OS X 10.9 Mavericks is here! Part 1 - how to install Mavericks

Last month Apple released a new operating system for iPhones and iPads (iOS 7).  On the heels of that, last week Apple released a new operating system for Macs.  It is known as OS X 10.9 Mavericks.  It is the first version of OS X that is not named for a big cat; instead, it is named for a famous surfing beach in California. Bigger news than that is that it is FREE!

This blog will provide instructions for properly installing Mavericks.

Mavericks can only be obtained via the (Mac) App Store.  There is no other way to get it.  There are no discs available for purchase.  The App Store is only available on Macs using OS X 10.6 (that are properly updated).  To find out what version of OS X your Mac is currently using click on the Apple menu (in the upper left of your screen) > About this Mac.

Although you can update to Mavericks directly from 10.6, I do not recommend it unless you really know what you are doing.  10.6 will run legacy Mac software (old stuff), however Mavericks will not (in fact, 10.7 and higher will not).  So, if your Mac using 10.6 happens to have legacy software, not only will the legacy software not run on Mavericks, even the uninstaller apps for that legacy software will not run, so you will be stuck.  If you are using 10.6 and want to update to Mavericks, contact me for help.

If you are using OS X 10.7 or 10.8, I recommend that you update.  Here is how:

  1. Update your Mac.  Go to the Apple menu > Software Update and let it run.  Do this over and over until there are no more updates.
  2. Make sure you have a current backup of your Mac.  If you use an external hard drive for your backups, plug that into your Mac.  If you use Time Machine, click on its icon (near the clock in the upper right of your screen) and choose Backup Now.  If you use another backup tool, force it to backup now or wait for the next scheduled backup.
  3. Quit all apps.  Remember - use command-Q to quit apps, clicking the red button does not close apps.
  4. Restart your Mac (Apple menu > Restart).
  5. After the Mac is restarted do not open any apps; don’t check your email, don’t open Safari - open nothing except the following:
  6. Click on the App Store icon in your Dock. If you do not find it there, click the Apple menu > App Store.
  7. Click on the Updates tab at the top of the App Store.  You will find Mavericks waiting for you there.  If you do not see Mavericks on the Updates page, go to the Featured tab along the top and in the upper right search field, type “OS X Mavericks”.
  8. After you locate Mavericks, click on the price (it should say “Free Upgrade”) and follow the instructions to install the operating system.  If you are not yet registered with the App Store, you will have to put in your account information, including credit card (yes, even if the software is free).

The download will take about 30-60 minutes + (depending on the speed of your Internet service).  Once downloaded, the installation will take over an hour.  Plan on 2-3 hours to complete the whole process.

When the installation process is done your Mac will restart.  After it starts it will ask you for your iCloud password.  Enter it.  If you do not know it or do not want to use iCloud, click “Set up later” below the password field.  

After that your Mac will ask you to set up iCloud Keychain (which shares your saved passwords between your iPhone/iPad and your Mac).  I recommend you set it up.  If you do, you can choose the method of setup. I think approving iCloud Keychain “from another device” is easier than doing it on your Mac.  In that case, choose “Approve from another device” and set it up on your iPad or iPhone.

After finishing the setup, your Mac may ask you for your iCloud password another time or two.  Enter it when it asks.

At this point you can check for updates for your other software by going to Apple menu > Software Update.  Your Mac may ask if you want to turn on Automatic Updates.  I recommend turning this on.  When you are done with the App Store, you can Quit it and enjoy Mavericks!