The next version of Mac system software is called macOS Sierra, it’s versioned as Mac OS X 10.12, and it will be available as a free download for all compatible Macs in the fall. Of course this begs the question, which Macs are compatible with macOS Sierra? What Mac hardware can run the new operating system and enjoy features like Siri, Continuity Clipboard, and more?
If the Mac is fairly new it will certainly support macOS Sierra, but many older Macs are getting cut off from the compatibility list, including any Mac made before late 2009. That means many Macs that support the current versions of Mac OS X system software won’t be able to run MacOS Sierra at all, and instead will be stuck staying on an earlier software release.
List of Macs Compatible with MacOS Sierra 10.12
According to Apple, the official compatible hardware list of Macs capable of running Mac OS Sierra 10.12 is as follows:
MacBook Pro (2010 and later)
MacBook Air (2010 and later)
Mac Mini (2010 and later)
Mac Pro (2010 and later)
MacBook (Late 2009 and later)
iMac (Late 2009 and later)
This list of supported Macs is offered directly from Apple, shown during the MacOS Sierra debut presentation at WWDC 2016 conference. The still from that presentation is shown below with the same compatibility list:
How to Check Your Mac for MacOS Sierra Compatibility
The simplest way to determine if your Mac is compatible with MacOS Sierra is to check the model make and model year, here is how to do that:
Open the Apple menu in the upper left corner and choose “About This Mac”
From the “Overview” tab, look under the current system software version and for the computer model and year
Check Mac Model year for compatibility with MacOS Sierra
You may notice the compatibility list for MacOS Sierra 10.12 is a little curious because some of the Macs that are incompatible have better hardware than some of the hardware that is included in the compatible list. It’s unclear why this is, but this does suggest that support for MacOS Sierra is not just a matter of hardware specs alone, as the minimum system requirements for macOS Sierra are not clearly defined by minimum CPU type or speed, RAM, GPU, or disk capacity. That makes macOS Sierra a little unusual compared to some of the other Mac OS X releases from years past, but as time goes on we may get a clearer picture as to why this is.