Upgrade with confidence as you follow Mac guru Joe Kissell’s essential advice. You’ll ensure that your hardware and software are ready for Sierra, prevent problems by making a bootable duplicate of your main drive, and decide on the best installation method for your particular situation. You’ll also find full installation directions, plus suggestions on what to do immediately after the install. The book ends with a look at how to handle a failed or problematic installation.
You’ll experience an easy upgrade and deal quickly with post-installation quirks with these topics:
Start fast: A 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 Sierra.
Compatibility check: Make sure your hardware and software are ready for Sierra 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 anxiety by ensuring you can return 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.
Picking a plan: Go for an easy in-place upgrade or consider a more complex clean install. Find out which option is right for you.
Installing: Download and store the installer where it won’t be deleted, 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 find 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 key decisions.
Troubleshooting: Yikes! It is possible that something will go wrong during installation, or that once you’ve booted up under Sierra that you’ll encounter a serious problem. Joe’s time-tested troubleshooting advice will help get your system working again.
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.
From what versions of OS X will this book help me upgrade?
The book covers upgrading from 10.11 El Capitan all the way back to 10.6 Snow Leopard, along with upgrading from the Sierra public beta.
Can you tell me if my Mac will work with macOS 10.12 Sierra?
Sierra no longer supports Mac models introduced before late 2009, whereas El Capitan could run on most mid-2007 and newer models. Macs that can run Sierra include the following:
- iMac (Late 2009 or newer)
- MacBook (Late 2009 or newer)
- MacBook Air (Late 2010 or newer)
- MacBook Pro (Mid 2010 or newer)
- Mac mini (Mid 2010 or newer)
- Mac Pro (Mid 2010 or newer)
Of course, that list is helpful only if you know which model of Mac you have! If your Mac is running Lion or later, this is easy to check. You can either choose Apple > About This Mac and (if needed) then click More Info, or open System Information (in /Applications/Utilities) and choose Window > About This Mac.
Posted by Josh Centers on January 4, 2017
macOS 10.12 Sierra has been plagued with PDF problems. First, there were problems with PDFs created using ScanSnap scanners, but those issues turned out to be relatively mild and Apple addressed them in the 10.12.1 update.
Unfortunately, 10.12.2 Sierra ushered in even more troubling issues with PDFs. Developers have reported a number of PDFKit problems, most notably the OCR text layer being deleted when manipulated by apps using PDFKit, including Preview. The main takeaway is that you shouldn’t use Preview to edit PDFs until these issues are resolved, hopefully in 10.12.3. In the meantime, if you have to edit a PDF, either work only on a copy, just in case, or consider investing in Smile’s PDFpen, which annotates and edits PDFs independent of Apple’s PDFKit.
For more about this problem, read the TidBITS article Sierra PDF Problems Get Worse in 10.12.2.
[Fixed? In the release notes for the 10.12.3 Sierra update, which were made available on January 23rd, Apple says that the update “fixes an issue that prevented the searching of scanned PDF documents in Preview.” Other PDF-related problems appear to remain in Preview, so continue to work with caution even after you install this update. See Apple Releases macOS Sierra 10.12.3, iOS 10.2.1, tvOS 10.1.1, and watchOS 3.1.1, in TidBITS, for more information. —Tonya, 1/24/2017]