OS X 10.11 El Capitan Is Here – Should You Upgrade?

On September 30, Apple is coming out with yet another major operating system upgrade. 

Should you upgrade?

If you are a regular reader of this website it is likely you are using your computer to make music – perhaps even to run a business around it.

Then my answer is simple: don’t do it.


If you trust your computer to do crucial work and don’t want to be dealing with downtime due to compatibility issues, it is simply foolish to risk upgrading your operating system right away.

It has been shown time and time again that Apple’s operating system upgrades break software and hardware compatibility. It can take anything from a few days to several months for the majority of developers to fix these issues.

If you’re really out of luck, some software or hardware you are using may not be updated at all and you won’t be able to use it ever again after the upgrade.

I really hate how Apple are coming up with new operating systems so frequently. It causes developers to spend a big chunk of their time and money on constantly upgrading their products instead of actually focusing on development. Not cool.


More important than having the latest operating system is to make sure that your Mac is running smoothly.

  1. Keep enough free space on the hard drive (15% of the size of the drive is recommended – OS X uses this space for running maintenance tasks.
  2. Keep your computer clean of gunk – Clean My Mac 3 is a fantastic tool for that.
  3. Keep up to date backups of your entire system.


I’ve experienced enough problems caused by operating system upgrades in the past. Learned my lesson – that is why I’m still running OS X 10.8.5 Mountain Lion today. I will only upgrade when I absolutely must. This basically only includes two situations:

  1. If I’m getting a new computer.
  2. If some software I really need to have is not supported for my operating system.


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    Could not agree more! made the mistake moving to Mavericks from Mountain Lion and will not make that same mistake again! PAIN IN THE ASS!

  • killmedj

    Yup me too! Yosemite turned my computer into a bean bag! There’s no way I’ll be going through that again! I’m sticking with Mavericks till I’m left with no option to upgrade i.e. when I buy a new computer!

  • HaszNone

    So funny I laughed when I read you were still on ML because I’ve been doing the same up until recently. I’ve spent the past few years avoiding updates and just recently upgraded to Yosemite because of Logic’s update among a few other things. I plan on staying put for a while we all know shiny and new doesn’t mean better functionality. It takes months or even years to get your set up right!

    • Yeah – we are all suckers for novelty but stability should still be number one!

  • txtist

    I forget how many apps weren’t well when I bought a used iMac lately that came with Yosemite..
    and not just ProTools 10 (PT11 was fine).
    Fortunately I used a time machine backup from my laptop to install everything; the iMac didn’t come with anything anyway

    • When Yosemite came out there were some serious issues with some computers that had Avid and Native Instruments stuff installed at the same time. And it took a long time for them to get fixed.

  • Wolfgang

    I’m also running 10.8.5 for similar reasons.
    However, I’d really like to start using Mainstage 3 by now. And the current version only seems to be compatible with 10.9 upwards.
    Any hints how to get around this?
    thanks a lot!

    • As far as I know upgrading to a newer OS is the only solution. It might be a good idea to make a bootable clone of your old system before you upgrade. That way you have a way of going back if there are problems. I use a program called carbon copy cloner for cloning.

      • Wolfgang

        I was already thinking about doing something like that and you confirmed it!