Make a smooth transition to OS X 10.11!

Take Control of
Upgrading to El Capitan

Joe Kissell

Install OS X 10.11 El Capitan on your Mac easily with Joe Kissell’s expert help, informed by countless test installs! Find essential advice on hardware and software compatibility, problem prevention, prepping your drive, and picking the best installation method. Joe provides full installation directions, plus advice on over a dozen things to do immediately after installation.

This product has been discontinued.

Gain confidence and stay in control as Mac guru Joe Kissell explains how to ensure that your hardware and software are ready for El Capitan, prevent problems by making a bootable duplicate of your main drive, eliminate digital clutter, prepare your Mac, and decide on the best installation method for your particular situation. You’ll also find full installation directions, plus advice on over a dozen things to do immediately after installation and troubleshooting techniques.

The book covers upgrading from 10.10 Yosemite all the way back to 10.4 Tiger. It also looks at upgrading from the El Capitan public beta and at “upgrades” that involve moving your data to a new Mac from an old Mac or Windows PC.

You’ll experience an easy upgrade and quickly deal with post-installation quirks with these topics:

  • Start fast: A two-page Quick Start overview helps you read lightly or more deeply, depending on your needs.

  • Take in the view: Find out what you can look forward to in El Capitan if you are upgrading from 10.10 Yosemite, and get an idea of some of the important changes in store for you if you’re upgrading from an older version of Mac OS X.

  • Catch-up upgrade: If you’re upgrading from 10.8 Mountain Lion or earlier (especially if you’re coming from 10.4 Tiger or 10.5 Leopard), find out about significant changes and compatibility issues you can expect.

  • Compatibility check: Make sure your hardware and software are ready for El Capitan, and consider whether this is a good time to buy new hardware, even if it’s not essential for your upgrade.

  • Backing up: Avoid upgrade stress by ensuring you can go back to the previous state of your Mac — and that you can boot from your backup. Joe provides steps for carrying out this essential task in Carbon Copy Cloner or SuperDuper.

  • Cleaning up: Your operating system is getting a fresh start, but what about the rest of your stuff? Whether you need the disk space or just want to delete some digital detritus, you’ll find helpful tips. You’ll also run either Apple Hardware Test or Apple Diagnostics as well as Disk Utility, to be sure your disk is good to go.

  • Prepping your disk: For those who need it, a chapter helps you handle special cases relating to disk encryption and partitioning.

  • Picking a plan: Most people can go with an easy in-place upgrade, but some will want the more complex clean install. Find out which option is right for you.

  • Installing: Find out the smartest way to download and store the installer, with special tips for people who want to install on multiple Macs or who have bandwidth limitations. And, although running the installer will be easy for many people, you’ll get full steps for what to click and when.

  • Post-installation tune-up: Make sure your new system is running smoothly by completing a few important housekeeping tasks and making a few decisions.

  • Troubleshooting: Yikes! It is possible that something will go wrong during installation, or once you’ve booted up under El Capitan that you’ll discover an important incompatibility. Joe’s time-tested troubleshooting advice will help get your system working again.

  • Migrating to a new Mac: If your “upgrade” includes moving from an older computer (a Mac or Windows PC) to a new Mac that’s running El Capitan, learn the best way to move your user account and its data to the new Mac.

Joe Kissell

About Joe Kissell

Take Control publisher Joe Kissell has written more than 60 books about technology, including many popular Take Control books. He formerly wrote for publications such as Macworld, Wirecutter, and TidBITS. He lives in Saskatoon with his wife, his two children, and his cat.

What’s New in Version 1.1

If you’ve read version 1.0 of this ebook already, you’re way ahead of the game. Here’s what you need to know now. As long as you’ve already followed all the steps in version 1.0 of this ebook up through Make Sure Your Disk Is Ready, there’s no need to revisit those chapters; you’re ready to pick up with the new material.

Before I buy this ebook, can you tell me if my Mac will work with 10.11 El Capitan?

El Capitan's basic hardware requirements are the same as those for 10.9 Mavericks and 10.10 Yosemite:

  • iMac (Mid 2007 or newer)
  • MacBook (13-inch Aluminum, Late 2008 or newer; 13-inch Early 2009 or newer; or Retina, 12-inch, Early 2015 or newer)
  • MacBook Air (Late 2008 or newer)
  • MacBook Pro (13-inch, Mid-2009 or newer; 15-inch, Mid/Late 2007 or newer; or 17-inch, Late 2007 or newer)
  • Mac Pro (Early 2008 or newer)
  • Xserve (Early 2009)

One hitch—your Mac might be new enough to run El Capitan, but not new enough to handle certain Continuity features introduced with 10.10 Yosemite, such as Handoff and Instant Hotspot. The ebook talks more about what these are and how to tell if your Mac can support them.

  • Read Me First
  • Introduction
  • Yosemite Upgrade Quick Start
  • Readers
  • Take In the Scenic View
  • Catch Up with OS X Changes
  • Check Your Mac for Compatibility
  • Back Up Your Disk
  • Clean Up Your Mac
  • Make Sure Your Disk Is Ready
  • Decide on an Installation Method
  • Make Final Preparations
  • Upgrade Using Plan A: In-place Upgrade
  • Upgrade Using Plan B: Clean Install
  • Upgrade Using Plan C: Install over Leopard
  • Perform Post-installation Tasks
  • Configure Additional Features
  • Troubleshoot Upgrade Problems
  • Migrate to a New Mac
  • About This Book
  • These comments are about earlier editions of this book.

    I followed your instructions pretty closely, and I'm happy to say that I didn't need the extra backup. But, now that I have this nifty external drive that's up to date I am ready to take it to my next computer, sync everything, and do it all over again. Having a process really increased my confidence level, got me to slow down and think about the upgrade. ... Thank you once again for writing such enjoyable tech. —Don Meares


    I just did an upgrade to Mountain Lion from Lion and all I can say is....WOW! Your Take Control instructions were educational, informative, and well directed.
    —Kristopher Johnson

    Thanks So Much

    Thanks so much for a super ebook for upgrading to Lion. I upgraded earlier today with my iMac. I had ZERO problems due to your ebook. And, all my third-party apps which I upgraded, as appropriate, worked fine. —Barry B.

    Great Value

    I bought both Take Control books—'Upgrading to Lion' and 'Using Lion'. They've been great value and really very useful. I upgraded four Macs with no problems whatsoever after creating a boot disc as described. Where I needed to keep Snow Leopard alongside Lion, because of PPC software, I followed the instructions and once again, experienced a smooth installation. —Dave W.

    Really Useful Advice

    Excellent books, and really useful advice. I successfully upgraded to Lion following your advice and guidance....If I had not purchased these books I would have definitely run into trouble. I had no idea the upgrade was something that had to be handled with such a lot of preparation and thought. —Thanks, C.P.

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