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  1. #16
    "What OS Disk Do I Need?" A Brief Overview

    Member Since
    Sep 10, 2011
    Location
    Colne,UK
    Posts
    1,735
    Specs:
    iMac 27" Mid 2010, 3.2GHz Intel Core i3,12GB 1333 MHz DDR3, ATI Radeon HD5670 512MB, Yose 10.10.5
    Just came across this and thought I'd drop you a line to say excellent info.
    iMac 27-inch Mid 2010 (wow....that old...eeeks!), WD My Book 1TB Firewire,WD My Passport Air 500GB, Magic Mouse,Magic Trackpad,
    iPhone 5C, iPod Nano 4GB 3rd Gen, ATV2.
    MOTM October 2012. These days normally happy with an occasional grumble.

  2. #17
    "What OS Disk Do I Need?" A Brief Overview

    Member Since
    Mar 01, 2012
    Posts
    1
    What a great chart. You saved me from asking the dumb (asked and answered 1,000,000,000 times already) question. I just bought a used Mac Mini G5 and was wondering what the newest version I could run would be. Thank you for your time.

  3. #18
    "What OS Disk Do I Need?" A Brief Overview

    Member Since
    Feb 15, 2012
    Location
    Mass
    Posts
    8
    Specs:
    13'' mid 2009 2.26 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo 6 GB Ram Samsung V4 256 GB
    thanks for this posting, was just looking for this very information due to purchasing an old IMac G5

  4. #19
    "What OS Disk Do I Need?" A Brief Overview

    Member Since
    Apr 12, 2012
    Posts
    1
    Thumbs up Thanks for the info
    Thanks for this info..I am new to mac and now trying to start work on iphone apps..So I was looking why I am unable to get editors from apple site for my mac..and was looking for under which category my mac comes..finally got it..version-10.5.8 comes under leopard..thanks again for info..

    Quote Originally Posted by Razormac View Post
    We get an enormous number of posts asking these, or similar questions:

    1) I lost or never received the OS Disks for my Mac and now I need to reinstall the OS. What OS can I use?

    2) I want to upgrade my Mac, what is the latest OS version I can run?

    3) My Mac came with OS X 10.2, how can I upgrade to 10.7 Lion?

    4) I just bought a new Mac. Can I use the OS Disk to upgrade my old Mac?

    Rather than attempt to directly answer these and all the different variations of the above we see, I want to provide some basic background on the subject.

    OS X Release History and Requirements Table


    The important things to note from this table are:
    1) Tiger is the FIRST OS version to support Intel CPUs
    2) Leopard is the LAST OS version to support PowerPC CPUs (G3. G4 & G5)
    3) Only Snow Leopard and Lion are currently available for new retail purchase (as of this original posting date 1/1/2012)
    4) Lion (OS X 10.7) is ONLY available on USB FlashDrive or as an Electronic Download through the Mac APP Store. Note: the Mac APP Store requires Snow Leopard OS X 10.6.8 as a minimum


    RETAIL vs MACHINE SPECIFIC OS DISKS

    These are Machine Specific Disks




    These are Retail Disks


    As the name implies, Machine Specific Disks (the gray to silver gray disks) will only install and run on the Mac model they originally shipped with.

    Retail Disks, on the other hand, will install and run on any Mac that meets the minimum system requirements.

    PLEASE DON'T WASTE YOUR TIME AND MONEY BUYING MACHINE SPECIFIC OS DISKS ON eBAY!
    They will almost certainly not work (unless you get extremely lucky).

    As you can see from the photo above, Retail Disks (and their boxes) are either Black or White, not Gray.

    I may add more to this post later, if warranted. Hopefully this will help.

  5. #20
    "What OS Disk Do I Need?" A Brief Overview

    Member Since
    Apr 13, 2012
    Posts
    8
    Very helpful, cheers, much appreciated

  6. #21
    "What OS Disk Do I Need?" A Brief Overview

    Member Since
    Apr 24, 2012
    Posts
    1
    Question Different versions of Leopard?
    my girlfriend just bought a powerbook g4 and we are looking to upgrade the operating system to leopard. it is my understanding that there were two versions of leopard released. the end of the powerbook era and the beginning of the macbook era. the macbook runs on intel so those install discs won't work on a powerbook. am i correct?

  7. #22
    "What OS Disk Do I Need?" A Brief Overview

    Member Since
    Mar 30, 2004
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    4,744
    Specs:
    12" Apple PowerBook G4 (1.5GHz)
    Quote Originally Posted by cycleguy2112 View Post
    my girlfriend just bought a powerbook g4 and we are looking to upgrade the operating system to leopard. it is my understanding that there were two versions of leopard released. the end of the powerbook era and the beginning of the macbook era. the macbook runs on intel so those install discs won't work on a powerbook. am i correct?
    Any boxed Leopard disc (the type sold at retail, which were black in color) will have a universal version of Leopard that would work on any Mac that supports Leopard.

    The restore discs shipped with Macs (which were all gray in color) include only the software needed to support that particular Mac; none of those would work with a PowerBook.

  8. #23
    "What OS Disk Do I Need?" A Brief Overview
    pigoo3's Avatar
    Member Since
    May 20, 2008
    Location
    U.S.
    Posts
    31,466
    Specs:
    2011 13" MBP 2.3ghz, 8gig ram, OS 10.7.5
    Quote Originally Posted by cycleguy2112 View Post
    my girlfriend just bought a powerbook g4 and we are looking to upgrade the operating system to leopard. it is my understanding that there were two versions of leopard released. the end of the powerbook era and the beginning of the macbook era. the macbook runs on intel so those install discs won't work on a powerbook. am i correct?
    Not correct. There were three versions:

    1. Gray disks that shipped with new computers (you don't want these).

    2. An OS 10.5 "Drop-in disk"...which was "dropped in" the box of a new computer when OS 10.5 was first released (the computer in the box still had OS 10.4 installed on it).

    You probably don't want this disk...since it requires a previous version of the Mac OS be installed on the HD BEFORE the OS 10.5 "drop-in disk" will work.

    3. The full install retail version of OS 10.5. Black disk...no limitations...will install on any Mac computer capable of running OS 10.5. Will install fine on a blank HD (no previous OS version needs to be installed).

    - Nick
    - Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
    - Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
    - Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
    - Apple Battery Info. Battery

  9. #24
    "What OS Disk Do I Need?" A Brief Overview

    Member Since
    Apr 30, 2012
    Posts
    1
    iBook G4
    I have a dual USB, white iBook G4. It is running 10.2.8 Can I buy an install disc for 10.2 for it? I see them on eBay, but not sure if that is ok. Can I get and use 10.3 on that machine?

    Thanks in advance . . .

  10. #25
    "What OS Disk Do I Need?" A Brief Overview
    RavingMac's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 07, 2008
    Location
    In Denial
    Posts
    7,763
    Specs:
    4GB Mac Mini 2012, 13" MBA, 15" MacBook Pro OSX 10.7, 32 GB iPhone 3GS, iPad2 64gb 3G
    Quote Originally Posted by gregorgr8 View Post
    I have a dual USB, white iBook G4. It is running 10.2.8 Can I buy an install disc for 10.2 for it? I see them on eBay, but not sure if that is ok. Can I get and use 10.3 on that machine?

    Thanks in advance . . .
    You can probably run Tiger (10.4) or even potentially Leopard (10.5) depending on your iBook specs, but regardless make sure you get Retail disks.
    I've always wanted to be smart, handsome and modest. But, I guess I'll have to be satisfied with two out of three . . .

  11. #26
    "What OS Disk Do I Need?" A Brief Overview

    Member Since
    Aug 23, 2012
    Posts
    1
    Snow Leapord Retail available from Apple
    FYI - You can call 1-800-MY-APPLE and order Snow Leapord Retail (10.6) for $19.99 shipped. Someone on another forum mentioned this so I tried it. My MacBook Pro and iMac are 2007 models so we will likely upgrade again to Lion (10.7) but stop there. Upgrading to Lion will require another call to Apple so we can get a code in order to install the upgrade online.

  12. #27
    "What OS Disk Do I Need?" A Brief Overview
    chscag's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 23, 2008
    Location
    Fort Worth, Texas
    Posts
    45,202
    Specs:
    27" iMac i5, 3.2 GHz, iPad 3, iPhone 5c, iPhone 6+, 3 iPods, Yosemite
    The price for Snow Leopard is $29.99 shipped not $19.99. The $19.99 price is for Mountain Lion.

  13. #28
    "What OS Disk Do I Need?" A Brief Overview

    Member Since
    Aug 17, 2012
    Posts
    55
    What's missing here is the backwards compatibility of Mac hardware.

    For instance, Can you run Snow Leopard on a new Mac that came with Lion or Mtn Lion? (or for those that don't know, can you run Snow Leopard on a G5?) etc...

    Still, a good reference.

    Does anyone know WHY apple no longer provides the OS on a DVD? It's a major PITA for a lot of people. Infuriating, actually.

  14. #29
    "What OS Disk Do I Need?" A Brief Overview

    Member Since
    Oct 06, 2012
    Location
    Dana Point,Ca
    Posts
    2
    Specs:
    MacBookPro 6,1
    Can I get a usb stick for my 2009 MB-Pro
    I recently purchase a MB Pro (2009) 2.8Ghz w/o the original (snow leopard) disks. I then up-graded (through apple store download) to Mountain Lion. My MB still shows files and folders of the previous owner (if I go to iTunes it still gives me his name as the primary d/l user). I'd like to do a complete re-install w/o his info in the notebook. Is there an easy way for me to do this w/o the original disks? Thanks, (Mac noob) -Davis

  15. #30
    "What OS Disk Do I Need?" A Brief Overview

    Member Since
    Oct 07, 2012
    Location
    North Wales UK.
    Posts
    3
    Specs:
    Model Name: iMac Model Identifier: iMac12,2 Processor Name: Intel Core i5 Processor Speed: 2.7
    Question Disc OS
    Quote Originally Posted by GameGuru View Post
    This is great information for newbies and very clearly laid out. I could have used this chart a couple months ago. Thanks!
    Hi there, just purchased my first ever Mac, iMac 27, and done the update to the newest available i believe, This must have been asked by everyone who purchased one, but having a disability that gives me short bursts on any computer, so sorry if its right in my face, reading this on Backup discs, i believe there is a partition possibly with a backup on, i have made the file on a pen drive for a boot disc, question, if there was a total hard drive fail, where would i get the full system backup from? would the file on pen drive send me there, there were no discs in with the box, but i know HDD can just go anytime, thanks for any replays in advance, and i really do look forward to using the forum as much as i can, and who knows one day i myself might be answering someone this very question. I love the feel so far, and know doubt purchase a book on the mac, and might get some answers there...speak soon.
    Peter
    Peter

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