MacOS update quandary

Hi all,
Currently I am excluded from Big Sur due to hardware restrictions which leaves a small question regarding my OS choice. After seeing a whole heap of reports about Catalonia, mainly by Beatrix, I thought I would completely miss updating until the next one. Well that’s been screwed up now my iMac is not able.
So to the question, I am running very happily on 10.13.16 is there any issues that stand out for what seems my only option, 10.14 ???

Any thoughts, thanks.

If you are very happily on 10.13 and you want to try 10.14, make sure you have a way to return to 10.13 in case you don’t like 10.14 performance (if there is any difference).

I just recently updated a 2012 iMac from 10.13 to 10.14 and so far so good. I think this iMac can run Catalina but I don’t need/want to upgrade to that.

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I upgraded to Catalina early before I knew some of the issues. I would not recommend upgrading to Catalina if you can avoid it as there are still issues. It is still very slow in launching apps. Mail seems better than it was at first.

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When I finally ditched the last 32-bit Mac app, I moved to Catalina and things work well here.
So it may be good to move to Catalina now as most issues seem to be fixed by Apple.

Thanks guys,
well there we are, the conflicting Catalania report…

I am running late 2012 BTO 27 iMac with loads or rmand a large fusion drive, in my opinion it should be able to zip along with whatever the OS needs to turn a quick speed.

I think I might just knock a couple of partitions up with 10.14 and 10.15 on them and see if I find any sticking points, they can all see my data so that should make deciding a bit easier, thanks for your thoughts all.

I would recommend running Go64 before updating to see if you have any apps (or app libraries) that won’t be compatible.

I found Go64 better than the system report built into MacOS as it also details “parts” of software that won’t work, whereas the MacOS utility won’t (AFAIK)

As others have suggested, BACKUP your entire 10.13.6 drive, so in the worst case scenario, you can wipe the crud off the disk and revert back to a working OS with everything set-up.

As for upgrading, I can tell you for sure that the least troublesome (in terms of OS failures) is to wipe the drive, install the new OS. Then manually copy your data across and re-install your apps, like it’s 1996.

It’s hassle yes, and I have to keep going back and collecting things that I’ve missed, but it’s far more stable than my attempt earlier in the year, the machine runs better, it feels faster, memory usage is improved and so is battery life. Went from atrocious 4 hours, to getting almost 15 hours last week!

Apple know that the migration assistant in Catalina (and I suspect Mojave) is broken, my guess is that they simply don’t have the time to test it, and fix it and who cares, as long as a new Mac is good enough for the iPhone kiddies when they want a 'puter, long term customers can just get lost.

The other thing that I’d like to mention is partitioning the drive, I’ve split my drive 3 ways, 2x 64GB partitions for different OS versions and the rest for my data (as good old HFS+ Journaled). This way I can boot into either and actually debug on the offending OS, which I’d whole heatedly recommend after some issues I found in Mojave, only presented themselves once the machine has been running 10+ days (which I never found while ‘testing’ on additional hardware).

Heck you could even split it 4 ways and keep a 10.13.6 partition. I calculated my partition sizes based upon how much space the OS requires 20~30GB and doubling the amount of memory I have 16GB = 32GB (for swap space).

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Ok Sam, thanks for that.

I have time machine as my main back up and all my data is on a different hard drive partition to the OS, I already have a partition for Mojave (which I forgot about) and that runs seemingly well enough and can see all my data without issue, although I will create separate data portions for serious testing.

I have a 3Tb fusion in there so I can put as many as I like in there really with plenty of room to grow and all can have their own space on the external 4Tb time machine.

I suppose once I see if catalania is ok here I can wipe everything and get it on the SSD part of the fusion drive to speed stuff up.

thanks to all contributors.

Depends on how much you put on - the SSD isn’t exactly big. Essentially you might be running from the hard disk …

yes it will be on the HDD if I create a partition as the most used stuff is already filling the SSD I expect (its only 128Gb on the 3Tb fusion).
but when I decide which one to go with I can clean house and put the new OS on it and it will be on the SSD.

Hope it helps in some respect. I did this with a testing machine several years ago, but this year was the first time I’d decided to do it with my work machine (which I don’t like to mess with). So far so good…

If you can afford to do so, I would advise replacing or complimenting that Fusion Drive with a full on SSD, the prices are coming down fast. There’s a couple of reasons why.

  1. Mojave and onwards likes APFS for the OS partition (which is probably why it’s so slow to boot) and I recall reading that there’s some issues with Apple’s Fusion drives and APFS.
  2. As you know SSDs are much faster, and can help make you at least feel like you have a newer computer, without spending as much money.
  3. SSDs are way more reliable, I’m pretty shocked that I’d been running one on my dev machine for 8 years without failure (albeit the machine had other failures).

hi sam,
yes I would have had an SSD in there to start with but the unit was refurbished (Hoxton Macs) and they did not offer full SSD.

I did think ‘oh well I will just stick a 2Tb SSD in there when it comes’
then I looked on iFixit on how to crack this iMac egg and decided I would rather do something else, mainly ignore it.

at least I have some well thought out options from everyone to have a play with.

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You can get some pretty fast external drives too. I have one, just for video, which is just as fast as the SSD in my 2012 machine, it uses USB-3 with an adaptable cable, so it’ll connect to a USB-A or USB-C port. It’s more expensive than an external one, but if you’ve got an iMac, you can plug it in round the back and duct tape it to the chassis :slight_smile: I see people with external drives duct taped to their laptops (as they can’t upgrade the internal drive any more).

My MBP15 has a “carbon fiber” wrap on the top (the 3M vinyl or whatever). I put a piece of the super-strong Velcro on it and the mating piece on my external drive so I can have it or not as I need. If you do something like this on a laptop, mount the drive as low as possible to reduce the strain on the hinge point.

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So it’s even more common than I thought. Sad that we have to resort to “hacks” like these.