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90% of Macs will be able to run OS X El Capitan

Gregg Keizer | June 10, 2015
OS X El Capitan will run on almost 90% of all current Macs, even though it's very unlikely that the just-unveiled operating system will ever boast such a high adoption rate.

Mac owners can determine the age of their machine by selecting "About This Mac" from the Apple menu at the far left of the menu bar, then choosing "More Info..." from the ensuing window for Mavericks and earlier. The Mac's age will appear under the name of the model, as something like "Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2014" for a recent MacBook Pro notebook. In Yosemite, that information appears in the pop-up itself.

Apple is not alone in making older system requirements toe the line of a new OS: Microsoft has done the same with its impending Windows 10, which will release in late July. Most machines running Windows 7, a 2009 OS, and all of those running Windows 8 or Windows 8.1, will be able to run Windows 10.

That does not mean, of course, that either OS X El Capitan or Windows 10 will run competently on the very oldest Macs or PCs. The usual rules apply: The less memory, the slower the processor and graphics chipsets, the poorer the experience will be.

And both operating systems include features that not all the machines able to run the code can support. "Not all features are available on all devices," Apple said in the fine print in its El Cap marketing materials; those features were not called out, however.

Also staying stable this year are the requirements for iOS 9. Rather than do the usual — drop the oldest still-supported devices from the next edition's list — Apple said that the same devices that ran 2014's iOS 8 will be able to handle its successor.

"We want everyone to get iOS 9," said Craig Federighi, the chief of Apple's OS X and iOS development, during the WWDC keynote on Monday in explaining the change.

iOS 9 will be supported on the iPhone 4S, 5, 5S, 5C, 6 and 6 Plus; on the iPad 2, third- and fourth-generation iPad, iPad Air, iPad Air 2, iPad Mini, iPad Mini 2, and iPad Mini 3; and the fifth-generation iPod Touch.

The list goes back three years for the iPhone and iPad — the year when Apple started selling the iPhone 4S and the iPad 2 — and according to Apple, encompasses 83% of all iPhones, the percentage now running iOS 8.

Third-party metrics vendors have iOS 8 at an even higher share: Mixpanel, for instance, said iOS now accounts for 87% of the Apple devices that run apps with its analytics package embedded. Meanwhile, rival Fiksu put the percentage of current iPhones from the 4S on — those able to upgrade to iOS 9 — at 92%.

OS X El Capitan and iOS 9 will release this fall, Apple said Monday, and each will be available to the general public for preview testing in July. Users interested in grabbing the previews can register with Apple's beta program on the company's website.


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