Make a smooth transition to 10.10 Yosemite!

Take Control of
Upgrading to Yosemite

Joe Kissell

Install OS X 10.10 Yosemite 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 Yosemite, 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 10.9 Mavericks, 10.8 Mountain Lion, 10.7 Lion, 10.6 Snow Leopard, 10.5 Leopard, and even 10.4 Tiger. It also looks at upgrading from the Yosemite 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 quickly: A two-page Quick Start overview has links to detailed content behind each topic, letting you read lightly or more deeply, depending on your specific needs.

  • Take in the view: Find out what you can look forward to in Yosemite, and why this upgrade is important for Apple.

  • Catch-up upgrade: If you’re upgrading from 10.4 Tiger, 10.5 Leopard, or 10.6 Snow Leopard, you’ll want to know about a few special compatibility issues and decide on the most effective way to upgrade.

  • Compatibility check: Make sure your hardware and software are ready for Yosemite (and for the new Continuity features that work with iOS 8), and consider if this might be a good time for new hardware, even if it’s not essential for your upgrade.

  • Backing up: Avoid upgrade calamities by ensuring you can return your Mac to its previous state—and that you can boot your Mac from a backup. This crucial step can save a lot of trouble, and Joe recommends software that can make a bootable duplicate with minimal hassle.

  • 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, this chapter covers 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. Yosemite beta testers will find a special sidebar, 10.5 Leopard users will find special help, and those still on 10.4 Tiger will learn about the extra steps they’ll have to go through.

  • 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 instructions on what to click and when.

  • Post-installation tune-up: Make sure your new system is running smoothly by answering questions posed by Yosemite, specifying your Apple ID in all the right places (and perhaps setting up Family Sharing), checking your Handoff status, and handling translucency. You’ll also find advice on Spotlight, Java Runtime, iBooks, enhanced dictation, and more. Plus, learn how to unhide the user Library folder.

  • Troubleshooting: Yikes! It’s possible that something will go wrong during installation, or once you’ve booted up under Yosemite that you’ll discover an incompatibility with an essential piece of software. Find time-tested troubleshooting advice to get your system working again. Joe also explains what the Recovery HD volume can do for you.

  • Migrating to a new Mac: If your upgrade includes moving from an older computer (Mac or Windows PC) to a new Mac that’s running Yosemite, learn the best way to move your user account 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 1.2

In the first few days following the release of Yosemite, I learned about a few things that hadn’t come to light during my pre-release testing. Version 1.2 of this book adds information on the following:

  • Users with command-line software installed may want to take additional steps to smooth the transition process both before upgrading to Yosemite (see Update Your Third-party Software) and after the upgrade is complete (see Final Software Advice).

  • If you want to know what the installer is up to while the progress bar slowly makes its way across the screen, I have a tip for you in Enjoy a Leisurely Lunch.

Before I buy this ebook, can you tell me if my Macintosh will work with OS X 10.10 Yosemite?

Yosemite's basic hardware requirements are somewhat complex, but haven't changed from Mountain Lion and Mavericks. According to Apple, you'll need not just an Intel Core 2 Duo or better processor, but also a logic board that’s designed to boot into a 64-bit kernel, as well as an advanced GPU (graphics processing unit) chipset. Apple lists which Mac models meet these requirements at

One hitch… your Mac might be new enough to run Yosemite, but not new enough to handle the new Handoff and Instant Hotspot features. The page linked above also has information about which Macs work with these features.

To find out which Mac you own:

  • If you're running at least 10.7 Lion, choose About This Mac from the Apple menu and then click More Info. Then choose Window > About This Mac.

  • If you're running 10.6 Snow Leopard or earlier, it's a little complicated. You could buy this ebook for help—you can ask for a refund if it turns out that your Mac is too old. Another resource is the MacTracker app.

  • 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
  • Joe Talks about Upgrading to Yosemite on MacVoices

    Posted by Michael E. Cohen on October 20, 2014

    Another year, another OS X update, and once again Joe not only tells you how to install it—in one of the latest of his 49(!!) Take Control books. He also has found time (possibly purloined from a parallel universe) to sit down with Chuck Joiner on MacVoices to talk about it. Grab a steaming cup of half-caf, sit back atop Half Dome, and tune in!

    August 27, 2015 -- We don't plan to update this title again for Yosemite, but we have published <a href=el-capitan-upgrading>Take Control of Upgrading to El Capitan</a>.

    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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