At work, we are required to login to our work stations via an OSX Lion Server. I now need to update my iMac to Mavericks (for iOS7 and Xcode 5 support). Will the server need to be updated as well? If so, will every Mac in the office need to be upgraded as well (we are trying to avoid this scenario)?

2 Answers 2


Updating Server.app is not really necessary. OS X Mavericks clients are backward compatible with OS X Lion Server, in the same way Mavericks Server is backward compatible with Lion clients. It is only required to update Server.app if you want the new features available in the updated OS X Server, or if you wish to upgrade the host OS on the server (i.e. Lion Server.app is not compatible with OS X Mavericks).

  • I think this is almost correct. Lion / Mountain Lion Server app will NOT function under Mavericks, you are forced to purchase the $20 Server 3.0 app in order to still use Server on Mavericks. Vice versa is also true, you cannot use Server 3.0 (Mavericks Server) on Mountain Lion or Lion. However, Mountain Lion / Lion / Snow Leopard clients can still bind to and access the features that Mavericks Server provides. The only flip to this is Mavericks clients bound to a Mountain Lion (or older) Server cannot access a Software Update Server running on the 10.8 server.
    – Mr Rabbit
    Commented Nov 20, 2013 at 20:08
  • 1
    @MrRabbit Yes, whilst Server.app needs to match the host OS version, I was under the impression that the server Mac was a separate Mac in OP's situation. I've clarified my answer to refer specifically to clients.
    – grg
    Commented Nov 20, 2013 at 20:16
  • @grgarside Your assumption is correct.
    – Mike D
    Commented Nov 21, 2013 at 0:06

Are you asking if your workstation (client) iMac can be upgraded to Mavericks and still retain the functionality of accessing your user account / files / etc provided by the Lion Server?

If so then yes. The only functionality that the central Lion Server couldn't provide to you is the Software Update Server, where software updates are cached by and served out from your office's server. In order to retain the Software Update Server, and possible Caching server, functionality you would need to update the Lion Server to Mavericks.

Aside from that you should still be able to access your network user account, shared files, etc from the Lion Server using your iMac running Mavericks.

Source: I currently have 9 Mavericks clients accessing our central Mac Pro running Mountain Lion server. Software Update Server is the only function of the server that doesn't work with the Mavericks clients. For software updates I upgraded an old secondary Mac mini server to Mavericks and installed the 3.0 Server client, the only service that is active is Software Update Server and only the Mavericks clients pull from it.

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