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Take Control of Upgrading to El Capitan
Price
$15.00
Pages
151
Formats
PDF EPUB Mobi
Version
1.1
Updated
Sep 30, 2015

Take Control of Upgrading to El Capitan

Make a smooth transition to OS X 10.11!

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.

More Info

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.

What's New

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.

FAQ

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.

Reader Raves

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

WOW!

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.

Blog
  1. You May Need to Re-download Your OS X Installer

    One of the recommendations I make in my Take Control of Upgrading to… books could potentially cause a headache unless you know how to avoid it. I tell you to save a copy of the OS X installer that you’ve downloaded so that, if the occasion should ever arise when you need to reinstall it or put it on another Mac, you don’t have to download it again. Saving the installer requires deliberate action, because if you leave it in /Applications and run it from there, OS X deletes the installer app once your new version of OS X is in place. (Some people go a step further and create a bootable volume, such as a USB flash drive, containing the installer, which makes it easier to install on multiple Macs.)

    Unfortunately, if you followed my advice and kept a copy of your installer prior to February 14, 2016 (whether or not you turned it into a bootable volume), you’ll find that the installer no longer works the next time you try to run it, because the certificate that Apple used to sign the installer (a crucial security step) expired on that day. Josh Centers explains the whole thing in the TidBITS article Previously Downloaded OS X Installers No Longer Work.

    If you’ve already saved the installer but don’t need it yet, you can delete it and download a fresh copy (now updated with a new certificate); that way you’ll be ready if and when you need it. If you created a bootable installer volume, you’ll need to erase it and follow the instructions in my book to recreate it.

    Should you find yourself suddenly in need to reinstall OS X but not have an updated installer handy, there are ways (mentioned in Josh’s article) to trick OS X into running the old installer, but they’re not ideal, and I recommend planning ahead for best results.

    This issue appears to affect every version of OS X from OS X 10.11 El Capitan back to 10.7 Lion, although a few users have reported that their previously downloaded installers continue to work (the reasons for which are unclear).

    Posted by Joe Kissell (Permalink)

  2. El Capitan to Arrive on September 30

    Apple’s El Capitan Preview page now states that OS X 10.11 El Capitan will ship on September 30. That’s about three weeks earlier than most of us had predicted! But it’ll be fantastic for everyone to be able to get their hands on the new operating system sooner rather than later.

    Accordingly, we plan to release version 1.1 of Take Control of Upgrading to El Capitan on September 30 too. Version 1.1 will be roughly double the length of version 1.0, and will include complete, step-by-step instructions for downloading, installing, and configuring El Capitan once it ships. The expanded version of the book will be free to everyone who purchased version 1.0.

    The moment El Capitan becomes available to the public, we’ll download and install it on as many Macs as we can, to verify that everything in the book is still correct—Apple occasionally makes small, last-minute changes—and to add a few final details such as the URL for the download page in the App Store. Then we’ll zip through our production and distribution steps. In past years, this whole process has typically taken a few hours, but we feel it’s worth it to make the book as accurate as possible. So, on September 30, if you want to download El Capitan as soon as it appears on the App Store, go ahead—but I suggest quitting the installer as soon as it opens and hanging on for just a bit until you can read my final recommendations.

    Posted by Joe Kissell (Permalink)

  3. Why Bother to Upgrade?

    If you’ve already installed the Mac operating system a dozen times over the past few decades hoping for a faster and more amazing Mac only to find that the process has kept you inside on a sunny day and left you with a slower or more unstable Mac, or a Mac that can’t connect to the Internet, or a printer that won’t print, or a copy of iTunes that hides its sidebar, or just plain fuss and bother, you probably aren’t looking forward to yet another upgrade. You’ve got better things to do.

    Take Control reader David L. expressed this in email yesterday, saying, “However, I haven’t updated to Yosemite yet and after seeing the crappy user interface changes we got when I updated my wife’s Macbook from Mountain Lion to Yosemite, I doubt that I will. Her system is more cranky and less useful with Yosemite than it was with Mountain Lion. What would be more useful for us than a ‘how to’ would be ‘a should I?’ or a ‘why upgrade?’ article in TidBITS.”

    As we ponder the idea of a TidBITS article about this topic, I wanted to share with you what TidBITS Publisher Adam Engst had to say about the matter, in his email reply to David:

    I’ve been thinking about this a lot, actually. On the one hand, I sympathize entirely — I think these upgrades are coming too fast, and providing too little user benefit. But here’s the downside. If you wait too long, you can end up with a difficult upgrade, or, in the worst case, lost data.

    I still hear from people still moving away from the email client Eudora, and it’s gotten really hard to do now, since the software that was new in 10.6 Snow Leopard days hasn’t seen any development since, and the developers themselves may have moved on or taken it down. And the community knowledge has evaporated — it takes me a long time to remember anything useful about Eudora now.

    Another guy (a tech journalist, even) just wrote in with a problem where he’d waited too long to update iPhoto, and now his iPhoto library is too old for Photos to import it. And he can’t easily update iPhoto because it’s not for sale any more.

    The other problem is that Apple does introduce niceties for developers in each release, so developers have to make hard decisions about how far back to keep their code working. A lot of the time it’s not feasible to maintain backward compatibility, so people who don’t upgrade begin to have trouble keeping their devices up to date with third-party software. And that in turn forces developers to keep older versions around and to answer questions, which costs them money without generating any upgrade income.

    Beyond what Adam has said, another reason to update is when you have more than one Apple device (any combination of a desktop Mac, laptop Mac, iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, Apple Watch, or Apple TV) — when it comes to any sort of cloud-related connections, these devices do work better together if they are all running the latest system software. If you don’t keep the system software current on your devices and you then buy one new device, that purchase can trigger a domino effect, requiring all of your other devices to be updated so that the new device will work properly with the others. That’s not to say that you should update your devices the moment a new Apple operating system is released: a prudent user may want to wait about 4 months to give Apple time to smooth out glitches. For example, if Apple normally rolls out big new changes in, say, October, then February might be a good time for you to jump on the update bandwagon.

    Then there’s security. Security enhancements are usually a big focus of pretty much any operating system upgrade, and the more current you keep the systems on your devices, the more likely it is that their systems, and the communications they participate in, will be secure. To that end, if you were to follow my advice and upgrade everything in February, I would also suggest staying on top of upgrades within that operating system version. So, if you upgrade to El Capitan and iOS 9 in February, I would recommend promptly installing all subsequent updates to El Capitan and iOS 9, so your devices can benefit from any security fixes and any remaining bug fixes.

    Finally, a lot of upgrading pain is the fuss and bother of things not working right, or not looking right. My primary motivation as editor-in-chief of the Take Control series is to provide people with helpful information about how to get more out of their Macs and related gear. I can’t promise that one of our books will make your Mac experience perfect — or that you will benefit from it without a certain amount of effort on your part — or without additional RAM installed in your Mac — but the Take Control ebooks do look at how to avoid or solve all manner of problems, and at how to customize your computing experience to your liking.

    It would be easier if computers never changed. They’d be our faithful companions where we store our receipts and recipes, where we compose love letters and novels, and where we enjoy our streaming videos and cat photos. We’d spend our computing time on scientific calculations, composing orginal music, and printing broken appliance parts to our 3D printers…

    … but that’s the rub: If our computers never changed, we’d not be storing receipts, because we wouldn’t be able to afford a fast scanner and there would be no cloud to download them from. We could compose a love letter or novel, but there would be no self-publishing to Amazon and a 300-page manuscript would still be nearly impossible to load into our favorite word processor. There would be no streaming of anything, except conventional TV and radio. We could do scientific calculations, but not with anything close to the big data crunching that we can do now. GarageBand and its ilk would not exist. And we’d still have to go to extra lengths to print a curly quote.

    But is the advance of computer technology all digital nirvana? No it’s not, nor is it even close. It’s a completely human endeavor: messy and half-broken, flawed and half-baked. As a consequence, we stare at progress bars and spinning gears. When we want to get something done, we have to remember to use the View menu to see our sidebar, or wonder why the word “More” has turned into a … button. Tech companies are re-engineering and re-designing everything, it seems, and they are reinventing our most intimate digital spaces as they go, flinging around buttons and changing colors willy-nilly to suit themselves. If you’ve already upgraded your computer’s operating system more than a dozen times, you’ve seen first-hand how slowly computers seem to change from year to year, but how much they change from decade to decade. By writing this blog post, I can no more turn this tide of change than I can make the moon leave its orbit.

    Should you upgrade? Yes, you should. This is because life goes on. Will the process be annoying? Probably. Will your jaw drop the first time you take a video call from your grandson on FaceTime? Or the first time you skip a long line by waving your wrist at a scanner? Or the first time your smartphone gets you to the right place in a foreign city by multi-leg public transit? Probably.

    Posted by Tonya Engst (Permalink)

The Author

Take Control publisher Joe Kissell has written more than 60 books about technology, including many popular Take Control ebooks. He also runs Joe On Tech and is a contributing editor of TidBITS and a senior contributor to Macworld.