OS X El Capitan is officially arriving on the interwebs today, complete with a pretty new background picture, and a boatload of new features. If you’ve got a compatible Apple computer (which you probably do), you should get ready to download.
The best news about El Cap is that it’s free, and your MacBook probably supports it. If you are running Yosemite (or actually, any version of OS X since Mountain Lion), you’re good to go. You don’t even need to be on Yosemite — you can update from older versions too.
The complete list of compatible machines looks like this:
- MacBook (13-inch Aluminium, Late 2008), (13-inch, Early 2009 or later), (12-inch, Early 2015)
- MacBook Pro (13-inch, Mid-2009 or later), (15-inch, Mid/Late 2007 or later), (17-inch, Late 2007 or later)
- MacBook Air (Late 2008 or later)
- Mac Mini (Early 2009 or later)
- Mac Pro (Early 2008 or later)
- iMac (Mid-2007 or later)
However, to use some of the cooler OS X features like Airdrop and Handoff (which appeared in Yosemite), you’ll need to be running a machine from 2012 or later.
While Apple has officially confirmed that the update is going to land September 30 (in American time) in the Year Of Our Lord 2015, we don’t have a specific time. But, previous software updates have hit at 1PM Eastern/10AM Pacific, so that’s as good a time as any to start hitting refresh.
When the update becomes available, you just need to go to the App Store and grab the updater. Make sure you’ve got a little spare drive space, and a good internet connection: the installer is 6GB. If you want to start anew, you can download the installer, create a bootable USB drive, and install from that; otherwise, just follow the installer’s instructions, and make sure you have an hour or so of free time to kill. And, as ever, remember to back up first: stuff happens.