Q. I have a three-year-old MacBook Air running OS X 10.9.5 and it has never been upgraded. Can I upgrade to the newest operating system, skipping all the previous upgrades?
A. You should be able to upgrade to macOS High Sierra, Apple’s latest operating system for its Mac laptops and desktops, without having to download and install the three upgrades that were released in the interim. The company says Macs that are running at least OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion) — and that meet the hardware requirements for the new software — can upgrade directly to High Sierra (also known as macOS 10.13).
As for those hardware requirements, Apple says MacBook Air laptops from late 2010 and later are compatible. (MacBook Pro laptops, along with Mac Mini and Mac Pro desktops released in mid-2010 or later, also meet the High Sierra upgrade requirements, as do iMacs and MacBooks released since late 2009.)
You do need to have at least two gigabytes of memory and 14.3 gigabytes of available storage space for the installation process. If your laptop’s drive is too full, delete or offload files you no longer need. Apple’s support site has a page of tips for clearing up drive space.
Before you jump to High Sierra, you may want to make a list of all the programs you use regularly on your current system, and make sure those applications are compatible with the new one. The crowdsourced application compatibility table on the Roaring Apps site shows what other users have reported, but check with the developer’s support site if you do not see your critical apps there — or want to learn of any issues or updates needed to run properly on High Sierra.
Before you download and install the new system, back up your MacBook Air. When you have everything backed up and are ready, go to the Mac App Store to find and download the free macOS High Sierra upgrade.
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