you may still be able to install El Capitan (you haven't provided details of the Mac model, hence the uncertainty here).

In summary, after updating to Lion you should get the option to update from that to another version of macOS, but the version you can update to will depend on your computer and potentially also on the purchase history of the Apple ID being used.

On a final note, whether you should update from Snow Leopard or not is a totally different question. Presumably your partner has been happy with Snow Leopard and may not want/need any of the 'new' features. Or they may have software installed that works well in Snow Leopard and not in later versions of the OS.

Either way, there is no cost involved in purchasing/upgrading macOS.

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  • Might rephrase the word purchase since it's been longer than 10.7 that individual upgrades for newer versions of OS X were paid for from previous versions of OS X. You only purchased them if you were ineligible for the free upgrade anyways. Apple moved to a per hardware gate in recent years though – Ramhound Nov 8 '16 at 23:29
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    Yeah, that's why I used single quotation marks around the word. I'll change it to the word downloads to avoid any confusion. Thanks! – Monomeeth Nov 8 '16 at 23:33
  • Thanks. Good questions. Should I upgrade? You are right, there is a lot of software on there that is currently working fine, but I cannot install google chrome for example. – Jess Nov 9 '16 at 13:53
  • @Jess - We can't tell you if you should upgrade. 10.7 is not a secure OS, it is no longer patched, and will recieve no future patches. What software you can't run will only increase as time goes on. – Ramhound Nov 9 '16 at 14:38
  • @Jess Actually, you can run Google Chrome on Snow Leopard 10.6.8. You need version 49.0.2623.112 or earlier. Google Chrome works perfectly fine but no longer receives updates and security fixes. If you absolutely need Google Chrome there are many places online you can download older versions. – Monomeeth Nov 9 '16 at 21:46

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