How To's

How to prepare your Mac before upgrading to macOS Monterey

At the end of the year, Apple will launch macOS Monterey for Macs and, from what we have been able to see, it will arrive with interesting news. Surely if you have come this far it is because you are also interested in them and you will want to install it when it comes out.

Before that happens, there are several things we recommend you do to prepare your Mac or MacBook for the update. These same tips will help you whenever you want to install a new version of Apple’s operating system.

Following these recommendations will minimize the risk of problems either during the upgrade or afterwards.

How to prepare your Mac before an operating system update

We recommend that you do not install a software new immediately, that is, right when Apple releases it. Although the company is very strict in the process, certain problems often occur with the first few downloads.

And even if you don’t find any, Apple’s servers tend to get crowded, as many want the update right away and that can slow down the process a lot. So we recommend that you wait and prepare before.

It is important to do some checks before downloading a new version of the Mac operating system. These are the steps to follow to prepare your computer before updating it to the latest version of macOS:

  1. Check for issues with the version of macOS in question.
  2. Check if your Mac (and software) is compatible.
  3. Make sure you have enough space on your Mac (the beta version may weigh less than the official version).
  4. Make sure your Mac is in good shape.
  5. Make a backup of your Mac.
  6. Make sure you are connected to your iCloud.
  7. Make sure you are connected to a secure network.
  8. Update to the latest version of the version of macOS that you currently have installed.
  9. Download the macOS installer you need.
  10. Install macOS on your Mac.
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To learn more about the installer and the process of installing a macOS update, see our article How to upgrade to Monterey from previous versions.

Do I have to erase everything on my Mac?

You may be wondering if you need to remove everything on your Mac before installing a major version of the operating system. In fact, there are those who believe that doing so minimizes problems and is a good way to start from scratch.

The truth is that there is no reason to do it, on the contrary, unless you are already experiencing problems with your Mac and want to try to see if they are solved that way.

If you prefer to opt for the first option, see our article How to do a clean install of macOS.

Step 1. Check for issues with your macOS version

Depending on the version of macOS you currently have installed, you will find the latest version of macOS by going to ‘System Preferences’> ‘Software Update’, or, in older versions, opening the Mac App Store to find the version of macOS what do you need.

But before you start downloading the software, you will need to check if you really should install it.

It makes sense to do a little research on the version of macOS you are interested in to make sure there is no reason not to install it.

For example, there may be users who complain about problems with their installation or that they have bugs at software. Apple usually resolves vulnerabilities and issues in macOS updates quickly, but it’s always worth checking out.

You may be interested in the complete list of versions of Mac OS X and macOS.

Step 2. Check if your Mac (and software) is compatible

Related to the above, you should check that your Mac can really run the version of macOS you want to install, and that you can really enjoy the new features that interest you the most.

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If your Mac is not compatible with a version of macOS, it will not appear in the ‘Software Update’ section or in the Mac App Store. However, there are cases where it will, but your Mac will not support the new features (or it will cause you to lose the ones you use now).

In this regard, Apple limits Big Sur to the latest Macs and the same can be said for Monterey. If you prefer, you can check out our articles on Big Sur compatibility and Monterey compatibility.

Step 3. Make sure you have enough space on your Mac

Apple recommends having 20GB of free disk space on your Mac before installing a new version of maCOS, although you may not need as much.

In general, we recommend that you always have 10% of the total space on your Mac free, as that usually prevents problems from occurring.

When installing Big Sur, we realized that it asked for more space than ever. Although Big Sur initially occupied 12.2 GB, our Mac asked us to have 35 GB free before installing it.

If you don’t have enough space, it’s time to follow our tips to free up space on a Mac. That usually happens by learning how to delete content from the ‘Others’ folder.

How to prepare Mac before updating

Step 4. Make sure your Mac is in good shape

You should make sure your Mac is in a completely healthy state before installing a big system update.

Step 5. Make a backup of your Mac

Before installing a big update on your Mac, and especially if you are installing a beta version, you should make a backup of your Mac.

Luckily, Apple makes it very easy to back up your Mac with Time Machine, so there is no excuse not to do it before installing a new version of macOS.

For more information, read How to Backup a Mac in Simple Steps.

Step 6. Login to your iCloud account

iCloud is widely integrated into many Apple apps and system services. Make sure you are connected to iCloud before starting the update so that everything goes smoothly.

Step 7. Make sure you are connected to a secure network

We advise you to check that you are connected to a trusted network, so avoid downloading software in hotels, cafes or any other public network because someone may be spying on you.

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If you are going to download and install softwareWe recommend that you do it at home, at work or in your educational center, not connected to the network of a hotel or a cafeteria.

Also, it will surely download much faster. If you do it at home, you may be able to connect your Mac directly to the network and not depend on Wi-Fi speeds (which will mean that the process will be much slower).

For more information, check out our Mac security tips and tricks.

Step 8. Update to the latest version of the current macOS

Before installing the latest version of macOS, download the latest update for the version of macOS that you currently have installed. These little updates from software they are released to improve, for example stability.

Thus, there is always the possibility that you will run into a problem updating to the new version of the Mac operating system if you did not have the update prior to that version installed.

You should also make sure you have the latest version of external apps installed. These updates may contain essential changes for upgrading to the latest version of macOS, and you may experience an issue if not.

To update apps purchased from the Mac App Store, open the app store and click the ‘Updates’ button on the toolbar. Then click ‘Update All’ and enter your Apple ID and password when prompted.

For those apps that you have purchased elsewhere, you will need to update them manually. You can check if there are updates available from the app menu. In Microsoft Word, for example, you must go to ‘Help’> ‘Check for updates’.

As we have said before, it is important to check the compatibility of third-party apps before updating macOS. In this way, you can start using it immediately and not realize that any of them have stopped working.

And now it’s time to update macOS.

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