Apple is getting ready to release its latest and greatest version of OS X, Mountain Lion, possibly as early as next week. But owners of older 64-bit Macs will be left out. Here’s how to find out if your machine is Mountain Lion-ready.
Apple has started to release OS X 10.8 to developers, which - going by past releases - should mean that Mountain Lion may be generally available sometime next week. As Apple preps for the big day, new pages are showing up on the company website, including a list of devices that will be capable of running Mountain Lion:
- iMac (Mid 2007 or newer)
- MacBook (Late 2008 Aluminum, or Early 2009 or newer)
- MacBook Pro (Mid/Late 2007 or newer)
- MacBook Air (Late 2008 or newer)
- Mac mini (Early 2009 or newer)
- Mac Pro (Early 2008 or newer)
- Xserve (Early 2009)
If you’re not sure if your machine falls into these categories, there are three ways to check.
- Open the About This Mac dialog from the main Apple menu and then click the More Info button to view the stats about your machine, including the model type. Also, look for Intel GMA 950 in the Graphics field. If present, then unfortunately your system is unable to run Mountain Lion.
- The second way to confirm Mountain Lion compatibility is to click the System Report button and select the Software option. If the 64-bit Kernel and Extensions field reads “No,” your machine will not run Mountain Lion.
- Finally, if you like the command line, run this command in Terminal:
ioreg -l -p IODeviceTree | grep firmware-abi
If the returned line says, “firmware-abi” = <“EFI32”>, you are out of luck - only <“EFI64”> machines will be Mountain Lion-ready.
The main problem with upgrading older Macs appears to be the graphics drivers for the older hardware, which Apple has opted not to upgrade for older machines.
According to Apple, if you are running OS X 10.7.x “Lion,” you can visit the Mac App Store and purchase Mountain Lion for download and installation for $19,99 when it's available. Snow Leopard users (OS X 10.6.x) will need to update to the latest version of Snow Leopard (10.6.8) before getting Mountain Lion.