Upgrade Paths to Snow Leopard, Lion, and/or Mountain Lion
You can upgrade to Mountain Lion from Lion or directly from Snow Leopard. Mountain Lion can be downloaded from the Mac App Store for $19.99. To access the App Store you must have Snow Leopard 10.6.6 or later installed.
Upgrading to Snow Leopard
You must purchase Snow Leopard through the Apple Store: Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard - Apple Store (U.S.). The price is $19.99 plus tax. You will be sent physical media by mail after placing your order.
After you install Snow Leopard you will have to download and install the Mac OS X 10.6.8 Update Combo v1.1 to update Snow Leopard to 10.6.8 and give you access to the App Store. Access to the App Store enables you to download Mountain Lion if your computer meets the requirements.
Snow Leopard General Requirements
1. Mac computer with an Intel processor
2. 1GB of memory
3. 5GB of available disk space
4. DVD drive for installation
5. Some features require a compatible Internet service provider;
fees may apply.
6. Some features require Apple’s MobileMe service; fees and
Upgrading to Lion
If your computer does not meet the requirements to install Mountain Lion, it may still meet the requirements to install Lion.
You can purchase Lion by contacting Customer Service: Contacting Apple for support and service - this includes international calling numbers. The cost is $19.99 (as it was before) plus tax. It's a download. You will get an email containing a redemption code that you then use at the Mac App Store to download Lion. Save a copy of that installer to your Downloads folder because the installer deletes itself at the end of the installation.
Lion System Requirements
1. Mac computer with an Intel Core 2 Duo, Core i3, Core i5, Core i7,
or Xeon processor
2. 2GB of memory
3. OS X v10.6.6 or later (v10.6.8 recommended)
4. 7GB of available space
5. Some features require an Apple ID; terms apply.
Upgrading to Mountain Lion
To upgrade to Mountain Lion you must have Snow Leopard 10.6.8 or Lion installed. Purchase and download Mountain Lion from the App Store. Sign in using your Apple ID. Mountain Lion is $19.99 plus tax. The file is quite large, over 4 GBs, so allow some time to download. It would be preferable to use Ethernet because it is nearly four times faster than wireless.
Macs that can be upgraded to OS X Mountain Lion
1. iMac (Mid 2007 or newer)
2. MacBook (Late 2008 Aluminum, or Early 2009 or newer)
3. MacBook Pro (Mid/Late 2007 or newer)
4. MacBook Air (Late 2008 or newer)
5. Mac mini (Early 2009 or newer)
6. Mac Pro (Early 2008 or newer)
7. Xserve (Early 2009)
Are my applications compatible?
Am I eligible for the free upgrade?
For a complete How-To introduction from Apple see Upgrade to OS X Mountain Lion.
It will Perform better...
For best performance, fill both memory slots, installing an equal memory module in each slot.
It is Important to get the Correct and Matching RAM
That site also has videos on how to Install RAM
About OS X Memory Management and Usage
Understanding top output in the Terminal
The amount of available RAM for applications is the sum of Free RAM and Inactive RAM. This will change as applications are opened and closed or change from active to inactive status. The Swap figure represents an estimate of the total amount of swap space required for VM if used, but does not necessarily indicate the actual size of the existing swap file. If you are really in need of more RAM that would be indicated by how frequently the system uses VM. If you open the Terminal and run the top command at the prompt you will find information reported on Pageins () and Pageouts (). Pageouts () is the important figure. If the value in the parentheses is 0 (zero) then OS X is not making instantaneous use of VM which means you have adequate physical RAM for the system with the applications you have loaded. If the figure in parentheses is running positive and your hard drive is constantly being used (thrashing) then you need more physical RAM.
Adding RAM only makes it possible to run more programs concurrently. It doesn't speed up the computer nor make games run faster. What it can do is prevent the system from having to use disk-based VM when it runs out of RAM because you are trying to run too many applications concurrently or using applications that are extremely RAM dependent. It will improve the performance of applications that run mostly in RAM or when loading programs.
Installing RAM yourself is not as difficult as you think it is. And, there are plenty of tutorials around to guide you.
Adding more memory will, in no way, affect what's on my computer (files and such), correct?...
..., once I am able to, will upgrading to Mountain Lion erase what's on my computer or no?
It is Recommended, and Prudent, to Backup your current hard drive Before attempting any Major Upgrade or Update.
How do you back up the hard drive?
By far the easiest way to Backup, is to use something like
or CCC http://www.bombich.com/
That way, should anything untoward happen during the Upgrade,
you will NOT LOSE ANYTHING.
(Get an EHD that is at least equal to your current Drive...)