Ask Different is a question and answer site for power users of Apple hardware and software. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

If I buy a regular retail Snow Leopard disc (i.e. the £25 version), can I use it to upgrade a Mac from Tiger (10.4)?

This answer on the Apple Store’s Q&A site suggests it’ll work, but Apple seem to imply that you need the (significantly more expensive) Mac Box Set (“the Mac Box Set is the best way to upgrade your Mac experience, especially if you're still using Mac OS X Tiger.”).

share|improve this question
Make sure you have a Mac that is actually supported by SnowLeopard. Iirc, only Intel-Macs are supported. – Heiko Rupp Feb 21 '11 at 19:07
@Heiko — ah yes, good point. It is an Intel Mac thankfully, so we’re good there. – Paul D. Waite Feb 21 '11 at 20:22
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Apple wants you to buy the Box Set in order to upgrade from Mac OS X Tiger 10.4 to Snow Leopard. Technically, you the Snow Leopard retail package will upgrade intel based Macs running Mac OS X Tiger 10.4, however it is against the terms of the End User License Agreement (EULA).

The Box Set includes additional software that typically comes with a new Mac (and some that doesn't) and it is recommended by Apple to 'upgrade your Mac experience' because it is more like buying a new Mac than just upgrading the operating system.

To hear it straight from Apple, here are the answers from Alan Eyzaguire, director of software product marketing at Apple Europe to this question.

"We just think that Apple customers could really benefit from having those. They're great software."

"it's great when people get the full experience"

"if you have Snow Leopard it's great to have the latest iWork and iLife"

"we wanted to make that [upgrade] as attractive as possible"

"you get it almost for free"

"it's a steal!"

"Technically, yes, it would upgrade a Tiger install, but in the licensing, no." (citation)

share|improve this answer
No - You need the BoxSet to upgrade from Tiger the simple upgrade is for Leopard only - the link you give to Snow Leopard says that – Mark Feb 21 '11 at 21:11
The question doesn't specify technically or according to the licensing terms. I'll clarify the answer. – g . Feb 21 '11 at 21:53

My suggestion is not to upgrade this way. Back up your data manually, and do a manual restoration after reformatting your hard-drive, and doing a clean install of Snow Leopard. As a tech, I've seen these migrations go sideways more times than I care to admit.

share|improve this answer
Sure — I made a bootable backup before the upgrade. It’s for a friend’s machine though, so I don’t think I’ll be forcing them through a manual restoration. – Paul D. Waite Feb 22 '11 at 1:42
Cool. Just throwing it out there. The problems tend to manifest themselves as odd behaviour, usually quite a while after the migration gets done. Always a pain. – Harv Feb 22 '11 at 21:38

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.