In case you missed it, Apple will be releasing it’s latest version of the Mac operating system (OS) this week – MacOS 11 Big Sur. Okay, sounds cool, but what does that mean and should you update?
The answer: Yes, but only after you take a few important steps to prep for the update!
Why you should update your OS:
Keeping your software and operating system up-to-date is an important part of keeping your devices running smoothly. This includes all types of devices – computers, tablets, phones, game consoles, TVs and more. When I worked at Apple, there were a few things we did at the start of every single support appointment. The first thing we did was to check to see if there were any updates that needed to be installed. You’d be amazed at how many issues this would solve right away!
Not only will updating your OS keep things running smoothly, but these updates often include important fixes for security issues. These security issues could cause you to get hacked or in some cases, lose access to your data. I don’t know about you, but that’s the last thing I want to deal with when I have a business to run!
Aside from stability and security reasons, updating to the latest operating system will give you the latest and greatest features. These features differ between devices and update versions, so it’s always a good idea to do some research to see what you can expect after your update. I’ve been running the MacOS 11 Big Sur beta for a little while, and I’m a big fan of the design changes and how snappy it is!
Lastly, I’m a big advocate of updating your operating system as updates become available. Installing smaller, incremental updates tends to be more reliable and less problematic than making big jumps to an OS that 2+ versions newer. Think of it like a car – if you regularly have your oil changed and perform general maintenance, it’s going to function much better and for a longer amount of time! Like an engine, we want to keep our technology happy and running smoothly. So make sure you change that oil (IE: update your software & operating system!)
Things to do before updating your operating system:
- Check system requirements. Before you start the update process, you’ll want to make sure your device is compatible and that your computer meets the minimum requirements. To do this, a simple google search will do the trick! Search for “System Requirements [OS UPDATE NAME]”
- Clean up junk. For me personally, this means clearing off my desktop, moving files in my downloads folder to their final home, and emptying the trash. Your computer will need a bit of space to download the update, and this is an easy way to get rid of some things I know I don’t need!
- Backup, BACKUP, BACKUP! Please, I beg you friends, do NOT skip this step. Updating your OS is a big deal for your device and issues are always a possibility. Before updating your operating system, make sure you have at least one recent backup of your entire computer. If you’re a Mac user, check out our post about getting started with Time Machine!
- Before updating, go ahead and unplug all external hard drives, flash drives, and other external devices. This will ensure that your OS update doesn’t download to the wrong place, or that unexpected issues arise due to an external device!
- Lastly, find a time that you don’t need your computer for a few hours. DO NOT start your update when you have a big deadline due. Wait until you’re done for the day and then start the download and install process.
After you have completed your update, go ahead and run software updates for the other apps on your computer – this includes apps from the App Store, Adobe, and more!
A Note for Mac Users Updating from MacOS 10.14 Mojave or Earlier:
If you’re currently running MacOS 10.14 or earlier, you will want to make sure all of your apps are compatible with the newer versions of MacOS. MacOS Mojave is the last version of MacOS to run “32bit Applications”. As a photographer, one of these 32bit applications was PhotoMechanic 5, and in order to use PhotoMechanic, I had to purchase PhotoMechanic 6. Not a big deal and well worth the upgrade, but it is something you should be aware of!