Find the serial number on:
Plug your serial number in at this link:
Do not use third party links as they may not be secure.
Do not post the serial number on this board, as that is your key to any support you may have left.
Use this tip also to help figure out which portion of the Support Community to post in, as this tip explains:
When you have no serial number, use one of these third party sites to find your model, production year, time in year (early, middle, late, summer, fall, winter, spring):
Apple has these identifying articles as well:
http://support.apple.com/kb/ht3255 - MacBook Air
http://support.apple.com/kb/ht1635 - MacBook
http://support.apple.com/kb/ht4132 - MacBook Pro
http://support.apple.com/kb/ht3476 - Mac Mini
http://support.apple.com/kb/HT6069 - Mac Pro
http://support.apple.com/kb/TA22033 - PowerMac G3
http://support.apple.com/kb/ht3065 - Powerbook G4
http://support.apple.com/kb/ht2287 - Powerbook G3
Macs generally will not run an older Mac OS X operating system than shipped with them. The one exception is virtualizing 10.6 Server on 10.7 or later, which
is described later.
These dates are important for recognizing what Mac OS X will run on Macs. Macs released on or after:
October 16, 2014 will only run 10.10 or later.
October 22, 2013 will only run 10.9 or later.
June 25, 2012 will only run 10.8 or later.
July 20, 2011 will only run 10.7 or later.
Beyond this point Macs released during certain date ranges also have a maximum operating system, and/or
minimum retail operating system and system specific operating system requirement (when I say up to 10.9 that includes all incremental updates):
Note: images shown below for retail operating system are those that have no "Update, Dropin, or OEM" wording on them.
March 15, 2010-July 19, 2011 will only run prebundled 10.6 installer disc, and not retail, but also able to be upgraded to 10.9. Note this tip
if upgrading to 10.7 or later: https://discussions.apple.com/docs/DOC-6271
Note this tip if upgrading to 10.7 or later: https://discussions.apple.com/docs/DOC-6271
December 15, 2008-August 28, 2009 will only run prebundled 10.5 installer disc, and 10.6 retailhttps://discussions.apple.com/servlet/JiveServlet/downloadImage/102-2455-88-4323 6/snow.jpgsnow.jpg, and if on https://discussions.apple.com/docs/DOC-3761
will also run up to Mac OS X 10.9 if you follow this tip: https://discussions.apple.com/docs/DOC-6271
October 28, 2007 -December 14, 2008 will at minimum be able to use the 10.5.6 retail, and install up to 10.9 if included on https://discussions.apple.com/docs/DOC-3761 if you follow this tip https://discussions.apple.com/docs/DOC-6271
January 10, 2006-October 27, 2007 will at minimum be able to 10.5 retail, and if on Which 10.5 systems can upgrade to 10.8 or 10.9?
or Are there 10.4 systems that can upgrade to 10.8 or 10.9? are able to run 10.9. Core2Duo and Xeon can upgrade to a minimum of 10.7.5. Otherwise if they only have a CoreDuo, CoreSolo Intel processor only be able to upgrade to Mac OS X 10.6.8. G5, G4, and G3 processors are not Intel.
Earlier dates are covered on this tip:Can I download my Mac OS upgrade?
Using the dates from the above documents, and the dates according to Wikipedia when specific retail operating system systems were released, you can find which retail releases were newer than the Macs and the ones immediately older.
An October 24, 2011 Macbook Pro will only run 10.8 retail, and 10.9 retail downloads, but needs an AppleCare requested 10.7 installer to install 10.7. An exception exists in 10.6 Server, as indicated here:
A pre-October 26, 2007 MacBook Pro will only run the system specific Mac OS X 10.4 installer that shipped with it, which can be ordered from AppleCare, or newer retail installer versions of 10.5, 10.6 compatible with its hardware, and 10.7 if it is at least a Core2Duo. CoreDuo, nor is CoreSolo is not compatible with 10.7.
For PowerPC Macs, Mac OS X 10.4.11 and earlier offer Classic compatibility, and on certain 2003 and earlier Macs dual booting on Mac OS X 10.5 & Mac OS 9:
No Mac may run an older version of Mac OS 9 than was prebundled with it.
A more precise timeline of Mac OS X follows (in U.S. date notation, which is month followed by day):
10/22/2013 10.9 (10.9 & 10.9.1 should be skipped due to security issues)
10/3/2013 10.8.5 supplemental update
9/25/2013 10.8.4 iMac Late 2013
6/10/2013 10.8.4 MacBook Air mid 2013
11/29/2012 10.8.2 Mac MIni Late 2012
10/4/2012 10.8.2 supplemental update
10/4/2012 10.7.5 supplemental update
7/25/2011 10.6.8 v1.1
5/4/2011 10.6.7 Early 2011 MacBook Pro
4/13/2010 10.6.3 v1.1
4/1/2010 10.6.3 retail installer presently sold at the online Apple Store.
8/28/2009 10.6 retail installer
Some hints about operating systems:
- No PowerPC Mac can run Mac OS X 10.5.8 or higher, or sync with iOS 6 or higher.
- No PowerPC Mac can run Boot Camp
- No Mac can run Classic (side by side Mac OS 9 with Mac OS X without reboot) on the same partition as Mac OS X 10.5 or higher.
- No Intel Mac can run Classic.
- All Intel Macs can run at least Mac OS X 10.6.8 as long as they are older than Mac OS X 10.7's release.
- PowerPC applications need Mac OS X 10.6.8 or earlier to run on Intel Macs.
- Boot Camp needs Mac OS X 10.5 or later on Intel Macs. Note other virtualization tools are available for Mac OS X 10.4.11 or earlier on Intel Macs.
- Mac OS X 10.7.3 is needed for the latest Java and minimum iCloud.
- The same minimum system requirements exist for Mac OS X 10.8, 10.9, and 10.10
- 10.6.6 is the minimum for the Mac App Store, and upgrading to 10.7 without erasing the drive you install 10.7 on if the hardware supports it.
- 10.6.8 is the minimum for 10.8 or later upgrades if the hardware supports it.