How to prepare for OS X El Capitan 10.11

BY Kelly Hodgkins

Published 30 Sep 2015

OS X El Capitan logoOS X EL Capitan is launching publicly today. Before you install Apple’s latest and greatest desktop operating system, you should take a few a minutes to prepare your machine for the transition. Follow our guide below for all the details on ipgrading to OS X 10.11 El Capitan.

Perform a Time Machine Backup

Before installing any major upgrades, you should always backup your Mac as a fail-safe measure in case something goes wrong. The easiest way to back up your Mac is using Time Machine, which is built right into OS X. You’ll just need an external hard drive or a network storage device to store your data.

Download OS X El Capitan

When Apple releases OS X El Capitan, the company makes the software available via the Mac App Store. Just launch the Mac App Store, search for OS X El Capitan (it should be easy to find) and click Download. OS X El Capitan is a large download that is 5-6 gigabytes in size, so you’ll want to make sure you are connected to a fast internet connection and are not on a metered service. Be patient as it is going to take a while for the download to complete, especially on day one when everyone, everywhere is doing the same thing.

Update to OS X El Capitan directly from an older version of OS X

Most users will install OS X El Capitan directly over their existing install of OS X Yosemite. In this case, you can download OS X El Capitan from the Mac App Store and allow the installation to start automatically. If the installer does not automatically launch, you can find the installer via Launchpad.

Perform a clean install of El Capitan using a USB disk

While most users will just install El Capitan over Yosemite, there are some users who prefer a clean install, which wipes all the existing files and installs OS X El Capitan as if it was on a new machine. To do a clean install, you need to copy the installer files to a USB disk that is formatted as a boot drive. After you have an install disk, you need to restart your machine, delete the existing Yosemite partition, create a new partition and start the install.

What happens if you are running the gold master version of OS X El Capitan GM?

If you’re running the gold master version of OS X El Capitan, you don’t have to do a thing as you are running the same version Apple is releasing publicly. It’s possible Apple may release an update with small tweaks that will be rolled out alongside the public version of OS X El Capitan. In the future, Gold Master users can download an update from the Mac App Store and merge with the public updates.

Are you updating to OS X EL Capitan?

Are you updating to OS X El Capitan? Or will stay on your existing version of OS X? Please let us know what you plan to do in the comments.