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  1. #1
    Best OS X for my older Macbook Pro
    I just got a unibody, late 2011 Macbook Pro. It's the last 17 inch model they made, with the 2.5 GHz Intel Core i7 processor. It's been updated with 8 GB of DDR3 1333 MHz RAM and a 750 GB hard drive at (slight upgrade) 7200 RPM (not the stock 5400 RPM). It currently has 10.7.5 OS X Lion.

    So I've read it's technically upgradeable to High Sierra. But I've read you want an SSD and ?possibly? 16 GB of RAM in order for things to run smoothly. I've also read about certain things not working with certain later OS X's on the late 2011 unibody's-enough to where I've confused myself.

    So based on my laptop's specs, can you all tell me which OS X you would upgrade to? Basically which one will run the smoothest (based on my specs) with the most features still working? I plan to use this laptop just for basic stuff, the reason I want to upgrade the OS X at all is because Chrome doesn't seem to work with everything properly when surfing the web (I'm often told my browser's too outdated). I plan to sell this laptop in the fall to go towards purchasing a newer laptop. So I don't know if the fact that I'm going to resell it soon affects which OS X I should put on it. Anyway, would love to hear anyone's recommendation. I'm hoping the answer's pretty clear cut, but perhaps if several people give their 2 cents I'll just go with the OS X that's recommended the most.

    Also, one last dumb question, as I've only worked on macs previously and never owned one. Is it correct that I would simply go to the Apple store and download whichever OS X I choose for free? That seems to be the case based on what I've read.

    Thanks in advance you all!

  2. #2
    Best OS X for my older Macbook Pro
    ferrarr's Avatar
    Member Since
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    Personally, I would use the most recent version of OS X/macOS that allows the MBP to run without issues. I would definitely upgrade to an SSD and the ram, if the price were in my range.

    Apple does not leave older OS versions openly in the Mac OS X/OS X/macOS App Store, but links are available online to get the older versions, Find out which macOS your Mac is using - Apple Support. Yes, since Mavericks, every version of Apple's PC OS has been free.
    -- Bob --
    Please backup. Everything has a life cycle, unexpected and warning free. Nothing will last as long as you want it to.

  3. #3
    Best OS X for my older Macbook Pro
    pigoo3's Avatar
    Member Since
    May 20, 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by ftngrave View Post
    It currently has 10.7.5 OS X Lion.
    Definitely want to upgrade the OS. 10.7.5 is really old...and not considered a very good OS version.

    Quote Originally Posted by ftngrave View Post
    So I've read it's technically upgradeable to High Sierra. But I've read you want an SSD and ?possibly? 16 GB of RAM in order for things to run smoothly.
    Consider the OS upgrade...and a RAM /SSD upgrade...as independent projects. Upgrading the RAM & SSD does not really effect what OS version you upgrade to.

    Quote Originally Posted by ftngrave View Post
    I've also read about certain things not working with certain later OS X's on the late 2011 unibody's-enough to where I've confused myself.
    There may be some confusion here. When newer macOS versions are released...many times there are additional features added...but these features many times are based on hardware improvements that might come with a newer model computer.

    For example if we were comparing a 2011 MacBook Pro and a 2015 MacBook Pro...both with the same macOS version installed. There may be features in the macOS that the 2015 MacBook Pro can take advantage of...that the 2011 may not. That's because the 2011 MBP may not have the builtin hardware necessary to take advantage of some OS features. But...the 2011 will take advantage of everything it can...thus the 2011 MBP will be as functional as it was ever designed to be. With that being said...if there are non-hardware based features in a newer OS...it's very possible an older MacBook Pro will be able to use them.

    Bottom line...if you know specific macOS features you want...you need to know exactly what they are...then find out if an older MacBook Pro can do it. Otherwise...don't let a non-specific item like this concern you as to what OS version to install.

    Quote Originally Posted by ftngrave;1845451[B
    So based on my laptop's specs, can you all tell me which OS X you would upgrade to? [/B]Basically which one will run the smoothest (based on my specs) with the most features still working? I plan to use this laptop just for basic stuff, the reason I want to upgrade the OS X at all is because Chrome doesn't seem to work with everything properly when surfing the web (I'm often told my browser's too outdated). I plan to sell this laptop in the fall to go towards purchasing a newer laptop. So I don't know if the fact that I'm going to resell it soon affects which OS X I should put on it. Anyway, would love to hear anyone's recommendation. I'm hoping the answer's pretty clear cut, but perhaps if several people give their 2 cents I'll just go with the OS X that's recommended the most.
    Upgrade to the newest OS version possible...especially if you're going to sell it in the Fall. Most buyers want the newest macOS version installed as possible.

    As far as RAM and SSD upgrades. This 2011 MacBook Pro currently has 8gig of RAM installed. If you're just using it for "basic stuff"...8gig of RAM is perfectly fine. if you upgraded to 16gig of RAM...pretty much the only thing accomplished would be a "thinner wallet"...and making a seller of RAM a little bit happier to get your money.

    Plus...since this is a 9 year old computer (2011). Very unlikely you'ld be able to recoup the cost of the RAM upgrade when you sell the computer.

    As far as the SSD upgrade. Yes I would definitely recommend doing this. Better experience for you while you own it...and maybe easier to sell it when it comes time to sell.

    - Nick
    - Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
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  4. #4
    Best OS X for my older Macbook Pro
    lclev's Avatar
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    Jul 24, 2013
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    l have a 2011 15” MacBook Pro, i7, 16GB, 500GB SSD and running High Sierra. That is the last version of OS that it will run.

    How to upgrade to macOS High Sierra - Apple Support

    Lisa
    Recommend using Onyx to clean your Mac.
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